Visit the First Williams-Sonoma

A timeline of Williams-Sonoma titled the Merchant of SonomaIf you are like me you might have thought that Willams and Sonoma are two people that got together to sell the finest cookware. Or you saw the kids musical “Dear Edwina”?…one song references “Williams” and “Sonoma” as people that sing along with the Fairy Forkmother to teach a chef how to set a table.” Fairy Forkmother – What a wonderful term!

A wall of photos at the Williams-Sonoma storeIn fact it was Chuck Williams who founded the first specialty cookware store in Sonoma, California in 1956. The store, a 1906 house on Broadway, was also the home of Chuck and his mother until they relocated the business in 1958 to San Francisco. The two story house is filled with pictures and newspaper clippings of Williams’ journey to become a culinary icon. It closed when they relocated to San Francisco, but in 2014 this location was opened again.

A stove decorated with Stanly Tucci’s cookwareHis former bedroom is now the design studio currently filled with Stanly Tucci’s cookware in a I-really-want-all-of-this kitchen. Upstairs, where you now can admire the furniture, was his mother’s living quarters. 

It is interesting to see how a great idea became one of the biggest and most successful retail businesses. They started as a catalog mail company and then expanded into stores like Pottery Barn, Hold Everything, and West Elm.

If you like to dive deeper into the evolution of cookware you should stop by the Chuck Williams Culinary Arts Museum in Napa. This museum showcases his extensive 4,000 pieces cookware collection. 

The first Williams-Sonoma store is located 605 Broadway, Sonoma, CA.

Do you have a Fairy Forkmother?


*I do not get compensated for mentioning this business and this blog post is my personal recommendation.