Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Greater Seattle >
Apr 29, 2013 02:49 PM

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.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  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.