Blake came to Portland to talk of the future closures of several area stores as well as give All-Star awards to the six honorees. He spoke to the full room of Managers and Assistant Managers about each of us announcing my store, Washington Square, last. To my surprise in my introduction he pronounced my Japanese name correctly and I noticed when he talked of each of us he had no notes!
After that morning, I took a piece of paper out of my printer and wrote a note to tell him how nice it was to meet him but how amazing it was to know he could speak of the six of us from different stores, pronounce my Japanese name correctly, and have NO notes!

Within a week, I was the only person on my floor working and I got a personal call from Blake telling me how much he appreciated my hand written note. After that we stay connected.

When I got his note of his cancer, I wrote back and among other things to say with his father going to the Seattle store daily, his genetic strength will see him through…..

He immediately wrote back thanking me for the kind words and thoughts..

He was the kindest caring person and an inspiration to all of us.
I feel so lucky to have met such a man on a personal basis.
He will be so missed.

Marilyn Saito