By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Angela Rivers‘s dad started West Seattle Coins on the southeast corner of California and Oregon in 1979. Her mom had a hair salon in the back. She and her brothers “grew up in there,” she recalls.
But suddenly, it’s the end of the line for the West Seattle Junction shop (which changed its name to Bellevue Rare Coins for unified branding with the company’s four other shops outside the city, but remains under the same family’s ownership).
You’ll recall the West Seattle shop closed after a robbery last month, and announced it would stay closed while remodeling and improving security. That was the plan until the landlord, the Senior Center of West Seattle, informed Bellevue Rare Coins that rather than allow extensive remodeling, they wanted to end the lease – originally running through next year – early, so they could expand Senior Center operations into the corner space. After the Senior Center sent us an announcement of this late Wednesday, we contacted BRC to find out about their plans, and that’s how we ended up speaking with Rivers today.
“It was a shocker. We didn’t see this coming,” she said. “It took us by surprise.” She also described it as a “double whammy” in the wake of the robbery (part of a regional rampage for which suspects are in custody), which in turn happened just three weeks after a glass-smashing attack at the store.
Here’s how the Senior Center explained it in the announcement sent to us:
Bellevue Rare Coins has been a great tenant and member of the Junction business community. We made this decision because Bellevue Rare Coins had recently announced plans to invest in tenant improvements in that space. The Senior Center staff and board are currently in a strategic planning process that include future plans for that space, and it was very likely that we were not going to renew their lease when it expired at the end of 2023.
Our future plans include an entrance on the California Ave. side of the building, which would help our community members find and access our facility. It may also be used in the future as an extension of our current Café, which offers freshly prepared soups, salads, sandwiches, and coffee weekdays to members and non-members of all ages.
Our short-term plan is to make this corner space available as a “pop-up” event and retail space. As we outline our next steps in our strategic plan, we will share our vision and get feedback from the community.
We want to thank Bellevue Rare Coins for their partnership as a longtime tenant.
Rivers says reopening without remodeling wouldn’t have worked because it’s “not a functioning store” given the damage from the robbery as well as the needed security upgrades, which she says they’ve since put in place at their other stores. Those other stores (in Bellevue, Issaquah, Lynnwood, and Tacoma) are all going strong, she says, so they’re “going to make the best of this” and might find another Seattle location, maybe even in West Seattle, someday. Meantime, she wants local customers to know, “We’ve enjoyed every moment of being part of the West Seattle community.”