The nature of antique stores is heterogeneous, but Rook successfully marries its various items into a comprehensive collection. Owners Tom Gorz and Jeff and Theresa Fotgeringill opened their 6,400 square foot SoDo spot earlier this month, offering mid-century objects and merchandise of custom design. Items range from dramatic to campy to industrial, and any of it could easily be spotted at a Capitol Hill restaurant. We sat down with Gorz to learn more about Rook and why it's not your grandmother's antique store.
What was your first job? What did you love or hate about it and how does it compare to what you do now?
Earlier on in my life I worked in a theater troupe and then transitioned into a long career in clothing retail. When I got into antiquing my love for drama and for the aesthetic could live in harmony. There is a flare for the dramatic that shows pops up in our store set up and in the merchandising.
What's your favorite item in the store right now?
It's a toss up. There is this French piece from the 1900-1901 Paris exposition I like. It's a five foot tall, red paper mache pig. The other piece I really like is this original barber shop from Spokane's Davenport Hotel circa 1910. It's an amazing bar back.
How did you come up with the name Rook?
We put a lot of thought into our name. Rook has two meanings: It's a chess piece and a type of crow from Europe. All my life I have had an affinity for birds, and since there are two rooks on a chess board and we have a duo of owners we found the name very fitting.
Where do you shop when you're not at your store?
I am constantly shopping. We have a great team that hunts for unique and wonderful items that fit Rook's environment. Currently we're associated with both Pacific Gallery's Auction House and Antique Mall in SoDo and Bellevue's Haystack antiques. I think both of these places offer fantastic items.
What song or album is playing on your store's sound system right now?
Today, we are on a bit of a Nina Simone kick. Right now Simone's album I Put a Spell on You is on and we're listening to her single "Feeling Good."
What do you love about the neighborhood?
SoDo is booming and I love it. I like our partners at Pacific Gallery. And they offer free parking! If hungry, I recommend Gastropod and Macrina bakery. One of my favorite stops in the area is also Esquin Wine and Spirits.
What's the weirdest thing that's ever happened in your store?
Since we have just opened there is plenty of time for weird things to happen. We did have a fortuitous visit: Almost immediately after we put up our store sign a crow flew by and sat on it. I take that as a welcome to the neighborhood.