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Originally published February 1, 2008 at 12:00 AM | Page modified February 16, 2008 at 10:23 AM

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Retail Report

"Cookie-cutterish" wedding registry won't do for Edmonds couple

Forget the Waterford crystal and Wedgwood China. What Mahnaz Sherzoi and George Schoonover really want as they start a new life together...

Seattle Times business reporters

Forget the Waterford crystal and Wedgwood China.

What Mahnaz Sherzoi and George Schoonover really want as they start a new life together is a global positioning system for their Dodge Durango, a $1,200 Tempur-Pedic mattress and a vacuum cleaner powerful enough to pick up pet hair.

Sherzoi, 32, and Schoonover, 33, who are engaged to be married Aug. 2, share a condominium in Edmonds and believe they already have everything needed to host a sit-down dinner with friends and family. "We want things that are functional and relevant to our lifestyle," Sherzoi said.

Sherzoi and Schoonover also are breaking with tradition by registering for wedding gifts on the Internet through Mywedding.com, based on Bainbridge Island.

Online registries make it possible for couples to request anything sold on the Internet, from a down payment on a new house to camping gear or personal electronics, said Nicole Kraft, spokeswoman at Mywedding.com.

"If they're the outdoorsy type and don't cook a lot, maybe they want to register at REI, rather than Macy's," she said. "There really aren't any rules anymore."

Sherzoi said she's registering online because she doesn't want to limit herself to one or two stores, or spend a lot of time shopping; she can add items little by little without ever stepping foot in a mall.

Her registry lists about as many retailers as it does items: The mattress is sold at Tempurpedic.com; the GPS at Amazon.com; and the vacuum cleaner at HomeDepot.com.

"I've been to 10 weddings in the last two years, and everybody chooses Crate & Barrel, Macy's and maybe Target" to register for gifts, Sherzoi said. "It gets cookie-cutterish."

Mywedding.com, a wedding-planning service that makes money by selling ads to photographers, caterers, florists and musicians, began offering online registries in December through a partnership with Seattle's Wishpot.com. The service allows couples to upload photos to free Web sites, where they can also track RSVPs and link to their registries at Wishpot.com.

Three techies from Portland and a Bainbridge Island-based buyer for Bloomingdale's, ranging in age from 31 to 37, started Mywedding.com in 2001. With 20 employees, it sold $3.2 million worth of ads last year, up from $2.4 million in 2006.

Macy's, which does a big business in wedding registries, encourages engaged couples to visit its stores before selecting items, so they "can touch and feel them," said Sherine Woodey, who oversees registries for the retailer's Northwest region. "I don't recommend they only select products from a picture," she said.

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But Macy's also gives couples the option of registering online through a partnership with Weddingchannel.com. Woodey said more than a third of the couples who register with Macy's in the Northwest do so online. "We're trying to cater to the lifestyles of busy couples," she said.

— Amy Martinez

Tidbits

Macy's holds its annual Bridal and Gift Registry Event at its downtown Seattle store Saturday at 10 a.m. in the third-floor Stewart Street room. Jorge Perez, national spokesman for Waterford Crystal, will offer advice on registering for wedding gifts. — AM

Seattle distributor Espresso Machine Contractors is selling La Marzocco's first home-use espresso machine, the La Marzocco GS/3, for $6,000 plus shipping, bringing the total cost to no more than $6,200 in the U.S.

To the chagrin of many espresso fans, the machine is being sold elsewhere for about $7,500, the suggested retail price from its importer, Franke Coffee Systems North America.

"We do make money on it. Not a lot," said Ernest Lee, Espresso Machine's co-owner, who is OK with that and hopes it will attract customers for the future.

— MA

Royce & Associates, a mutual-fund company in New York, has bought 9.12 percent of Jones Soda's common stock, according to a securities filing this week. — MA

The Riveted jeans store in downtown Seattle has been closed since mid-October after flooding in residential units above it damaged the store. Still no word on when it will reopen. The two-year-old store, on First Avenue between Spring and Seneca streets, sold jeans for $150 to $300. — AM

Seattle restaurateur Tom Douglas will speak at the fourth annual Care for the Market Luncheon on March 6 at the Paramount Theatre to benefit human-services agencies that serve low-income and homeless people in downtown Seattle. Suggested minimum donation is $150.

— MA

Nordstrom announced this week plans to open a sixth department store in Southern California's Orange County. The two-story, 138,000-square-foot store is to open in spring 2010 at Fashion Island. — AM

Retail Report appears Fridays. Melissa Allison covers the food and beverage industry. She can be reached at 206-464-3312 or mallison@seattletimes.com. Amy Martinez covers goods, services and online retail. She can be reached at 206-464-2923 or amartinez@seattletimes.com

This story, originally published Feb. 1, was corrected on Feb. 16. An earlier version of this story incorrectly said that the suggested retail price for the La Marzocco GS/3 espresso machine was set by the manufacturer and the importer, Franke Coffee Systems North America. In fact, the suggested retail price is set only by the importer.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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About Retail Report
Retail Report is a look at the trends, issues and people who makeup the dynamic and versatile retail sector throughout the Puget Sound region. Every Friday with Melissa Allison and Amy Martinez. Send tips or comments to mallison@seattletimes.com or amartinez@seattletimes.com.

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