2013 Chair Affair

On Friday, April 12, from 6 pm to 9 pm, Chair Affair, NW Furniture Bank’s primary fundraiser, will take place at the Furniture Bank located at 117 Puyallup Avenue Tacoma, WA 98421. Bill Lemke, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Northwest Furniture Bank’s Chair Affair, explained the event, “It’s the Northwest’s Furniture Bank’s primary fundraiser where we work with a lot of local area artists who turn chairs, lamps, and tables into works of art and then we have a silent auction for those items and several live auction packages that have a chair tied into it. For example, we have one called ‘Touch of Glass’ and it’s a glass chair blown by the Museum of Glass in Tacoma. We will have an evening at El Gaucho, and four hours of limo service, champagne, a lady’s watch, and a night at Hotel Murano.” The other 9 live auction item packages include:

  • “Everything Red” which consists of a Kitchen Aid wine fridge, two cases of red wine, two red wine trays, and an Adirondack chair.
  • “Gardener Takes A Day Off” includes a custom potting bench, three custom bird houses, a custom pillow, a throw blanket, tea service, a teacup chandelier bird feeder, five signed gardening books, and a St. Francis statue.
  • “Goin Fishin” includes a custom carved bear bench, four portable fishing chairs, a kayak trip for four, and a beer party.
  • “Pampered Princess and her Pooch” includes custom finished Bergere chairs, a 5X5 floor mirror, a beauty basket, a one hour massage certificate, a one hour facial, a hair and facial certificate, and a custom pet door.
  • “Hickory Dickory Dock” includes: a “custom cow jumped over the moon” clock, custom children’s table and chairs, certificate for the frame shop, certificate for Bounce, a two-day stay at Wolf Lodge, and a certificate from Kid’s Cut.
  • “California Adventure” includes a rocking motorcycle, 4 day passes to Disney Land, 4 day passes to Knots Berry Farm, and 4 day passes to Universal Studios.
  • “Cozy Country Cottage” – more information about this package will be updated at: www.ChairAffair.org/liveauction.
  • “Winery Wonders” consists of custom wine barrel furniture, Suncadia Lodge Stay, golf, and dinner, a private tour and wine tasting for 4 at the Swiftwater Winery, an extra large bottle of wine in private label box, a private wine tasting party for 20 people, and assisted wine basket and accessories.

Bill explained the purpose of the Furniture Bank, “We provide furniture to people coming out of transitional housing. Imagine you flee your domestic violence situation in Spokane and are living at the YWCA and in 6 months to a year, you are with your kids a lot of times you’ve got your apartment, but no way to furnish it. It’s a once in a life time opportunity where you can shop for a household of furniture and promise mattresses to everyone, dining set, and sofa (we charge $50 for these items to have a sense of ownership). This ties back to our mission, which is to restore hope, dignity, and stability by recycling donated furniture. We found that by having people take part in their new furniture acquisition, even by paying even a little bit helps with the dignity and ownership of the person receiving it. It’s not a handout and we rely on agencies: YWCA, Catholic Community Services, or the Tacoma Rescue Mission to screen clients so that we know that we need the furniture. We let the agencies work with 90 different agencies in Pierce County. We served 925 families last year, and this January we had a record month of 94 families.

Artist: Karen Perrine

There have been almost 3,000 individuals that we have helped because the public donated furniture and people at chair affair help with funding our operations.

We started in 2007. We went from 1,200 sq. feet to 13,000 sq. ft. to help furnish hope furnishings and can sell bigger pieces of furniture so that we can buy beds and dining sets to help furnish a household. We’re trying to be sustainable instead of asking for money and trying to work on our own. We have furniture only retail thrift store called “Hope Furnishings” which is part of the Northwest Furniture Bank. We have $7,500 in retail. Artists in Hope Furnishings are displaying this year’s chair affair’s chairs to help promote the event.”

Bill commented on the chair affair: “It’s unique, not your typical silent auction where someone’s playing a piano and asking for money. It’s a fun social gathering and a lot of local restaurants are going to be participating and outdoing each other with heavy appetizers this year. Sponsoring caterers will be serving appetizers, Pacific Grill for example and the Harmon Brewery will provide all the good local Tacoma beer. It’s unique, like a community gathering, it’s our 4th annual event and last year we had almost 400 people. We’ve always had the event at the Museum of Glass and this is our first year at our own location larger location.”

Bill discussed the best thing about the chair affair, “The money raised is a straight line in helping people in Pierce County get off the floor. We all donate money to a lot of different causes and a lot of times you don’t see the end result. We promise the money raised here will make a difference in the lives of Pierce County.”

Tickets for the chair affair event are $60 a person and includes admission to the event and wine and beer will be served. For more information about the chair affair event, please visit: www.ChairAffair.org or the www.NWFurnitureBank.org.

When asked who he recommended attend the chair affair, Bill replied, “Anybody that is 21 and older and enjoys unique art and also wants to make a difference should attend the event.” The Northwest Furniture Bank’s mission statement is to restore hope, dignity, and stability in community by donating recycled furniture to those in need.


Artist: Kristina Smethers

By: Carly Calabrese, staff for Tacoma.com