In 1865 the doors to the "Italian Warehouse" first opened. Fashioned after a store somewhere in England, the name meant that only the finest of foods and wines and liquors were carried there. Today we still walk on the same floors, use the same counter and the tin ceiling has had a few coats of paint. Walking into Cooke's takes you back to a kinder, gentler time. Antiques and collectibles sit proudly at the top of shelves, cranberry glass lights hang amongst the electric ones, the floor creaks beneath your feet, and service is the order of the day.
In 1910, my grandfather, Hugh G. Cooke, came to work for the second owners, the Henderson Brothers. You can see the stained-glass sign bearing their name over the door. In 1924 he purchased the business and changed the name to Cooke's. His vision was to offer his customers the finest of foods and the best service. My grandfather's motto was "If we don't have it, we'll get it for you". We still try to do that. Cooke's installed only the 4th phone in the City because the other phones were owned by customers! We still have that phone on display in the shop. Products then were shipped along with wonderful props to help in their merchandising. We still have some on display. During WWII, our mail order business was born, to serve customers that wished to ship items overseas to their husbands and sons. We have been shipping products around the world ever since.
Cooke's has carried some unusual products over the years. At one time we imported tiny boxes of "Chocolate Covered Baby Bees" and "Deep-fried Grasshoppers" as well as tins of "Rattlesnake Meat". Cooke's has a wide variety of products, only a portion for sale online. Generations of families have shopped here.
Many people still remember my grandfather, Hugh G., my father John, and I hope in forty years or so they'll tell my children that they remember me.
– Susan D. Cooke