West Seattle businesses: SeaMart closing, building in foreclosure

Thanks to Kirk for the tip on this – which has turned out to be more than a “simple” case of a business closing. SeaMart, the 16th SW/SW Holden (map) mini-market in Highland Park, is closing after Friday. Thanks to extensive research for WSB by contributor Deanie Schwarz, here’s what we’ve found out so far:

The property, which is also home to Zippy’s Giant Burgers and JoJo’s Fine Espresso, is in judicial foreclosure, according to SeaMart’s owner, Ed Choe, the building owner who’s been foreclosed on. Deanie spoke today with him as well as with the owners of Zippy’s and JoJo’s. They have both been trying to find out from the bank that’s taken possession of the building, UniBank*, what the status of their leases is – Zippy’s, for example, has a lease through next April but with a two-year-extension option, and the fate of that extension is now in question (they’re consulting a lawyer). Zippy’s owners Blaine and Rahel Cook say the bank asked them if they had any interest in buying the space and named a price that was too high, based on a valuation from two years ago. The bank reportedly already has bids for a possible “short sale” of the property. Meantime, store owner Choe says he tried to refinance but couldn’t qualify; he and his wife have had a tough year, losing a child a few months ago, and now their business, but he told Deanie, “We still have our health, and we will be OK.” They had been commuting from Edmonds and admit that was rough too. So what’s next? The only thing for sure is that SeaMart is closing after tomorrow and has a closeout sale under way on just about everything except beer and cigarettes. We’ll keep you updated on what happens with the rest.

*DECEMBER 31ST UPDATE: We have corrected the name of the bank in the story – it’s UniBank, not Union.

41 Replies to "West Seattle businesses: SeaMart closing, building in foreclosure"

  • chris December 23, 2010 (3:19 pm)

    good gawd no! I love having this beer selection so close to me and the “little guy” vibe going on on this corner. Is Zippy’s really in danger too? End days are near.

  • Sonoma December 23, 2010 (3:25 pm)

    Love Zippy’s – surely there’s a solution to this. Also like the little tiki-style coffee place. Probably one of the cutest, quirkiest (in a GREAT way) coffee places in town, and delicious drinks. The opposite of corporate coffee.

  • Murl December 23, 2010 (3:43 pm)

    No! Say it’s not true! Hopefully new owners will allow Zippy’s and JoJo’s to stay and re-open the greatest little beer selection mini mart. I feel for the business’ owners and hope things can get worked out

  • onceachef December 23, 2010 (4:16 pm)

    The house next to me is open and I would love Zippy’s to move right in :). Seriously there’s a great spot (actually 2) on California…one is the old pharmacy by West Seattle gardens and the other is the market a few blocks south of that…Zippy’s would do great in either place and be close to BPP (who doesn’t have food)…c’mon this way Blaine!

  • SpeakLoud December 23, 2010 (4:20 pm)

    Oh I see a Zippys expansion-this could be GOOD. But so sorry for the owners-that has got to be tough-my heart goes out to them-losing a child is just unimaginable.

  • LR December 23, 2010 (4:31 pm)

    What happened ?

  • toddinwestwood December 23, 2010 (4:42 pm)

    LR- Answer, maybe he alienated a whole bunch of new customers that were visiting Zippy’s by telling them they could not park in front of his store.

    I do feel a tinge of bad for the Seamart, but really, the guy could have welcomed all the new people coming from all over Seattle to visit Zippy’s instead of being a jerk.

  • Cheryl December 23, 2010 (5:07 pm)

    Wow. This is unhappy news. I hope it’s resolved peacefully and with the best possible outcome for all the folks involved.

  • Baba December 23, 2010 (5:34 pm)

    I personally see this development as Zippy’s positive! They test-started at the low overhead location with the very impressive product! Smart move! “If you build it they will come” concept.
    Now,they really need to move up, to West Seattle, you know ;-). I will gladly pay couple of bucks more for THEIR burgers at the new, better location…
    On the “seamart”‘s subject, all I can say is I thought they were doing a lot better, judging by all the no Zippy’s parking signs in front of their place…

  • SaraJ December 23, 2010 (6:20 pm)

    I would LOVE for Zippy’s to come down on California. I’ve heard great things but never tried it, and I’ll tell you why – living in the Admiral district, I would have to go past Delridge and it would literally be a 30-minute round trip commute, when all I want to do is pick up a burger and fries.
    Hope Zippy’s finds a better location than tim buk tu.

  • Bonnie December 23, 2010 (6:40 pm)

    What Baba, are you trying to say that the Zippy’s location is NOT West Seattle?

  • clark5080 December 23, 2010 (6:44 pm)

    Zippy’s can move to 35th and Roxbury and have some sitdown space to boot

  • Paul December 23, 2010 (7:06 pm)

    Let me know when zippy has fresh hand cut fries and I will be there!!

  • rdm December 23, 2010 (7:31 pm)

    Baba- Zippys is in West Seattle.

  • me on 28th Ave SW December 23, 2010 (7:55 pm)

    As someone who lives both east of 35th AND south of Morgan (gasp!) I still somehow manage traverse all over our vast peninsula. I will follow Zippy’s to wherever they land. I’m pretty sure Baba was kidding about the move to West Seattle comment.

  • MargL December 23, 2010 (8:25 pm)

    Gosh yes – the old paycheck cashing place at 35th and Roxbury was 2 different restaurants in previous incarnations – would be a great place for Zippy’s if they’re looking for a new space!

  • AJP December 23, 2010 (8:36 pm)

    Hey, I live in “Timbuktu” also known as another part of West Seattle! Zippy’s can stay RIGHT HERE in Highland Park thank you very much!

  • Baba December 23, 2010 (9:00 pm)

    Technically I guess they are in WS, but why every time I want to have Zippy’s burger I always feel like I have to bring my passport with me…??? Why can’t they upgrade and move to the more desirable location?( under these circumstances especially ) They certainly have the credentials and the following now…

  • seattleamiga December 23, 2010 (9:48 pm)

    Zippy’s – please stay in White Center!!!!

    And yes, my age is showing – but the corner of 35th and Roxbury used to be home to a burger place back in the day- but the name escapes me………..wait – Arctic Circle!!

  • coffee December 23, 2010 (10:11 pm)

    I find it interesting that the bank attempted to work with the existing businesses to buy the building, but as a small business owner, I know how difficult the banks can be unless you have a nice big credit score and a pile of cash on hand, of which many small businesses don’t these days. I hope that the 2 businesses can stay and not have to relocate, as relocation can be deadly due to the expense. It would be nice for Zippys to have indoor seating, but again, more overhead, means higher prices. I drive from anywhere in W. Sea for my Zippy’s fix, and I plan ahead, bringing a heavy towel to cover my food so it stays hot. If you are “far away” take a trip and see some of the other areas of the wonderful West Seattle we live in! I hope everything works out for the best. I also feel for the Seamart owners loosing everything is not a great feeling.

  • zippy December 23, 2010 (11:41 pm)

    So sorry for Seamart! Also, losing a child… dang. That is seriously tough. My worst nightmare, actually. Good luck to you guys! You sound tough!!

    Also, the bank better not mess with my Zippy’s or there is going to be trouble. And I’d rather they stayed put. I get tired of the Junction and relish traversing the peninsula also. Mmmm, burger.

  • Alex December 23, 2010 (11:52 pm)

    This is it! Our chance to get Zippy’s to move to mainland West Seattle! I want it right in the junction. PLEASE!!!

    Or, as a consolation, Zippy’s could just expand and increase their parking and seating. Moving farther north would increase my business there a lot, but expanding would help too.

  • Alistair December 24, 2010 (2:01 am)

    I agree with toddinwestwood – as a “local” to that store, I refused to go in after stopping at Zippy’s and being complained at for parking out front. The beer selection is/was far better than many other local places, but that kind of attitude is offputting.

    It’s obviously a shame when anyone’s business goes under, esp. at this time of year tho.

  • KMG December 24, 2010 (8:27 am)

    First of all, the comments about driving and not in WS or have to bring a passport are just stupid. So it is not on CA Ave or in a Junction. People in the Highland Park neighborhood travel daily to patronize businesses in the Junctions. So you ” oh high and mighty” can make a trip to Highland Park.
    And for those that are scouting for a new spot for Zippy’s, as someone else said, restarting at a new location takes capital and can be devastating to a business.
    Obvious there is some love for this burger shop. So that is great.

  • Jill December 24, 2010 (9:41 am)

    Agree, what’s with this “mainland WS” stuff? C’mon, Highland Park is not THAT far from the Junction (3 mi. maybe??), and last I checked, getting there requires taking one of the bridges.

    Besides that, stop being so selfish. These businesses are far more valuable to HP residents than they would be to residents closer to the Junction, where there’s already plenty to choose from.

  • moxilot December 24, 2010 (9:42 am)

    While it was always a hassle trying to park in Zippy’s designated spaces, I completely understand the Seamart’s attitude about parking. I bet those parking spaces were part of their lease. So, they would be essentially paying for the parking for all the Zippy’s customers… and I can see how that can get annoying. I don’t know exactly what their lease terms were like, but I could sympathize.

    Also, since Baba has made several (and extensive) comments in other posts about what IS and ISN’T West Seattle, I believe that was the cause for the winky face. Oh Baba… do you ever get off of Cali Ave? ;)
    That aside, no matter where Zippy’s moves, I’m there!

  • Cathy December 24, 2010 (12:44 pm)

    Seamart – Ed, I will be sorry not to see you in the morning (I came in often on my way to work and bought chocolate milk). More important, I’m so sorry for the loss of your child, I had no idea. I know you will find perfect work near your home, you will be happy and prospereous, and blessed to have had as many years as you did with your child. Bless you, Cathy

  • Rod December 24, 2010 (12:54 pm)

    I think the old Jade West has all the kitchen equipment already in place…maybe Zippy’s can move in there?

  • Jill December 24, 2010 (1:09 pm)

    Arg, got sucked too far into the black hole that is Comments That Have Nothing to Do With the Original Post, so I forgot to say how sorry I am to hear this! Best outcome wishes to Zippy’s and JoJos and to the Choes’ next venture…

  • Cheryl December 24, 2010 (2:32 pm)

    Sure are a lot of LAZY A$S people here in West Seattle if they think Zippy’s is too far. I think it’s perfect right where it is.
    Y’all lazy-tons are missing out on a lot of good fare in Delridge (ahem, Delridge is TOTALLY in WS by the way). Prolly the same people that would never venture into White Center (*gasp*) for pizza at Proletariat, ice cream at Full Tilt, or a beer at Big Al’s…
    And P.S. I imagine rents in the Alaska Junction are REALLY high by comparison to High Point, White Center, 35th/Roxbury, etc. If I were a business and already had a loyal following, there is no way I’d risk moving to a higher rent zone. Not in this economy!
    Too bad. Too sad. More for me!

  • Debbie December 24, 2010 (5:15 pm)

    As someone who lives two blocks from Zippy’s, I hope they do not have to move. If they do, I hope it is down to ‘the strip’ in White Center near Uncle Mike’s, Proletariat, etc. Seeing this, and hearing the recent mumblings on a Starbucks on that corner has me worried.

  • Nena December 24, 2010 (5:49 pm)

    I live a short walk away from Zippy’s and hope it stays. While I can hop in my car or get on the bus and get to loads of places, there’s not a lot of great food within walking distance of me. The Junction has plenty of options, Highland Park is pretty much a wasteland except for Zippy’s.

  • robert667 December 25, 2010 (10:24 pm)

    love zippys, got the business for parking in front of seamart; there was no other cars in their lot, so i’m happy to see them go,zippys move to west seattle, your business will triple

  • KMG December 25, 2010 (10:31 pm)

    Those that talk about the WC, you are right. I took a couple that are loyal to Zeek’s to WC for some Pizza. They are ready to make the drive to Proletariat. Uncle Mikes has some of the best BBQ in the NW. And how can you go wrong at Full Tilt. And getting a burger at Mac’s Triangle Tavern is great. All for a little better on the wallet.

    Even if Starbucks wants to buy the lot, or anybody else for that matter, is going to have troubles because of the environmental hazards due to a previous gas station on the site of SeaMart. Even a huge corparation will have trouble buying into that situation.

  • NotMe December 26, 2010 (12:02 pm)

    I am glad I read the comments today. I had never heard of Proletariat, and now I am going to drive ALL the way over and give it a try.

  • Julia December 27, 2010 (10:50 am)

    This is so so sad. Justin, Hannah and Ed were very kind people and we always enjoyed stopping in – they never complained so we had no idea their personal and financial troubles ran so deep. This is a real loss to Highland Park. I hope the Choes can pick up the pieces and move on to more positive things in 2011. We will really miss them.

  • chup December 28, 2010 (2:10 pm)

    Small business owners create community. Best wishes to the Chloes for better days ahead, and thank you for being part of our community. I’ll drive wherever for Zippy’s, and want to support local businesses in Highland Park and White Center. ANY business in our area is just a stop on the way to the Dog Park @ Westcrest!

  • Lohoho December 30, 2010 (11:42 am)

    Catching up on posts since being out of town for the holidays. Very sad news. I had no idea as so many other customers of SeaMart that they were having such a difficult time. Best wishes for them in 2011. As for Zippy’s – my family will go for burgers whereever you choose to do business, but please stay in Highland Park. We all love having you in our little neighborhood.

  • lenguamor December 30, 2010 (3:37 pm)

    Karma’s a bitch; Remember all those people you chased out of your precious parking spaces? You could have been neighborly, you could have had a REALLY terrific symbiosis with Zippy’s…but NOOOOOOOOO.

  • Cory December 31, 2010 (2:41 pm)

    I’m not surprised about Seamart. Before the current owners took over I used to walk my dog down and pick up beer and snacks most evenings. I was always greeted by name, my dog was given a treat, and I would have great conversations with the guy working there. I probably spent $50-75/week at Seamart and would often bring in veggies from my garden or homemade treats to share.

    Once the current owners moved in they stopped allowing dogs, wouldn’t let me park in their lot when going to Zippy’s (even when I bought $10 in beer from Seamart just 2 minutes earlier), and the angry old dude that worked the evenings was just plain mean. I’ve heard nice things about the people working the morning shifts but all my experiences were with the evening grouch.

    Good luck Zippy’s & JoJos, I hope you can both expand into the Seamart location and stay in the ‘hood.

Sorry, comment time is over.