It is a foodie’s dream and a gift giver’s paradise, but more than that it is a true gem of the 209.
Located at 1730 Main St. in Escalon, Jamie Butler has created a wonderland of kitchen gadgets, service ware and everything in between in her storefront known as The Butler’s Pantry. The business, which now occupies an old butcher shop, got its humble beginnings in a mobile truck turned storefront five and a half short years ago.
“The Central Valley didn’t really have kitchen stores,” Butler said of her desire to bring her passion to the 209 following a career as a home and kitchen buyer in the Pacific Northwest.
At the encouragement of her brother who was developing a mobile truck for a clothing company at the time, Butler reached out to some heavy hitters in the kitchen world that she wished to feature in her own mobile truck. Higher end product names such as Scanpan, Good Grips, Tovolo and others loved the idea.
“Once I got their okay, all the other brands seemed to follow,” she shared of the early onset of the business and the now well-known Butler’s Pantry truck.
Early on much of her truck business was done attending weekly events in San Francisco, which led to teaming up with fruit stands in the 209.
“Fruit stands were great for demos with the produce,” Butler shared.
With a passion for design and a void felt for retail, Butler partnered with another Escalon shop owner and tried her hand at shop space. A short time later she opened her current space, which has already expanded since moving in.
“What I was finding was that there aren’t a lot of people cooking,” Butler noted. “They don’t know how to cook.”
This discovery would be one of a number of things which makes Butler a savvy businesswoman and her shop more than just a kitchen store. In addition to its boutique feel and variety of wares, she also hosts multiple classes from meal prep, to hosting tips and crafts inspired classes.
“My idea was to create this kitchen that was not overwhelming,” she said of a space created when the store expanded.
A sleek open bar feel lends itself to seat 17 comfortably for any and all of the classes. Butler partners with Get Fit Modesto hosting quarterly classes on meal planning/prep, as well as enlisting the help of area farmers providing classes on educating customers on incorporating locally grown food in their meals.
“They sell out every time,” she said of the classes. “Although if you have a set number of people, we’ll do private workshops for you.”
The shop also offers personal, as well as a unique spin on Bridal Registry.
“We get all the gadgets out and talk about how they cook,” Butler said of her brides to be. “How their mom cooked and we let them try everything.”
Aside from the top notch product selection, service ware and accessories, it is Butler’s personalization and connection with her customers which makes the shop so unique. Any service offered by Butler seems to go one step higher than what one might expect. If a bride desires to have her registry items on hand for a Bridal Shower, not a problem. Butler arrives with the truck, the actual items from the guests’ registry and sets up for family and friends to peruse prior to attending the event. While the shower is being hosted the gifts are being wrapped – by Butler.
“My passion is not for cooking,” the shop owner admits, “it’s for getting gadgets into people’s hands so they’ll start cooking. My husband is the cook in our family.”
Now over five years later, the kitchen and cooking expert shared she’s evolving her space to suit her faithful clientele.
“The store’s not frightening to walk into if you’re not a cook,” she said. “I learned once you have good things, cooking becomes so much easier.”
From selecting the right gadget, pairing together the perfect hostess gift, to complimentary wrapping at the front counter, it’s all for the people – the driving force behind the owner’s passion.
“The people,” she said of the best part of her job. “I love it. I love finding that perfect gift. I do it for the people. I have to.”