For the past three decades, there has always been one gourmet tool shop that has never failed to bring magic and flavor to home-cooked meals in Hood County.
But now after 30 years, The Pan Handle has changed ownership once again, with new residents and husband-and-wife-duo Jose and Bronwyn Jimenez excited to take the reins of a store that has always served up precise culinary know-how.
The Pan Handle held its 30-year celebration and official grand reopening ribbon cutting ceremony on Sept. 29, with many community members and Granbury Chamber of Commerce staff members also present to join in the festivities.
“As a family, we thank you for welcoming us into this community,” Jose said. “We’ve been here for about a year now by way of Virginia, but it’s been a great place and a great community and outreach. All of the events here make it feel like our new home, and this is what we bring — little changes here.”
Bronwyn explained to the public that it’s “just so bittersweet when you know God gives you an edge,” mentioning how she has a 20-year background in the food service industry.
“Our number one mission here besides (keeping) kids at the table is bringing community back into your home in U.S.-made products, so we're about 30% there,” she said. "I just love the imports and meeting so many incredible craftsmen in this country, so you will see a lot more to come from Ohio, Chattanooga, and right here in Texas, like Spicewood and Granbury. We have a lot of great products coming in, so we hope you make us your first stop.”
The Pan Handle opened for business back in 1993, with then-owner, Heather Cleveland, believing the business was “more than just making a buck,” according to a 2003 article from The Hood County News.
In 2016, the business was later bought by founder of the Olde Homestead Company, Sara Monroe (who at the time was known as Sara Miskovic).
For the past seven years, Monroe has been taking care of The Pan Handle — but it wasn’t until Bronwyn walked into the store that a big change started to take place.
“I happened to come in shopping with my sons, and I went, ‘I just love this store so much,’ and we just kind of went, ‘We would really love to contribute to this, maybe they want a business partner,’” Bronwyn said. “I left two notes and an email for Sara, and then she called me, and we got to talking. Eventually, by May 18, we were signing papers.”
“We had been looking for an opportunity, not only to be a bigger part of the community, with school and our family, but just this square has so much life that we decided when that opportunity came in to take a leap of faith,” Jose said. “We want to be here for the long run, and that really spoke to us that this has been here for so long and (has) been a big staple of the community, but that we could also continue that for our kids to show them community, hard work, and what it takes to be a success in this country.”
FINDING THEIR HOME
The Jimenez family moved to Granbury in August from a small town in Virginia called Clifton, which was the first town in the state to receive electricity, according to Jose.
“Abraham Lincoln rode the railroad through there during the Civil War,” he said. “There wasn't a lot there, there were no stoplights, and it was a small enclave of Washington D.C. without being anywhere near it. This community just reminded us a lot of what that brought.”
Bronwyn explained how they had been wanting to move to Texas for years, but finally decided to make the jump when they found Granbury.
"It reminded me of my childhood, a little town in northern California,” she said. "We just fell in love so quickly.”
SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE
When asked how to describe The Pan Handle for residents or tourists who haven’t yet explored the store, Bronwyn simply explained it as being the “store where you will find something you never knew you needed.”
"It could be a bag of Amish popcorn from Indiana. It could be a colander made in Massachusetts. It could be gardening supplies,” she said.
"It could be one of the 64 flavors of coffee that we have where you could grind your own beans and get your morning fix right here,” Jose chimed in.
Men have also started to frequent the store, Bronwyn said, with many showing interest in wing sauces, spices, and cutting boards.
“We’re going to do a hatch chili class, because a woman lives here now that’s from Hatch, New Mexico,” she explained. “She came in, saw one of my dips, the hatch chili bacon dip, and she’s like ‘Oh my goodness, I'm from there.’”
Live cooking demonstrations will also be held at the store as well as Homework Happy Hour, set from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
“One of our biggest areas will be trying to not only outsource to local entrepreneurs that are here in the community, but also just U.S.-made products,” Jose said. “Just giving back to others that have worked so hard to make handcrafted items from somebody that puts their whole passion into it. Our biggest change is slowly finding the right products for the right people and being able to give that to them.”
The Jimenez family aims to have a family-oriented business — something that their children, Xavier, Kasper, and Jose are learning already.
“They're not just respecting grownups at their jobs, but they're also just watching,” Bronwyn said. “They can observe the excitement, and the hustle and bustle.”
She said the family also leaves little items around the store to make The Pan Handle, simply, theirs.
"My kids put the Desert Hot Wheels around the store, and my husband puts Army men and gnomes around the store, so you'll see things that are very much our family,” Bronwyn said.
The Pan Handle is open from noon to 5 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
“Jose and I had been dreaming and dreaming for so long to do something around food, and now our home team can do this,” Bronwyn added. “You’ll always see family in here, so it’s just fun to make that dream a reality.”
For more information about The Pan Handle, visit thepanhandle.com online, or call 817-579-1518.
“Sample something — it's a sampling of what's to come,” Bronwyn added.
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