Olympic Restaurant Equipment and Supplies
Location: 51 Dryke Road, Sequim
On the web: www.olympicequip.com,
Although Olympic Restaurant Equipment and Supplies owner Eric Schwartz opened his attractive 8,500-square-foot showroom/warehouse at 51 Dryke Road in 2010, he’s decided to sell the site and winnow his inventory.
But Schwartz, a former professional chef, stressed that the business will remain open, just on a smaller scale.
“The Highway 101 project impacted us hugely and I lost $200,000 a year in sales for two years,” Schwartz said. “When I saw the construction was coming, I decided to change the way we do business and we developed an e-commerce web page, with a huge offering of equipment and supplies from top manufacturers, over a year and a half ago and it just launched a couple of months ago.”
The easy-to-navigate site at www.olympicequip.com features photos and descriptions of all matter of commercial restaurant supplies including equipment for cooking, refrigeration, food holding, food prep, espresso making, ice machines, glassware, dinnerware and flatware, dishwashers and used/refurbished equipment.
Schwartz explained, “I decided to sell the building and move to a warehouse setting to recoup my losses, reduce my monthly operating costs and liquidate some cash. It still will be open to the public. I plan to greatly reduce my standing inventory here but I do intend to keep staple items — pots, pans, utensils, refrigeration and cooking equipment.”
Schwartz said he’s had some interest in the Northwest-style building in the past year that it’s been for sale but noted there won’t be a move until it sells.
Several months ago, Schwartz brought on Judi Jones as the company’s business manager/bookkeeper, which is allowing him to be out selling in the field more.
“This is a very specific industry and it’s pretty specialized to find out the customers’ needs and solutions to their problems,” Schwartz said.
He began the business in 1991 in a single-car garage in Sequim with used restaurant equipment he’d bought at an auction for $600. With Jones managing operations, Schwartz said he plans to increase equipment service availability to restaurant owners by hiring more service technicians. Over the past several years, delving into the design consultation side has allowed the business to sell all the equipment necessary to open a restaurant “instead of selling a one-of in the showroom. Now we’re selling many thousands of dollars on jobs” from Port Angeles, to Fort Worden to Port Hadlock, Schwartz said.
“I’m bidding more jobs every day and I’m excited about the changes. We’re also getting back to used equipment in a big way which gives a great alternative to our customers who want good quality equipment.”
Of the two-year highway construction ordeal that led to “poorly marked” access and an assumption by the public that the business had closed, Schwartz said, “We’ve really taken our licks and were shellshocked by it all but we’re coming back to provide good products and good services. I want the public to know we’re not going away — I’ve reinvented this business several times.”
Olympic Restaurant Equipment and Supplies will host its annual open house from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 11, and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12. Schwartz has invited officials from Cambro Manufacturing, who will bring an RV displaying storage solutions; Cook Shack, a barbecue smoker manufacturer, that will have live demos and barbecue samples on hand; representatives from Waring, who will show how to make smoothies with its blenders; and a knife sharpener, who for a minimal fee, will hone knives, scissors and shears.
Schwartz also promises a “huge sale reduction.”
“I guess the future is bright — we’re anxious to continue to grow — we’re not leaving and we want to thank our customers for their support during the construction.”