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About Duck & Decanter

Duck and Decanter, as it is known today, began In November of 1972 under the new ownership of Dort and Earl Mettler. The original location was on Camelback just east of 16th Street (underneath what is now McDonald’s in the Sport’s Authority center). A large garden nursery surrounded the “Duck”, providing the ambiance of a park like environment with outside seating on a lawn with rolling hills. The Duck’s limited, yet growing menu, consisted of freshly prepared, high quality sandwiches made from unique recipes along with a variety of food including soups, salads and desserts.

The popularity of the Duck flourished and so needed to expand. The expansion included additional sandwich bars and provided a greater variety of unique goods by creating separate departments for the wine, coffee and gift baskets in addition to the growing specialty foods and housewares area.

The Duck was floating high on a wave, but it was not always an easy tide. In 1981, the property of the original Duck and the adjacent nursery was bought. The Duck received notification that their lease may not be renewed. Later that year the Duck opened a second location at Camelview Plaza (now a part of Scottsdale Fashion Square). This store was opened just in case the lease of the original store was revoked.

Also that year former Phoenix Mayor John Driggs approached the Duck regarding the opening of a store in the Carriage House at Heritage Square, an historical landmark. Because of this success, the City of Phoenix invited the Duck to co-lease the Teeter House at the Square with the Central Arizona Museum to establish an indoor eating facility.

During 1985, not knowing if the thousands of petitioned signatures of our solid customer base was responsible, the original Duck was saved. New ownership of the Arboleda Office complex agreed to build a brand new Duck south of the original location. At the same time, the Tempe City Center was enticing the Duck into a lease, with promises of dramatic growth and an unequaled park-like setting including a small lake. Sounded great, everyone was smiling.

In 1987, the Financial Center on North Central approached the Duck to open another location in central Phoenix. The Duck agreed to this proposal because of the potential for food delivery to offices along the highly concentrated Central Corridor. Things were looking very good.

In 1988, the feathers really hit the fan. The economy of the Valley and the nation was turbulent. Arizona was also currently dealing with the savings and loan troubles. The Duck closed its Scottsdale Camelview Plaza location over a dispute concerning rent increases.

The center in Tempe failed to complete its promised planned development and filed for bankruptcy protection that led to the closing of that store as well. Meanwhile in downtown Phoenix the construction of the Mercado eliminated parking for the Heritage Square and so the closing of the Downtown Duck was imminent.

It is not over yet. In 1989, The Camelback Arboleda location was subject to major road construction for over one year due to the Squaw Peak Parkway that not only halted traffic but eliminated a great portion of the Duck’s parking as well. In addition the landlord of the Duck’s fifth store on North Central also filed for bankruptcy protection and also was subject to six months of road construction as they widened and beautified Central Avenue. At least the store remained open.

The Duck was back to basics with the two remaining stores, Camelback Arboleda and Financial Center. Although the Duck found it necessary to reorganize under Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the Duck still survived a rapid expansion, landlord failures and construction of the Squaw Peak Expressway and other roadways. During this time, the Duck continued to offer the highest quality of goods and services. Everyone returned to the operational aspect of Duck and Decanter to reestablish the original philosophy that made it successful.

In 1993, the Midtown Duck relocated from the failing Financial Center location to a prospering National Bank Plaza where it remains today. In 2002, the Duck made its first expansion in over 10 years into DowntownPhoenix.

The Duck over the years, often in response to its customer’s suggestions, has been noted as a leader in the market for offering new and innovative services. The Duck was the first in the central Phoenix market to offer espresso, wine by the glass, wine tastings, seminars and winemaker dinners, fresh hand crafted cheeses, freshly roasted coffees, traditional imported delicacies and cooking accessories. The Duck has received over 50 awards in a number of categories in periodicals across the nation. Click here to see the complete list.

The Duck has remained jubilant for over three decades in a unique market because of its strong customer base. Customers who realize it is not only the quality of the goods they purchases, but it is the experience as well.

Mission Statement

Established in 1972, the DUCK and DECANTER, a specialty food, beverage and retail pioneer, has become a monument in the lives of many valley residents. Their continued loyalty is responsible for our success and is what separates us from our competitors.

Our mission is to provide the highest levels of service to our customers; to purvey products and merchandise that are unique and represent superior craftsmanship; and to offer support and leadership in the communities touched by the Duck. We will provide a gratifying experience for our customers, staff members and shareholders. We believe that quality service; product and community involvement is intrinsic to the success of our business. All contributing members play an essential role in the fulfillment of this success.

We are a food, beverage and retail experience.
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Our Vision

ALICE: Which way should I go?
CAT: That depends on where you are going.
ALICE: I don’t know where I am going!
CAT: Then it doesn’t matter which way you go!

Our vision statement is a definition of our most compelling goal or purpose. We use it to focus everyone’s efforts and input toward a common objective.

The Duck and Decanter vision:

This vision was developed with the agreed upon understanding that we want to bring the Duck into the future by developing more efficient venues (web site, commissary, new stores, community events, etc) while maintaining the integrity of our values and mission statement. We will bring the best of the Duck tradition, or ‘experience’ into the future and keep our values and learn from the past to improve our future.