A Fond Farewell to Crate & Barrel’s Chicago Flagship Store
After 27 years, Crate & Barrel has shuttered its Chicago flagship store on the Mag Mile. The four story location was once so popular, holiday shoppers would wait in line around the block to snatch up some of Crate & Barrel’s affordable and impressive wares.
The building, built in 1990, was the company’s first flagship, after outgrowing their old space on Wells. An airy and inviting space, with large glass windows so customers could look in from the street, the John Buenz designed building echoed the Crate & Barrel aesthetic. “We wanted a building that was unique, modern, comfortable,” CEO Gordon Segal told the Tribune. Escalators ushered customers up through the open atrium, creating a surprisingly calm environment giving the store’s bustling location.
While flashy flagships were once the statement must-have in a retailer’s catalog, many brands have been moving away from the costly power move. According to Crain’s:
Like many big retailers, Crate has rethought its expensive real estate choices on traditional shopping strips that for so long served as shiny badges of honor. It shuttered its New York City flagship, on Madison Avenue, in 2015.
Thankfully the building isn’t slated for demolition—instead it will be reincarnated as an exceedingly large Starbucks. Starbucks Executive Chairman, Howard Schultz, referred to the upcoming store as the “the Willy Wonka of coffee.” Slated to open in 2019, the new space won’t simply be an extra-large version of your regular neighborhood Starbucks, it is going to house a roastery for its Reserve line (complete with tours), an upscale bakery and a pizza joint.
Chicago shoppers can still get their IRL Crate & Barrel fix at the North and Clybourn location (now the official flagship).