West Seattle, Washington
The then-mystery TV show that was being shot at The Swinery on the day we took that photo last October – when a small sign warned visitors that entering the shop might put them on camera – is no longer a mystery. Pamela sends word that the crew was there for an episode of “The Grill Dads” that will be shown on Food Network this Friday night. It’s one of three stops in the episode; the listing says that in the Swinery segment, you’ll see The Grill Dads “cure and fry up some house-made pork belly and bacon for a spectacular BLT sandwich.” The other two segments were shot in Wyoming and Minnesota.
As previewed in our West Seattle Monday highlights list: You’re invited to stop by Tap Station (southeast corner of 35th/Kenyon) before 8 pm for an open house/celebration of new beginnings for the founders and new owners of Swedish Automotive across the street and West Seattle Autoworks a few blocks north on 35th (both WSB sponsors). As we reported the week after Christmas, Swedish Automotive founders Dave Winters and Sandra Wanstall are retiring:
They have sold their business to Todd Ainsworth and Chris Christensen, who founded WS Autoworks in 2010 in the space Swedish vacated to move to its then-new, bigger, greener location (right across 35th from the site of tonight’s celebration). Chris will continue to co-own WS Autoworks, but now with its lead tech Nathen Huie, who has long worked with Chris and Todd. Everyone’s welcome to stop by and join tonight’s open-house-style celebration.
ADMIRAL BASKIN-ROBBINS: We’ve been getting questions daily all week people wondering about the Admiral Baskin-Robbins ice-cream store’s status, saying they’ve gone by only to find it closed and dark, no explanatory note or sign. That’s what we found on a visit just before dusk today, and while the fixtures remain inside, the menu boards are blank; the phone goes unanswered, no voicemail. As we’ve mentioned to those who contacted us, the business has been up for sale for a long time – more than a year and a half, according to the listing on the Commercial MLS site (which links to this flyer). We also note that the Baskin-Robbins website doesn’t list this location, whether you search for 98116 or for Seattle in general. Will it reopen, under current ownership or someone new? We’ve checked business license, real-estate, and permit databases, no hint, and we’ve also sent a note to the broker with whom the business has been listed. We’ll update if/when we find out anything.
REAL ESTATE REPLACING COMPUTERS: Two months after West Seattle Computers and Mobi Repairs vacated 4522 California SW and moved to The Admiral District, we know what’s going into its old space: Neighboring West Seattle Windermere is expanding into it, confirms branch manager Larry Johnson, Jr. He tells WSB, “As the West Seattle real estate market continues strong, our market share continues to grow, and we are expanding to meet the needs of our agents and clients.” Details are still being worked out, but there’s an early-stage permit application for some remodeling.
Thanks to Rich for the tip – less than two weeks after West Seattle Produce closed at future apartment site 4722 Fauntleroy Way SW, another closure: Mexican-food truck Taqueria La Original was towed off the lot this morning, and like WS Produce, it is now in search of a new home. We talked with TLO management by phone; they’re hoping to find a new home in West Seattle, but “it’s hard.” Once the truck does find a new location, they promise to announce it online. Taqueria La Original took the spot outside WS Produce almost exactly a year ago, same spot left by another food truck, Beloved Mexico, just over a year earlier.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
This is not just the first week of 2018. It’s also the first week since the closure of a long-running regionally renowned and respected West Seattle business that might not have been on your radar: Dupré + Scott Apartment Advisors.
A reader note put the closure on our radar. We had certainly heard of Dupre + Scott – much-quoted experts tracking and analyzing trends and other information for and about the apartment industry – but hadn’t realized they were based in West Seattle, with an office in Morgan Junction.
And now, Patty Dupré and Mike Scott – married 35 years, working together for 38 years – have closed up shop.
It’s explained on their website, starting with:
This was a difficult decision to make. We have been doing this research for 38 years thanks to the tremendous support we have received from our subscribers, clients, and participants. We are honored that they have put so much trust in us, and our work.
In return, we have been passionate about providing the best possible research, and have enjoyed knowing so many wonderful people over the years.
So it is with mixed emotions that we are closing our business. But after analyzing sales almost daily for 38 years for the Investment Report, conducting 35 years of semiannual surveys for the Vacancy Report, and… well, you get the idea, it’s time for us to move on.
When we started our research back in 1979 there were just over 80,000 market rate apartment units in the Puget Sound region. Now there are more than 300,000 units. We have tracked them through the development phase, analyzed their sales history, line by line operating expenses, unit mix, amenities, rents, vacancies, and more.
They considered selling, or hiring people to do some of the work they themselves have done for all these years. But they decided there was no way to do either and still maintain the “unique, reliable, insightful, and … useful” product they have provided all these years.
Not to mention humorous, as you can see in their farewell video – which includes, of course, the newest industry info:
West Seattle biznotes for your New Year’s Eve afternoon:
CLICK! BREAK: If you need to get something at Click! Design That Fits (4540 California SW; WSB sponsor), do it before 4 pm today, when they’re closing early to “spruce up the shop” over the next two-plus weeks – reopening January 19th.
MERRYWEATHER BOOKS UPDATE: In early December, we reported via a reader tip that this used-books shop in The Junction (4537 California SW) is closing. Today, Mary Clark sent us the full announcement they want to share with the community:
After more than 20 years, Merryweather (Leisure) Books is sadly going to have to close our retail location. We need to focus on our families and are not able to put the time into the store that would enable us to keep it open. We will be open reduced hours during January and the books will be on sale as we clear out. We will continue selling online. Come in and leave us your email it you would like to get announcements of online stock and specials and check our facebook page for an easy link to our store.
It has been an honor and joy to be part of your community over the years. We always had a nook and chair for people to curl up in and rest, read, and browse. We have watched people explore the world of books, plundering our shelves and finding treasures, connecting to stories that opened up vistas in their imaginations. We have watched families bringing in children for their first book, grandparents sharing their favorite stores, and the children grow up and share stories, and connect ideas with others who love books. That is what independent bookstores do. So now as we close our doors, we say thank you so much for making us a part of your life! We will miss everyone very much. We will have a going-away party during the Art Walk in January.
We know many people have trade credit with our store. Come in and take advantage of our storewide sale to use your credit. If you have books on consignment with us, please come in and pick them up. We will be selling some of the cases and fixtures so if you are interested let us know.
Again thank you to all our loyal customers from Mary, Manya, Ron, and all of our family.
WEST SEATTLE PRODUCE: When we reported a month ago on the longtime produce stand’s plan to close because of redevelopment at their site (4722 Fauntleroy Way SW), the plan was “at the end of this year” – but don’t expect to find New Year’s Eve fruit and vegetables there; their last day was Christmas Eve. A dumpster is already on the site, Kevin Freitas found out, and tweeted this photo:
No word yet on a new location.
SECOND DOMINO’S PIZZA NOW OPEN: Back in May, we discovered the plan for Domino’s to open a second West Seattle location at Springline (3220 California SW). The store‘s manager confirms it’s now officially open.
One of the newest New Year’s events added to the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide is also an introduction to a new business. Nia teachers who were previously at the Center for Movement and Healing in Gatewood are opening a new space, Move2Center Studio, in The Triangle. And they’re offering a 10 am class next Monday (January 1st) to “dance in the New Year with plenty of positive energy”; drop-in fee is $10 (plus tax). The new space is on the lower level of the West Seattle Veterans’ Center/American Legion Post 160 building at 3618 SW Alaska – enter the studio from the 37th SW side. Co-proprietor Melanie McFarland says their full class schedule starts two days later, on January 3rd.
You might recall that back after Swedish Automotive moved into its bigger, greener location at 7901 35th SW seven years ago, its old location at 7501 35th SW – four blocks north – was taken over by West Seattle Autoworks.
The two businesses (both longtime WSB sponsors, and co-sponsors of the annual West Seattle Car Show) have retained close ties, and now they’ll be closer than ever: Early in the New Year, WS Autoworks co-founders Todd Ainsworth and Chris Christensen will become the new owners of Swedish Automotive, whose longtime owners Dave Winters and Sandra Wanstall are retiring.
With that change, West Seattle Autoworks will be co-owned by Chris and lead tech Nathen Huie, who has worked there with Chris and Todd since they all moved from Alki Auto Repair in 2010.
This has been in the works a while – Dave has been in the vehicle-repair business in West Seattle for more than 30 years, and when he and Sandra started talking about retirement a few years ago, they looked for the right people to take over, first talking with staff members, and then Chris and Todd.
With the ownership changes, Todd will be at Swedish full time; Chris will split his time between the two locations. Nothing else is changing, we’re told – both locations will remain open, and the makes/models of vehicles they work on will remain the same – at Swedish, it’s Volvo, Saab, Subaru, and Mini; at WS Autoworks, “everything else.”
And you are invited to come help celebrate everyone’s new roles at an open house/farewell event set for 5-8 pm Monday, January 8th, at Tap Station (35th/Kenyon, right across from Swedish).
If you’re looking for babies/children’s clothing at big discounts, a closing sale is on at the Westwood Village Carter’s store, which tells us it’s closing January 8th or when it’s out of inventory, whichever comes first. The impending shutdown isn’t entirely a surprise – back in October, when we reported on two businesses opening at WWV, a commenter noted that it appeared the Carter’s store space was for lease. We weren’t able to confirm closing plans at the time, and it fell off our followup list, but today, after Jon forwarded us an e-mail newsletter containing the one-line alert “Your Carter’s at Westwood Village is closing soon!”, we renewed our efforts and got the confirmation. Management says they have already stopped receiving new items, so it’s a clearance sale of what’s on hand. The store opened in April 2014. No word yet on what’s next for the space, which has been offered either alone or as a potential combination with the two empty spaces north of it.
Even before Lori and Tim McConnell opened their one-of-a-kind West Seattle Runner (2743 California SW; WSB sponsor) in 2010, a holiday-lights run was a tradition. Tonight was the night they gathered runners and walkers in their shop for a celebration with something extra. First, a group photo:
Then, off on a route that, as usual, was scheduled to head east of The Admiral District, with highlights including music-synched West Seattle Lights (3908 SW Charlestown), about a mile away:
As the McConnells reminded everyone, it wasn’t a race, just a lot of fun. Some brought strollers, some brought dogs. And when they got back to the store, they were scheduled to celebrate’s Tim upcoming milestone birthday – we got a peek at the cake:
By the way, WS Runner isn’t just for experienced runners – they nurture beginners too – and toward that end, they’re about to launch a new round of the free couch-to-half-marathon program Get Fit West Seattle, with an informational night at the shop, 7 pm Wednesday, December 27th.
That’s the video Caitlin Huertas made to promote her plan to open what would be West Seattle’s only “large indoor play space” as well as the only one with a space theme – it’ll be called Outer Space Seattle. Today is the final day of her IndieGogo crowdfunding campaign to clear the final financial hurdle before locking down their planned location.
A unique West Seattle store, The Bass Shop in The Junction, is our newest WSB sponsor, and as we welcome The Bass Shop today, here’s what they would like you to know about their business:
The Bass Shop is one of only a handful of bass guitar specialty stores in the U.S. Proprietor Chad Beeler (above center, with Jeff and Alex) has been a bass retail specialist for over 25 years. Lots of knowledge and inventory to be found at The Bass Shop!
We hear from customers that they are grateful that a store like ours exists. Most retail guitar shops have a very limited selection of bass guitars available, but there is usually no one who can be a credible sounding board for questions regarding bass gear or the general experience of being a bassist. Once most bass players have been to our shop and consulted the staff, they tend to become repeat customers, mainly because they’ve found a source that speaks their language, asks all the right questions, and gives them a broad range of instruments and gear to choose from. We’ve had many bass players who have told us that we’ve helped them become better musicians as a result.
As with many independent businesses, The Bass Shop‘s proprietor is involved in the community. Chad helps coach his daughter’s West Seattle Soccer Club team. He plays bass for the band DAD, which is comprised of dads with kids who attend Genesee Hill Elementary; DAD donates earnings from gigs to benefit the school’s after-school enrichment program specializing in music. They also help out the in-school music programs in general if an instrument needs to be provided or any extra purchases need to be made. Along with bar gigs, DAD plays at various fundraising events, including this past September’s West Fest at Holy Rosary and Madison Middle School‘s upcoming fundraiser in February.
The Bass Shop is co-located at 4736 California SW in The Junction with another WSB sponsor, Thunder Road Guitars, open 10 am-6 pm Tuesdays-Saturdays, 206-932-4362. Online, you’ll find The Bass Shop at thebassshopseattle.com.
We thank The Bass Shop for sponsoring the independent, community-collaborative neighborhood news that WSB has been publishing for 10 years; find our current sponsor team listed in directory format here, and find info on joining the team by going here.
Two biznotes this afternoon:
CORNER POCKET LIQUOR-LICENSE APPLICATION: You might recall the saga of the Corner Pocket‘s future, as previously reported here in October, with Easy Street Records proprietor Matt Vaughan saying he had hoped to take it over. Its prospective new operators are now listed publicly on a liquor-license application, filed by an entity called Westside Pubs Inc., led by Peter Olive, with other names on the application cross-referencing online as being or having been his co-proprietors of a bar and arcade in Renton. No remodeling applications on file with the city so far.
DOMINO’S SIGN UP AT SPRINGLINE: Speaking of city permit applications, we reported back in May that we had found one showing Domino’s Pizza seeking to open a second West Seattle location in a space at Springline in South Admiral. Now, as several readers point out (including @karizma23, who tweeted the photo), the sign is up.
(Added 12/8) A Domino’s spokesperson tells us it’s expected to open in about two weeks.
The West Seattle Trader Joe’s store was expected to reopen this morning after its four-day power outage ended last night, and indeed, multiple WSB readers report, it did. The outage started very early Saturday after a suspected DUI driver rolled his car into the transformer and other equipment on the north side of the store at 4545 Fauntleroy Way SW; City Light told WSB that its part of the repairs were completed by Saturday night but other equipment belonging to the store had to be fixed before they could reconnect, and that took until last night. (While any prolonged closure of a business would be news, this store holds a special place in West Seattle lore due to the many years community members clamored for it, a long wait that finally ended when the conversion of a former car-sales business was completed with the store’s opening in April 2012.)
Four notes from The Junction:
WEST SEATTLE CYCLERY CLOSING: Thanks to the people who messaged us about West Seattle Cyclery‘s announcement that it’s closing. From its website:
STORE CLOSING – LIQUIDATION SALE THIS SAT/SUN DEC. 9-10!
After 4.5 years we have decided to close the shop. It is a mixed bag of emotions but found I was not able to spend as much time as I need/want with family and friends riding my bikes and enjoying life.
All sales will be final. 30-60% off all bikes. 50% – 90% off Accessories, Components and Apparel
We also have two openings to note:
THE ESCAPE ARTIST: Today is the first day of business for this “escape room” venue that’s filled multiple spaces at 4517 California SW. We had more backstory about proprietor Kristine Atri‘s business back in May.
CAFE MIA: If you haven’t tried it yet, you might be interested to know that the bistro replacing Fiddlehead Fine Foods at 4310 SW Oregon is open, quietly segueing from a soft open into full operations.
And a plan to move:
BARRE BOHEMIAN: The West Seattle location of this independently owned barre-studio mini-chain has announced plans to move into a Junction space in a few months. It’s one of the spaces under construction on the southwest corner of Fauntleroy and Edmunds. “We are moving to a larger space because we’ve outgrown our cozy west Seattle studio. At the new space we will expand our yoga program, have room for more barre, offer more workshops and have child care (a huge reason for the move). The space will be just as homey and unique as our current one,” promises proprietor Tracy Drago. Meantime, they remain open in Upper Morgan at 6531 35th SW.
Thanks to the tipster who sent that photo of a sign up at Merryweather Books (4537 California SW) in The Junction, announcing it plans to close. The sign says the store will continue with regular hours through December, and then start winding down next month. The space has been a used-book store for decades, previously known as Leisure Books. No word yet what might follow in that space, but we’ll be following up.
Jack Miller‘s legendary Husky Deli isn’t just having its annual Holiday Open House tonight – this is also the deli’s 85th anniversary.
And of course it’s the visitors who are getting the gifts, sampling the famous fare of the West Seattle Junction deli, founded by Miller’s grandfather in 1932. As the open house continues until 9 pm, you’ll also be serenaded:
If you are a brand-new arrival and don’t know the deli’s address yet … 4721 California SW.
Five months after we first reported on Kristine Atri’s plan for West Seattle’s first “escape room” venue, The Escape Artist, she says its opening is just days away. It’s opening in what were three vacant spaces spanning both floors, and both sides of the ground-level breezeway, of the commercial building at 4517 California SW. “Escape rooms” offer scenarios where you pay for the experience of solving puzzles to “escape” from some sort of simulated danger or problem, and as Kristine told us last summer, she is opening The Escape Artist after becoming a big fan of such experiences herself. Depending on how next week’s final inspection goes, the first day in business will be either Tuesday or Wednesday.
After two West Seattle visits in two days, new Mayor Jenny Durkan went to Capitol Hill today to sign her latest executive order. But given how many small businesses we have here, it’s worth noting: She’s ordered the creation of a Small Business Advisory Council to be sure that “small businesses have a role in informing policies and programs as well as access to resources (and to) provide input on impact of City decisions, make policy recommendations, and help increase access to tools and resources available to small businesses.” The order (read it here in full) says the mayor will appoint the group’s members, and that its charter will be set by February, with its first meeting by March. The announcement notes that the city “has about 36,500 businesses with fewer than 50 employees that employ nearly 200,000 people in Seattle.”
So many places to go on this “Small Business Saturday” (as noted in our daily preview) – we’ve made some stops so far:
In The Junction:
THUNDER ROAD GUITARS: Speaking of anniversaries, it’s been six years since Frank Gross launched his business, so today’s sale is about that as well as about Small Business Saturday – 15 percent off select guitars, amps, and pedals, open until 6 pm at 4736 California SW.
KID-FRIENDLY FOOTWEAR @ AGAIN & AGAIN: In our photo above, Sarah is next to some of the shop’s selection of boots, part of this weekend’s deals – “many in-store new kids’ shoe and boot discounts 10 to 50 percent off,” plus 25 to 50 percent off new infant and toddler carriers, and 25 percent off some toddler winter coats and baby buntings. Open until 7 pm at 4832 California SW.
MY THREE LITTLE BIRDS: You get a cool “swag bag” at the south Morgan Junction shop with your purchase today! Jennifer Young‘s shop has all sorts of clothing, shoes, and gear for the younger member(s) of your family, ages newborn through 12. Open until 5 pm at 6959 California SW.
(Our standard disclosure: Three of the businesses mentioned above – Thunder Road Guitars, My Three Little Birds, and Kid-Friendly Footwear/Again & Again – are WSB sponsors. And we’ll say it again – please make EVERY day “Shop Small” day!)
West Seattle Produce, on a site that’s been targeted for redevelopment for years, has just announced it’s closing at the end of this year, and hoping to reopen at a new location next spring. From today’s announcement:
… It is with heavy hearts we announce we will be closing our doors at the end of this year. The development bug finally got to us and our beloved stand will likely soon become West Seattle’s newest 7-story apartment building.
It has been a joyous ten years on the Fauntleroy block and we could not have done it without your support. We love and will miss you all but hopefully not for long! It is our hope to open at a new location in the West Seattle area in Spring of 2018.
This will be the second time WSP has had to leave a site that was planned for redevelopment – its original location 7 1/2 years ago was across the street, where The Whittaker (WSB sponsor) is now. As mentioned in the announcement, an apartment building is planned for WSP’s current site at 4722 Fauntleroy Way SW, but that’s not the first proposal since it moved there six years ago; before the apartment plan, a CVS drugstore was proposed for the site, but that plan was scrapped in mid-2016. The new plan includes about 300 apartments, and some commercial space, in two buildings.
P.S. Again, WS Produce has announced it’s closing at the end of the year – but remains open for business until then, and in fact, as you can see in the photo above, is about to start selling Christmas trees.
4:31 PM: More than two and a half years after the state Attorney General filed wage-theft and tax-evasion charges against former West Seattle Athletic Club owner Sam Adams, a plea agreement (see the documents here and here) has just been announced. Here’s the news release from the AG’s Office:
Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced today that former employees of West Seattle Athletic Club will receive restitution from their former employer’s company following Ferguson’s criminal wage theft case.
“Wage theft is a crime and I will not stand for violators who cheat working families out of their hard-earned wages,” Ferguson said. “I am pleased that Mr. Adams’ company was held accountable and my office has been successful in obtaining restitution for these workers.”
Hollystone Holdings, Inc., a company owned by former West Seattle Athletic Club owner Sam Adams, pleaded guilty to criminal wage theft in King County Superior Court. Pursuant to the agreement, the company will pay restitution in an amount that will equal the total amount owed to former employees who were never compensated for their back wages. While the exact amount is not yet known, it is expected to be in the thousands of dollars.
If the conditions of the agreement are not met, the state reserves the right to re-file charges against Sam Adams.
How to file wage theft violations with the state Department of Labor & Industries
If you believe you are a victim of wage theft, immediately file a complaint with the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I). Preserve any documentation regarding the amount of wages you believe you are owed.
Workers can file a wage complaint if a business does not pay them. Workers can also file a complaint if the business denies other workplace rights regulated by L&I, such as meal and rest breaks, overtime, and family care.
Individuals can download a Worker Rights Complaint form or get one from their nearest L&I office. The completed form should be mailed or delivered to the nearest L&I office. Find out more about how to file a worker rights complaint here.
Our report on the announcement of charges in February 2015 included an allegation that the case involved “$500,000 in unpaid taxes, withheld salary, and unpaid insurance premiums.” As we also noted at the time, this case involved former club owner Adams and a business partner, NOT the current ownership of the club at 2629 SW Andover, which was renamed West Seattle Health Club and has been owned/operated by the property owner since Adams relinquished it in fall 2014. Adams’ short-lived ownership followed a previous owner’s bankruptcy.
ADDED 6:24 PM: A spokesperson for Sam Adams sent this news release on his behalf:
You can shop and snack at the Junction True Value (WSB sponsor) Holiday Open House, which is on until 2 pm. Besides the treats, you’ll find tunes – seasonal music performed by Jared Mitchell:
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) November 18, 2017
Right at the front door, you’ll be greeted by West Seattle Food Bank reps – bring nonperishable food to donate and/or cash – $15 will buy a turkey!
Also part of today’s fun, an ugly-sweater contest and if you have kids under 10, the chance to enter drawings for boys’ and girls’ bicycles:
Besides hardware, housewares, garden items, and more, Junction True Value has holiday decorations of all types, lights to floral:
Get there before 2 – 4747 44th SW.
P.S. If you are looking for an early tree this year, True Value tells us theirs are expected to be in Wednesday.