Chefs Catalog Shutting San Francisco Office

Jan 10, 2008 4:19 AM  By

Cooking and kitchenware products merchant Chefs Catalog will close a San Francisco office and shift jobs from that location to its Colorado Springs, CO, headquarters.

The San Francisco office was opened last year to handle merchandising and creative. Chefs Catalog president/CEO Tim Littleton said the consolidation, scheduled to take place during the first quarter, was to improve efficiency. He would not reveal how many employees the closing would affect, other than to say the number of job loses was “minimal.”

Littleton was just promoted to the top job; he had been the cataloger’s senior vice president-marketing. He replaces Patrick Wynhoff, who had taken over the company when its former president/CEO Jon Medved retired a year ago. Chefs Catalog did not say why Wynhoff, a former Williams-Sonoma executive, left the company.

According to its data card, Chefs has a list of more than 1.18 million names, but just under 259,000 12-month buyers with an average sale of $125. Private equity firm JH Partners acquired Chefs Catalog from Neiman Marcus Group in late 2004. JH Partners formed Chef’s parent company Pikes Peak Direct Marketing for the transaction.

Littleton would not reveal Chefs Catalog’s sales or comment on how the merchant did for the holiday season, other than to say it had “mixed results.” But some industry watchers say the business may suffering because of its narrow niche.

Lee Helman, managing director of New York-based investment bank Financo, thinks Chefs Catalog needs to add more products to be successful. “I think this business is struggling because they only sell commoditized kitchen products and appliances that anyone would go to or another comparative shopping engine to get the cheapest price on,” he says.