TENAFLY, N.J — When Karine Abrahamyan came to America, her first job was at Tenafly's Cooktique, a boutique store for cooks. Today, she owns the place.
Abrahamyan came to America from Armenian and after some encouragement from friends, her family decided to stay in the states. She came across Cooktique by chance.
"I came to buy coffee because as an Armenian I love my coffee and couldn’t find a good one," Abrahamyan said.
Cooktique came highly recommended for coffee and other gourmet goods. She went in for coffee but came out with a job too.
Her presence was known from the first day.
"I wasn't acting like a co-worker," Abrahamyan said. "I was asking 'What should I do? What’s next? What should we buy? Let me do the windows.' They were always telling me one day [I'd] buy the store."
Abrahamyan has owned the store since 2015.
Her approach to Cooktique has made the store more focused for the enthusiast cook, but the concept of quality healthy cooking is still at the store's core.
"If you cook at home you have a healthy lifestyle," Abrahamyan said.
"If you spend time to buy ingredients [and] have your family involved, that’s the best way to create a healthy united family."
Cooktique offers cooking classes in the back of the store and sells a variety of cooking-related items in the front.
One of Abrahamyan's services is to go to customer's homes before a holiday and suggest what items they need to decorate their dining or living room for the occasion.
Abrahamyan is happy to sell items, but her true love is integrating with the community.
"If I was only here as only retail and had to sell, sell, sell — I would die," Abrahamyan said.
Cooktique hosts philanthropic events, such as cooking food for the homeless on Thanksgiving. The store plans to have a similar event for Easter later this year.
Cooktique is located at 9 W. Railroad Ave in Tenafly.