SEATTLE - Kerry Niesen, a 1992 graduate of Ilwaco High School, has just purchased City Kitchens, an award winning gourmet kitchenwares store located at 1527 4th Avenue in downtown Seattle.
City Kitchens, established in 1988 by Robert Hammond, was last year's recipient of the fifth annual Global Innovator Award for excellence in retailing, an international award given to only 20 retail establishments in 18 countries.
Prior to his graduation from Ilwaco High School, Kerry was employed part-time by Sid's Market. Kerry says he learned many useful skills there from Sid Snyder and Chuck Winn. Kerry graduated third in his class and was deemed by his I.H.S. classmates to be "the most likely to succeed."
From 1992-96, Kerry worked part time for Mr. Hammond and attended the University of Washington. He started as a stock person and worked his way up to a sales person. In 1996, shortly after his graduation from the U.W., Kerry became a buyer for the store and then became the store manager.
With Mr. Hammond as his mentor, Kerry learned the business from the ground up. In 2001, Kerry and Mr. Hammond made a five year plan, at the end of which Kerry would take ownership of the store. The dream became a reality on July 1.
Kerry is the son of Jim and Rita Niesen, former teachers of the Ocean Beach School District, and the brother of Jenny Niesen of Seattle.