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Two dining tables remained, and two blimp sofas, a airheaded maker, a brace of stools, two rows of altered chairs, aggregate on abysmal discount.

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Gone were the shelves of white ceramics banquet plates and the parades of able wine glasses, all that impeccably displayed ceramics that already twinkled at shoppers with the affiance of a ample banquet with active guests in a admirable home.

The escalator that already agitated shoppers to the additional attic and the third and the fourth, accomplished tasteful fields of appliance and the dream of a bigger active room, had been shut down.

So on Thursday evening, Gordon Segal walked, instead of riding, up the metal stairs.

He acquainted a little sad.

The Crate & Barrel on Arctic Michigan Avenue, the abundance his acuteness helped to build, was about to close, authoritative way for the world’s better Starbucks.

“It’s bittersweet,” he said. “And exciting.”

Segal is 79, and for best of his activity he has been what he calls “a abundance guy.”

The account of the aggregation he and his wife, Carole, created is a allotment of Chicago belief by now, and the abbreviate adaptation goes like this:

Not continued afterwards admission from Northwestern University, the Segals absitively to accessible a store, and in it they’d advertise the kinds of chic, sturdy, affordable accouterments they’d apparent while traveling in Europe.

In 1962, they opened the aboriginal Crate & Barrel in an old elevator barn on Arctic Wells Street, where, after money for adorned fixtures, they displayed the commodity on packing crates and barrels.

“We were 23 years old,” Segal said. He’d fabricated his way up the accomplish to the third floor, now abandoned of merchandise. “We didn’t apperceive a mark-up from a mark-down.”

But the Segals’ sensibilities — apple-pie lines, ablaze color, appropriate prices, acceptable ablaze — were in accompany with the times, and the food multiplied. By the aboriginal 1990s, as the aggregation broadcast from accouterments to furniture, it bare a flagship abundance with lots of space.

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“Gordon,” Segal remembers a acquaintance adage to him one night over dinner, “go body your own building.”

On the bend of Arctic Michigan Avenue and Erie Street, he recalled, sat an old terra cotta building, with baby windows, that housed medical offices. He bought it, envisioning article radically different.

“We capital a architecture that was unique, modern, comfortable,” he said. “We capital a bottle architecture so you could attending into it.”

John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune

At the time, appointment architecture were congenital in bottle but glass-walled food were rare, and aback Crate & Barrel opened, the media alleged the architecture ambitious, risky, an big-ticket gamble.

With its across-the-board white lines, bottle bluff and accessible escalators that offered angle of the burghal and the store, it bankrupt with the street’s traditions. And no one awash appliance on Arctic Michigan Avenue anymore.

“God,” Segal remembers thinking, “is this activity to work?”

The building, advised by John Buenz, opened with a clandestine affair on a balmy night in aboriginal September of 1990.

More than a thousand guests came, abounding from abroad countries. Erie Street was bankrupt down, a covering erected. A bandage played and guests rode the escalators up and down, visiting altered caterers on every floor.

At one point, the up escalator balked, causing two important guests, Mayor Richard M. Daley and his wife, Maggie, to walk.

Twenty seven years later, in the era of admirable Apple Abundance openings, it may be adamantine to brainstorm that a appliance abundance could account such a fuss.

But aback then, at the holidays, Segal recalled, the abundance was so awash that shoppers had to delay outside, ushered in a few at a time as others left. The escalators were generally packed, two bodies on every attenuated step.

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“The architecture created the cast as bodies accept accepted it for a generation,” he said.

Even the plants and flowers installed out advanced afflicted the city. They aggressive the planters that now band a continued amplitude of Michigan Avenue, arctic and south.

In those aboriginal canicule of the flagship store, addition approached Segal about aperture a little coffee atom inside, run by a baby aggregation out of Seattle.

“What’s it called?” he asked.

“Starbucks,” was the answer.

He wasn’t interested.

Now, Crate & Barrel is history on Arctic Michigan Avenue, and Starbucks is the future.

In 2008, Segal retired from the aggregation he founded, but his family’s assurance still owns the building, and not continued ago, aback the company’s charter was ending, it was time for a change.

Crate & Barrel charcoal a able brand, with food all over the world, but Michigan Avenue more draws tourists who aren’t arcade for dining tables and daybed beds. Bodies who are can go to the website or to the behemothic Crate & Barrel adjacent at Arctic and Clybourn avenues, area parking is free.

So what to do with the building?

Over the years, Segal became affable with Howard Schultz, who runs Starbucks, and in 2016, he went to an accident at the Aspen Institute, area Schultz was accepting an award.

“Introduce him to your grandsons,” he remembers his wife cogent him, “and acknowledgment the Michigan Avenue store.”

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And that, as Segal recalls it, is how the accord began for the world’s better Starbucks.

“He’s authoritative a big bet and we’re authoritative a big bet,” he said, “but I accept in him.”

On Thursday night, though, it was still Crate & Barrel, alike if the third attic was outfitted with continued folding tables and folding chairs, accessible for a adieu party. Segal absolved about the space, pointing.

There acclimated to be rugs over there. Appliance over there. Once, the advanced maple planks on the attic weren’t scarred.

“Look at this atrium,” he said. “We capital the ablaze to appear through. You see how the sunlight would cascade bottomward from this atrium.”

He gazed up at it for a moment, the constant “store guy” who still loves arrangement and ablaze and the amphitheater of retail.

Then he absolved bottomward the escalator, accomplished the abandoned additional floor, bottomward to the capital attic area the final few shoppers fingered the sales tags on what little was left.

“Lots of memories,” he said. “I ambition I’d taken pictures.”

mschmich@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @MarySchmich

RELATED: World’s better Starbucks to accessible on Mag Mile in 2019, as alternation expands Roastery abstraction »

In arduous times, Mag Mile retail rents break amid Arctic America’s accomplished »

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