Interview with Gwen Workman owner of the Wooden Spoon, Scandinavian shop in Plano.
Gwen, we are glad to have you as a Business Member of SACC-Texas. Can you please tell us a bit about yourself and your background? What made you open a Scandinavian shop in Dallas?
I moved here from Minnesota 1985. I was amazed that I could not find anything Scandinavian. I got a job as a leasing agent for an apartment complex. I begin to see the flow of people moving here from all over the United States and the world. That fall I went to the state fair and to my pleasant surprise, there was the Norwegian Society of Texas and the Viking ship. I made good connections with them. After realizing I couldn’t be the only half Norwegian that moved to Texas I decided to open a shop in McKinney. That was September 15, 1988. In 1989 I moved into a small 280 square-foot shop in Plano. In 1992 I purchase the Forman House in which the Wooden Spoon’s is now located. For the next ten years, a lot of remodeling and repair were done. The job of maintenance is a constant job to keep the oldest home in Plano looking great. This house was built in 1867.
Who is your typical customer?
I have three groups of customers. One is the native Scandinavians, the second one people like me who are of Scandinavian descent and the third are those who have no Scandinavian blood but are married to one, have lived in one of the countries, have had an exchange student, or travel there.
How do people find your shop if they for instance are new in Dallas?
I am in my 29th year of business so I have made many connections which help in bringing customers in. I advertise in several publications, am a member of several groups, I send out a monthly newsletter, I work with schools and clubs when they have international day or projects and I have a large website.
What are the challenges and opportunities for your business being a Scandinavian Shop in the US?
Business is always a challenge. I am constantly on the quest for new products, products that people have asked for, holding sales, classes, and events. It is also necessary to keep up with technology. We are in the process of re-formatting our website.
What are your expectations and hopes with your SACC Texas membership?
I have meet many people in SACC and have done many things with them. It also makes the Wooden Spoon more visible. I have done catering for several Swedish events including the Christmas party last year.
Finally, what is your favorite thing about Dallas and Texas?
I enjoy Plano and Texas because of the weather, the ability to get to the airport for traveling, and the variety of restaurants and shopping.