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ST. LOUIS -- Schnucks Markets Inc. here is partnering with Kaldi's Coffee, also based here, to offer coffee bars in some of its local stores. The family-held chain debuted the first Kaldi's yesterday during the grand opening of its new Twin Oaks replacement store.
Situated just inside the store's entrance, the new coffee bar will mimic the look and feel of other Kaldi's Coffee Houses, which specialize in roasting and selling an array of fine-quality coffees and espressos.
Schnucks' v.p./bakery, Bill Mihu, spearheaded Schnucks' first foray into coffee bars. "We currently have plans to bring a Kaldi's to customers at our Woods Mill location in Chesterfield," said Mihu. "As we build or remodel stores, our intent is to add coffee bars in stores where we believe the demand will be high and where space is available."
Noting that the coffee bars will feature an array of Schnucks bakery offerings, Mihu said, "Our customers will be able to pair their coffee with doughnuts, muffins, and scones. As an added convenience, final installations are underway for Internet connections that will be made available through Wi-Fi capabilities in the nearby seating area."
Schnucks' Twin Oaks coffee bar menu includes fresh fruit smoothies, frozen blended coffee drinks, espressos, and lattes of all types. Bags of Kaldi's coffee will be sold at the bar as well as on the grocer's shelves. Mihu said grand opening specials include heavy sampling, $1-off coupons on Kaldi's bagged coffee, and a punch card that promises a free 12th drink.
"Like Schnucks, Kaldi's is St. Louis-based and family owned," noted Kaldi's spokeswoman Tricia Zimmer-Ferguson. "We look forward to combining the Schnucks grocery experience with our knowledge of coffee to create a strong partnership that will offer great benefits to our growing customer base."
In other news, in a move that supports the grocer's newest initiatives aimed at enhancing the overall food experience for customers, Kathy Gottsacker has joined Schnucks as director of food education and culinary arts, a newly created position.
Gottsacker, a former television personality in San Antonio, will report to Randy Wedel, s.v.p./marketing and merchandising, and will be responsible for developing training and education programs that will increase the food and culinary expertise of Schnucks associates and customers. She will also develop and promote existing food talent within the grocery company and help further establish Schnucks as a leader in the area of food preparation and culinary arts.
Scott Schnuck, chairman and c.e.o., said Gottsacker's role is part of a renewed emphasis on food education for Schnucks. "We are looking forward to the contributions Kathy will have to food initiatives companywide as we continue learning and sharing information with our customers."
Gottsacker earned a Bachelor of Arts with an emphasis in home economics from Bradley University in Peoria, Ill. After relocating to San Antonio in 1993, she started the Pink Peppercorn School of Cooking. She was soon recruited by San Antonio-based HEB to launch and manage a cooking school for its Central Market upscale format stores.
Gottsacker was co-chair of the International Association of Culinary Professionals' cooking school division and a member of Les Dames D'escoffier International. In 2000 the Chaines des Rotisseurs honored her with the prestigious Speaker Award at the organization's International Convention.
Having had experience in coordinating the San Antonio Food and Wine Festival, she made her debut last weekend on behalf of Schnucks at the St. Louis Food and Wine Experience.
Schnucks operates 101 stores (including five Logli stores) and 98 pharmacies in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa, Tennessee, and Mississippi.