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Holiday Entertaining
Thursday, December 7, 2000

Crate & Barrel LogoDo you need help preparing for the holidays? Crate and Barrel's Carol Sapoznik answered questions about various aspects of holiday entertaining, including gift selection, decorating your home, and what you'll need to throw the perfect party for family and friends. She also described Crate and Barrel's spectacular new store located near Tysons Corner.

Carol Sapoznik is the vice president in charge of all East Coast Crate and Barrel stores. Having started with the company as its first management trainee 30 years ago, Carol has worked her way up through both store and corporate management, and has been in great measure the impetus for the company's ability to expand dramatically throughout the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area and upwards through the New York and Boston corridors. Carol's tenure, experience and natural affinity with the Crate and Barrel philosophy make her a perfect responder to readers' questions.


Moderator: Welcome to Viewpoint with our guest, Carol Sapoznik. Carol, thank you for joining us today. Please get us started by explaining why you built such a large store at Tysons Corner. What new offerings have you added to the mix?

Carol Sapoznik: We are very proud of our newest store in the Tysons Corner area. We have built a free-standing building combining our housewares and furniture stores to offer approximately 35,000 sq. feet in the building selling our complete line of housewares and furniture which we are calling "XL"...meaning Extra Living. Our displays help you visualize how our items can be combined and how they would look in your home. It is a place to dream and be entertained. There is a cafe in the store where you can get a cup of coffee and relax on our terrace. On a clear day you can see the National Cathedral. There is also underground parking which is also a plus on this very busy corner.

Cape Fear, NC: Since I don't live near one of your stores (I wish we had one close-by!) I'm an avid catalog shopper...are all of the products shown in your catalogue available online?

Carol Sapoznik: Unfortunately not all of our products are available online at the moment, but there is a huge selection of products available to the consumer...both for self purchase and gift giving. It is an exciting site, easy to navigate and featuring large, color pictures of the product.

Old Town, VA: What are your most popular items for the season?

Carol Sapoznik: Our most popular products this season have been products featured in our catalogue, all of which are available at the store and online. The Napa 28 bottle wine rack, which has sleek styling in steel and glass, stores bottles and stemware. Our wonderful beaded fruit makes an attractive centerpiece when surrounding pillar candles on one of our many choices of decorative platters. Our glass waterlily bowl is perfect for floating blooms or holding your favorite collection of holiday ornaments. Our glass Eva vase has a wonderful free-form shape that makes flower arranging incredibly easy.

Glenview, IL: I am having 10 people over for dinner, and do not have a lot of space. Any suggestions for how to make this a festive (and comfortable!) holiday dinner??

Carol Sapoznik: When space is limited a buffet is always an easy way to facilitate entertaining a group...both for you and the guests. Use your dining table to set up the buffet with beautiful cloths and versatile serving pieces. Oversized napkins and buffet plates are a plus. Create interest on your table with your choice of serving pieces....from our stacking three-tier pedestals filled with overflowing fruit or even vegetables. It's easy and it lasts longer than flowers. Making your guest feel comfortable comes from you being at ease with your preparation and serving.

DC- Dupont Circle: What do you carry that would be appropriate to give as a hostess gift, or as a gift for co-workers?

Carol Sapoznik: Our exclusive food collection we offer every holiday season always makes a great gift...we have English toffee (most popular). It's made by hand in copper kettles coated with milk chocolate and sprinkled with freshly crusted pecans. Packed in a whimsical tin...ready for gift giving. Our Truffle babies are creamy peanut butter topped with almonds drenched in chocolate. For the spicy and savory taste, we have crunch carmel glazed pecans, spicy nut mix and a crate of mango salsa, red bean dip and smokey chipotle salsa. Our drizzle white chocolate pretzels are also a classic. The food tastes great and all are beautifully packaged. Other great choices come from our desk/office collection...from sliver picture frames to travel kits, shoe shine kits, distinctively designed pens...all at a wide range of prices.

Arlington, VA: Hi,
I've been shopping at your store in Tysons for years, but have never been to one of your furniture stores. What style (s) of furniture do you carry and how different is it from the furniture you carry in your housewares store?

Carol Sapoznik: Our furniture we carry in the housewares part of the store is a great value and in most cases assembly is required. The offering is more casual...occasional tables, desks, lamps, side chairs and dining tables. The furniture side of the store carries our more serious furniture. We have created room settings so the customer can really visualize how the items will look in their home. We have a large selection of upholstery, dining tables and chairs and bedroom groups. Most are made in factories in the USA and most are exclusively designed for Crate and Barrel. Our buyers have a great reputation for combining quality with value.

DC: This isn't a holiday entertaining question, just a general C&B question.

I bought my every-day dishes at Crate and Barrel four years ago, and the style was discontinued. Do you know where I can call to get replacement pieces, as well as an extra set of four place settings? The Internet dish replacement services are geared toward fine china, and not plain old dishes like these. Thanks.

Carol Sapoznik: We have a department set up to help you with discontinued dinnerware. The number you can call is 1-800-967-6696. Monday - Friday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. CST. Saturday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. CST.

Baltimore, MD: My future in-laws are coming for dinner on Christmas Eve and I want to make a great impression with an elegant table. What would you recommend?

Carol Sapoznik: One of our biggest suggestions this year is set your table with silver. Create a beautiful table with "layering"...we have an extensive collection of table linens, charger plates, specialty dinnerware and accessories to decorate the center of the table. Use large scale vases overflowing with ornaments. Make each placesetting an event with a special touch for each person...an ornament, an individual vase or tealight votive candle, glittering napkin rings are a easy way to dress up each setting.

DC-Cardozo-Shaw: I just got engaged over Thanksgiving, and am getting married next September. We love Crate and we were planning on registering there after the holidays. If we register in the store, can our guests purchase gifts off of our registry online? Thanks!

Carol Sapoznik: Congratulations to you both. Yes, if you register in the store your gift registry is available for purchase online. Since your wedding in not until September we suggest you keep visiting us to update your registry as we change many of our items seasonally. You can call any of our stores and we can send out to you a gift registry folio which will get you started on the process.

Washington DC: I saw a beautiful bed in your Tysons Corner store. Are sleigh beds still in vogue?

Carol Sapoznik: Sleigh beds are classic and thus always in vogue. Your bedroom is your oasis from the rest of the world...your own personal environment. So if you love sleigh beds that's what is important.

Dover, DE: I have a large extended family and lots of nieces and nephews of various ages. What kinds of gifts do you offer for families and kids?

Carol Sapoznik: We pride ourselves that we have something for everyone! Especially family gifts and gifts for children. Our theater popcorn popper is a great family gift. We have a six-in-one game box which includes checkers, backgammon and playing cards. A great family gift is our outfitted picnic hamper. This year it features a wine and cheese theme. Our kids collection is filled with fun and whimsy...my favorites are the cooktop for little chefs and a ceramic tea set. There is a wonderful puppet theater that sets the stage for house productions.....and fondue sets make another great family oriented gift.

McLean, VA: How can I decorate my house with candlelight while protecting my furniture?

Carol Sapoznik: We always recommend using a candle coaster..whether glass, metal or ceramic to help protect your tabletop. We have a wide selection to suit any taste. Your question is a great one because candlelight is an easy and inexpensive way to make your home feel warm and comfortable for the holidays. We can also suggest using glass hurricanes with large oversized pillars that can burn for hours....very safe.

Washington, DC: Are you planning to open any more stores in the Washington area? How about outlets?

Carol Sapoznik: We have an outlet you can visit in Old Town Alexandria. Conveniently located near the Old Town Metro stop. Just call 703-739-8800 for more information. The selection changes almost daily which makes for a very exciting shopping environment and the prices and values are AMAZING!

Cedar Fork: How do I get to your store from Route 123?

Carol Sapoznik: You can't miss our new Tysons Corner store. It's located on the corner of highway 123 (Chain Bridge Road) and International Drive directly across from Tysons Corner Center and the Tysons Galleria. You've got to come see this "event" we've created on this incredibly busy corner at Tysons. You can link on to this site or our own Web site at www.crateandbarrel.com for directions or a map.

Fredricksburg, VA: Do you carry anything for Hanukkah?

Carol Sapoznik: Yes we certainly do. Hanukkah starts the 22nd of December this year. Our menorah is traditionally designed in sand-cast brass with a nickel-plate finish....just beautiful. We have other candles and centerpieces in the traditional blue. We have a wonderful boxed set of silver-finish dreidels. We also have handblown glass dreidels which are charming when scattered on a table. Chocolate coins and dreidels round out the collection. Of course we have many table linens and buffet plates for your holiday serving.

VA: I love your stores! Are you still looking for help at your Tysons store? I'm a stay at home mom, but I'd love to work a few days a week and could work one weekend shift. Should I call the store?

Carol Sapoznik: We are always looking for great people to join our team. You can call Tysons at 703-847-8555 for an application or stop by anytime and pick one up. The housewares store manager is Ellen and the furniture store manager is Charles. They would love to talk to you.

Georgetown: As an architect in the Georgetown area, I took a real interest in the architectural styling of your new store in Tysons. What was your inspiration? I've visited your stores in Chicago and in King of Prussia and noticed that they all have their own distinct personalities...

Carol Sapoznik: Each store we build reflects the topography and elements indigenous to the area. The architecture at Tysons is a combination of traditional washed pine and more contemporary materials. The entrance on 123 is a two-story atrium with tons of natural light warming the displays. The front facade is both contemporary and traditional using pickled-wood, pine and cedar, concrete masonary and painted metal. Truly one of the inspirations was a nostalgic covered bridge. We actually have our own in-house architecture department which we are very proud of.

New York, NY: I'm Jewish but love the look of white Christmas lights--always wondered why, if Hanukkah is "The Festival of Lights," we don't get to hang up strands of lights in December with our Christian neighbors!? Anyway, 99 percent of holiday decorations sold today are Christmas-centric, either red and green wall hangings, pretty little tree ornaments, or other reindeer/holly/Christmas things. How can I make my relatively small living room in my NYC apartment (cream walls, ten foot ceilings, hardwood floors, but long and narrow) look wintry and cozy and festive--but not Christmasy? I also don't want to hang menorahs and blue and silver "Shalom"s all over the place, either.

Carol Sapoznik: We'd suggest our beautiful collection of handblown cobalt glassware...candleholders, centerpiece bowls and a lovely vase. Play up the rich blue, it's an elegant and easy way to set the mood you're looking for.

Alexandria: Does Crate and Barrel stuff ever go on sale? I see some out of season items online, but rarely in the stores. And other than seasonal items, what's the criteria before merchandise gets moved to the outlet store?

Carol Sapoznik: Yes, we actually have quite a few items for the holidays already on sale. Come in and see what we have to offer.

Leesburg: I'm looking for some new, inexpensive items to jazz up my holiday table. Any suggestions?

Carol Sapoznik: We have an entire department of our store, the basics room, devoted to great design at a great value. Whether you are looking for a whimsical snowman plate or dramatic red ruby stemware we have a wide assortment at affordable prices...especially when you are entertaining a group. We even have fun reindeer motif paper plates and napkins.

Carol Sapoznik: This has been such a pleasure...I'd like to thank everyone for joining us today...and thanks for such great questions. Please stop by one of our stores or our Web site for assistance with all your holiday gift-giving and entertaining needs.

We'd all like to spend more time with our friends and family during the holidays. Please let Crate and Barrel be the one store you can rely on...so the holidays are enjoyable.

Happy Holidays...thanks a million.

Moderator: Our thanks to Carol Sapoznik, Crate and Barrel and all who participated.

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