What started as a routine chore of washing dishes has become a successful 29-year endeavor for Crate and Barrel founders Gordon and Carol Segal. The couple wanted to offer well-designed products at affordable prices and when they secured a storefront in Chicago’s Old Town in 1962, Crate and Barrel was born. Now, almost three decades later, Crate and Barrel offers an array of affordable, usable gourmet cookware and housewares in 96 stores in 21 U.S. markets. It also provides gift registry and catalog and Web shopping.

In recognition of Crate and Barrel’s success, Gordon Segal, who also serves as the company’s CEO, presented the fourth annual M.B. Zale Visionary Merchant Lecture. The lecture, which honors the late jewelry retailer and founder MB Zale, was sponsored by the college’s Center for Retailing Studies (CRS) and is made possible by an endowment established by the M.B. & Edna Zale Foundation.

“Mr. Segal is an innovative merchant and visionary leader,” said Dr. David Szymanski, director of the CRS. “He and his company are ideal examples of creativity and leadership the lecture series honors.”

Segal’s vision as an entrepreneur and merchant have not gone unnoticed, as he’s received numerous honors and awards, including the National Retail Federation’s 2000 Gold Medal Award Winner and the Gourmet Products Show/Home-World Business Industry Lifetime Achievement Award.