FOLLOWUP: Bellevue Rare Coins won’t be reopening West Seattle Junction store after all – but not by choice

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.”

18 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: Bellevue Rare Coins won't be reopening West Seattle Junction store after all - but not by choice"

  • Jethro Marx May 19, 2022 (4:57 pm)

    The corner could probably use a cool coin-based piece of art, whoever ends up using it in the future.

  • WS Guy May 19, 2022 (5:18 pm)

    Nooo!  I hope they choose a new location at the Junction.

  • Rarer Still May 19, 2022 (5:44 pm)

    Very sorry for BRC and I also hope they will find a new WS home. I do applaud the senior center for getting ahead of this and not letting BRC waste their time and effort on a remodel only to get booted. But it seems clear the two criminal acts against BRC were a death knell; first the broken window and then the very alarming armed robbery. As I noted in the (poor) survey put out by SPD, I suggested we need many more cops in WS, and hopefully walking an old fashioned beat at that. We no longer see any crime prevention, only after-the-fact follow up once a crime is committed. Seems to me that of all the ways to save this city money, prevention would be top of the list. Crazy talk, I know. 

  • Mj May 19, 2022 (5:50 pm)

    This business will be missed by many people!

  • Derek May 19, 2022 (5:50 pm)

    I don’t understand need for a coin store on a premier industry location. I’m hoping for a good nightlife spot in its place. Need more dives and music venues.

    • WSB May 19, 2022 (7:40 pm)

      I don’t know the exact square footage but I think that space is way too small for a nightlife venue. The Junction has Poggie Tavern, The Alley, and In the Heart – The Alley just added more live jazz, on Wednesdays (see our calendar) – plus of course there’s the new-ish tiki bar at the bowling alley and the new-ish bar at Easy Street Records.

      • Fiwa Jcbbb May 21, 2022 (8:42 am)

        Well as someone who saw Soundgarden play at The Ditto Tavern, no space is too small if there’s room for a drum kit and a couple of amps. Moreover us grunge era folks are getting to be seniors, so this would be perfect!

    • Anne May 19, 2022 (9:11 pm)


    • K in WS May 20, 2022 (7:26 am)

      It was a cool store. In addition to having one of the best tents in the WS street fair, they carried lots of antique jewelry at great prices.I’ll miss them :(

  • WC May 19, 2022 (6:05 pm)

    White Center Coins?  There’s space down here.

  • onion May 19, 2022 (9:04 pm)

    It sounds as if the Senior Center planned to take over that space eventually in the next few years, so they did the right thing  by keeping the coin shop from investing in major updates for only a year or two. But I hope the Senior Center acts quickly to keep that corner from looking blighted.

  • StopCuttingDownTrees May 19, 2022 (11:11 pm)

    Westwood Village has a space where the former 24 Hour Fitness was, as well as a few others. Lots of free parking there and tons of foot traffic due to Target, Ross, Marshalls, QFC, Rite Aid, Staples, Ulta, the mattress store, Wyatt Jewelers, etc.

    • WS resident May 20, 2022 (3:45 am)

      Also no foot traffic, or security that’s worthwhile and the crime is way worse in Westwood. 

    • Scott May 20, 2022 (8:46 am)

      Yeah, Westwood screams Safety and let put up a coin shop. Any smart business owner would never put one there. 

  • Justducky May 19, 2022 (11:32 pm)

    I have always found a lovely piece of vintage jewelry at their tent during Summer fest, I will miss them very much. 

  • mamainws May 20, 2022 (5:52 am)

    I agree with onion. Please act quickly Senior Center! We don’t need another Swedish situation on that corner!

  • Evadi Blompfersteen May 20, 2022 (1:54 pm)

    BRC would have sought a lease extension and most likely a tenant improvement allowance from the landlord for the remodel, especially since it involved storefront work.  The storefront belongs to the building so it is reasonable for a tenant to ask the landlord to chip in for tenant storefront upgrades if not pay for them outright.  Senior Center said no, we’re not extending your lease, there are no monies for you, so BRC has no choice but to move on.  This is how it’s supposed to work, it happens all the time.  Good luck to both in the future.

    The idea that the Senior Center did BRC a big favor by not suckering them into a remodel then not renewing the lease was never on the table, I guarantee it, nobody remodels with short time on the lease.

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