EDITOR’S NOTE: Earlier this year, WSB started a series of stories about independent local businesses and why they matter more to a community like ours than you might realize. Then, the “West Seattle: We Have That” campaign launched at midsummer. Starting today, WSB will continue publishing the series – and inviting you into the conversation. Many of the reports, starting with this one, will be underwritten by the West Seattle Junction Association, but not as ads – it’s their contribution to an issue of importance from Alki to Westwood, Fauntleroy to Highland Park, and all over WS.
By Keith Creighton
Special to West Seattle Blog
Demolition is under way on the southeast corner of Alaska Avenue, California Avenue SW, and 42nd Avenue SW, on properties that were once anchor points of the West Seattle Junction. While the buildings have been empty for more than a year and life has continued as normal, many of us have taken comfort in knowing interesting restaurants and shops will return to the corner someday.
But what if they didn’t return?
Two-dozen other boutiques still line The Junction. For some West Seattleites, these stores are rich with treasures: Home décor to fashion, shoes, eyewear, music, wine, and beer, pet supplies and more. Store regulars know the shop owners and clerks by name and enjoy the personalized service only stores like these can provide.
For a greater percentage of area residents, West Seattle shop windows are just eye candy, gazed upon as we stroll the avenue and duck into our favorite restaurants. Window shopping is a difficult task to monetize, so the futures of many of these stores might be passing them by as well.
Do you “Buy Local” in West Seattle – not just The Junction, but other areas as well?
Please share your story in the comments section below, including: If you prefer to shop at malls or online, would you miss West Seattle’s locally owned stores if they went away?
The discussion isn’t merely about supporting a few dozen retailers. It’s about preserving the way of life that sets West Seattle apart from other corners of King County.
To spark retail support from Alki to Endolyne and beyond, the West Seattle Junction Association launched “West Seattle: We Have That” in partnership with a coalition of local retailers and the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce.
“Independent retailers and businesses need to feel the love and patronage of the community to keep their doors open and make West Seattle feel like West Seattle,” says Susan Melrose, director of the Junction Association. “This campaign sheds light on the robust selection of affordable goods and services that can be found every day on this side of the bridge.”
In the coming weeks, these reports will take a closer look at the impact locally owned stores have on West Seattle’s financial future, real estate values, environment, schools and non-profits and our overall quality of life. And if you think you know everything West Seattle businesses have to offer – you might see cause to think twice. So stay tuned, and let us know what you think.
Keith Creighton is a West Seattle-based writer.