West Seattle, Washington
Today, we welcome Rain Day Spa as a new West Seattle Blog sponsor. New local sponsors get the chance to tell you about what they do – and here’s what Rain Day Spa would like you to know:
When visiting Rain Day Spa, you will find yourself relaxed and pampered. Your spa experience begins with the aroma therapy of eucalyptus, lemon grass, and sweet orange, combined with the soothing sounds of wooden pipes and gentle rain, followed by spa owner Angela’s genuinely warm smile and a complimentary cucumber water.
Our massage and facial tables and our lash chairs are first rate, ensuring absolute comfort during your treatment. We have attracted superior talent to our spa; our masseur and masseuses, estheticians, and lash specialist are experienced and dedicated to the mastery of their craft.
We offer Swedish, therapeutic, and relaxation massages of varying durations, as well as custom European and microdermabrasion / microcurrent facials. Lash extensions and a variety of waxing and tinting services, in addition to LED light treatments, round out the menu. Be sure to add a honey sugar foot massage and scrub to your selection in order to maximize your experience.
Our goal is simple: To enhance your beauty and your enjoyment of life. Located on Harbor Avenue SW in between Salty’s and 7/11, we aim to serve the local community with highly competitive pricing, six days a week. Call 206-203-RAIN (206-203-7246). We look forward to serving you.
We thank Rain Day Spa for sponsoring independent, community-collaborative neighborhood news via WSB; find our current sponsor team listed in directory format here, and find info on joining the team by going here.
Another commercial space at The Whittaker (4755 Fauntleroy Way SW; WSB sponsor) has been leased. Orangetheory Fitness will move into a 3,905-square-foot space in the south building, Weingarten Realty confirms. Orangetheory Fitness is a chain with hundreds of locations, specializing in what it calls “heart-rate-based interval training.” You can see its future location on Weingarten’s Whittaker “site map” above, which also shows that nobody is signed yet for what was to be the Whole Foods space – the site map indicates that could go to two tenants. (The other four businesses shown on the site map – BECU, CityMD, MOD Pizza, and T-Mobile – were announced a year ago and expected to open later this year.)
Ventana Construction (WSB sponsor) has just officially announced its new location – just blocks south of the old one that’s being redeveloped by that site’s owner. Ventana has moved from a log house to a “hacienda”:
We are excited to announce the move of our headquarters to a new location at the corner of California Avenue SW and SW Raymond Streets. This is exactly two blocks south of our leased office location, which was our base of operations for 10 years. Only one digit in the address has changed – 5958 California Avenue SW, Seattle, WA 98136.
Moves are bittersweet, especially given how much we invested in and adored our rented office, but change is part of life-particularly when you’re in the construction business. We feel very lucky to have been able to stay on California Avenue SW in the Morgan Junction neighborhood, which has been our home since the company’s inception in 2003.
We are also thrilled to be stewards of one of the dwindling number of original buildings on California Avenue SW. The Hacienda was built in 1930 and still has the original finishes-mahogany millwork, coved ceilings with heavy texture plaster, a small fireplace with an alcove and red oak floors. It is in remarkably good shape given that it was a rental for most of its years. In the 1937, the tax assessor’s office noted that rent was $30/month.
It’s also one of the few corners that still looks substantially the same as it did in the King County Archive photo [above], which we believe is from the late ’30s. The streetcar tracks are gone, as are the beautiful street lights in the left of the photo, but much is unchanged. Proposed multi-family development planned around our building may soon change the character of this corner of Morgan Junction permanently.
We continue to remodel homes, often with additions and whole-house renovations, in West Seattle and other neighborhoods in the city. We also build custom homes and backyard cottages (DADUs). We welcome inquiries via phone 206-932-3009 and our website www.ventanabuilds.com
We are also proud to have been a supporter of independent, community-collaborative neighborhood news via advertising in the West Seattle Blog for 10 years as of this coming February.
SIDE NOTE: Before you ask, we’ll be checking on the timetable for the move of the house in which Ventana was previously headquartered.
Today we’re welcoming Cup of Hope Baskets and Gifts as a new WSB sponsor. New local sponsors get the opportunity to tell you about themselves, and here’s what Cup of Hope would like you to know:
Summer may not last long here in Seattle, but that doesn’t mean the experience needs to fade. Whether you’ve been a guest in someone’s home or simply want to surprise your guest upon arrival, Cup of Hope Baskets and Gifts offers a selection of designer gift baskets to make those memories last throughout the year.
Every basket we create features an exquisite bone china teacup, boldly designed fine porcelain cup, or a sporty way to carry a favorite beverage, and award-winning luxury organic teas. Filled to the brim with joyful accessories and trimmings, Cup of Hope baskets become treasured keepsakes guaranteed to delight and inspire long after they’re delivered. The collections are designed to be uplifting, and to inspire relaxation, encouragement, celebration and thankfulness.
You deserve something special too, so be sure to learn more about your appreciation gift below.
How Cup of Hope Began: Treating Yourself Is the Best Medicine
Nancy Parker is the founder of Cup of Hope Baskets and Gifts and a breast cancer survivor. Back in 2006, she underwent chemotherapy, the most emotionally draining and vulnerable time in her life. During those treatments, she was served hot tea, but in styrofoam cups. It was there and then she decided that she at least deserved a pretty cup to drink her tea from. Along with her cup, she would pack a few other goodies to go with her tea. That became her first “basket.”
Her baskets got noticed, so Nancy made up more of them for her cancer support group. The ladies loved them! This overwhelmingly positive experience catalyzed her into launching Cup of Hope Baskets and Gifts. “Giving something pretty, tangible and memorable can have an immeasurable impact on someone’s day. And giving something that lasts long after that day, is a continual reminder of just how much you care,” Nancy believes. It’s this philosophy that drives Nancy to continue her gift basket donations to Seattle and Eastside hospitals through patient navigators and social workers. She also provides free delivery to hospitals located on First Hill.
Thank You, West Seattle
As an appreciation to the wonderful West Seattle community, receive a complimentary Be Strong book, filled with quotes that inspire, with your gift basket order placed through the month of August. Use the promo code BESTRONG and save on shipping costs too by selecting the free pickup option when you check out.
We thank Cup of Hope Baskets and Gifts for sponsoring independent, community-collaborative neighborhood news via WSB; find our current sponsor team listed in directory format here, and find info on joining the team by going here.
Artists/designers Jason and Briana are touring cross-country with the Airstream Basecamp trailer they’re standing in front of in our photo, parked right now in front of Click! Design That Fits (4540 California SW; WSB sponsor) in The Junction. Their company is Brainstorm, based in New Hampshire, with prints “inspired by science, nature, and the outdoors”; they won a cross-country trip in the trailer as the prize in a contest to design a wrap for it. They’re chronicling the journey here. Meet them at Click! and check out their pop-up shop until 7 tonight.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Starting today, volunteer community “ambassadors” are visiting businesses along much of Delridge Way in the next phase of the survey we first told you about last week.
This week, we sat down to talk with seven people who are involved in various roles, to find out more about the project’s intent and goals.
Partners in the project include the Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association and West Seattle Chamber of Commerce. DNDA’s director of housing and environmental programs Willard Brown explains that “supporting and helping to organize our business community here in Delridge” emerged as a top priority during work on what was the North Delridge Action Plan in the past few years.
So they sought a city grant to hire a consultant. Working with consultant David Daw – also present for our conversation – “we settled on a survey of businesses to find out their impression of Delridge, their interests, why they are here, what they think of the neighborhood,” and where Delridge is growing and going. Read More
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Kristine Atri is a United States Air Force veteran who says not much scares her.
She in fact is a huge fan of “escape room” game venues.
So much so, that she’s opening the first one in West Seattle, where she and her husband live.
We talked with her today about The Escape Artist, which Atri expects to open this fall in three vacant spaces spanning about 2,500 square feet in the commercial building at 4517 California SW – two on the ground floor, separated by the breezeway, and one upstairs.
First – if you aren’t familiar with the “escape room” concept – it’s a 21st-century phenomenon, Atri explains.
The Delridge Business Survey and Outreach Project is on!
The goal: Reaching, engaging, and learning from Delridge’s many businesses, to gather information that will support “community-led business development in the area,” which hasn’t before had a “shared Delridge economic development vision.”
The project is an offshoot of the Delridge Action Plan, and funded by a city grnat, but, Delridge-area businessperson Parie Hines of LD Arch Design (WSB sponsor) tells us, it’s “led by neighborhood residents and businesses, in addition to the Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association and the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce.”
If you have a business in the Delridge area, between SW Spokane and SW Sylvan Way (South Delridge is not included in this project) – they want to hear from you. “Neighborhood ambassadors” will be making in-person visits in the weeks ahead, and you might get a phone call, but even before someone contacts you, you can answer the survey right now or as soon as you have a few minutes to spare – find it here.
Once the survey is complete, Hines says, the project report, summarizing findings and priorities, will be public in August. Project background is also viewable on the DNDA website and the West Seattle Chamber website.
(2009 WSB photo of the famously altered banner on what was at the time going to be Whole Foods’ original West Seattle site)
When we heard the news this morning about Amazon buying Whole Foods, our question was the same as yours: Will that change WF’s twice-canceled plans for West Seattle?
We’ve been checking around all day and so far … too soon to say.
To recap: The spot where LA Fitness is now, at Fauntleroy/Alaska, was originally supposed to be Whole Foods. Last decade, WF was announced as anchor tenant for what was then to be called Fauntleroy Place. Ground was broken. Project stalled after excavation, becoming “The Hole.” Finally in 2010, Whole Foods announced it was definitely out, since terms of its lease – building a store for it – hadn’t been fulfilled.
Two years later, WF was announced as anchor tenant for the megaproject across the street, now The Whittaker (WSB sponsor). But in March, WF said it had “decided to delay indefinitely” the West Seattle store, and landlord Weingarten said it was “actively working with Whole Foods to find a replacement for the space Whole Foods leased …”
To date, no replacement(s) signed; the online site plan for The Whittaker shows the space as available. We have continued to check periodically with Weingarten spokesperson Carrie Murray, and we’re watching files for the project site; we asked Murray this morning about whether the WF-Amazon deal might change things, and she pointed us to WF, whose regional spokesperson in turn pointed us to corporate HQ, which in turn has not responded. Otherwise, regarding the search for a replacement tenant, Murray said, “We are still working through options.”
West Seattle’s only coworking center has new owners and a new name. Crystal and Rosario Bevilacqua have launched West Seattle Coworking at 6040 California SW, in the space previously known as WS Office Junction. Ross has been coworking there for three years “because we believe in the need for a space to separate work from family life,” says Crystal, explaining that the Bevilacquas are a West Seattle family with four young children. West Seattle Coworking, she adds, is “a space where those from the community can rub shoulders and share resources without having to brave the morning commute.” The center remains open as they work nights and weekends on “freshening up the look and feel of the office”; new signage and a grand-opening celebration are coming up this summer. In the meantime, Crystal says, “I invite all those who want to enhance their productivity to give us a try. We offer a one-day free trial, and our memberships are month to month.” They’re online at westseattlecoworking.com and the best way to book your free trial or get questions answered is via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
P.S. Former Office Junction owners Christine and Stefan are having a farewell party there 6:30-9:30 pm next Tuesday (June 20th) with snacks and drinks, and hope to see those they’ve coworked with these past four years.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Not only has Nurturing Expressions (WSB sponsor) moved into a new, bigger, more-accessible street-level storefront in The Junction, it’s dramatically expanded what’s in stock.
Proprietor Tracy Corey is a registered nurse who’s been a compression therapist as well as a lactation consultant, and as we noted here back in 2011, related items have long been mainstays for Nurturing Expressions.
But now that NE’s West Seattle store has moved across the street to 4727 44th SW, you will find a lot more there. And two in-store events this Tuesday and Wednesday just might be the perfect opportunity for you to explore the store. We stopped by a few days ago for a firsthand look: Read More
Just in time for the peak of swimsuit season, the namesake proprietor of Heidi Fish Swimwear has moved her business to a storefront on California Avenue SW, after 17 years in what she describes as a “very hidden” location in The Junction. Her new boutique at 4141 California SW is open 11 am-5 pm Tuesday through Saturday, or, she says, you can call 206-938-9928 to make an appointment for a custom fitting.
Heidi Fish Swimwear has been featured nine times in Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit edition and carries its own line of swimwear and resort wear, including women’s, men’s, and children’s apparel: “Retro, and one-of-a-kinds; so many different styles,” she says.
P.S. You’re invited to a special Ladies’ Happy Hour event coming up later this month at Heidi Fish Swimwear, 1-4 pm on Sunday, June 25th, including gift certificates and prizes.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
If all goes well, the Highway 99 tunnel will open in January 2019 – after three weeks with no Alaskan Way Viaduct, and no tunnel.
That’s what Joe Hedges, the West Seattle resident who currently runs the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program for WSDOT, told the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce at its monthly lunch meeting today.
His presentation was introduced by Pete Spalding, the Chamber’s government-affairs committee chair, who also has long served as a member of the Viaduct/Tunnel project working group advisory committee.
Hedges called it a “wonderful treat” to be able to “come home” for the presentation. He’s been running the project for more than a year.
The “most important lesson learned” – “This Viaduct Replacement Program is a couple decades old, and the contribution to it involves a couple thousand people … what’s important is that (all that) is going to transform Seattle for the next couple centuries.”
He didn’t bring a slide deck, saying he just wanted to “catch you up, tell you where we’re at, where we’re going.” Right now: “Out of 32 projects that comprise the program, and $3.4 billion, we’re about 85 percent complete …” Read More
Three quick West Seattle biznotes:
STROLLER STRIDES EXPANDS: West Seattle Stroller Strides is adding a new location – Lincoln Park. The “grand opening” is next Monday, 9:30 am June 12th. Maryana from Stroller Strides’ parent biz Fit4Mom says, “It should be a fun event filled with a great workout, prizes, a diaper drive for WestSide Baby, and most important, a place where WS moms can connect with other WS moms.” Meet on the grass by the south parking lot (Fauntleroy/Cloverdale). Registration is requested – the link is on this page, with additional info.
DREAM DINNERS OPEN HOUSE: Tuesday night, two special sessions at Dream Dinners-West Seattle (4701 41st SW; WSB sponsor) offer you the chance at a deal – make three dinners for $34.99 (see the five options in our calendar listing). When we checked tonight, room remained in the 5 pm and 6:30 pm sessions – e-mail email@example.com, or call 206-938-5999 to RSVP.
NEW FOOD TRUCK: The 30th/Roxbury 76 station is now home to two food trucks. Besides Thai-U-Up at dinnertime most nights, the new food truck Burger Planet is there for lunch as of this past Sunday. We have a note out asking about their regular days/hours and will add whatever we find out.
Some West Seattle businesses expand to Ballard, some to Burien. Thunder Road Guitars (WSB sponsor) is literally going much farther – expanding to Portland! Here’s how proprietor Frank Gross announced it:
We are thrilled to announce that this fall we will be opening another Thunder Road Guitars storefront in one of my favorite cities, Portland, Oregon. The new Portland store will act as a sister store to our flagship Seattle location and will be owned and operated by one of our own, Will York, who I’m sure most of you know. Will moved to Seattle from Gainesville, Florida, in 2012 and got his start in the musical instrument business winding pickups for Lollar Pickups. Will has been with us since 2015 and has become a true asset to Thunder Road Guitars.
We are so excited to have Portland be the first city outside of Seattle with a Thunder Road Guitars. The new store will be located in the Nob Hill neighborhood at 1024 NW 19th Ave and will be open for business in early September of this year. Thank you all so much for your support and business over the years, here’s to the next chapter!
Thunder Road Guitars’ West Seattle shop is in The Junction (4736 California SW).
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The supermarket’s shelves are mostly bare.
The chain’s CEO stood among them, looking around, and was … happy.
That’s the unusual scene we encountered this afternoon at PCC Natural Markets-West Seattle (WSB sponsor), which has hours to go before closing for the site’s redevelopment, including its new store, almost twice as big. Cate Hardy, PCC CEO and West Seattle resident, explained that the empty shelves represent a gift of sorts – they put much of the merchandise on sale in hopes of selling as many items as possible to the store’s loyal, local customers, instead of doing what a supermarket chain might do instead, just load up the leftovers and truck them to another store.
Our photos tell the story of just how much has been sold. The last prepared foods, Hardy noted, were cooked a few hours ago – the deli wasn’t sold out yet when we visited at mid-afternoon, but the store’s closing early tonight – 10 pm – and we can’t guarantee you’ll find much of anything if you visit this evening. The produce section, for example, was not only mostly bare, the center display stands had been moved out.
As Hardy walked us around the store, she noted that much of its equipment will be set up in the new Burien store opening next year. Many staffers are moving to other stores; Corinne, West Seattle manager for four years, isn’t – she told us she’s “semi-retiring.” For now.
She and other staffers have special West Seattle pins in commemoration of the soon-to-be-demolished store. Hardy observed that the “energy level is high” despite the looming shutdown, and that’s what we observed too.
The store had a Staff Appreciation Day party two weeks ago, with food trucks (including vegan Plum Bistro). And this afternoon, a mini-bash with (organic, of course) corn dogs and ice cream was happening in the upstairs break room. That’s also where employees are signing the wall:
They’re also proud of the cards and other messages they’ve received expressing appreciation:
Before customers exit the front door, they’re seeing this sign, with the reminder of other PCC stores, plus delivery options – Instacart and Prime Now – that will bring PCC merchandise to customers in West Seattle.
PCC is scheduled to reopen in 2019 as the only retail tenant in the Madison Development Group project on the site, which also will include 100+ apartments and 150+ offstreet parking spaces, including the existing surface corner lot west of the alley.
LOOKING FOR BACKSTORY? This WSB report from 11 months ago, when PCC finalized its spot in the new development, has a lot.
After lots of questions about when Tony’s Market – the produce stand at 35th SW/SW Barton (file photo at right) – would be opening for the season, we finally have the answer as of moments ago: Next Saturday, June 3rd. As we’ve been telling all the people who have been e-mailing us to ask, we’ve driven by multiple times a day hoping to find proprietor Joey Genzale there. A short time ago, a texter told us they had just talked with him at the market, and learned he planned to open next Saturday, so we detoured over in hopes he was still there. He was, and told us that the late opening this year – almost a month later than last year – is because the local produce is running so late after the long, rainy winter and spring. He also has done more remodeling inside the stand, so you’ll see some new fixtures when he opens. (If you’re new here – Tony’s is named for longtime proprietor Tony Genzale, Joey’s dad, who died in 2010. Besides spring/summer/early fall produce, the market also sells Christmas trees.)
We’re welcoming Sound Orthodontics as a new WSB sponsor – here’s what they would like you to know about what they do:
At Sound Orthodontics, we take great pride in providing our patients with the highest quality orthodontic care in a comfortable, friendly environment. Our doctors and team are available to answer any questions you have before, during, and after treatment.
What Sets Us Apart
Our caring and experienced team creates an orthodontic experience that is fun, affordable, interactive, and effective. We do everything we can to make sure that each patient has an exceptional experience at our practice. From the moment, you enter our practice, we want you to feel comfortable, welcome, and appreciated. Everyone on our team is excited about what we do, and when you walk into our office, that shows. We enjoy working together and even spend our free time together outside of the office!
Sound Orthodontics appointments are appropriately scheduled so that you will spend less time in our office, and more time out enjoying the things that make you smile. Your comfort is important to us, and because we work with patients of all ages, we recognize that each person who visits our practice has unique needs and expectations.
Our office utilizes the most comfortable, efficient and technologically advanced orthodontic treatment options available. Regular metal braces are still the most widely used, yet other types of orthodontic appliances are gaining popularity.
*Metal Braces are the most widely used type of braces
*Ceramic or Clear Braces are made of ceramic material that blend in with your teeth
*Invisalign® are “braces” that consist of strong plastic trays that are fabricated specifically for each individual
We would love for you and your family to visit our West Seattle Sound Orthodontics’ office to meet the doctors and team! 2617 California SW – 206-935-2414.
We thank Sound Orthodontics for sponsoring independent, community-collaborative neighborhood news via WSB; find our current sponsor team listed in directory format here, and find info on joining the team by going here.
4:42 PM: Today was a special work day for crews from some members of the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties – the annual Ramp-A-Thon, donating time to build mobiity ramps for residents in need. Among this year’s participants, longtime WSB sponsor Potter Construction.
The Potter crew built a ramp for a resident in Burien.
Around the region, since Ramp-A-Thon began in 1993, the association says, participants have built more than 440 ramps, with $1.7 million in in-kind donations.
ADDED 8:17 PM: The Master Builders Association shared a photo, from the one Ramp-A-Thon site today that was in West Seattle:
The company that built this ramp is Bellevue-based JM Riley.
As we have been reporting, you’ll find something new by most baskets this year – a plaque for the local business/organization/individual that “adopted” the basket. (Including us!)
P.S. One good way to get a close-up look – go volunteer in The Junction tomorrow for Spring Clean! Not too late. Here’s how.
Today we’re welcoming one of the newest WSB sponsors, Sleepers In Seattle, headquartered in The Junction. Here’s what they would like you to know about what they offer:
Our tagline reads, “More Sleeper Sofas Than Anywhere Else.” If you need a sleeper sofa, you’re in luck — because we have the best selection in the world, and we are the experts.
People come to Sleepers in Seattle because we have over 100 different sleeper models in stock, and literally millions of custom options. Other stores carry 2 or 3 sofa beds, usually in brown. Once people get to us, our expert staff helps them find the perfect sleeper sofa for their needs, considering style, size, comfort, and upholstery. We often send customers home with swatch samples so they can get a better sense of how the piece will fit with their existing decor. We’ve been doing something right, because Sleepers In Seattle is proud to have called West Seattle home for over 25 years!
Sleepers In Seattle has more than sleeper sofas – recliners, too! Right now they have a sale on Stressless recliners – 10 percent off. Some of the 26 different recliners are in stock; others can be ordered from the store or online.
Sleepers In Seattle is in The Junction at 4741 California SW, open 10 am-6 pm Mondays-Saturdays, noon-5 pm Sundays. Call 206-932-8500 or 888-922-SOFA.
We thank Sleepers In Seattle for sponsoring independent, community-collaborative neighborhood news via WSB; find our current sponsor team listed in directory format here, and find info on joining the team by going here.
We often get asked about rental/event spaces in West Seattle. Here’s a new one: Muse Gallery and Studio, in North Delridge. It’s a new venture by the proprietors of The Skylark next door. Matt Larson explains:
We are trying to provide a space for artists and artisans to show/sell/teach their craft in West Seattle. It also makes for an affordable and spacious photo studio as it includes seamless backgrounds and tall ceilings.
Muse Gallery and Studio is available to rent for a wide variety of events. Pop-up art shows, photo studio rental, private parties, classes, recitals, etc. can all be held in this warm, open space. Gallery lighting, wood floors, open floor plan, and seamless backdrops make it versatile for a number of uses. There is also plenty of free parking, and catering available. First and foremost, Muse is about finding inspiration and making connections in our art community. Our goal is to draw attention to and promote artists, studios, and collectives from all the neighborhoods in Seattle by showcasing them here in West Seattle.
Larson says you can get a firsthand look at Muse (3801 Delridge Way SW) during two upcoming events: Night Circus #5, an “art and social gathering” 6-9 pm this Thursday (May 11th) followed by music next door at Skylark, and a one-night art show May 20th by Casey Brookbush, with live acoustic music by Jake Carden, 6-10 pm May 20th, with music afterward at Skylark.
Story by Tracy Record
Photos by Patrick Sand
West Seattle Blog co-publishers
An unusual backdrop for this morning’s annual Westside Awards breakfast … fog.
Salty’s on Alki (WSB sponsor) was the location as usual and as you know if you’ve been there, that usually means a spectacular view of the city skyline and Elliott Bay right outside the banquet-room doors. This morning’s fog meant nothing was visible behind the speakers but the deck and a couple of Canada geese strolling (and honking) on it.
Nobody seemed to mind. The spotlight was fully on the award-winners, after a few words from West Seattle Chamber of Commerce leadership – board chair Paul Prentice‘s welcome, and CEO Lynn Dennis‘s appreciation for the organization’s 200+ members and spirit of collaboration. That last attribute, in fact, played into one award-winner’s unique acceptance presentation – including the sign atop our story – you’ll see it later.
Keynote speaker was King County Chair Joe McDermott, introduced by Dennis as a third-generation West Seattleite, running down his local cred including scooping ice cream at Husky Deli, as well as his academic and political chops.
McDermott described the theme of his talk as “why we do what we do.” But first – history – the Beach Broiler, which was on the pier that now holds Salty’s, half a century earlier. Two years ago, he said, his family gathered to celebrate his parents’ 50th wedding anniversary.
His career, McDermott said, traces back to the question “What are you going to do when you grow up?” For a while, he thought he would become a civil engineer, bui;ding bridges. A trip back east in his senior year changed everything. “I saw government up close and realized I wanted to go into public service.” His mother warned “there’s no money in that” – though, he said, she had spent her career in education!
“I believe I am still solving problems and building bridges,” he said. That included the resilience fund newly approved by the county on behalf of immigrants and refugees: “These are our friends, our neighbors, our co-workers” – and immigrant-owned businesses are worth $1.2 billion to the local economy. He talked about the fear sown by President Trump’s executive orders. “I’ve heard the real fear and apprehension in these communities.”
But with the resilience fund and education, “this further affirms that King County is a welcoming place … for everyone who resides here.” McDermott acknowledged similar work by the Seattle City Council – represented at this morning’s event by District 1 City Councilmember Lisa Herbold – having passed a defense fund for immigrants.
McDermott also spoke about the Access For All sales-tax measure sent to the August 1st ballot by the County Council this week. He singled out West Seattle’s ArtsWest and Southwest Seattle Historical Society as expected beneficiaries. “We will invest in programs that change lives and give kids more access to the same opportunities and help our communities thrive. Everyone in King County will benefit.” McDermott said the program also includes money for transportation, to take kids to sites such as the Pacific Science Center, Museum of Flight, and Woodland Park Zoo.
“The resilience fund and Access for All are two key King County Council achievements since the first of the year,” he declared. “… Know that your involvement is essential. E-mail me. Call me. Come to testify on legislation … let me know what your thoughts, your concerns, your interests are … not just me, but all your elected officials. … Let us know what’s on your mind.”
Then, to the awards, which Dennis explained are not a popularity contest – nominations are solicited from the community (not just Chamber members) each year, and carefully reviewed before decisions are made.
Strength, integrity, equality are qualities of hers, Evans said, recounting Throop’s background as a leader in not just elder care, but also in the LGBTQ community. “She is an amazing person,” Evans said.
He had also mentioned Throop’s mom, who she cited as inspiration. Ten years ago, Throop said, her mom declared she was moving to Seattle, and when she looked around to find support for her, she couldn’t. With what she learned, she started a business. “I truly love what I do,” she said – helping people, referring them to trusted professionals, “many of whom are in this room.” She spoke warmly of collaborating with other businesses, including many WSCC members. “They say beside every woman stands another great woman,” she declared, pointing out and thanking her wife Angela. She said the award was not only gratifying, but touching.
Next, Pete Spalding, chamber vice chair, introduced Dan Austin, proprietor of Emerging Business of the Year winner Peel and Press (WSB sponsor) in Morgan Junction. Spalding, who has long advocated for the West Seattle Food Bank, talked about Austin’s enthusiastic contribution to it, and to other fundraisers (like this one). He also is opening a second restaurant (in Boulevard Park).
Austin said he was humbled to accept the award “on behalf of my great team” – three of whom are in the photo above, with him – and said he felt it was on behalf of the entire small-business community in West Seattle, listing many others that “have all stepped up and helped contribute in these events.” He said working with the Food Bank has “been a blast,” and thanked his wife and two children for their help and inspiration. “To give back to the community is something I learned growing up and watching my parents,” he explained, recounting their volunteerism. “I feel incredibly blessed that (Peel and Press) has been received so well in the community … and we just want to continue to give back.”
While Austin said that concern about the City Council’s dealings with businesses was part of his motivation to expand outside Seattle, he thanked Councilmember Herbold for “sitting down and listening” to those concerns.
Spalding also introduced Southwest Youth and Family Services, recipient of the Not-for-Profit of the Year award. He talked about SWYFS’s evolution and addition of programs, with programs focused on youth development, mental help, family support, and education.
Executive director Steve Daschle and board chair Laura Ware accepted the award.
“It’s always meaningful to be recognized by your family and friends,” she said, noting that SWYFS has a “low profile … we’re known but not that well known.” She said “there are a lot of kids in our community who are scared… they need a safe place to go after school … if they come to this country and don’t know our language they may need (help) and Southwest Youth and Family can provide that.”
Daschle spoke of a recent event honoring kids, all children of immigrants and refugees, receiving scholarship awards to inspire them to complete their education and go on to college. “This will be the first time anyone in their family has completed high school, let alone going on to college … that’s what we’re all about … we’re about partnerships in transforming their lives.”
Finally, Prentice introduced Westsider of the Year honoree Maria Groen, someone he said he had known for 20 years. He spoke of her volunteer service as well as her professional work with nonprofits.
“So many other people deserve this,” Groen declared as she began, saying she was accepting it “on behalf of countless behind the scene volunteers … and do-gooders in our community.” She brought up some other “do-gooders” and said she wanted to inspire “anyone who is not yet engaged in their community” to change that and do something. She listed a long (and at times rhyming) list of all the ways you can help. “When you work for a greater good, you are forever changed.” Here’s how it unfolded, including audience participation toward the end (the sign-waving starts 2 1/2 minutes in):
That brought a standing ovation, after which Prentice wrapped up the event by urging everyone to check the Chamber website for upcoming events including a chance for everyone to honor Groen’s philosophy of being a “do-gooder” – by joining in a community cleanup on May 18th.