Over off North Central Expressway, there’s a sign you know. But if you’re into high-end kitchens and appliances (and Dallas heritage), it’s one you really know.
In 1947, Buddy Jarrell opened Jarrell’s appliances, and in the 1970s, he opened that very location off of North Central Expressway. The sign is a Dallas icon and the building? It’s basically a landmark.
Buddy Jarrell sold the company a while back and it changed owners, changed names, and then landed in the very capable hands of current president Eric Neel.
Neel made a few key decisions. First, the name change, but we covered that. Next, he invested in an incredibly legit build-out of the showrooms. (The second showroom is in Grapevine.) Finally, he pulled off a feat he’d been working on for years. He lured Garth Blackburn away from the Sub-Zero/Wolf showroom and put him on the Jarrell payroll.
Blackburn is quite the hire. He’s a chef and a sales rep, which means you can have your custom kitchen designed by an actual chef. His insight is invaluable and his background is like no other. We’re going to get to all of that, but first, let’s talk about why he made the move.
Simple. He’s a family man. At SubZero/Wolf, his travel was increasing and he was ready to spend less time on the road.
As for why Jarrell? That’s simple, too. They’re one of the last independently owned appliance showrooms in the Metroplex and the two share a similar set of values.
Within the first week on the job, Blackburn said Jarrell was willing to replace a $3,000 dishwasher for a customer when the manufacturer was giving the customer the runaround. That level of service is what Blackburn is all about.
Now, let’s dig into that background. It’s an extensive one.
A Renaissance Chef
He started as a professional cyclist, touring the world with the US Cycling Team. On these extensive tours, he was introduced to international cuisine and fell in love with food.
When it was time to hang up his handlebars, he went to culinary school. He already had a business degree, so what’s one more? Right?
When he graduated, he worked his way up in the restaurant industry and eventually went the private chef route cooking for everyone from NBA players to Fortune 500 CEOs. Then along came the kiddos and Blackburn needed “real insurance” so he headed to Sub-Zero/Wolf. There he created menus and managed the Western half of North America, and when the managing outweighed the menus, he headed over to Jarrell.
What an incredible career, huh? Well, we’re not done yet. Along the way, Blackburn was also a consultant on a morning talk show. The other featured chef was Amy Kushnir. They were so good together; they eventually got their own show – Taste Texas.
In each of the episodes, the couple visited a local farm or ranch, caught, harvested, and prepared food, then cooked it up in front of a live studio audience. It was farm-to-table before that scene blew up and they were way ahead of their time.
With the relationships Blackburn made, he and Kushnir now host seasonal farm dinners featuring those same fresh, local ingredients. That’s in addition to his full-time job at Jarrell where you can find him almost every day of the week.
If you have high-end kitchen aspirations or just want to swap recipes and stories, reach out to Garth Blackburn at firstname.lastname@example.org or just stop by and say hello at the Dallas Showroom at 2651 Fondren Drive or in Grapevine at 1900 S. Main Street, Suite 100.