BIZNOTE FOLLOWUP: Future of Click! Design That Fits to be settled soon

(Photo courtesy Click! Design That Fits)

Today, Click! Design That Fits in The Junction is closed in memory of co-founder Frances Smersh, who passed away one year ago today.

Frances’s husband and Click! co-founder John Smersh says the future of the shop (4540 California SW; WSB sponsor) is about to be decided, one way or another.

As reported here four months ago, Click! has been up for sale. John has a prospective buyer, but there’s a third party to the deal: “While we’d like to remain optimistic that our potential new owner and our landlord will reach an agreement on a lease, at this time the landlord is asking for a rent increase that would be unsustainable for our business model, and as such our deal may fall through. We are reviewing all possible options but are faced with our own lease expiration and as such have been liquidating remaining inventory at 20-40% off.”

So one way or another, Click! will be closing “within the next several days,” he says – whether temporarily or permanently, that depends. If the former, “new ownership could take over as soon as October 1, after a short break for transition.” If the latter: “If we don’t reopen under new ownership, we will remain closed, grateful for the 18 years of love the West Seattle community has graced us with. We are honored to have been trusted with curating a collection of gifts and home accessories for our friends and neighbors.”

John says the current plan, subject to change, is for Click! to be open – with the liquidation sale continuing – 11 am-6 pm Wednesday (September 7th) and 11 am-8 pm Thursday (September 8th, open late for the West Seattle Art Walk).

19 Replies to "BIZNOTE FOLLOWUP: Future of Click! Design That Fits to be settled soon"

  • jw September 4, 2022 (12:56 pm)

    Another great landlord.  Let’s have another empty store front!

    • Flo B September 4, 2022 (2:08 pm)

      JW. Here’s your opportunity to buy the building and be a great landlord. After all you know exactly what the market is and would be happy renting at below market rate and would never raise rent on a tenant or raise rent for a new incoming tenant.

      • justwow September 4, 2022 (6:11 pm)

        You tell ’em Aunt Flo.

      • Suds September 5, 2022 (8:06 pm)

        So it makes more sense for a landlord to have the building air empty and not collect any revenue at all?  I’ve always been fascinated by this dynamic; not being a business property owner, I don’t have inside knowledge of why this would make sense. Do they get a tax write off for non-producing properties? Or is the LL betting it’ll be rented very soon? I recall in the 1970’s the junction was awash in empty storefronts, and couldn’t figure out how this made any kinds of financial sense.

  • Nwe September 4, 2022 (1:12 pm)

    What a bummer- it’s such a unique and nice little store. 

  • Anne September 4, 2022 (1:52 pm)

    Sure hope the landlord sees the benefit of keeping Click where it is -at an agreeable  to both parties-rent. A true gem that brings business here & potentially to more junction businesses as well. 

  • Paul September 4, 2022 (3:09 pm)

    Landlords in this town want renters but they don’t make it possible for small business owners to stay in operation.  They really don’t care much about the small business owners. 

  • Christy September 4, 2022 (3:41 pm)

    Click!, such a wonderful shop, great products, great artists and best, Francis and John and their contributions to the community. Hope the story continues but, landlords can break the deal. Would be a sad loss to WS. So grateful for knowing this shop and the gracious owners over the years. 

  • Rb September 4, 2022 (3:45 pm)

    My two cents, having been in Click’ shoes. The landlord has no obligation to a store Vs another. They can ask what they want and deal with the fact that the store may be empty for a year. I believe they get significant tax benefits from unrented spaces. All this said, Click should consider a different location. A store like theirs is a destination spot and will do well even in a more affordable location ( Delridge?). 

  • anonyme September 4, 2022 (3:51 pm)

    Between development and soaring rents, the Junction might well be deserted before long.  Are landlords really that cash-strapped, or is greed the problem?  I can’t help but think that it would be better to have a paying tenant than risk another empty storefront.  Maybe some soulless corporate chains will move in to serve the burgeoning apartment community, but as it stands now I no longer have a reason to visit the Junction except for the Farmer’s Market.  With the loss of Lee’s and quite a few other restaurants, the appeal is gone.  Retail options are pretty limited.  Even Capers used to be more interesting when it was bigger and had a nice coffee and pastry bar.

    • Carol September 4, 2022 (6:20 pm)

      Blast from the past for sure. “Larger Capers with coffee bar” brings back such fond memories.

  • Sam September 4, 2022 (4:43 pm)

    Love Click so much! It’s introduced me to many wonderful products and is a go-to for Christmas gifts. I really hope it finds a great new location.

    Going to Click has been one of the primary reasons I visit the junction. There are a few other restaurants and shops I like of course, but any neighborhood that lands this shop should consider itself lucky.

  • HS September 4, 2022 (4:59 pm)

    The development planned for the Junction will increase pedestrian foot traffic within the next 1-2 years. It’s a great location to keep an established and known small business despite a, typical, commercial rent increase. My unsolicited advice would be to increase product offerings that target an underserved customer. I was in a local store and overheard some young men comment that many of the stores in the junction targeted women over 45, “another middle aged woman store”. That’s a missed consumer who is already trying to shop the area. The apartments around the junction (Whole Foods) are full of people 22 – 38… I rarely see them shopping at the junction stores.

    • Rb September 4, 2022 (9:41 pm)

      Because that younger demo shops mostly online. With a few exceptions,of course

    • Sue H September 5, 2022 (1:23 am)

      That’s an interesting perspective since I’m a woman over 45 who doesn’t find the current offerings in the Junction to entice me to go shopping for the most part.

      • newnative September 5, 2022 (9:11 am)

        I agree, Sue H. I find a lot of the shops catering to people in a much higher income bracket and not necessarily an older crowd. My favorite shops are gone, my favorite restaurants are gone. It seems the higher rents are trying to entice bigger chains that can weather the ups and lows of a fickle economy.

      • HS September 5, 2022 (12:19 pm)

        I’m just sharing what I heard. I think the point was that they were going into stores with the intention of shopping and not finding much targeted to them. When I overheard them, they’d been into three retail shops and finally just decided to go to lunch and then drive elsewhere to shop.

  • Admyrl Byrd September 5, 2022 (2:27 pm)

    I’m really beginning to wonder how the “landlords” keep justifying rent increases that drive businesses out – I’m guessing that’s what drove Cuts to close as well, and we keep hearing it elsewhere – West5, etc etc.  I can’t believe the Chipotle’s of the world can magically sustain these rents.  Is it because we have set up the zoning to make it more attractive to kick retail out in order to tear down and rebuild as box apartments?  Don’t we need some of each?

    • WSB September 6, 2022 (12:36 pm)

      The zoning in The Junction – for much higher buildings than exist on most sites now – has been this way for decades, little-known fact. And in the heart of the district, it has to be mixed-use development, so there’s still going to be ground-floor retail/restaurant space looking for tenants,

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