We are saddened to share the news that the Williams-Sonoma family has lost a dear friend, an inspiring mentor and our favorite cook. Williams-Sonoma founder Chuck Williams died peacefully from natural causes. He was 100 years old.
Chuck was an influential member of the food community, a true friend to many, and a great leader at Williams-Sonoma. He founded Williams-Sonoma in 1956, when he transformed a small hardware shop in downtown Sonoma into the very first Williams-Sonoma store. As Williams-Sonoma grew, so did Chuck’s influence—and his curiosity. Even as the head of the company, Chuck loved to travel and meet the people who made the food and meals he loved so much.
“Chuck taught us that when we open our doors to a customer, we welcome a friend into our home,” said Laura Alber, president and CEO of Williams-Sonoma, Inc. “He had impeccable taste, unique insight for selecting the right products at the right time, and the highest standard of customer service. He has left us with this unique legacy. Most of all, Chuck was our mentor and our friend. We will miss him dearly.”
Chuck often remarked that his deep appreciation for products and relationships that last a lifetime served as his compass at Williams-Sonoma. “If you love what you do, the world will fall in love with you,” he said. Chuck’s legacy lives on in the values of Williams-Sonoma and the lessons he taught us all about cooking, hard work, and making your dreams come to life.
Today we at Williams-Sonoma will all be raising a glass to our inspiring founder and a life well-lived. Chuck Williams’ spirit will live on forever in our kitchens—and in our hearts.