Another West Seattle business closes abruptly: Tonight, Alki Bakery

November 15, 2010 at 9:44 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle restaurants | 131 Comments

(scroll down for Tuesday updates until we publish a new followup story later)

Thanks to Mike, Diane, and Carol for the tip - Alki Bakery suddenly closed its flagship retail outlet at the beach tonight, after a quarter-century. The official note above reads:

Thank you Alki Neighbors and West Seattle for a great 25 years!

Our lease has run its course and it’s not viable for us to renew at a rate that works for both Alki Bakery and our landlord.

The letter indicates that their other outlets remain open in Georgetown and Kent, and that their products will still be sold at Metropolitan Market (WSB sponsor) and West Seattle Thriftway. In addition to the official letter on the door, a handwritten note addresses “To all the friends and family we couldn’t say goodbye to … Thanks for the good times and memories, love you all.”

(Photo courtesy Mike Jensen)
Alki Bakery was originally located on the opposite corner of 61st and Alki, where Alki Café is now; the now-closed bakery location was previously a drugstore. This is the latest of several sudden business closures in West Seattle, including the restaurants Café Revo in Luna Park (here’s our Oct. 12 report), Table 35 in The Junction (here’s our Nov. 1 report) and the Juneau Street Market north of Morgan Junction. But neither of those was a fixture like Alki Bakery; here’s how Carol expressed her surprise on the WSB Facebook page:

Walked past Alki Bakery this evening and noticed paper covering all of the windows & thought there must be a remodel happening but when I got to the front door there was a sign posted saying the bakery and the landlord could not negotiate a new lease and they are now closed for good as of today. Sad day on Alki!

TUESDAY MORNING: A bakery fan has set up a “Save the Alki Bakery” Facebook page. (added) Outside the bakery at 61st/Alki this morning, WSB’s Ellen Cedergreen found Alki Bakery employee Erin Corriston posting a note on the door to her “regulars.” She told WSB that employees were not informed of the decision to close and that she learned of the closing last night from the store manager:

TUESDAY AFTERNOON: Ellen was told by someone else at the scene that the property owner, Joanne Richey, had died recently. We finally found her obituary, online in the Seattle Times, from four months ago (read it here). The pharmacy mentioned in the story is the one that was at the Alki Bakery site pre-bakery.

131 Comments

  1. What the ??? I don’t know what to say!

    Comment by add — 9:46 pm November 15, 2010 #

  2. That is soooo sad! It has been a “place” to go to meet friends, take the grandkids for cinnamon rolls, …. too many places going out of business. Too many people really hurting. I hate this ….

    Comment by CitizenR — 9:50 pm November 15, 2010 #

  3. Sad!! The economy is getting better so says the goverment?

    Comment by europeancardriver — 9:55 pm November 15, 2010 #

  4. This is horrible news!

    Comment by Cami — 9:55 pm November 15, 2010 #

  5. I’m real curious who the landlord is who priced them out of staying….way to go !!!

    Comment by JanS — 9:57 pm November 15, 2010 #

  6. No-o-o-o-o-o!

    Sure, I can go to First Avenue South to hang out. But…it’s not Alki.

    Methinks the landlord already has a prospective tenant lined up, willing to pay higher rent.

    Comment by BakeryLover — 9:58 pm November 15, 2010 #

  7. I never found the staff there to be very friendly, anyway. Bakery Noveau is far superior.

    Comment by RTS — 10:03 pm November 15, 2010 #

  8. Very sad.

    Comment by K — 10:05 pm November 15, 2010 #

  9. Shocked…Ugh, so sad! They had the best chocolate chip macaroons and turkey sandwiches ever! Wish I had stopped by the other day when the cravings were calling… They will be missed.

    Comment by JB — 10:06 pm November 15, 2010 #

  10. Very sad news. I have fond memories of my, now 16 year old son, and myself going there after I picked him up from school at Alki elementary for chowder and bread. We’d sit at a window table and talk about our day. Too much greed these days. Diminishing value for tradition. Well put CitizenR. I hate this too.

    Comment by Danielle — 10:11 pm November 15, 2010 #

  11. Very sad! I will miss the Italian Chop salad and awesome cinnamon rolls not to mention the fun times meeting with family and friends at this great spot! Bummer the landlord has to price out a tenant of 25 years!

    Comment by @binkstwit — 10:12 pm November 15, 2010 #

  12. Hopefully it’s another Starbucks!!! I’m so glad we are restoring America’s corporate honor,

    Comment by Teabagger — 10:12 pm November 15, 2010 #

  13. What!!!!!!!! Nooooooooo.

    Comment by ad — 10:17 pm November 15, 2010 #

  14. Boo Mr Landlord

    Comment by clark5080 — 10:20 pm November 15, 2010 #

  15. SO wrong. DAMMIT. My favorite spot for coffee and delicious carbs on the water…. :-<

    Comment by Joan — 10:22 pm November 15, 2010 #

  16. Bakery Noveau is too expensive! And I’ve never found the Alki Bakery people to be unfriendly! Guess if you feel that way it’s ok … but I still say too many people are having a hard time and this just puts more people out of a job!

    Comment by CitizenR — 10:29 pm November 15, 2010 #

  17. Can you find out the building owner via the address on the county tax site. Then you could send that person a lovely message about how they ruined a wonderful spot because they were too darn greedy.

    Comment by coffee — 10:34 pm November 15, 2010 #

  18. I am… very sad right now. I live far away from there now, but still stopped by anytime I was in the area. I worked there for about 8 months when it first opened up after the car went through the front door. I’m going to miss it so much.

    Comment by Jessica — 10:36 pm November 15, 2010 #

  19. That was my first summer job back in the day when they still made the baked goods in back and before the car drove through it. Lots of memories, that’s very sad. :-(

    Comment by Glenda — 11:01 pm November 15, 2010 #

  20. Very surprising and sad to hear about Alki Bakery. It was such a huge part of the neighborhood.

    Teabagger – Yes, Starbucks is a very large company, but as a 9 year partner I can assure you it is filled with hard working, bill paying, grocery shopping, WSB reading real people that truly want to provide customers with a great experience. We don’t rejoice over small company misfortunes because they are our neighbors and we are their customers too.

    I hope Alki Bakery can find an even better location and bounce back soon.

    Comment by Evil Corporate Drone — 11:02 pm November 15, 2010 #

  21. Nooooooooooo! I meet friends there at least once a week for coffee or lunch or to write. This is SO sad. :(

    Comment by Beth — 11:05 pm November 15, 2010 #

  22. Sorry to see it go, really sorry. But stop this – its the economy crap. Revo and Table 35 were horrible places that deserved to close, this just sounds like a greedy landlord not a loss of business.

    Comment by Stanely — 11:06 pm November 15, 2010 #

  23. Just as many places are opening too…Wing Dome, Tuscan Tea Room, Heartland Cafe, etc. It’s just business.

    Comment by beach drive — 11:15 pm November 15, 2010 #

  24. So unfortunate. Many fond memories, standing out in the rain waiting to smell the beautiful baked goods.The preferred place for all out of town guests. It became a Saturday ritual. I’m so sad to hear this news.

    Comment by Shawna — 11:16 pm November 15, 2010 #

  25. Yes, thank you for the “cup half full” addition, BD … it is cyclical … but there hasn’t been a span like this in a while with a spate of sudden shutdowns … which is why I remarked about them. Heartland’s been a while, though, I think they just had an anniversary! Anyway, and more in the works, like Locol, West Seattle Fabric Company, Jonny Bostons …

    Comment by WSB — 11:30 pm November 15, 2010 #

  26. So if its a lease issue, could that mean they can/will repopen, albeit in a new location? It doesn’t sound like their business model was floundering, just their landlord… It was a great spot, will miss it.

    Comment by george — 11:34 pm November 15, 2010 #

  27. Unbelievable! So sad to hear about this… We go there with the kids almost every weekend and several times during the week.

    It is the highlight of the beach for us.

    I hope somehow that things can be turned around and they will re-open. They did it once before!

    Comment by LS — 11:36 pm November 15, 2010 #

  28. As RTS wrote above, the staff there wasn’t very friendly. I totally agreee. In fact, they were downright rude on more than one occasion to my elderly mom and we stopped going there. The location on 1st Avenue was always better (But of course it’s not on Alki).

    Comment by Bernie — 11:39 pm November 15, 2010 #

  29. SO shocked to hear this. We live two blocks away and loved our walks to great chowder (not the boxed, corporated stuff at spuds) and sandwiches.

    And to the defender of starbucks, I lost respect for them as a “successful”, “local” business when they took over the Seattle’s Best on 1st and Pine and tried to retro it out to mirror their flagship location. Howard’s greed knows no bounds, regardless of what the partners themselves are or aren’t going through (this from an ex-partner).

    Here’s hoping they get a great lease in an equally great location, and that greedy landlord ends up with vacant real estate for a long, long time. This is no time for greed.

    Comment by josh — 11:41 pm November 15, 2010 #

  30. I will miss the bakery. I always made it a point to visit when I was home from NYC. I would get my sugar and carb buzz and sit outside on the water in peace. I don’t wish ill on the landlord or the new tenant. I will probably visit Tully’s in December but I will need my “guilt free” carbs. I guess that I will have to visit California Avenue prior to dropping onto the beach.

    Comment by lauren — 11:54 pm November 15, 2010 #

  31. Sure… Blame it on the landlord with absolutely no information. What’s wrong with you people?? Perhaps the landlord was willing to cut their rent.. Perhaps they just wanted a 6 year lease and the tenant wanted 3.,, perhaps they just needed to close a store and this one was the most convent because some of you stopped going as often. Seriously… Let’s jump to some more conclusions while we’re at it. If this bakery is doing well enough, they’ll open within a few blocks! Plenty of real estate open right now… Get over youselves and take business 101.

    Comment by Doug — 11:56 pm November 15, 2010 #

  32. People… this isn’t the landlord’s fault. Sorry to bear the news, but if Bakery Nuveau wasn’t kicking Alki Bakery’s booty, this wouldn’t have happened. There should have been room for both.
    .
    Geez, and I thought the Bakery’s lines were bad before!

    Comment by EyeLiveInWS — 12:02 am November 16, 2010 #

  33. I would echo Doug – the note did seem to go out of its way to say they couldn’t work out terms mutually agreeable, so who knows who was to “blame,” if anybody. Meantime, there’s even more real estate coming into that block, since as noted here a few months back (and as you’ve seen if you’ve been to Alki lately), the new commercial building on the site of the old Pegasus Pizza is under construction, and at least when we talked with its owner while the old one was being demolished, it was in search of a tenant. If we are able to get more information from key players on this, we’ll follow up … particularly on the question of whether they might return to the beach in a different space. By the way, we also noticed recently that there’s a stand with Alki Bakery treats on the baggage-claim level of Sea-Tac … TR

    Comment by WSB — 12:03 am November 16, 2010 #

  34. Apparently the economy IS getting better, if the landlord thinks they can get more money for the space.
    .
    Not sure it was really greed so much as a higher market value (how long ago did the last lease get signed?), but in any case, here’s hoping that another business in tune with the neighborhood opens in the space.

    Comment by Michael — 12:15 am November 16, 2010 #

  35. This is really really sad. Alki Bakery was often one of the only reasons I would visit Alki from my Greenlake/Wallingford neighborhood. The cinnamon rolls were our favorite in the city. The service was always welcoming and ambiance comforting. We’ll miss you.

    Comment by Matt — 12:49 am November 16, 2010 #

  36. No Warning at all . . . very sad.

    Comment by Noelle — 1:29 am November 16, 2010 #

  37. I can’t believe it…I have always loved the Alki Bakery ever since I first moved to Seattle in ’95 and lived down on Alki. I would go the Liberty Deli for breakfast (excellent granola and bagels), and the Alki Bakery for lunch (chicken cashew crunch).

    I remember the night a car ran into it and how they were sure they would reopen the next day, but it took almost a year.

    @Danielle My 4 year old son and I went there regularly for clam chowder. I had hoped we would have many more years to enjoy that ritual too.

    Comment by Brontosaurus — 2:04 am November 16, 2010 #

  38. I seriously doubt Bakery Nouveau is “kicking” anyone’s butt in WS. Totally different product and if you want to talk about unfriendly staff – BN wins the cake on that one.

    Comment by homesweethome — 5:28 am November 16, 2010 #

  39. This is very sad news. I’m going to miss the fresh, warm cinnamon rolls. My husband and I loved walking down there on weekends. The staff, food, and coffee will be missed!

    Comment by Dc — 5:47 am November 16, 2010 #

  40. Sad to hear. I have lived in the Alki neigborhood since 1991 and the Alki Bakery was one of the first businesses I frequented, and still do. Over the years the staff has come and gone. Some were great, others less enthusiastic, but I have found the quality of the products consistently good. Given the success of the other Alki Bakery locations, I have to believe this is a matter of the price of rent. The restaurant business is one of the toughest to succeeed in and it is to their credit they made it so long. We’ll miss them on the beach, but I’ll continue to be a regular at the First Ave. location.

    Comment by Eaglewatch — 6:14 am November 16, 2010 #

  41. I loved hanging out there, in the winter especially, with warm drinks and bakery items…watching the water, seagulls and bundled up beach walkers. I’m very saddened by this sudden turn of events.

    Comment by CanDo — 6:56 am November 16, 2010 #

  42. Just started a facebook page in hopes of letting the landlord know we LOVE the BAKERY and we want it to stay! Please LIKE it and share it with your friends!

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Save-the-Alki-Bakery/141333009252969

    Comment by Cami — 7:02 am November 16, 2010 #

  43. Why does everyone assume the landlord is being greedy? Maybe he wanted a 5 year lease and they only wanted 3, maybe he wanted more of a personal guarantee that they could pay the rent. There are many more elements that go into a lease than just price, then again, it might be price but nothing said so far would indicate any of that. There are not many businesses that can do well there 12 months a year.

    Comment by Carson — 7:04 am November 16, 2010 #

  44. Wow! Shocked. This is major.

    Comment by knm — 7:10 am November 16, 2010 #

  45. A friend forwarded this to me last night and reading it this morning makes me VERY VERY SAD. We live in Fresno now and if you asked me what I missed about my hometown the FIRST THING (after family and friends) was Alki Bakery. Visitors from Seattle who were traveling by plane were not allowed entry in Fresno WITHOUT Alki Bakery cinnamon rolls. I miss those miserable weather walks at the beach ……… so we could go to THE bakery afterwards. Once I was denied cinnamon rolls because they sold out that day. Talk about pissed – I travel 900 miles and NO cinnamon rolls. Then another time I was the one who got the last cinnamon roll and beat out someone from New York City …….. Good Times.

    Comment by Fresno Andy — 7:30 am November 16, 2010 #

  46. That’s pretty shocking. I never quite understand why landlords price out popular, long term business. It’s hard to imagine another place being able to pay higher rent, unless there’s another chain store of some sort in the pipeline.

    Comment by Jeff — 7:35 am November 16, 2010 #

  47. Wow, no warning, that is the hardest part. I will miss much about the Bakery, but mostly I will miss seeing near-daily the people that I have grown to call friends over the years. To Sarah, Ray, Francie and the whole wonderful crew: I know you are reeling from this news. I know you are wondering what is next. I am happy to write letters of recommendation and would love to take you out for a cuppa … just have to figure out where the heck to do that now. So sad. I will miss you all gobs.

    Comment by Allison Carver — 7:36 am November 16, 2010 #

  48. this is sad. I wonder if it is the same property owner who “flipped” the old grocery store more than 10 years ago.

    Lets hope the next business isn’t a payday lender.

    Comment by sa — 7:39 am November 16, 2010 #

  49. Good Luck with the landlord…

    JOANNE RICHEY
    PO BOX 25
    OCEAN SHORES WA 98569

    Comment by Carson — 7:46 am November 16, 2010 #

  50. We are really sad to see the Bakery close, for many reasons…we went through countless cookie cards! As for Bakery Nouveau as a substitute, how could driving up to Cali Ave be so? Totally misses the point. And I cannot imagine what will go there in its place…

    Comment by CarraignaSplinkeen — 7:49 am November 16, 2010 #

  51. Don’t blame or harass the landlord. You might as well blame the weather. Its very hard to keep a location open that only makes money in 5 out of 12 months. Blame is not the way to go, but if you have to, include in the blame game the company. This frees up a lot of money to put into the other 2 locations that thrive year-round. Support the other locations and buy wholesale too.

    Comment by inside — 7:55 am November 16, 2010 #

  52. how is this possible? this was a tradition for our family, our three little girls grew up eating the chowder there… it is our “feel good” spot on a bad day :( after dr.’s appointments, or a hard day at school. I am heartbroken :(I hope we find out more information. I would love to blame the landlord but will keep my mind open. mostly, I am just very very sad. we love bakery nouveau but it is not the same, and not as kid friendly (and EXPENSIVE.) where will we go now :( the bakery was a solid part of our family… always a happy spot for me and my girls and a treat there could really turn our day around. so so sad.

    Comment by pam — 7:58 am November 16, 2010 #

  53. How in the heck can a business survive and thrive for 25 years (!), and then shutter overnight because of no agreement on a lease. Especially on Alki Beach ! While the landlord has a right to exact a fair lease fee, they also should take into account the consequences if their rates are too high to be sustained by the leasing party. More people out of work, a neighborhood ‘icon’ gone. This is flipping outrageous.

    Comment by Petert — 8:00 am November 16, 2010 #

  54. I am deeply saddened to have lost this location! Besides this being the preferred lunch location for myself and friends when at Alki, I have always spent a lazy morning here whenever I have vacation. Oddly enough, I am currently on vacation and had planned to go this AM. I’m glad I saw this before heading out. To the landlord – you have lost an active and lively business that was a cornerstone of Alki for many people.

    Comment by Luvsseattle — 8:13 am November 16, 2010 #

  55. So sorry to see it go, but maybe they’ll open down the beach. They have a place near the Gift Center, too, don’t they? They sell at Met Market, too.

    Who knows what happened! But, no matter, it’s sad to see people lose jobs, and it’s just so sudden. I love that bakery! Maybe people should try Heavenly Bakery in Admiral………..any news on that yet? Just a thought for a place to get cinnamon rolls until Alki Bakery rears its’ bakery head in a new place (hopefully).

    Comment by diannet — 8:14 am November 16, 2010 #

  56. What!!! This is crazy!

    I used to live near there and loved walking there for cinnamon rolls on Sunday mornings. Now, I’m a bit further and love stopping by on my bike for a snack and to hang out. Just a great atmosphere to enjoy the energy of Alki. Figured they were an anchor on the Alki strip. Can’t believe they are closing. It really won’t be the same down there now..

    Comment by Todd — 8:26 am November 16, 2010 #

  57. diannet…Heavenly Bakery in Admiral has closed that location…so no bakery. They didn’t have cinnamon rolls, anyway …

    Comment by JanS — 8:27 am November 16, 2010 #

  58. Josh, Starbucks didn’t really “take over” the Seattle’s Best location on First, as Seattle’s Best and Starbucks are the same company. They decided that particular location would work better as a Starbucks rather than an SBC.
    I find it hilarious when people think they’re sticking it to Starbucks by choosing to buy from SBC.
    Anyway, without getting into too much detail, my husband works at Starbucks’ corporate, and they are still trying to treat their employees well, despite the hard last few years. Just this morning the company announced a new paid holiday (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day) and an increased 401(k) match (100% of the first 6% contributed by employees). Where other companies are scaling back employee benefits and blaming “the economy,” Starbucks is scaling back other expenses and trying to improve employee benefits.

    Comment by SarahScoot — 8:38 am November 16, 2010 #

  59. comparing alki bakery and bakery nouveau is like comparing apples and oranges. they were two very different places. was there this past sunday, in truly crappy weather and once again had great food, fine service and a lovely experience looking out at the fog talking with friends. despite the weather, the place was almost full the whole time we were there. where else on alki can you get drop in baked goods? the full breakfast places don’t really count-too expensive when i often just want something small. alki bakery really seemed to fit a niche there :( especially in the wintertime-that tends to be when i end up on alki more often.

    Comment by lina rose — 8:49 am November 16, 2010 #

  60. Oh Sarah and Alki Bakery crew: You will be missed. Thanks for the consistently quality sandwiches and coffee. I watched you patiently deal with the customers yammering away on cell phones, the customers who stood in line for 10 minutes and then when they got to you bothered to look at the menu and figure out what they wanted, the lines out the door when the sun came out, the rude people… and me! Good luck to you. BTW, for those of you happy to have Joanne Richey’s contact information — act with grace. Mrs. Richey always lived above the bakery and she just recently passed away. This is the Richey family that owned Richey’s Seaside Drugs at the location before the bakery.

    Comment by Andrea — 8:52 am November 16, 2010 #

  61. I feel like crying right now. Landlords just SUCK. Does it always have to be about money? The Alki bakery was a big part of our lives. It was the very first place we took our daughter after she was born, back in 2001 – I have photos of her there at 4 days old. And it was one of the last places I went with my mom before she passed away. I am just so shocked and sad.

    Comment by Kathleen — 8:57 am November 16, 2010 #

  62. This is very sad for my wife and I. We live nearby and loved to go down for a cinnamon roll or a croissant on weekend mornings. I was shocked to get off the bus and see the signs last night. Like someone else said, I thought the paper on the windows was for a remodel.

    Like some others have said, it’s tempting to blame the landlord. Let’s be honest, food service is a tough business, and unless you’re in the know about Alki Bakery’s finances, it’s very conceivable that this has been a while in coming, and the inability to reach a mutually beneficial lease was just the tipping point.

    My greatest concern is for the employees of this location. I hope that they are able to be transferred to other locations easily.

    To those from Alki Bakery: Thank you for providing a great place to drop by for a treat those mornings. We’ll miss you. If you can re-open somewhere along Alki, we’d love it. If not, best of luck to you.

    Comment by Mark K — 9:04 am November 16, 2010 #

  63. NOOOOOOOOOOO! This place was a big part of West Seattle. Sure, Bakery Nouveau is better, but that’s irrelevant. West Seattle has room for more than one good bakery. Actually, strike that, we NEED more than one good bakery. The Alki Bakery was awesome, had the best cinnamon rolls anywhere, and will be missed. I wish they’d at least stayed open through thanksgiving pie season. :(

    Comment by Alex — 9:11 am November 16, 2010 #

  64. Sad, yes… but i’m very excited to see what other business goes in there and am looking forward to a different option on the beach!

    Comment by AM — 9:13 am November 16, 2010 #

  65. Aren’t there a handful of local WS businesses that are so good and do things the right way and are so well supported in the community that you just expect them to flourish in any economy? Easy Street, Elliott Bay, Husky Deli, JaKs, Alki Bakery to name a few. Don’t these places help make West Seattle what it is – a great place to call home?
    WIthout places like these, might as well move to Lynnwood or Federal Way.

    Comment by AlkiJoe — 9:17 am November 16, 2010 #

  66. Just because no one has said it yet, Trader Joes.

    Comment by Rower — 9:25 am November 16, 2010 #

  67. I was just reading the blog, getting ready to head out and go there for morning coffee and a treat. I got nothing to add but more shock. The entire Loblaw clan loved this place for many years.

    Comment by Bob Loblaw — 9:27 am November 16, 2010 #

  68. Landlords have bills to pay too. Its not just free money when they collect a lease.
    Starbucks buying SBC was the only way they could be call “Seattle’s Best!” :)
    It is something of a cheap shot to put a sign out on the front door blaming the landlord for all your troubles and closing. Perhaps the business model wasn’t sustaining expenses and liabilites, and whose fault it that. THAT was the only reason??
    Why shut the door at the customers with the quick closing. Many of them would have enjoyed a last treat before the doors shut. Did you at least forewarn the employees they would/could be losing jobs? They may have been able to enjoy their last day, although since there doesn’t appear to be a “leak” about the closing, we could assume no. These are questions for an interview, not assumptions.

    Comment by george — 9:55 am November 16, 2010 #

  69. Sad, but not surprised. It had been over a year since I had gone to the bakery when I stopped in last week to grab lunch and do some work online. There was a sign announcing that their espresso machines were broken (no espresso!!) and the gal who had just come on shift didn’t even know – her team hadn’t even told her. Lunch was just OK, but their WiFi was terrible and I could not keep a connection going. I left as soon as I’d finished eating. I have always favored local over the monster coffee chains, but it is easy to see why their Starbucks neighbor was literally eating their lunch. Will miss them, but hope the Cafe is still in good stead?

    Chuck

    Comment by Chuck and Sally\'s Van Man — 9:57 am November 16, 2010 #

  70. And we are working on a followup. A WSB team member has gathered some more info at the scene; we have inquiries out, and will share additional information as we get it – soon as we can confirm some of what we are hearing – TR

    Comment by WSB — 10:00 am November 16, 2010 #

  71. Sad to see a familiar face go….but I really don’t think their food was all that great and I have also had really bad service at alki bakery….I think in this economy, with the bakery competition out there raising the bar, having a dry muffin and a couple tasteless cookies just doesn’t cut it.

    I really hope a different local bakery or cafe opens up in this location. Alki needs a place to get local espresso (not starbucks) and a yummy sandwich.

    Comment by Dana — 10:59 am November 16, 2010 #

  72. I agree with Dana, I am always sad to see most any business disappear but I too had a couple of bad experiences with customer service so that I quit going a few years ago.

    Comment by M — 11:28 am November 16, 2010 #

  73. So, the food wasn’t all that great, dry muffins, tasteless cookies, no espresso, WiFi terrible, you should be happy the place is closed! What does make you happy? Negativity reigns supreme.
    I, will miss the Bakery, where else can you get a view like that, or the grand collection of posters? The servers were friendly, and willing to answer countless dumb questions daily!
    I am very sorry to see it close, you, with your eyes focused on your computers will have to find another place…

    Comment by Barb — 11:40 am November 16, 2010 #

  74. Did they actually “bake” anything there?

    I hope we get another “third place” type of establishment to take its place. The retail environment down there is pretty brutal though.

    Comment by Rower — 11:50 am November 16, 2010 #

  75. just to make things clear. nothing was told to any of the bakery workers either. i know we appreciate all of you who feel for us, but for the people who are saying rude remarks about them not caring about the bakery closing, put yourself in our places, just getting layed off without any notice..i cant gaurantee its not a place anyone would like to be put in, or should be..just to make things clear. nothing was told to any of the bakery workers either. i recieved a call late last night by one of my supervisors saying that the bakery was officially closed. i thought it was a joke and kept telling them to stop messing around with me, since i was supposed to be at work wednesday. they replied, no it’s not a joke, they needed updated addresses to send out paychecks for our work, (we didn’t even get to finish a full work week). their putting paper on the windows and moving everything out. NONE of us had a warning. it’s very sad since we all we’re good friends, and especially with the holidays coming up, it’s very unexpected. I wish i was able to say goodbye to the customers that would come in everyday and became someone i looked forward to seeing. we all really appreciate everyone who came in and made all of our days. we love all of you guys and wish we could have had one last day to say thank you for everything you brought to us.

    Comment by d. — 11:57 am November 16, 2010 #

  76. Wow, no notice to the people who work there! That’s cold. I hope WSB finds out if they are being given any severence or the opportunity to take jobs at the other Alki Bakery establishments.

    If not, would anyone continue to buy thier products or patronize thier other locations?

    Comment by sunshine — 12:24 pm November 16, 2010 #

  77. Heart breaking news. I will miss them! Their great service, great people, and great food. We live just down the street, and the cinnamon rolls were a great treat on most weekend mornings. And even on some weeknights if i had a bad day. And then there were the chocolate crinkle cookies! And the free wifi. This is terrible news. I don’t understand it. Every time I went in there, the place always had lots of people in there, not just during tourist season. If they couldn’t afford the rent, i can’t imagine who could.

    I do hope someone moves in there soon. It would be terrible to have another empty storefront on Alki. Bad enough the old Pegasus location has been vacant for so long.

    Yes, I can still get their amazing cinamon rolls at Metropolitan Market and Thriftway, but they are never as good as when you get them at Alki Bakery fresh, just frosted and still warm from the oven.

    Comment by Lirpa — 12:28 pm November 16, 2010 #

  78. While the Facebook page to “save” the bakery is a nice concept, I can’t help but think there is a LOT more to the story here. Smells to me like they may have wanted out and found a good excuse. But I’m a little doubtful you’ll see them reopen further down the street. I’ll be curious to see what you find out WSB.

    For all of you missing the cinnamon rolls, at least they are available at Metropolitan Market. Not the same, I know, but still.

    Rower – they used to actually “bake” everything there, then they moved it all to the Georgetown location and started doing wholesale and supplying groceries etc. But Alki Bakery in that spot was the original and actual bakery.

    It does seem funny though to have your brand called “Alki Bakery” and not have one actually on Alki anywhere.

    Comment by Glendafrench — 12:33 pm November 16, 2010 #

  79. Condos, WE NEED MORE CONDOS!!!
    .
    .
    Actually, I hope a health food store goes in or maybe a running gear shop.

    Too many donuts make daddy a fatty.

    Sucks to be out of work for those folks though.

    Comment by Dean — 1:13 pm November 16, 2010 #

  80. It could be simply that the landlord and the tenant simply couldn’t come to an agreement they believed would be co-mutually beneficial. I’ve been seeing lots of long-term businesses (Lombardi’s in Ballard, for instance) closing their doors. It’s a shame, because rent forgone because a location stays empty for many months might take many years to make up for once good economic times return – landlords tend to think that lowering rents sets a new floor for all future rent increases.

    Comment by Steve C. — 1:15 pm November 16, 2010 #

  81. and to add to that note. only a couple of long term employees are being offered jobs at other locations, and everyone else is S.O.L.

    Comment by d. — 1:18 pm November 16, 2010 #

  82. Glendafrench – It’s true that it might be a longshot to Save the Alki Bakery, but one can always hope – and if it can’t be saved, we can all surely let them know how much they will be missed by the Alki/West Seattle/Seattle community!

    Comment by Cami — 1:25 pm November 16, 2010 #

  83. FWIW, as of right now, my request to talk with the company owner has gone unanswered. Meantime, while checking out the scene for us this morning – see the added photo and info above – WSB contributor Ellen Cedergreen was told that the property owner, Joanne Richey, had passed away recently. I finally found the obit (she went by her middle name, so it required various search permutations) …she died four months ago. She and her husband Charles (who died five years ago) had quite the local history – Seaside Pharmacy is what was in the building pre-bakery.
    .
    http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/seattletimes/obituary.aspx?n=elenor-joanne-richey-bullock&pid=144485922

    Comment by WSB — 1:31 pm November 16, 2010 #

  84. HUGE LOSS!!!!! ALKI Bakery IS Alki!

    Comment by sad day — 1:32 pm November 16, 2010 #

  85. It all makes much more sense now. The estate probably needs to sell the property, why would they sign the current tenant to a less than market lease which lowers the eventual selling price. They owned the building for years and unless they had taken out 2nd Mortgages owned it cheap compared to what it would be worth today.

    Comment by Carson — 1:45 pm November 16, 2010 #

  86. When 25 year old, beloved by the community business runs out and shafts employees like that… Something doesn’t smell right here…
    .
    Carson, I see your point, but why the run out in the middle of the night? Why such slap on the face of employees and community? They have reputation to protect for the sake of other locations…
    .
    WSB, please, keep digging…

    Comment by Baba — 1:59 pm November 16, 2010 #

  87. I have been around here since 1978 and went to Seaside Pharmacy. I knew the Richey’s by sight but not personally. I believe they lived upstairs till very recently and probably gave the Bakery a good rent. With estates passing things change. Many of the condos on Alki Ave were built right after someone died and the estate had to be divided and taxes paid. In any case things may have changed here. I don’t know the details but I did enjoy the Alki Bakery and hope something can be worked out. I liked the common folks non-pretentious character of the place.

    Comment by Will o the wisp — 2:09 pm November 16, 2010 #

  88. This doesn’t smell right to me. If it was purely a lease issue, I’d like to think they wouldn’t have closed so abruptly without giving their employees any warning. Or perhaps thats just how the owner does business? :(

    Comment by Jacob — 2:43 pm November 16, 2010 #

  89. I just noticed paper on the windows of Revo too — has that new restaurant closed too? Its on Avalon near the Luna Park Cafe.

    Comment by Gillian — 2:53 pm November 16, 2010 #

  90. This isn’t new news. I heard they were going to close a month ago. Doesn’t surprise me.

    Comment by Louise — 3:24 pm November 16, 2010 #

  91. Baba,

    The more we learn the more it seems there are 2 issues at play here.

    What is the whole story behind why they are leaving that location (lease) and Why does it seem the employees are being treated so poorly.

    I suspect it will take a few days and the entire story will come out. We can all take guesses, but thats what they are, guesses.

    Comment by Carson — 3:31 pm November 16, 2010 #

  92. I work in commercial real estate and leases are worked out well before the end of a lease. There is no suprise when the last day arrives. Why weren’t the employees notified? That indicates more issues with Alki Bakery and not the landlord. I can guarantee you the owners of Alki knew it was closing and why and by shutting the doors with no notice is a sign that something else besides the lease is going on. Still, very sad.

    Comment by Betty — 3:31 pm November 16, 2010 #

  93. I wonder if the hair salon is staying?

    Comment by Cami — 3:43 pm November 16, 2010 #

  94. Closing on the night of the 15th, probably means that they haven’t paid rent for November, or the bakery does split month rent. I think the Alki Bakery corporation, not the landlord’s estate should be taking the flak. The landlord didn’t screw the employees over. The AB Corporation did.

    Comment by Gina — 3:59 pm November 16, 2010 #

  95. Is this the same landlord that was involved with the BECU attempt to renew its lease for the ATM. I am a bit concerned as businesses here in Alki struggle until the summer months. Having a selection of places one can walk to for food is down one more.

    Comment by mike — 4:08 pm November 16, 2010 #

  96. Sad…I’ve enjoyed many an afternoon or Sunday morning enjoying the fine coffee and baked goods while pondering the Sound or the many event posters.
    .
    You will be missed.

    Comment by lenguamor — 4:10 pm November 16, 2010 #

  97. Gillian – umm, wow. Revo closed last month, and that closure has been mentioned so many times on this blog, and in this very story (that you clearly didn’t actually read). How lazy can you get?

    To those of you getting mad about Alki Bakery closing up shop on its employees: I agree that it’s really crappy. Crappy practice from a crappy business. But I’d like to know where the outrage was when Square 1 Books did exactly the same thing to its employees a few months back. No one felt bad for those employees. What’s that about?

    Comment by J.J. — 4:13 pm November 16, 2010 #

  98. Anyone who visits a new establishment where Alki Bakery stood is an utter SCUMBAG. Time to boycott for real. Seattle has turned to sh-t.

    Comment by mepriser — 4:29 pm November 16, 2010 #

  99. I am sorry for you employees who abruptly lost your jobs. Really hoping you will find something very soon!!

    Comment by ellenater — 4:41 pm November 16, 2010 #

  100. I am sad to see another local business gone under…

    I see from above posts that many people enjoying spending time in the cafe while there’s a long lin…well, perhaps that’s the problem…the cafe needs seats to sell goods…but all of you hogging up potential sales..hindering profits…

    Despite of “it’s not just about money”, there are bills to pay, people…

    Just two penny thought…

    Comment by nick — 5:12 pm November 16, 2010 #

  101. Oh ths is such sad news! A friend was just asking earlier about the bakery. I will miss them.
    Isn’t it sad that money prevails over a long time neighborhood establishment?
    I wish them well and hope beyond hope that I wake up tomorrow to learn the landlord has changed his mind! Loyal renters and a popular establishment wins out. What do you think?
    Sign me….wishful thinker!

    Comment by Laurie McQueen — 5:45 pm November 16, 2010 #

  102. Really mepriser? What role do the new tenants have in any of this drama? Nothing.
    I am absolutely amazed someone hasn’t mentioned the bakery should occupy the Alki Homestead. I can picture myself sitting next to a roasty fire with coffee and warm cinnamon rolls. Now that would be a relaxing morning. . . . .

    Comment by West Seattle Art Attack — 5:55 pm November 16, 2010 #

  103. Personally, I think we should do some sort of fundraiser to get the employees through the holidays, and quit speculating on what happened. At least for now. Let’s live in the moment and get something together, find out who the employees are, and do something. Regardless of the reasons, they don’t deserve their holiday to be ruined.

    Comment by Kathy — 6:38 pm November 16, 2010 #

  104. Can someone with a legal background explain what the financial or legal advantage would be for a business to close suddenly, as opposed to letting staff and customers know months or weeks in advance? This seems to be happenning repeatedly and in many cases the owners appear to have known well in advance that they were going to close their doors but chose to spring it on their employees and patrons at the last minute. Why?

    Comment by Edie — 6:56 pm November 16, 2010 #

  105. Edie – closing with no notice prevents theft. I think it’s a completely crappy practice, and is quite cynical, but that’s the main reason. The thought is that if people know their job will not exist in the near future, their morals and scruples go out the window.

    Comment by SarahScoot — 7:13 pm November 16, 2010 #

  106. So close to the holidays and the dedicated employees wake up,come to work and are locked out.No warning,no farewell or thank you,nothing.Rude as hell.Karma sucks for whomever caused this.Im sure someone knew well in advance it was going to close but had no courtesy to tell anyone.Nice

    Comment by Alki Resident — 8:39 pm November 16, 2010 #

  107. The only thing I can assume is that I will likely be a scumbag – because I may visit the next business to go in this spot. People like mepriser are the scumbags. And there are quite a few in this comments section.
    .
    Here is something to think about:
    .
    The owners of Alki Bakery knew if they told these employees too soon, they wouldn’t have workers for the last couple weeks or days or whatever. These owners have known for some time they were going to close this bakery. So, this way, they can eek out more money from their customers while they still could. It’s business. Want something to think about?
    .
    The proof is – did any of you “loyal regulars” even have a hint they would close for good and leave a note scribbled onto a piece of paper like that in the middle of the night? Nope. You didn’t know squat. And you still don’t know a damn thing about what is really going on. Oh, but many of you want to scream and lynch the landlord, but now you find out these fine folks have passed away. You should be a little ashamed with your quick judgment towards land owners.
    .
    If the WSB is a “news” organization, give them a couple days to find out what is REALLY going on. This will all come out soon.

    Comment by NotMe — 8:51 pm November 16, 2010 #

  108. I have a relative that works for the county and said that the Alki Bakery just secured a location in the training facility in Renton that he works out of sometimes. With that, came an exclusive catering deal so that anyone who uses the facility MUST use AB as their caterer. They can no longer bring in outside food or vendors. This is new, because he was responsible for coordinating trainings and always hired the same company to provide lunch. He said this new contract is so big that he doesn’t at all question why AB closed down one of its locations. Pretty crappy of them to not let their employees have adequate notice. Disappointed that I supported a company like that.

    Comment by Danielle — 8:57 pm November 16, 2010 #

  109. Sarah Holmes has been there as a loyal manager forever. I hope they took good care of her and transferred her at least because it sounds like they just left their employees in the dark which is NOT COOL DEFAZIO!

    Comment by Rachel — 9:16 pm November 16, 2010 #

  110. It’s unfortunate. But whats even worse is not telling your employees

    Comment by CB — 9:38 pm November 16, 2010 #

  111. It’s too bad the Bakery ownership didn’t, or couldn’t give the employees and customers a decent amount of notice that the place was closing, and offer monetary incentive to the employees to stay on until the end, thereby calming ownership’s fear of theft or other retribution. Maybe they are just financially unable to do so.

    .

    On my job that I was laid-off from seven plus years ago, my then co-worker and I, (as well as staff at the other remaining retail stores) were very fortunate that our employer offered generous severance packages. I thought those were only given to higher ups on the corporate end of companies, in general, (of which one might assume would be better able, financially, to handle a job loss) not to the “lowly” retail employees.

    .

    The company had decided to close the last few remaining retail stores, (there had been scattered closures of poor performing stores for a few years, and a year before our closure a significant closure of several stores at once, leaving ours amongst the then remaining half of stores) and only offer online and mail order service.

    .

    The incentive to receive the severance was that we had to stay on the job, at our own store, until the last day of business. (Actually the day after the day the store was last open, to help with packing up and clearing out of remaining product and store fixtures).

    .

    We received a certain amount of money, per year of service, (I lucked out having passed the 5 year mark about 1.5 months before, it bumped me up to the next “bracket”). We also got $300, or $400, for staying until the last day, and any vacation/personal time cashed out as well. (My vac/pers was way more than I would have guessed, as I took at least one or two weeks worth of time off throughout each year). Also got to keep the fully subsidized Flex (bus) Pass, which had about another 7 months on it.

    .

    So yeah, felt very fortunate, and thankful towards the company that they were so generous, especially considering the financial issues they’d had for the last few years.

    .

    We actually got about a three month heads-up, but had to keep it under wraps until, IIRC, about a month before the actual closure, when we’d have a specific date.

    .

    The realization of pending unemployment sucked, but at least we had some time to say goodbye to our customers, with whom we had achieved great relationships, and we and they could psych ourselves up for the change.

    .

    I really wish something similar could have happened for the Alki Bakery employees. With some kind of severance from ownership, and I’d be willing to bet some extra generous tips from loyal customers, it would make this sad transition a bit easier, and both employees and customers could say their goodbyes.

    .

    Only being a very occasional visitor, I was never a familiar face there, but know that the Bakery had a loyal following, and a lot of that has to be a reflection on the staff, and the relationships they’d built with their customers.

    .

    Mike

    Comment by miws — 9:58 pm November 16, 2010 #

  112. Hello… on behalf of the staff please listen: I worked for the Alki Bakery on Alki for almost 12 years…YES it is sad and wrong how everything went down. We do not want to hear negative thoughts. We busted our butts to take care of people because WE cared! I am heartbroken that I can’t say good bye to all the friends and FAMILY whom we have gained over the years. To all of our loyal customers we the staff have grown to love, please contact me via face book or email so your LOVE can be heard. My heart breaks every time I think about it. We did the BEST we could with the tools and company support we were given. LOVE ALWAYS <3 your Cafe Manager Sarah Holmes

    Comment by Sarah Holmes — 9:59 pm November 16, 2010 #

  113. Hey Notme how about NOT being A COWARD! no name, not me? sounds pretty discrete…why don’t you put your real name on there so your community knows how you REALLY feel? BTW THAT was MY scribbled last minute note since WE weren’t given ANY warning!!!! SARAH HOLMES my real name by the way…

    Comment by Sarah Holmes — 10:09 pm November 16, 2010 #

  114. I believe NotMe is confusing the handwritten note of goodbye and the typed note from the ownership, both of which we photographed last night and showed, along with another employee note this morning.
    .
    Meantime, the current landlord has posted on the Save The Alki Bakery page wall. I have sent her a note requesting further comment; if none is forthcoming, I will at least include what she wrote there, in a followup here. This is the direct link to her short comment:
    http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=141481729238097&id=141333009252969
    .
    The Alki Bakery ownership still has not responded to our request for an interview/comment. – Tracy

    Comment by WSB — 10:13 pm November 16, 2010 #

  115. Sarah, as I posted above, I was not a regular so we don’t know each other in that regard, but I wish you the best of luck.

    .

    Mike

    Comment by miws — 10:28 pm November 16, 2010 #

  116. While I am always sad to see a local “anchor” close its doors, AND I can empathize with many of the comments expressing sadness over this closure – it was a long time coming.

    The handwriting has been on the wall for almost two years. I live in the area and have witnessed quality deteriorate at the bakery while hours of operation were reduced, more than once.

    It is a sad day indeed, but I’m confident a new, quality business will soon take its place.

    The only constant is change.

    Comment by Bryan — 11:17 pm November 16, 2010 #

  117. I really don’t think its the Alki Landlord’s fault or The Bakery’s owner’s fault that the Alki Bakery closed. Its just a sad turn of events and people want a scape-goat. The only thing to really point a finger at & blame is this sour economy we are all stuck in. Everyone is trying to stream line and make a better profit these days. EVERYONE knows that beach property is higher rent than inland. Alki Bakery can make the same yummy food in their Kent or Georgetown spaces for much less overhead. On the flip side, The Alki Beach landlord needs to charge fair market value for rent. By virtue of its location, that retail space is special and there for pricey. Clearly the money situation really could not come to a compromise. It would have just been nice if the bakery owner and the Alki location landlord had realized their irreconcilable situation a month ago. That way our community could have had a little warning before the doors were closed forever.

    Comment by Noelle — 11:35 pm November 16, 2010 #

  118. Its sounds to me the bakery owner is using the lease as an excuse to save face. He was ready to close shop and escape in the middle of the nite. I am sure selling to stores and restaurants are more profitable now than his bakery on Alki (and less hassle and stress). He will not be opening another bakery on Alki. I certainly cannot say I agree with how he ended an Alki icon or what he did to his staff. And for that, I will not be purchasing his baked goods any longer…

    Comment by WSBoB — 12:04 am November 17, 2010 #

  119. Hey…I’m going to come check out the notes on the door of Alki Bakery around noon….wouldn’t mind seeing any friends or others at that time :)

    Comment by Sarah Holmes — 12:33 am November 17, 2010 #

  120. PLEASE!! Stop dogging the people that own the building! They did NOT ask for this and have lost a very beautiful mother/woman recently.

    Comment by Sarah Holmes — 2:58 am November 17, 2010 #

  121. I know that whatever happens, Sarah will find another opportunity. She was the best employee that the bakery ever had and it was always a pleasure to see her behind the counter. Good luck to you Sarah. You’re consistent friendly attitude is what creates customer loyalty.

    Comment by Eaglewatch — 5:57 am November 17, 2010 #

  122. JJ. When Square One Books closed after several heart wrenching months of attempting to find ways they could make it work, their employees were fully informed on the process and were able to provide input. The full staff knew months in advance of the decision, and indeed, helped for several weeks to prepare for the store’s ultimate closure.

    Speak only what you know about.

    Someone in the know.

    Comment by m2 — 6:58 am November 17, 2010 #

  123. The landlord should not be lambasted for not being a philanthropist. He is in the landlord business to make money. You people are a bunch of typical Seattle dimwits. Maybe you should have volunteered some of your paycheck to help the Alki bakery pay its rent.

    Comment by Phil Dirt — 7:38 am November 17, 2010 #

  124. Alki Bakery

    Warm,messy and sweet
    A place we can look within
    Seagulls cry in rain

    Comment by David Kannas — 7:55 am November 17, 2010 #

  125. Regardless of how any of you feel about the Starbucks concept…the Barista’s at the Alki Starbucks are so much more friendly than the people that worked at the Alki Bakery. They do way more than just take your order..if time permits they chat about movies, how is your day.. They are friends not just people that serve me coffee and breakfast. I could never say that about Alki Bakery people and I went there for years. But all that said, I am really sorry about the way they lost their jobs. Very very cold on the part of the Alki Bakery owner..which means I won’t buy those products at Metropolitan Market anymore. That was just unbelievably cold to let people go without any warning, especially right before the holidays..scratch that..anytime! What does that say about the character of the owner is what I would be asking myself.

    Comment by drb — 8:42 am November 17, 2010 #

  126. I heard this morning from a local, and frequent Alki Bakery patron, that the Landlord passed away, and so the reigns of renting have been passed on. This could possibly be part of the issue, maybe less wiggle room in negotiations.
    Could be just total rumor, but wanted to pass along.
    No doubt WSB will get to the bottom of it!

    Comment by sassy — 9:18 am November 17, 2010 #

  127. Hi, we did report that earlier in this comment thread and added to end of the story. She died in July. The family member who is the landlord now even has posted, albeit briefly, in Facebook. I’m writing a separate story with all that shortly… TR

    Comment by WSB — 9:23 am November 17, 2010 #

  128. As the daughter of a long time “landlord”, I really hate the automatic vitriol that people direct at them. Someone has to own the buildings and collect the rent, don’t assume they’re all bad. Often times BUSINESS OWNERS (i.e. tenants / RENTERS) are the problem, not the landlords. People who don’t pay their rent, bail out on their businesses, don’t take care of the property, etc. This economy is hard on EVERYONE. We have no idea who owns a building, what their situation is, how desperate THEY may be also. So lighten the hell up Liberals… and stop blaming people you didn’t know, without first knowing all the facts.

    Comment by Cheryl — 6:03 pm November 17, 2010 #

  129. Let the facts all come out before anyone jumps to conclusions!

    Comment by MikeoffAlki — 11:04 pm November 17, 2010 #

  130. My family was broken hearted to see one of our traditions broken. The Alki bakery was very dear to us. It was where we would meet friends after we would take the kids to school and it was where we were most Saturday mornings. I was sorry to hear that the employees had no warning that they were losing their jobs. To Sarah and Anthony I will miss seeing and talking with you but I know you’ll be fine. I don’t know the politics of the bakery closing,I just know I’ll miss my hangout.

    Comment by The Leggett family — 11:54 am November 18, 2010 #

  131. A lot of people are saying they hope AB comes back to the beach…maybe they’ll get another location down there,etc. Would any of you REALLY support them after how they went about this? No notice to employee, customers or the community? just curious…

    Comment by prem — 5:32 pm November 18, 2010 #

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