Crate & Barrel
|Traded as||Crate & Barrel|
|Founded||Chicago, Illinois, U.S. 1962|
|Headquarters||Northbrook, Illinois, U.S.|
Number of locations
|90 Crate and Barrel stores and outlets (2018) / 15 CB2 Stores (2018)|
|Neela Montgomery, CEO (2017–present)|
|Products||housewares, furniture, and home accessories|
|Owner||Otto GmbH (1998–present)|
Number of employees
Euromarket Designs, Inc. (d/b/a Crate & Barrel) is a 105+ chain of retail stores in US and Canada, based in Northbrook, Illinois, specializing in housewares, furniture (indoor and out), and home accessories. Its corporate name is Euromarket Designs, Inc. The company is wholly owned by Otto GmbH.
Gordon and Carole Segal opened the first Crate & Barrel store on December 7, 1962, at age 23. The 1,700-square-foot (160 m2) space in part of an old elevator factory was located at 1516 North Wells Street in the then-bohemian Old Town neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois. The inspiration was their honeymoon in the Caribbean, where the Segals saw inexpensive yet tasteful European household products for sale. They became interested in providing functional yet aesthetically pleasing products to young couples just starting out. Surprised to see that European manufacturers offered many beautiful and durable products at reasonable prices, they were inspired to start their own store in the United States. The Segals started by recruiting an employee and leasing an abandoned elevator factory on Chicago's Wells Street. They traveled throughout Europe buying directly from glassblowers, ceramicists and factories making French copper pots and simple white bistro dinnerware.
The first store opened in response to a flourishing of world trade in home furnishings due to the early 1960s round of talks about the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. The Segals sought out small European companies that were not represented in America and negotiated direct purchases from these factories that could be sold to the consumer while avoiding a wholesaler's markup. To this day, a majority of Crate & Barrel's products are direct imports from Europe, though Thai, Mexican and Indian glass and textiles can also be found in their stores.
The Segals derived the company name by the materials that they originally used to display items in their Chicago store. The Segals were originally going to call their company "Barrel and Crate", but a friend suggested that they reverse the order of the words. They turned over the crates and barrels that the merchandise came in, let the wood excelsior spill out, and stacked up the china and glass. This helped emphasize their strongest selling point, that their products were direct imports.
In 1966, Segal and the designer Lon Habkirk visited the Design Research store in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which had an "enormous influence" on their retailing approach. Habkirk later remarked: "Eventually we took the whole idea and translated it into a reproducible formula."
In 1968, the Segals opened their second store in the Plaza del Lago shopping center in suburban Wilmette, Illinois, and third in Oak Brook, Illinois in 1971. Its first store outside the Chicago area opened in Chestnut Hill, MA in 1977. In 1979, it opened its second Cambridge, Massachusetts store in the building designed for the recently closed Design Research, which they had so admired.
By 1985, the chain had grown to 17 stores, and has continued to grow. In March 1995, it opened its first New York location (its 59th location), in Manhattan. After selling a majority stake to German mail order company the Otto Group in 1998, the company had financing to increase its rate of expansion. (Otto became the sole owner in 2011.) By 2002, it had grown to approximately 100 locations, and over 135 locations by late 2004.
Crate & Barrel's flagship store, located in Chicago on Michigan Avenue in the "Magnificent Mile", closed in January 2018; the building will become a giant Starbucks coffee roastery and retail space. Today there are 90 Crate and Barrel Stores, including 8 outlets, in the United States and Canada.
In September 2008, Crate & Barrel opened its first location outside the United States, at Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. A new two story 35,000-square-foot (3,300 m2) building, similar to other newly opened stores in the U.S., was constructed. A second Canadian store, in Calgary, opened in October 2009. A third Canadian store opened in Mississauga, Ontario, on October 28, 2010, at Square One Shopping Centre. Further stores opened in 2011 in Edmonton, Alberta at Southgate Centre, another one in Spring 2012 at Carrefour Laval Shopping Centre in Laval, Quebec and another in Oakridge Centre mall in Vancouver, British Columbia in early 2013. Future international expansion in Canada and possibly other countries is also reportedly planned.
Crate & Barrel opened its first store in Peru in 2015, and opened its first store in Colombia on December 2016 in Bogota- Parque La Colina Mall, via a franchise agreement with Falabella (retail store).
Crate opened its first store in San José, Costa Rica, inside Avenida Escazú mall.
Barbara Turf, first hired in 1968, succeeded Gordon Segal as CEO of the company in May 2008. In November 2008, it was reported that sales for the prior year for the chain were $1.3 billion. Turf retired in 2012. Sascha Bopp was named to replace her. Due to lackluster performance during the 2013 holiday season, poor operational decisions regarding policies and staffing, and growing disenchantment from employees, Bopp was removed from his position and terminated from the company in July 2014. While a replacement was sought, Otto Group asked Segal to return as a consultant to bring back the original company culture and values in an attempt to increase sales and employee productivity and morale.
Doug Diemoz, formerly with competitors Restoration Hardware and Williams-Sonoma, became CEO of Crate & Barrel on August 1, 2015. Doug Diemoz departed April 2017. It was announced Neela Montgomery would assume his role.
Crate & Barrel offers a variety of "upmarket" housewares, furniture, and related merchandise. These are displayed in the "vignette" style, where items are grouped together as they might appear in the home. The company was an innovator of this style, which has since become more widely used.
Crate & Barrel has two sister brands. CB2 is a home furnishings division geared toward young adults created in 2000. The brand, open since 2000, now has 15 stores across the U.S. and Canada. An additional store was planned to open in Denver in 2018.
Crate and Barrel's kids brand The Land of Nod, acquired in 2001, plans to close all stores by the end of Spring 2018 and will become Crate&Kids, a kids furnishings, home goods and gifts product offering launching online and in 40 stores starting March 7.
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- Founder of Crate & Barrel says goodbye to the Michigan Avenue flagship store he built Mary Schmich, Chicago Tribune, January 21, 2018
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- "Opening Fall 2011". southgatecentre.com. Retrieved August 30, 2011.
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- Chicago Business News, Analysis & Articles | Crate & Barrel to expand outside U.S. | Crain's
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- Suzanne Fenton (September 30, 2009). "Al Tayer to launch Crate & Barrel". Gulf News. Retrieved February 5, 2010.
In a franchise agreement the Al Tayer Group will open two stores in 2010, one in the Mall of the Emirates and the other in Mirdif City Centre which will also open its doors in the first quarter.
- Mandy Lynn (August 8, 2012). "H&M, Victoria's Secret and Crate & Barrel to open at ION Orchard from October". I-S Magazine. Retrieved September 8, 2012.
- "Housewares and Furniture Store | Singapore, | Crate and Barrel Ion Orchard". Crate and Barrel. Retrieved 2017-02-27.
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- "It Came From Chicago, and It's Not Puffy". The New York Times. November 5, 2007. Retrieved April 30, 2010.
- Jo Napolitano (June 23, 2003). "Crate and Barrel Handles Its Offshoot With Care". The New York Times. Retrieved February 5, 2010.
- Nicole Maestri (November 6, 2007). "Crate and Barrel's CB2 chain takes Manhattan". Reuters. Retrieved February 5, 2010.
Crate and Barrel opens its first New York-based CB2 store on Tuesday. It marks the third CB2 store, and is the retailer's first CB2 store outside of Chicago.
- "Crate & Barrel sister brand to open in Cherry Creek". January 8, 2018.
- "So long, Land of Nod: Crate & Barrel to launch Crate & Kids". The Chicago Tribune. February 22, 2018. Retrieved February 26, 2018.