Barb’s Kitchen T Centre Turns 30 Barbara Lockert has served up the best the kitchen has to offer and included a heaping side of enthusiasm for 30 years. BY NERISSA MCNAUGHTON
Congratulations Barb’s Kitchen Centre on your 30th Anniversary!
here is only one authorized retail Bosch Kitchen Centre in Canada, and it’s operated as Barb’s Kitchen Centre by a dynamo that many Edmontonians know and love: Barbara Lockert. She is always on the run in her funky footwear, showing off an enviable level of high energy, superhuman organization and the ability to do many things at once. Her sense of humour is infectious, her product knowledge is astounding and her cooking classes sell out. Lockert bought the distributor rights to the Bosch Kitchen Machine (dough maker, mixmaster, blender, food processor, etc.) and flour mill (grinds grains, beans, corn and rice) in 1986. This was shortly after she graduated from the University of Alberta where she emerged with a bachelor degree in math and physical education. She taught public school for a few years but when the opportunity came to open the store, she jumped at it. “I had a baby in November and started incorporation in January,” Lockert rattles off the dates with ease. “Within two months and two days of the original call to buy the distributorship, we opened the store. I was nursing a baby, running a store and marking papers for the Alberta Distance Learning Centre all at the same time.” How did she do that? “I have been blessed with a tremendous amount of energy and a positive attitude!” Lockert laughs. Learning about nutrition and eating healthfully has helped me to maintain my energy level to this day.” It’s true. During the course of this interview she bounced among staff, customers and delivery personnel, never missing a beat and never making any BARB’S KITCHEN CENTRE | 30 YEARS | 1
party feel rushed or neglected. She seamlessly ran the store, interacted with staff, got a class set up for the evening, did the interview and helped clients, somehow (and inexplicably) all at the same time. When Lockert started Barb’s (Bosch) Kitchen Centre, she had a goal in mind for everyone who walked through the doors: save time, save money, retain nutrition. Those are the factors that drive everything she sells, every class she teaches and every business decision she makes (such as offering knife sharpening, a bridal registry, accepting custom special orders, providing repair services for items she sells and shipping products around the world). Every customer is greeted when they walk through the door, many on a first name basis, and every question is answered honestly. “The store really took off because customers wanted quality equipment (small electrical appliances), innovative and practical gadgets, unique and hard-to-find items and fresh baking and cooking supplies. It only made sense to teach customers how to use the products we sell,” she explains. “We burst out of our first location by 1989. We moved from a 400-square-foot store with a 400-square-foot classroom and a 1,200-square-foot warehouse to this location (9766-51 Avenue NW) that has a 1,200-square-foot showroom and store, a 900-square-foot food room and a 525-square-foot test kitchen and classroom – and that doesn’t include the warehouse.” Holding cooking classes that teach lifelong kitchen skills to adults and children, while helping clients get the most out of their purchases, made good sense to Lockert. From day one, she taught bread making in the efficient Bosch Kitchen Machine, using freshly ground flour from grain, milled in the NutriMill flour mill. Although the focus is still on bread making, classes have expanded to include: dehydrating, specialty cookware, holiday cakes and treats, chocolate making, desserts, Scandinavian Night, Baba’s Ukrainian dinner (perogies, cabbage rolls, borscht…oh my!) to spicing up your life with the Mexican Fiesta. Men, women and children flock to her kitchen to learn. From the moment you step over the threshold, you realize you are in for a truly unique experience. The showroom/store has hundreds of products, but it doesn’t feel crowded or cluttered. It is relaxing, comfortable, organized and most notably, inspiring. While music wafts through the store, you feel right at home. The knowledgeable and helpful staff in quirky aprons (the aprons have Lockert’s bread recipe printed upside down on the front) attend to your every need. You instantly want to own
“Many companies purchase items from our store as gifts for their clients and staff,” Lockert says.
the exclusively sold Bosch Kitchen Machine and NutriMill flour mill, as well as imported ceramics from Italy and Spain, and hand blown glassware from France. Other fabulous products include the largest selection of Zwilling J.A. Henckels knives, gadgets and cookware; Staub cast iron; Demeyere stainless steel cookware from Belgium; dehydrators; juicers; pressure canners; pressure cookers by Kuhn Rikon from Switzerland; Emile Henry; Le Creuset; Cuisipro; Chef’s Choice waffle irons; USA bakeware and April Cornell, to name a few. As you move from the showroom to the food room, you are delighted with the huge variety and selection of fresh food: grains, beans, rice, fresh nuts, seeds, flours, candied fruit,
Barb’s Kitchen Centre/Lockert Distributors! Happy 30th Anniversary from your partners at:
Congratulations Barb’s Kitchen Centre! 1 Swiss brand of cookware and cooks’ tools, loved by millions of home cooks and professional chefs worldwide. Visit us at KuhnRikon.com.
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juniper berries, powdered egg whites, buttermilk, citric acid, chocolate, cake decorating supplies and MSG-free soup bases, inspire you to create truly healthy, delicious meals. You’ll have no trouble doing just that with the many choices of products in Barb’s (Bosch) Kitchen Centre including the famous alligator. Alligator? “We import the stainless steel alligator from Sweden,” gushes Lockert. “It’s the best cry-free onion chopper, easy to use and clean, but you can use it to chop many other vegetables. I laugh every time I use it! I really do! I just can’t help myself! It’s the neatest functional time-saving kitchen tool!” Lockert tries not to show favouritism, but with so many exciting and efficient items in the store, it’s hard not to have one or two that always make her smile. “The Kuhn Rikon pressure cookers from Switzerland save time, energy and money while holding in the nutrition, smell and flavour. These pressure cookers are easy and safe to use and easy to clean. The one-pot meals, hearty soups and chowders, Mexican fiesta and Christmas in August classes focus on using the pressure cookers. You can cook everything from bread to cheesecake to baked potatoes, tenderize meat, make soup stock in minutes and cook beans without soaking.” There is good news about her many classes: you get to eat the food. It’s not a class where you just watch the meals get prepared and then go home hungry while the teachers devour the feast. The adult classes are demonstration-style, and kid’s summer cooking classes are hands-on learning, interactive and leave each student with the ability to make the dishes on their own again and again. The only time you don’t get to partake in the feast is if you are watching her
kitchen demonstrations on television. She’s been lighting up screens since her first 1986 appearance on Good, Good Morning (ITV). Lockert has also appeared on CFRN, CBC, Breakfast Television, Red Deer Live, CTV Morning Live and Global’s Morning News and Weekend Morning News. On top of the feast of cookware, bakeware and gadgets, along with the highest quality food, recipe books and classes, you can travel and cook with Lockert in exotic European locations. “We do cooking classes and unique tastings right on site, along with sightseeing,” she explains of her culinary tours. She often incorporates what is learned on these tours into her Edmonton classes. Lockerts’ enthusiasm and energy for what she does has not gone unnoticed. In addition to numerous awards and recognitions, in 1994 she was the proud recipient of the Canadian Women EY Entrepreneur Of The Year® award for Retail in Alberta and EY Entrepreneur Of The Year®, in Retail - Western Region of Canada. “It’s hard to believe it’s already been 30 years,” Lockert looks around at her legacy. “I’m still happy doing what I’m doing and I still have the energy to do it. With such excellent staff I plan to enjoy my children, grandchildren and travel more but…” the twinkle in her eye betrays her. Everyone knows where she loves to be: working hard and providing excellent products and customer service. The staffs’ integrity, the outstanding selection, the inspiration in every aisle and the product pricing has solidified the Barb’s (Bosch) Kitchen Centres’ reputation in Edmonton, across Canada and beyond. Check out the store and see for yourself why Barb’s (Bosch) Kitchen Centre is the gourmet kitchen store worth visiting!
Congratulations to Barb’s Kitchen Centre on 30 Years of Success! ZWILLING J.A.Henckels is proud to be part of this great achievement.
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Proudly available at Barb’s Kitchen Centre for over 30 years! Cookware | Bakeware | Tableware | Accessories
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