Checking back on the ‘old Petco space’ – inside & outside

April 4, 2012 at 5:03 pm | In West Seattle businesses, West Seattle news | 22 Comments

Story and photos by Katie Meyer
Reporting for West Seattle Blog

It’s been two months since we first reported on the mysterious happenings inside the former Petco storefront at 4732 California SW – and now, the brand-new window-painting work has brought a new round of questions.

So we stopped by to see what’s up with Jason Rudolph, who told us back in February about his plans for the space – running his Sound Advertising Group and restoring some legendary animatronic characters.

First – Jason tells us he’ll open the space during the April West Seattle Art Walk next week – 6-9 pm Thursday, April 12th – to showcase work by Jason Sinclair Astorquia and host some live music by Willow & The Embers, so you’ll get to take a look inside for yourself.

While the restoration of the “Rock-afire Explosion” animatronic characters set up at the front of the space continues; Jason adds that most of his staff has moved their workstations from the company offices on 44th SW into this new space.

Painting over the windows with a mural – with just a few intentionally see-through spots – gives the the employees more privacy:

Once finished, the mural will be a colorful creative, original work hand-painted by Japhy Witte, known as “the Sign Savant.”

Petco vacated the space last November to move into its new spot in Capco Plaza at 41st/Alaska.


  1. Awesome!! In full support.

    Comment by Ilovebillybob — 6:45 pm April 4, 2012 #

  2. Sounds Like FUN!! I love how the tongues have been ‘wagging’ around the Junction about ‘what might be going on in there’ ;)

    Comment by Lisa Town — 6:49 pm April 4, 2012 #

  3. Very nice. Love it.

    Comment by stacy — 7:28 pm April 4, 2012 #

  4. I like who they are and what they do, but it feels odd with a large blank zone now in the junction with that painted over. If this is a neighborhood commercial zone – aren’t there requirements for transparency?

    Comment by just wondering — 8:49 pm April 4, 2012 #

  5. Why would there be requirements for transparency? When it was Petco you couldn’t really see in the windows except the stuff the store put there. Most stores are like that in that you can’t see in the store except for the display. That really isn’t transparency.

    Comment by Cecelia Lehmann — 1:09 am April 5, 2012 #

  6. During the day there is a lot of glare on the windows, we thought it would be cool to have a nice art piece up there instead. It makes me happy to see what Japhy’s coming up with and I hope it makes everyone else feel happy too while they’re walking around the junction. Please feel free to stop in on the 12th during the art walk to See Jason Astoquia’s art, hear Willow making pretty music, and meet the Rock-afire explosion.

    Comment by Sound Ad Group — 1:21 am April 5, 2012 #

  7. Sounds awesome!

    Comment by Danielle — 7:14 am April 5, 2012 #

  8. Creepy…. still not sure what they are doing?… are they restoring them to set them up in this space.. to put on shows for Kids… what is the point?…

    Comment by Jtk — 8:13 am April 5, 2012 #

  9. I’m surprised this space will be used for an office instead of retail. Seems like it doesn’t fit in with the junction atmosphere.

    Comment by April — 8:34 am April 5, 2012 #

  10. This isn’t considered to be a long-term use, as noted in our first story. But it’s reminiscent of something the city is trying to facilitate elsewhere in town – though they were NOT involved in this – temporary artsy uses for otherwise empty storefronts. Interesting that it happened spontaneously here! – TR

    Comment by WSB — 8:44 am April 5, 2012 #

  11. Wow. The old A&P must be rolling in its grave.

    Comment by Dave — 9:33 am April 5, 2012 #

  12. That’s right, it’s not forever. For those of you that think it’s creepy and wonder what our point is or believe it could be better used by some large corporate retail chain, we understand that it’s less than ideal to have an office in the middle of the junction which is why we’ve commissioned Japhy to make it more interesting. It’s sort of our gift to the community (sorry if you don’t like your present but it’s the thought that counts, right?)

    Also if it helps to look at it from another perspective, we employ around 20 people currently, most of us live in West Seattle. A few are from Vashon, and a few from surrounding areas. At least 5 days a week we are supporting this community by buying coffee, breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner in the junction. We buy flowers for our spouses here, we bring cakes home to our kids from the bakeries, etc. and it’s our very strong desire to support this community that keeps our company here vs. downtown or in another surrounding area – so thanks for being patient with us. We’ll be less visable soon enough, but still in the neighborhood.

    Comment by Sound Ad Group — 12:07 pm April 5, 2012 #

  13. And don’t forget, that’s 20 fewer cars on the bridge. The space has been a variety of things just in the years we’ve been here – I recall something like a bingo hall at one point??? – and I’m sure at some point in the future it will be redeveloped to a 60-plus-foot building, as is ahead for the north end of the block … I still have yet to see this firsthand and will be interested to stop by on Art Walk night. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 12:15 pm April 5, 2012 #

  14. CL – california ave sw is considered a “principal pedestrain street” same as Pike or Broadway. There are street level development requirements that have been developed to encourage a vibrant pedestrain environment in these areas. Petco was done before these requirements were developed. Didn’t like the blank wall of Petco either. I do like the artwork, which is beautiful. I was just commenting how it it appeared to myself and my family – and expressing my surprise since I know how the permiting/land use process work with the city. TR’s explaination makes sense.

    Comment by just wondering — 12:18 pm April 5, 2012 #

  15. … but what EXACTLY are you doing?… with these puppets??… .. you are re-vamping them for what?.. a show? somewhere??… I’m honestly wondering what it is the outcome will be. Is there a purpose for what you are doing?…

    Comment by Jtk — 12:35 pm April 5, 2012 #

  16. jtk, define purpose. The outcome will be a fully restored animatronic band. Don’t know where they’ll be at that point – hopefully we’ll find a space around town for them to be on display or something. We have no major plan for them except to bring them back to life, after that who knows..

    Comment by Sound Ad Group — 1:17 pm April 5, 2012 #

  17. @jtk maybe the point is…FUN? For the people who purchased the vintage animatronic characters and are painstakingly restoring them, and who appreciate the history/pop culture attached to them? There’s plenty of space so it’s a great place to work on a hobby project like that.
    Maybe EXACTLY the purpose is…FUN?! For the people renting/working in the space, and for people walking by who can see the animatronic characters? (They are not “puppets.)
    Having a hard time understanding why you find this “creepy” and seem rather nervous about it. Perhaps you would find it beneficial to re-read the original story on it, then drop by during the artwalk, enjoy some art and music, and see things for yourself. Cheers.

    Comment by mookie — 1:22 pm April 5, 2012 #

  18. I say .. Creepy, because these things creeped me out as a kid… I admire all vintage things and have a love for that… I wan’t being defensive at all.. we just curious about the outcome… and why someone would put together these old puppets that weren’t really that popular to begin with back in the days…. I wish them luck.. and think it’s great that people have passions they can carry out… I also have my right to think they are creepy… just as some people don’t like clowns.. etc… there is nothing wrong with me.. because I have my own opinion…. Glad to see something taking up that space.. :)

    Comment by Jtk — 1:51 pm April 5, 2012 #

  19. I will admit that in the first stages of restoration they looked a little bit like a crackhead’s strange fever dream and they creeped me out quite a bit. But even still – it was GREAT to see something sort of mysterious and interesting going on in that space for all to see. Even posted on my Facebook about it – glad WSB decided to cover it. I think it’s actually a really cool addition (even if temporary) to the scene down there. I’d love to see it used for event space long term, however what’s more “eventy” than the restoration of a bunch of animatronic characters! :)

    Comment by Cait — 2:54 pm April 5, 2012 #

  20. Love the mystery, love the artwork, love that there are people in our neighborhood using an empty space by filling it with their work and their hobby.

    Comment by ttt — 10:28 pm April 5, 2012 #

  21. This is so cool. I only wish more stuff like this went down in West Seattle.

    Comment by quiz — 2:02 pm April 9, 2012 #

  22. I love this! Keep it up. Can’t make it this time around, I hope you’re participating in the next art walk!

    Comment by yesplease — 6:49 pm April 12, 2012 #

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