BIZNOTE: Thunder Road Guitars and The Bass Shop moving

The co-housed West Seattle Junction music shops Thunder Road Guitars and The Bass Shop (both WSB sponsors) are moving to a new home in Morgan Junction. The move also solves a long-running mystery about their future space, the former Kokoras. First, here’s the announcement from TRG proprietor Frank Gross (who also sent the top photo):

As many of you know, Thunder Road Guitars currently resides at 4736 California Ave in the heart of the West Seattle Junction. When I founded Thunder Road Guitars in the fall of 2011, as a life-long West Seattleite, I could only dream of one day having our store located in the Junction. In just 4 years we moved from the ActivSpace building on Alki, where I leased a 110 square foot office, to our first “cozy” brick and mortar storefront north of the Junction, to our current location, which I believed would be our forever home.

In the summer of 2018, I was informed by our landlord that our rent would be increasing significantly come June of 2019 and I knew that I had a tough decision to make. Forced with a ticking clock, we decided to start quietly looking for a new home for Thunder Road and I am ecstatic to announce that we found one in the Morgan Junction here in West Seattle, just a handful of blocks from our current storefront. In a growing city like Seattle parking is more of an issue now than ever and I am thrilled to also say that this new location will have a dedicated parking lot attached to the property with free parking for our customers.

This summer Thunder Road Guitars and The Bass Shop will be moving to 6400 California Ave SW. We will initially occupy half of the property and work on renovating the entire building over the course of the following year. We are now lucky enough to be our own landlords and as a friend of mine once said “own the dirt beneath our feet and the roof over our heads”. Much of 2019 will be a transition period so please bear with us while we make the move and begin putting together what will become the permanent location for our retail storefront, repair business, and guitar lesson studio.

Moving Thunder Road Guitars to the Junction in 2015 grew our business and brand in ways I could never imagine and for that I am forever grateful and indebted to this community. West Seattle is our home and has always been good to us, and we are so pleased to be able to remain a part of the community.

– Frank Gross, owner and founder of Thunder Road Guitars

After receiving this, we headed down the hill to the new space, also with the goal of asking The Wash Dog next door what’s in their future. Proprietor Thyra tells WSB she’s looking for a new spot but her lease runs through this time next year and her new landlord is working with her on the transition. The ex-Kokoras space has been empty for a year and a half.

33 Replies to "BIZNOTE: Thunder Road Guitars and The Bass Shop moving"

  • HelperMonkey April 2, 2019 (11:59 am)

    way to go, Mr. Landlord. Nice to see your greed driving a solid business out of the junction. 

    • Marc April 2, 2019 (12:42 pm)

      Why is it about greed? How does the landlord pay for all the property tax increases that have been voted on? How does the landlord pay for all increased utility costs? Why do you assume greed without any facts about how the deal is structured? 

      • Peter April 2, 2019 (1:35 pm)

        I agree 100%.  Don’t like rent increases? Then stop voting for property tax increases. 

      • GreedyLandlord April 2, 2019 (2:09 pm)

        As a landlord….I completely agree.

        • Peter S. April 2, 2019 (8:14 pm)

           Ditto.  Last year’s property tax increase was pretty steep.  Consequently, (residential) rent I charged was bumped more than it ever has been before just to break even on the taxes.  Tenants were extremely grateful that I didn’t  raise it more than I had to.  This year’s property taxes didn’t increase.  Guess what?  This year’s rent increases will be nominal, if at all.  Just enough to cover expected maintenance and insurance  increases.  See how that works?

      • FWIW April 2, 2019 (8:24 pm)

        Most commercial leases are written in a manner where on top of the base rent the tenant also pays all the property taxes as well as all utilities. So technically the property owner pays none of these expenses, they are all passed onto the tenant. 

        • Rick Cook April 2, 2019 (9:28 pm)

          Triple net?

    • Thr King April 2, 2019 (6:21 pm)

      The 2018 property taxes alone were over $7000 for that property. Throw in insurance, utilities and maintenance and the break even bill is pretty high. If you start running spread sheets on how much of your income goes to taxes you’ll be surprised, mine was over 44% total a couple of years ago. 

    • blbl April 3, 2019 (9:02 am)

      Why do assume the landlord is a man? 

  • Hey Lady April 2, 2019 (11:59 am)

    Did Kokoras have dedicated parking spaces?

    • Calires April 2, 2019 (3:41 pm)

      Yes, around back, accessed from the alley and shared with The Wash Dog.

  • sw April 2, 2019 (12:27 pm)

    No doubt a pizza restaurant will be moving into the current Thunder Road space.  (I kid, I kid)  Boo to Junction landlords for driving away local businesses that add to the diversity and flavor of the neighborhood.The Junction will be a lesser place without Thunder Road, but I’m super happy that they have a new home down the street and control their own destiny with the space.  Congrats on the move!

  • MrsT April 2, 2019 (12:32 pm)

    Great news! Best of luck!

  • Astro April 2, 2019 (12:45 pm)

    Oh no! I’m never gonna see my husband again now that you’re in walking distance. :)

  • sam-c April 2, 2019 (1:06 pm)

    Thanks for staying in West Seattle ! Best of luck in your renovation and move.  We’ll miss having your store in the Junction.  

  • Rick Cook April 2, 2019 (2:32 pm)

    I have a summer home on Long Lake in Port Orchard that is a well known largemouth bass fishing lake. I walk by this location daily on my way to and from work. I’ll have to stop in and check out their gear. Before anyone blows a gasket,I’m kidding. It’s funny. At least I thought it was. Good luck.

    • Eddie April 2, 2019 (3:30 pm)

      Hope you’ve been to Emerald Water Anglers at Oregon and 42nd.

  • Wadste April 2, 2019 (3:57 pm)

      Good Luck Wash Dog.  Sounds like you’re the one getting a raw deal here.

  • morgan April 2, 2019 (4:20 pm)

    Thunder Road is the best guitar shop the state, HANDS DOWN. Happy to see that they will have a permanent home! All the best to Frank and the crew!! Oh, Super happy Bass Shop is moving them them!!

  • WD April 2, 2019 (5:35 pm)

    Hi …  Just want to clear up some confusion in this story.  This building was indeed put up for sale about 3 years ago but was quickly purchased at that time by FHG Enterprises, a local West Seattle company, who has owned the building since then and just sold to Thunder Road Guitars last week.    The Wash Dog tried to purchase the building 3 years ago, and again on this last round, but other companies were chosen to purchase it instead. 

    • Justducky April 2, 2019 (9:46 pm)

      This makes me sad. I love you guys as much as my dogs do. Hope you guys can stay in the Morgan Junction area. No offense to TRG, you guys are great as well…my dogs just never picked up playing guitar.

      • GHO April 2, 2019 (10:46 pm)

        Agreed. The Wash Dog seems to be a footnote to this story. Also no offense, but hard to be happy at the expense of another longtime local business. 

  • I. Ponder April 2, 2019 (5:39 pm)

    “We are now lucky enough to be our own landlords and as a friend of mine
    once said “own the dirt beneath our feet and the roof over our heads”. That’s a big win for them. Their landlord didn’t drive them out of business. I assume they will be paying a mortgage to the bank instead of rent.

  • aa April 2, 2019 (5:56 pm)

    I have enjoyed watching the growth of this business.  I am happy  that they found a new location that works for them financially and considering how much people complain about lack of parking in the junction this spot offers an improved location for their customers.    Personally, I like the idea of businesses moving out of the junction and developing businesses all along California rather than all crammed into a 3-block section is a good thing.

  • PatsFAn April 2, 2019 (6:04 pm)

    I think the constant shuffle in the Junction and Alki is a real disservice to the community and detracts from lure for people to come here from other parts and shop or eat.  Would love to see local institutions stay; I purposely don’t go to the Starbucks in the Junction because of that.  I’d prefer not to have to go down to Morgan just to browse the “it will be mine, oh yes, it will be mine” guitars….will miss them.

    • Maria April 2, 2019 (10:52 pm)

      I don’t quite get this comment.  Starbucks is a local institution whether you prefer to patronize it or not.  Starbucks has been in the junction just as relatively long as TRG and employs more West Seattlites than TRG.  I agree with your first sentence, but no need to bad mouth  successful businesses that are anchors in the Junction. 

  • Sea-Town April 2, 2019 (9:47 pm)

    Nice work on becoming your own landlord Frank. Best situation to be in as a business owner. Good luck on the move and can’t wait to stop in and see the new digs!

  • dhg April 3, 2019 (9:54 am)

    I wasn’t aware Kokoras was closed, even though I pass by it every day.  Biggest mistake that place made was to tint the windows so dark that the place looked closed already, 24/7, even when it was open.  A similar design flaw afflicted the Admiral’s The Cask a few years ago. I never went in, it never looked open.

  • imiJ April 3, 2019 (11:04 am)

    Looks like Frank is confused, turned around hitching Northbound back towards his original shop?

  • West Seattle Hipster April 3, 2019 (11:43 am)

    If the moving van has a steering wheel he should be able to make his way to the new location just fine.

  • Clifford April 3, 2019 (3:29 pm)

    It’s quite unfortunate that a West Seattle business, is putting out of business, The Wash Dog which is coming up on their 19th year Anniversary. The Wash Dog is a wonderful establishment, it’s sad to see them being displaced. I wish them the best on finding another location.

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