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Linda Freed, Calico Cupboard founder, dies at 71

January 6, 2019 GMT

Linda Freed, the woman who founded the Calico Cupboard Café and Bakery, died Tuesday following an illness. She was 71.

“I don’t ever remember her talking about how much money she could make through the restaurant,” said Rod Freed, her husband. “She just enjoyed putting good food in front of people.”

Linda Freed opened the first Calico Cupboard in 1981 in La Conner and expanded to Anacortes and Mount Vernon in 1992 and 1996, respectively.

She opened Seeds Bistro and Bar in La Conner in 2004. She sold that restaurant in September.

Outside of business, Rod Freed said his wife lived a vibrant life. She climbed Mount Rainier twice, hiked to Everest Base Camp on Mount Everest and went on a safari in Africa.


Later in life, he said she developed an interest in raising horses and competed in equestrian sports.

Brenda Schmidt, general manager for Calico Cupboard, worked for Linda Freed for the past 30 years.

“She was an incredible businesswoman,” Schmidt said. “One of the best.”

Schmidt said in the early days, Linda Freed did everything herself. She would spend the morning baking, then come upstairs to work a full shift in the restaurant.

Over the past 15 or so years, Schmidt said Linda Freed had taken a step back from daily operations but continued to exercise her passion for food by brainstorming new recipes with Schmidt.

“The Calico Cupboard will continue to honor what Linda started and what she was passionate about,” Schmidt said.