Williams-Sonoma has finally come home to Sonoma.
“We’re celebrating our roots an coming back home,” said Janet Hayes, president of the Williams-Sonoma brand. On Oct. 4, Chuck Williams’ original store will reopen just off the Sonoma town square, nearly sixty years after its founding. Just in time for Williams’ 99th birthday.
And although the new store is more of the crisp, luxe lifestyle brand most of use are familiar with,
there are plenty of historic influences — from the original sign hanging out front and black and white tile flooring, to Williams’ own collection of copper pans and French cooking molds — serve as a reminder of its past.
First opened in 1956 at 605 Broadway St., the kitchenwares store was among the first to bring French copper pots, La Crueset bakeware and high-end culinary tools to American home cooks. In fact, if you’ve ever used a KitchenAid stand mixer, Wustof knife, or poured cream from a little porcelain cow, you have Chuck to thank.
But since the store’s move to San Francisco just a few years after opening, there’s been no Williams-Sonoma in its namesake town.
In a stroke of luck, the original storefront (which had served as catering kitchen and frame shop among other things) came up for sale recently, and company officials knew they had to snap it up. Included in the sale was Williams’ home which he shared with his mother for many years.
The home has been renovated to serve as a stage for many of the Williams-Sonoma brands, and includes a backyard garden, grill and patio.
Food Network chef and Marin-resident Tyler Florence was at the opening, and reminisced about his first meeting with Chuck in 2006. “I had a real connection when meeting Chuck at my own kitchen store. He brought the first copper and paella pans to home chefs. He brought all these new vehicles of expression,” said Florence. “What Steve jobs did for computers, Williams did for cooking,” he added.
We couldn’t have said it better.
The new store at 605 Broadway, Sonoma, will be open daily from 9am to 6pm. A professional kitchen will include hour-long cooking classes that include:
- Chef Jen Demerest of Harvest Moon – 10/7
- Executive Chef Billy Reid of Hopmunk Tavern – 10/13
- Chef/Owner Duskie Estes of Zazu Kitchen & Farm – 10/14
- Chef and Culinary Instructor Jason Kupper – 10/20
- Chef Dustin Valette of Dry Creek Kitchen – 10/21
- Executive Chef Todd Thompson of The Red Grape – 11/3
- St Francis Winery – Wine Pairing Dinner – 11/11
- Chef Cindy Pawlcyn of Mustards – 12/12