A Family Business – in More Ways than One
The History of Craft Warehouse – a Pacific Northwest Business
Craft Warehouse began in the late 1970’s when Jerry Williams and his wife Sonja decided to take what they’d learned from the experience of running Ben Franklin Variety Stores and open an all crafts supply store.
Having originally moved to Camas, Washington in the early Seventies to take over ownership of a local burger cafe, Jerry and Sonja opened their first Craft Warehouse stores in the late 1970’s in the Oregon towns of Medford and Gresham.
The William’s three sons became a part of the business early on. To this day all three brothers manage the nine locations and you’ll frequently see them in the stores. Jerry and Sonja have since retired, but are still involved, and now a new generation, their grandchildren, are working at Craft Warehouse.
Inspiration and Fun
From the beginning Craft Warehouse was designed to be a store that provides inspiration and creativity. The Williams family learned early on that they can’t be everything to everybody. They decided to fine-tune what categories they focused on and to make those categories as complete and attractive as possible.
Craft Warehouse focuses on providing quality components and supplies that the customer can easily transform to showcase their personal style. The Williams brothers believe in offering classes and events at the stores to provide skill sharing for their community. Each brother brings his own creative style to the aisles with projects and home décor ideas.
Ask anyone at Craft Warehouse about what makes the stores unique and they’ll say the employees. Craft Warehouse team members are talented, creative people who design many of the projects highlighted and have first-hand knowledge about the products. They understand the customer’s needs and the current trends and share this information with the buyers and managers.
Many Craft Warehouse team members have been with the company for 10, 15 or over 20 years. Ask these long-time employees about their place of work and they’ll say that Craft Warehouse is like a “big family”. The Williams family agrees. They’re a family run business running a business that feels like family. It’s not always smooth sailing, but it’s a fun ride and there’s always something exciting and fun to see on the shelves.