If you’ve frequented any of the locally-owned restaurants in the Warsaw/Winona Lake community, chances are pretty good you’ve run into a member of the Kirkendall family. Owners of the 100 plus year old Warsaw Cut Glass, three members of the family – parents Randy and Linda and daughter Lauren, agreed to be featured in the latest “Savor K County” article. As local business owners themselves, they are proud supporters of our locally-owned restaurants and as you’ll read below, have even discovered a way to incorporate some of that passion into their shop.
Warsaw Cut Glass offers a unique product and you’ve obviously met a niche need. However, being a small business owner in Warsaw still has its ups and downs. What has been the most rewarding and challenging aspects of that?
“I would say that one of the most challenging aspects of being a specialized small business is so many towns our size are losing their unique identity to large chain stores that just make one town look like all of the rest. Getting people to look past the build up along 15 and 30 to find different experiences is a must to promote our small town! With that in mind, the most rewarding part is getting to be that ambassador for our town and the rest of our unique businesses.
Warsaw Cut Glass is lucky enough to be a destination for many out of town visitors and it is so nice when they ask “What is there to do around here?” We get to share everything we love about Warsaw and Winona Lake with them. Sometime, we will even see them again and they always make sure to thank us for turning them on to our area and business. That is the best!”
“We get to share everything we love about Warsaw and Winona Lake with them.”
Tell us about the partnership (if it can be defined that way) with Tippleman’s and Bittermilk and how you began featuring their syrups in your shop. How has the reaction been from your customers?
“When visiting the Bourbon Trail several years ago, we toured the Willet Distillery (one of our favorites). They were offering Tippleman’s and Bittermilk. We all stocked up after reading the descriptions and getting the reviews from the employees. They didn’t disappoint! Once we ran out, we had to find more. We then realized that it would be such a great thing to offer our area because we were having such a hard time finding it.
Our customers seem to really enjoy having well made cocktails at the home without all of the labor involved. It is so nice for entertaining because you can spend more time chatting! It goes along with our popular barware, hand-crafted syrups in hand-cut crystal.”
What are some of the products at Warsaw Cut Glass that some people might not realize you sell?
“Being a 107 year old business, I’m sure that our traditional patterns and pieces come to people’s minds when they think about us. We have added more fun, playful items over the years. From “Feeling Foxy” stemless wine to dog treat jars. We don’t just carry formal servingware. We are always up for custom, personalized pieces and ideas, too!
The past two years, we have offered classes in January, February and March so people can experience our historic equipment. We love hosting people and seeing their abstract, hand-cut designs!”
The dining scene in the Warsaw/Winona Lake community and Kosciusko County as a whole continues to grow. As local business owners yourselves, how important is it for the community to support locally-owned restaurants?
“So incredibly important. You won’t really ever see us at a chain restaurant. As we have mentioned before, community identity is so important to us. Also, why frequent a restaurant that send its profits out of our community? We love supporting our area restaurants and our friends and neighbors who work so hard to keep them running!”
What are some of your favorite restaurants? Do you have a favorite dish or cocktail and if so, where can we find them?
“Cocktails? We haven’t met one we didn’t like when ordering at the restaurants mentioned above.”
“First of all, we are so lucky that this is a tough question! I, personally, love Rua with how accommodating they are and their ever changing menu that never disappoints! We have to tip our hat to Scott Woods at Noa Noa, who we believe was a huge catalyst in the dining renaissance. Cerulean’s menu change has satisfied our bento box cravings all day long. Light Rail being open in the evenings has made it possible for a delicious carry out pizza! 110 has amazing steaks (so we hear), but even when you don’t gravitate toward big cuts of meat, you get a great meal. For a quick lunch, we always hit up the Thai House. We love their noodle dishes, but their pineapple fried rice is our favorite. We might have to stop our list there, we love to eat!! Cocktails? We haven’t met one we didn’t like when ordering at the restaurants mentioned above.”
You can stay up to date with the goings on at Warsaw Cut Glass by “liking” their Facebook page.