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City Kitchens R.I.P. ??

Our son is (was) on the mailing list from City Kitchens on 4th Ave in Seattle. He got a message that they had closed - Bang - and indeed they were. Does anyone have some gossip?
Apparently they plan to have a resurrection just long enough to hold the Mother of all Clearance Sales.

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  1. Wow - that is so suprising... I thought that store did really well. I loved their double page ads in the Pacific magazine in the Sunday Times. Drool-worthy merchandise.

    I would love to know when that clearance sale is!!!

    1. This is sad news if this great indie place is gone. Seattle will be a poorer place without SKs.


      1. They announced on their FB page over the weekend that they were closing and would reopen in May for a going out of business sale

        7 Replies
        1. re: Charles

          We should all pause and rethink our national habit of buying things like cookware on line. I can't help but wonder if CKs would have survived if the sales tax playing field had been level.

          1. re: kaleokahu

            Good comments, Kaleo! Since becoming stores owned in the Middle East, I refuse to enter a Sur La Table. City Kitchens exiting the scene makes it more difficult to "Buy Local" or at the very least keep the money in this country. There is still a locally owned kitchen shop across from Bell Square named Dr. J's or Mr. J's or something like that. He died a decade ago, but his wife and daughter still run the place. Hopefully, that store will still make it and SL(u)T won't be the store of choice. Keep the money flowing in the USA!

            1. re: firecracker

              "Local" isn't easy to live by, or even define. Most of what CK sold was imported. Is it better (?) to buy an American made product online than an import at a locally owned retailer who doesn't sell the American product?

              That was a rhetorical question, of course. But it is almost impossible to avoid. Do you shop at Trader Joe's (German owned) and buy French cheeses, wine, chocolate, etc? Similarly, 90%+ of clothing is made in foreign countries. In most of the US outside of large cities, the US-made products are either high end (very expensive) or not available at all. That's free trade + globalization.

              The one thing we can do is shop as much as possible at local farmers' markets. Then we have locally produced products sold by local vendors. Unfortunately, this is often a luxury not available to people whose income and time availability mandate Walmarts and fast food.

              1. re: firecracker

                That's not a reason to avoid SLT for me. The foreign owner is just an investment company. SLT is still operated and staffed by the same people. SLT had a long run as a Seattle-owned small business, then a long run as a larger, nationwide chain. It's perhaps lamentable that it is no longer US-owned, but it's still a good business. I see no reason to hurt the employees merely because their business is foreign-owned. Business is becoming more and more international. A lot of companies have foreign investment.

                1. re: GH1618

                  I'd probably say the same for TJ's though it was never local. So long as the foreign owners treat employees and customers well, that's an important factor. Some of the biggest US-owned companies do not do nearly as well by their employees.

                  1. re: GH1618

                    SLT in no way resembles the local ownership nor the US ownership. It is now very dollar driven rather than customer driven. Delude yourself if you choose, but SLT is not the place we used to go to.

                    Lodge (US made) v Staub (Europe)? Buy Lodge. Keep the jobs in the USA!

                    1. re: firecracker

                      I don't say it's the same, just not a place I need to avoid. What's the alternative for a walk-in-store? Williams-Sonoma? No, thank you.

                      I don't buy Lodge or Staub (or Le C), and I shop mostly online now anyway — from SLT when they have what I want.

            2. This is so sad. Almost every kitchen utensil, knife, tool, or pan I've purchased in the last 8 years has come from here.

              None of the other local kitchen stores (Sorry, JF Henry, Kitchens-n-Things) had anything like City Kitchens' selection. I hope I hear about the liquidation sale before it happens, to have one last chance to shop there.

              1. I have been a steady customer for years and every time I have been in the store, it has been packed with people actually buying merchandise. (Versus packed with lookers and not buyers.) I don't understand how they could not do well enough to keep the doors open on a true Seattle gem.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Leper

                  I was wondering the same thing. Always found it odd that they continued to handle purchases by hand, with pen and paper.

                  1. re: jlbwendt

                    Was the rent increased? Rent kills many non-chain stores in chain-heavy neighborhoods.

                    1. re: sweetpotater

                      My husband used to rent out a workspace in this building. The company he rented from had to move down a couple floors after their lengthy lease ended and the rent per square foot skyrocketed, so I'd suspect the same for City Kitchens.

                2. I guess the clearance sale is going on now. I saw signs this morning.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: Brunhilde

                    Hi, Brunhilde:

                    Starts tomorrow at 10 and runs for 6 days.


                    1. re: kaleokahu

                      Well, I showed up at 10A today, and there were 2 HUNDRED people already in line. So I passed on by.

                      Anyone who went, what are the specifics? Is CK doing an increasing % discount each day, or what? Anyone get any great bargains?


                      1. re: kaleokahu

                        I did the same thing. No sale is worth waiting that long!

                        1. re: jlbwendt

                          I got down there about 9:00 a.m. and saw the line. No way. There's nothing I want that much on sale or not!

                      2. re: kaleokahu

                        I went down there just now (12pm, Saturday). Holy hell, what a line. All the way down the block. Nice to see such a turnout but I'm not one for lines so I bailed. Maybe tomorrow.

                    2. I stopped by around 4:30 this afternoon, only had to wait ten minutes or so to get in. Everything is half off the original price, don't know if further deductions will be taken as time goes on. I picked up a Soda Stream, a couple of saute pans, a peppermill, and some pastry tools. The knife case was looking pretty empty already (not surprised), but if you are looking for Staub, Le Creuset, or All Clad, it might be worth waiting in line.

                      I overheard while waiting to check out that it was not a bankruptcy per se but a court-ordered closing. In the interest of investors I guess? Bummer, but I will admit that I hardly ever go downtown anymore, was going to skip the sale but I was passing through DT and found a parking space right away. I had thought to stop at RN74 for happy hour while I was there, but they no longer seem to be open on Sundays. Hmm.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: babette feasts

                        Hi, babette:

                        Re: "court-ordered", could be many things. A high % guess would be a tax issue.

                        I may stop in tomorrow to say goodbye.


                      2. I went just now and didn't wait to get in, but OMG the line to buy...2 lines, one with maybe 70 people, the other with ~50...there is good stuff left, but nothing I needed enough to stand in those lines.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: christy319

                          Hi, christy:

                          Still 50% off?


                          1. re: kaleokahu

                            Yup, sounded like that's as low as it gets. Was there around 3pm today. Lots of Emile Henry if you're into that. Mostly Wusthof knives remain and some decent pots/pans left if you need something specific. Plenty of gadgets and bakeware too.

                        2. It is picked over. Still a few knives especially if you are looking some utility. I bought a scimitar for breaking down fish. Fancy pants salt & pepper grinders ect.

                          1. This is a real shame - but it's not surprising. That area is likely some of the most expensive real estate in Seattle. You could like do as many sales as your attendant could handle in a location like that and still go under.
                            I bought a really nice Wustof chef's knife and paring knife- the help was GREAT, and the knives were blems, so they were a stellar price. All within walking distance of home! I'm really bummed to see them go, but I understand completely.