Small Business Spotlight: Northwestern Cutlery in Chicago

  |     |   Small Business Spotlight

It’s the kind of small business where job descriptions don’t really exist.

Instead, Marty Petlicki said Northwestern Cutlery is a place where everyone does what needs to be done. And, after 32 years with the family-owned company, he said he wouldn’t have it any other way. Why? Because at Northwestern Cutlery, you are family.

“Sure, it hasn’t always been easy,” he explained, “but right now it’s the best it’s ever been.”

Located in the heart of West Loop at 810 W. Lake Street, Northwestern Cutlery has been family owned and operated since it opened in 1975.

Cleverly coined as “The Candy Store for Cooks,” the business caters to home chefs and professional chefs alike. Knife sharpening has always been the foundation for the business, but it has evolved over time into the full-service store it is today.

The store prides itself on having hard-to-find gadgets as well as the best in cutlery and cookware.

Scio recently had the opportunity to chat about life, business and all things culinary Petlicki, who is the third generation owner of the shop.

Here is what he shared with us:

Scio: What has been the biggest challenge of your career and how did you overcome it?

Marty Petlicki: The biggest challenge, by far,  is achieving the right workplace dynamic. Besides that, it’s all about hard work and that has never been a challenge.

Scio: What do you most enjoy about your career?  

MP: It’s easy to come to work each day when there is such a family atmosphere in the workplace. I’ve tried to support my employees the best I can and in return they support me.

Scio: Who inspires you and why?

MP: Inspiration comes in many forms and changes often. Right now i am inspired by the next generation ready to take Northwestern Cutlery and make it their own.

Scio: What is the most important lesson you’ve learned about running a business?

MP: You have to be willing to give up control. Although I may not always agree with decisions made by my employees, they usually turns out just fine. They gain confidence and customer respect.

Scio: Can you describe a moment or moments when you stopped and realized this is why you are doing what you’re doing with your life?

MP: There’s not one moment but when you look around and see the people that work for you have kids, become grandparents or just become better people, That’s when you know why you do it.

Scio: What advice would you offer to other small business owners?  

MP: For long term success,  listen to your customers and be willing to change or adapt to support them.

Scio at the Medical District: Where You Are Family

Not far from Northwestern Cutlery is a little place we call home. At Scio at the Medical District, we embrace a philosophy of living smarter, and to us that starts with supporting small businesses and small business owners like Petlicki.

For more information, or to schedule a tour, call (312) 427-1855 or visit us online.

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