Tableau on Market Street is closing

After more than a decade on Market Street, another Ballard shop is closing.

Tableau (2220 NW Market St), which sells everything from furniture to necklaces, will be closing sometime late March. We spoke with the owner, Karen Olsen, who says, “It’s hard to make a go of it.” She cites the down economy and offers her opinion that “the big box retailers make it tough on small businesses.” Right now everything in the store is 25 percent off. Starting next week things will be priced as marked with a progressive sale until the last day. Her lease is up on March 31st so the closing date will be at some point before that so she can move her stuff out. (Thanks Carol for the tip!)

Geeky Swedes

The founders of My Ballard

23 thoughts to “Tableau on Market Street is closing”

  1. Its been interesting watching the evolution of Tableau. I remember when they were much smaller and located down the street . They carried lots of unique items for house and home that were fairly priced. I used to shop there a lot, both for myself, and for gifts. Then they moved to their current location and went upscale. Mostly lots of pretty things I had no use for and couldn't afford. So while I've stopped in to window-shop occasionally I haven't spent any money there in quite a long time.

    All that said, I'll be sorry to see them go. Really don't want to keep losing businesses in the neighborhood.

  2. This was one of my favorite places to shop when I lived in Ballard. Sad to see them go if you ever consider opening up shop somewhere else come to West Seattle please!

  3. It was a great place to buy Christmas decorations. I'll be sad to see it go. Isn't there something the land owners could be doing to keep these businesses open until people are shopping again?

  4. I'm so sorry to see them leave and to lose another long-time Ballard business. As always, I strongly support shopping local and hope that by continuing to do so we can stem the tide of business losses Ballard has been experiencing since this recession began.

  5. I'm sorry to see them go as well. But to be honest, I don't know if my tastes suddenly changed, or their stock did, but after they moved into their current location, I never saw anything I liked.

    Still, it's very sad.

  6. I always enjoyed walking through the store but have never bought so much as a Xmas ornament. Pretty much everything they sell can be found elsewhere for less, Tuesday Morning for example or at the Gift Show. I just assumed this was a hobby business and I think I was right.

    Décor is something on which it is foolish to spend a great deal of money because it tends to be trendy.

  7. Used to be a great store, loved it. Then all I could find was $300 pillows. I'm OK spending money but if that's my only choice the store is limited. We all like a bargin and Tableau seemed to have lost its way.

  8. Saw something interesting in the lobby of 2208 NW Market St… poke your head in there if you get a chance. There are a few old pictures of this block of Market St from what looks like around 1910, another one maybe 1930, another maybe 1945, not sure exactly. For something similar, see,…

    The most interesting thing about it is… none of the stores are the same. They've all changed hands and moved on. Probably many times since these pictures were taken. And yet Ballard is more vibrant and more thriving than ever before. Although it would be cool to still have something called the “Bagdad Theater,” but I digress.

    So please stop the whining about “Ballard is losing another store….” This is what happens when small business owners don't plan for and expect an economic downturn. If you don't expect to have one, and therefore have money in reserve to handle it, then you go out of business. And almost every small business does at some point. And, truly, it sucks for Tableau and its owner, but they sold stuff we didn't need at prices we didn't want to pay, right?

    The larger question is, to me: Is Ballard resilient enough to handle this temporary downturn and remain strong and full of life? Hang out on the corner of Market and Ballard any evening and answer for yourself. La Isla has more than doubled in size and is still packed. Hamburger Harry's is doing very well. The British pub will arrive soon. QFC is open, and how awesome is that? Oaxaca is literally the old Yogi Berra joke that goes, “No one goes there anymore, it's too crowded”, Bastille and Volterra and Hi-Life serve incredible brunches, the Tractor is thriving, the rotting shell of the bowling alley is gone, I could go on and on… things are really good in Ballard right now.

    The very definition of a thriving city is one that constantly renews itself. I love living here, and I can't wait to see what comes into this space next. That's the wonderful creative destruction of capitalism.

  9. While sometimes all I can see are closing businesses and empty storefronts, I do need to remember that this is temporary and new businesses will rise in these same spots.

    Ballard is a great example of economic Darwinism – “…but they sold stuff we didn't need at prices we didn't want to pay, right?”


  10. Interestingly enough, there were less boarded up storefronts during the Depression. This has changed from a neighborhood of businesses geared towards the community (in the 1960s we had Penny's, Sear's, Buster Brown Shoes, etc. on Market) to a more upscale, destination shopping district, to a destination drinking and dining district.
    I'm sorry to see Tableau go, myself.

  11. “Décor is something on which it is foolish to spend a great deal of money because it tends to be trendy.”

    Are you kidding? The trendy stuff is often poorly made and poorly designed crap. It's not worth spending ANY amount of money on. Good taste and good design don't go out of style – doesn't matter if you're talking about clothes, furniture, houses or kitchen ware. Unfortunately, the race to the bottom, gotta get me a bargain Wal-Mart mentality of so many people in this country has made this notion somewhat obsolete. As a result we have ugly, cheaply made homes, ugly cars, ugly appliances, ugly clothes that fall apart after a year and cheap produce that has only a fraction of the nutritional value of what it used to have. There are plenty of examples of home decor items that have stood the test of time and survived numerous “trends”. Names like Stickley, Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright, Eames, Harvey Ellis, Noguchi, Heywood Wakefield and others all have very different styles but have all stood the test of time.

    Saying spending a great deal of money on decor is foolish is comparable to saying you should only eat off the $.99 menu at McDonalds because why pay more for food that you're going to digest and crap out a few hours later.

  12. Damn straight! Brilliant post. People need to get over the whole notion of a particular neighborhood belonging to a certain group. It just doesn't work that way. Even in small rural towns things change.

  13. I loved to go and browse but never could justify a purchase there….except for a marked-down Christmas ornament. It's just a hard business to be in during an economic climate as down as it is now. I too, am sad to see it go but “Ballardisthriving” is right…a thriving community and business district changes and does well and then changes again and does well and on and on….

  14. Yeah, good post. I wish you had picked a thriving locale that wasn't a restaurant or a bar. It seems to say that retail is screwed but so long as Bellevue keeps driving over and dining in Ballard then we will be fine.

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