Trendy and fashionable home-furnishings brand Room & Board is moving into Washington, with the opening on Monday, September 22, of a store in Seattle's attractive, outdoor University Village (2623 NE University Village St.) retail and entertainment community. The expansive, contemporary shopping center in northeastern Seattle, about a mile from University of Washington campus and 4 miles north of Capitol Hill, is much loved in Seattle for its mix of upscale national (Lucky, Lululemon, Apple, Kiehl's) and locally owned (Gene Juarez Salon & Spa, Seattle Team Shop, Mercer, Fireworks Gallery) shops, plus a nice variety of restaurants and cafés.
Now in Washington, which polls suggest will formally pass gay marriage legislation on November 8, the socially progressive Room & Board has been quite vocal in its opposition to an anti-gay-marriage amendment to the Minnesota constitution, which will also come for a vote this election. The company, which has offered domestic-partnership benefits for two decades, has a strong track record on diversity, and its sleek, practical, and elegantly simple sofas, bookcases, beds, desks, and other indoor and outdoor furnishings have earned it a strong following among design-driven consumers.
One of a few states with gay-marriage-related legislation on the ballot next month (Maryland and Maine are the others, along with Washington), Minnesota is one of the more politically polarized states in the country. It's home to champions of progressive causes like U.S. Senators Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar, and U.S. Congressman Keith Ellison, and one of the poster children for anti-gay, socially conservative movement, U.S. Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. Bachmann, incidentally, is facing a strong though still uphill challenge from GLBT ally and hip hotelier, Jim Graves, of the cool Graves 601 Hotel in Minneapolis.