Charles E. Williams, the founder of Bay Area-based brand Williams-Sonoma, died peacefully in his sleep on the morning of December 5th. He was 100-years-old.
Williams, who was known to everyone as Chuck, began his home goods legacy when he bought an old hardware store in Sonoma in 1956 and began filling it with the copper and enamel kitchen ware he’d seen while traveling through Europe. Over the next six decades, Williams revolutionized home cooking, making Williams-Sonoma goods a mandatory requirement for every kitchen in the U.S.
Although he sold the company in 1978, Williams continued to be the face of the brand. Today, the once-small Bay Area gem is a massive and well-loved enterprise, with a net worth of $4.7 billion and bragging rights that include a whopping 623 stores, including Pottery Barn and West Elm.