Steve Abandonato

Congratulations to Pot Rack

2012 marks the 12-year anniversary of one of Jacksonville, Oregon’s most successful businesses – The Pot Rack. Owned by locals Steve Abandonato & Joann Freeland, the kitchen shop offers a full line of cooking supplies, gadgets, tableware and pots & pans. Before the Pot Rack, the couple owned and operated a kitchen store for ten years in Florence, Oregon before relocating the Jacksonville in 1999.  They credit Jacksonville’s charm and quality of life as reasons for relocating here and opening the store at 140 W. California Street.

Locals will likely recognize Steve more than Joann. While Steve tends to the front-end side of the business, you’ll find Joann handling the bookkeeping and inventory from her office near the back of the shop. Steve says that although Joann is the best chef in the family, they both test and use most of their products at home. An hour before opening each day, you’ll spot Steve tidying the front of the store and hosing-down the sidewalk in front of the Pot Rack, Carefree Buffalo and Farmhouse Treasures. “The interior of our store is spotless and I think the outside of our businesses should be, as well.  Years ago, that $200 plumbing bill to install a water spigot on the exterior was the best decision I made! The exterior of our shop reflects what you’ll find inside… and customers constantly remark how nice this section of the street looks.”

Steve’s not only a stickler for appearance and credits the Pot Rack’s success to another simple business practice – his shop opens and closes on time every day – no exceptions. “Customers depend on us to be here at certain times, and we honor that expectation…there are too many stores who don’t take their posted hours seriously and likely lose customers as a result.” Speaking of simple business rules, he says, “We never park in front of our store…prime California Street parking spots should be for customers and not store owners!”

Above all, the Pot Rack product line is the key factor in its success – you’ll find everything from $10 gadgets to high-end cookware. “On average, our business is made up of 40% local shoppers and 60% visitor sales. And, we are really proud that 90% of our local business is from repeat customers.”  In high season, Steve notes that the Britt Music Festival “is really good for us.”

Hot products range from the now-famous Cheese Knife (they sell 100+/week) to new Lily Pad Silicone Lids (60+ sold in one day in July)  to perennial best-selling Wustoff knives to Scan Pan & LeCruesett cookware. Steve believes that success is not only dependent on selling high-quality products, but it’s dependent on your attitude. “I love going to work…I love interacting with customers and showing-off awesome products and helping people. As a retailer, you must be there for your customers before and after your store is open and guarantee your products 100%.”

The Pot Rack is located in the downtown historic core at 140 W. California Street and is open from 10-6 every day. 541-899-5736.