Shut the catalog, come on in

  • KATHY DAY / Herald Writer
  • Wednesday, October 18, 2000 9:00pm
  • Local News

Crate &Barrel is bringing its mail-order magic to the retail arena

By KATHY DAY

Herald Writer

BELLEVUE — A catalog will come to life when the new Crate &amp Barrel store opens at The Corner at Bellevue Square in November.

For the first time in the Northwest, shoppers will be able to actually touch the housewares and home furnishings that they’ve only been able to see on paper or the Internet.

It’s been 10 years since CEO Gordon Segalc decided the Seattle area was a good place for the store, company spokeswoman Bette Kahn said Tuesday. Finally, with the new 100,000-square-foot center being built at the corner of Bellevue Way and E. Eighth Street, the company has found the right amount of space — 35,000 square feet — in the right location, she said.

And what a space the location is becoming.

With its high-visibility location, two-story glass entry that sends light into its atrium and natural wood and stone to set off the vignettes, the store will be a far cry from the first store that opened in Chicago in 1962.

As Segal — called "one of the 20th century’s retail visionaries" by the president of the National Retail Federation — tells the story, he and his wife, Carole, then a teacher, were washing the Arzberg dishes they had purchased on a trip when the idea hit.

"How come nobody is selling this dinnerware in Chicago?" he asked. "I think there’s a gap in the marketplace. We should open a store."

That led from a one-store, three-person operation in an old elevator factory to 89 stores and more than 5,000 employees. That first store, being joined on Nov. 16 by the Bellevue store and another a week earlier in Philadelphia, started with merchandise displayed in shipping crates and barrels. The focus then was affordable, well-designed gourmet cookware and contemporary housewares.

In 1993, the Segals started the catalog business, which is the only way many people have known the merchandise, Kahn said. They added furniture in 1989 and ventured online in 1999.

This year annual revenues are expected to top $600 million.

Kahn, who has worked her way up the ladder into a management role — as is traditional in Crate &amp Barrel’s structure — said she shopped there before she worked there. One of her favorite purchases was a teak tray — small for $1, large for $2 — that she gave as gifts to her children’s teachers, she said.

Today, the most popular gift purchase is the store’s variety of chip and dip sets, she said. Prices vary, but the current sale catalog shows a white porcelain set embossed with fruit and ivy for $23.95 or a clear glass one for $18.95.

On the housewares floor there will be 10,000 different items, ranging from measuring spoons and vases to desks and chairs.

Kahn describes Crate &amp Barrel shoppers as those seeking "tasteful style." Many are shopping for gifts, taking advantage of the store’s nationwide gift registry that serves not only brides and grooms, but graduates, new home owners and relatives who are always asking "what do you want for Christmas."

Segal, who tried his hand in the restaurant and real estate business before finding his niche, will share his enthusiasm for his business with the Bellevue crew Nov. 15, the day the store hosts a private opening and fund-raiser for the Eastside Domestic Violence Program. Tickets are $30 and available by calling 425-561-8840.

The store opens to the public the next day.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Snohomish residents Barbara Bailey, right, and Beth Jarvis sit on a gate atop a levee on Bailey’s property on Monday, May 13, 2024, at Bailey Farm in Snohomish, Washington. Bailey is concerned the expansion of nearby Harvey Field Airport will lead to levee failures during future flood events due to a reduction of space for floodwater to safely go. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Harvey Field seeks to reroute runway in floodplain, faces new pushback

Snohomish farmers and neighbors worry the project will be disruptive and worsen flooding. Ownership advised people to “read the science.”

IAM District 751 machinists join the picket line to support Boeing firefighters during their lockout from the company on Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Amid lockout, Boeing, union firefighters return to bargaining table

The firefighters and the planemaker held limited negotiations this week: They plan to meet again Monday, but a lockout continues.

Bothell
2 injured in Bothell Everett Highway crash

The highway was briefly reduced to one northbound lane while police investigated the three-car crash Saturday afternoon.

Heavy traffic northbound on 1-5 in Everett, Washington on August 31, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
On I-5 in Everett, traffic nightmare is reminder we’re ‘very vulnerable’

After a police shooting shut down the freeway, commutes turned into all-night affairs. It was just a hint of what could be in a widespread disaster.

Anthony Brock performs at Artisans PNW during the first day of the Fisherman’s Village Music Fest on Thursday, May 16, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
At downtown Everett musical festival: ‘Be weird and dance with us’

In its first night, Fisherman’s Village brought together people who “might not normally be in the same room together” — with big acts still to come.

Two troopers place a photo of slain Washington State Patrol trooper Chris Gadd outside District 7 Headquarters about twelve hours after Gadd was struck and killed on southbound I-5 about a mile from the headquarters on Saturday, March 2, 2024, in Marysville, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Judge reduces bail for driver accused of killing Marysville trooper

After hearing from Raul Benitez Santana’s family, a judge decreased bail to $100,000. A deputy prosecutor said he was “very disappointed.”

Pet detective Jim Branson stops to poke through some fur that Raphael the dog found while searching on Saturday, March 2, 2024, in Everett, Washington. Branson determined the fur in question was likely from a rabbit, and not a missing cat.(Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Lost a pet? Pet detective James Branson and his dogs may be able to help

James Branson, founder of Three Retrievers Lost Pet Rescue, helps people in the Seattle area find their missing pets for $350.

Whidbey Renaissance Faire volunteers pose in their costumes. (Photo by Bree Eaton)
Faire thee well: Renaissance is coming to Whidbey Island

The volunteer-run fair May 25 and 26 will feature dancers, a juggler, ‘Fakespeare,’ various live music shows and lots of food.

Community Transit leaders, from left, Chief Communications Officer Geoff Patrick, Zero-Emissions Program Manager Jay Heim, PIO Monica Spain, Director of Maintenance Mike Swehla and CEO Ric Ilgenfritz stand in front of Community Transit’s hydrogen-powered bus on Monday, May 13, 2024, at the Community Transit Operations Base in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
New hydrogen, electric buses get trial run in Snohomish County

As part of a zero-emission pilot program from Community Transit, the hydrogen bus will be the first in the Puget Sound area.

Two people fight on the side of I-5 neat Marysville. (Photo provided by WSDOT)
Video: Man charged at trooper, shouting ‘Who’s the boss?’ before shooting

The deadly shooting shut down northbound I-5 near Everett for hours. Neither the trooper nor the deceased had been identified as of Friday.

Two people fight on the side of I-5 neat Marysville. (Photo provided by WSDOT)
Road rage, fatal police shooting along I-5 blocks traffic near Everett

An attack on road workers preceded a report of shots fired Thursday, snarling freeway traffic in the region for hours.

The Port of Everett and Everett Marina on Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Is Port of Everett’s proposed expansion a ‘stealth tax?’ Judge says no

A Snohomish resident lost a battle in court this week protesting what he believes is a misleading measure from the Port of Everett.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.