Today, the firm that Chuck started, Williams - Sonoma, is a retail home furnishings and mail order empire, with over 600 stores, including the Pottery Barn.
Williams - Sonoma has $4.7 billion in annual revenue.
But in 1956, when Chuck opened a French cookware shop in Sonoma, about 35 miles north of San Francisco, most Americans knew little about fancy copper pots, pleated soufflé molds, garlic presses and other gourmet items.
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However, fine dining and fancy utensils were Chuck's passion, and in 1958 he opened a second store in San Francisco.
His timing was excellent. Soon TV gourmet chef and author Julia Child began convincing viewers and readers they too could prepare gourmet meals.
Eventually Chuck had five stores, and he published a mail order catalogue. Seemingly everything was going great, but in reality, it wasn't.
Chuck was a passionate connoisseur with wonderful taste, but he was not a businessman and his business was losing money.
So in 1978, Chuck sold Williams – Sonoma to successful businessman W. Howard Lester and Lester's partner James McMahan. Lester wisely kept Chuck and the Williams – Sonoma name and as the CEO, Lester made the business decisions.
Meanwhile, Chuck did what he loved, which was travelling widely to select the merchandise for the stores, and spending time with employees and customers while overseeing the catalogues and writing cookbooks.
Over the years, Chuck's catalogs were a huge success and he wrote over 200 cookbooks, which sold many millions of copies, making him a very popular author.
Even late in his life he remained active in the business, and enjoyed sharing his wisdom from a lifetime of experience.
Doing what he loved, and being with whom he loved made all the difference for Chuck, who lived to be 100, passing away in 2015.