Hi, I’m Averill Bromfield, founder and owner of Averill’s Sharper Uniforms, which I started in 2003 (I’m on the left in the photo with a customer at the New York Restaurant Show). I live in Weston Massachusetts with my wonderful wife, three children, and two dogs.
Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would be making my living in the hospitality uniform industry. I spent 25 years in the corporate world managing voice and data networks. After being laid off when the dot-com bubble burst, I started a cutlery sales and sharpening business for local restaurants in the Boston area. Hence, The Sharper Knife, Inc. was born!
The business was growing, but not fast enough to support our family. Fortunately, on a customer visit, an Executive Chef asked me if I could source red pepper baggy chef pants. I then sourced uniforms from a few chef uniform companies and was soon selling a full line of kitchen uniforms, chef coats, chef pants, aprons, and head gear.
During this time I had the beginnings of a website that was marketing knives and kitchenware. I then picked up a line of high-end French chef coats and soon after, the kitchen apparel line was added to the website. All this time I was calling on greater Boston and New England restaurants, selling out of the back of my car, I would visit up to six customers per day, boy, that was hard, hard work!
I’ll never forget the time a Country Club was not happy with the sharpness of their knives. It turned out the manufacturer had made the blades of the knives too thick, and they would not hold their sharp edge. The Country Club chef replaced us with their former knife sharpener, and as I was carrying our knives out of the account, I cut my finger, and was dripping blood everywhere. As you can imagine, this was quite a low point for me in the business. Fortunately, I can laugh about this tale today.
Things then turned around on another restaurant visit when one restaurant owner asked if I could supply server bib aprons with his company logo embroidered on the front of the apron. Again, I did some more research and was able to source waitstaff uniforms from U.S. manufacturers, and I also found a local embroidery shop. As I approached additional restaurants I started to meet with the front of the house personnel, specifically the General Managers, and waitstaff uniforms began to move very well. These server uniforms were then also added to the website, and the name of the company changed to Averill’s Sharper Uniforms! Soon I rounded out our product line to consist of hospitality uniforms. Not only was I marketing to restaurants, but now I targeted Resort Hotels, Country Clubs, Casinos, and Security Firms.
For Resort Hotels I was able to source uniforms for:
- Front Desk
- Restaurant and Banquets
As business began building locally and on the web, I soon hired a book keeper and interns to help support our customer’s needs. During this time we became quite knowledgeable about all our hospitality garments, their fabrics, durability, and care maintenance. We soon took on a full line of 70 unique style restaurant and server aprons that are proudly made in the USA. All during this time we built up wonderful relationships with our customers and they came to trust us as their source for hospitality uniforms.
I was then invited by a local Boston TV show, The Phantom Gourmet, to help put together a Restaurant Fashion show for one of their episodes. We called our local customers, and they were more than happy to be part of the show. The show featured our customer’s waitstaff uniforms and server uniforms, and yours truly was in the show as the commentator, describing the uniforms as the servers went down the runway. It was a fun time, and, more importantly, I was able to bond further with our customers.
We started to dramatically increase the amount of resources we placed into our web commerce, and did a complete redesign of the website. It paid off in spades, and we were soon selling hospitality uniforms throughout the USA, Canada, Caribbean Islands, and even locations in Europe. Every year we are now showing the uniforms at various trade shows, New England Food Show, Maine Restaurant Show, and the CMAA Country Club Golf Show. We now not only ship to all 50 US states, but we ship internationally to the world!
Every day I wake up and look forward to satisfying our customers 110%, we will always make our customers #1!
I hope you enjoyed my story, my goal is to provide you with quality cost effective uniform solutions which will increase the professional appearance of your organization. I would love to hear from you with your thoughts on how we can improve our uniform product selection and/or customer service, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org