West Seattle, Washington
Story and photos by Tony Lystra
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
Now that the Westwood Village Barnes & Noble has closed its doors, Pegasus Book Exchange is West Seattle’s last surviving bookstore — and, despite a deluge of obituaries for America’s independent bookstores, business is booming at the family-owned store at 4553 California Avenue SW, employees say.
Eric Ogriseck, who has worked at the store for seven years, said 2018 was the best year in Pegasus’ history. The banner year was, no doubt, helped along by last year’s closure of Merryweather Books, just a few storefronts up California Avenue. Still, Ogriseck said, revenues at Pegasus have been jumping roughly 5-10 percent in recent years.
The vast majority of the book store’s shelves are piled with used books, but the store started selling a few new titles more than a decade ago, when customers were clamoring for new copies of the hit teen vampire drama Twilight.
With Barnes & Noble closing, Ogriseck said more books are on their way to Pegasus, which has been owned for nearly four decades by Fred and Lanthe Epps, of Mount Vernon, and managed by their grown daughter Emma Epps.
“We have to kind of stay with the times,” said Ogriseck, who added that the store will likely increase its new book inventory by 10 percent.
Today we welcome Boom Studios, LLC as a new WSB sponsor! Here’s what they’d like you to know about what they offer:
Boom Dance Studios has spent the past 3 years working in partnership with Seattle Parks and Recreation and the community centers in West Seattle. We have provided a variety of classes locally and have enjoyed the opportunity to get to know you all!
We are excited to announce that starting January 14th, 2019, Boom Studios, LLC (formerly Boom Dance Studios) will have a new home at Mode Music & Performing Arts, 3801 Delridge Way SW, next to The Skylark.
Boom Studios encourages learning in a non-traditional environment through an inclusive, engaging, safe, body-positive and fun atmosphere. Our Boom Team inspires our students to be creative, innovative, explorative and energetic.
We offer classes for all ages: Tots (as young as 6 months old), Kids, Teens, Adults, and Seniors. From Hip Hop to Ballet, Urban Sass to Burlesque, Musical Theatre to Creative Movement … we will have your entire family grooving out of the studio feeling confident, happy, and ready to take on the world!
Registration for Winter classes is open online now. Visit boomstudiosllc.com/register to get involved in out Winter classes starting January 14th, 2019. Use promo code WSBLOG5 to receive 5% off your first class registration; valid for Winter and Spring sessions only.
Make sure to check out our events page for information on our special events – especially our Valentine’s Fever Dance Party & Parents’ Night Out! That’s right, we are opening the studio for you to drop off your children for a night of crafts, dinner, movie, cocoa/popcorn, 30 minute Hip Hop class and dance party!
Want to register for summer camps early? Come visit us at our Boom & Mode Studios Summer Camp Fair on Sunday, January 13th, from 3:00-6:00 pm. Games, entertainment, snacks, and prizes will be provided as well as chances to save big on our half- and full-day camps. More information is available at boomstudiosllc.com/summer-camps.
We thank Boom Studios, LLC for sponsoring independent, community-collaborative neighborhood news via WSB; find our current sponsor team listed in directory format here, and find info on joining the team by going here.
Thanks for the tips on these following our coverage of other recent closures:
IRASHAI RESTAURANT: Though the “open” sign remains illuminated and flashing, the Japanese restaurant in The Admiral District has closed, according to the note on its door, first noticed by Kim. The note says, “We hope to serve you soon with a new restaurant and a new menu.” (We did note recently that there was an application for a change in its liquor license.) Irashai opened a year and a half ago in a space that previously housed Mawadda Café.
CHECKMATE DRY CLEANERS: This first surfaced in comments on our coverage of the West Seattle Pizza Hut‘s impending closure – commenter GatewoodGuy noted that the cleaners next door had recently closed too. We went over to verify and found a note on its door citing “personal matters” and referring customers to Q Cleaners in The Junction. This is the second dry cleaners to close in West Seattle in six months, following the Alki Cleaners closure in July.
A new skirmish in the ongoing fight over the future of the West Seattle Junction Association‘s free-to-shoppers parking lots. We’ve reported on the WSJA’s donation-seeking efforts to help cover the cost of dramatically increased rent. Now the lots’ owners, the consortium known as West Seattle Trusteed Properties, have served WSJA with a notice saying the donation boxes put up at the lots in October violate the lease, and giving the merchants’ organization 10 days to remove them or “vacate” (as in, give up the lots).
The paperwork headed “10-Day Notice to Cure Lease Defaults or Vacate” was shown to WSB by Junction Association executive director Lora Radford. It alleges three violations – that soliciting donations equals charging for parking, and that the donation boxes and signage were put up without “prior written consent” of Trusteed Properties. Radford said WSJA consulted its attorney and does not believe the donation campaign is a lease violation. The association was planning to send a response letter to Trusteed Properties, whose secretary Tyler M. Johnson signed the notice, dated January 4th but received Monday. Radford says they will stress that they don’t believe the donation boxes are a violation, but will request retroactive permission anyway.
WSJA says its rent this year – due largely to a property-tax increase that’s passed through under lease terms – will be more than $245,000, almost triple what it was in 2016. Ten separate parcels owned by Trusteed Properties comprise the four lots (three on 44th SW, one on 42nd SW). For more backstory on the rent situation, see our coverage from last March.
Three months after we reported that the Westwood Village Barnes & Noble would close this month, it’s in its final days. As the sign says, January 12th is its final day – the store staff tells us the hours on Saturday will be 9 am to 9 pm, and then it’s closed forever, after 13 years. No official word yet on the space’s future.
Today is the first full day of business for Zoe Lyn Kritzer‘s new shop Youngstown Coffee Co. at 5214 Delridge Way SW, but you might know her already from her past West Seattle gigs. We contacted Zoe after neighbor Kate tipped us about seeing the new shop in soft-open mode on New Year’s Day at the former Daily Dose space. Zoe tells us:
My desire to start a coffee shop in West Seattle began when I was 18 and I started working at Uptown Espresso on SW Edmunds St. I have continued to fall in love with the community of West Seattle as I made my residence permanent a few years back and juggled four jobs, two of which allowed me even more exposure to the best of the West; Ma’ono and Uptown Espresso. I am beyond excited to create a space where every person that walks in the door feels like they can be unabashedly themselves and leaves at least a bit better off than when they entered; satiated mentally, physically, and emotionally. My shop is centered on building the beautiful community of Delridge and bringing together people from every walk of life through interpersonal communication and connection.
A big question for coffee shops is always “what are you serving?”
I’m partnering with Victrola for my beans. I grew up on Cap Hill, going to their original shop on 15th; it’s where I began my love affair with coffee and I still think they make the best coffee in Seattle. They also have one of the most supportive, intelligent, ethical, and just generally wonderful team of coffee professionals.
I’m also featuring Friday Afternoon Teas. Friday, the owner of the tea company, is a true tea artist and scientist. Her teas are unlike anything I’ve ever tasted or smelled. She uses a combination of ethically sourced fruit, herbs, and spices to create unique and intoxicating blends.
Lastly, I serve pastries from my innovative and mastermind bakers down at Macrina. They deliver tantalizing treats daily for the fantastic folks of West Seattle to snack on with their craft coffee.
Youngstown Coffee Co.’s hours are 5 am-6 pm weekdays, 7 am-3 pm Saturdays and Sundays.
The new year has brought a stack of business changes we’ll be reporting on as the week continues. First, TouchTech Systems has left its Junction space along the enclosed breezeway on the west side of California between Oregon and California. Still in business – just not keeping an office space, explains proprietor Brian Presser: “With our lease up for renewal, we decided that TouchTech can provide the same services without a physical presence in the Junction. We hope all of our customers that we have built relationships with over the last 11 years will continue to use us for their technology needs!” Thanks to the reader who texted us the photo of the sign in the ex-TouchTech window.
In the first week-plus of a dozen-plus West Seattle Junction merchants hosting in-store donation boxes to help raise money to keep the four free-to-shoppers parking lots in The Junction, they’ve collected $690, according to Junction Association executive director Lora Radford. More than a third of that ($245) was from Husky Deli customers; other participants reported two-digit tallies from $12 to $70. In a note to participating merchants, Radford says, “It’s heartwarming to see our community helping all of us pay for the parking lots” and reiterates that it’s “one of many ways we’re going to raise funds.” Her note also recaps that the cost of renting and operating the four lots “has skyrocketed from $90,000 (2016) to over $245,000 (2019).” Next update, mid-January.
Thanks to Keri for the tip! For the first time since we broke the news in September 2017 that the West Seattle Whole Foods Market plan was back on, there are signs of activity – literally – at the future store’s space in The Whittaker (4755 Fauntleroy Way SW).
The window signage apparently started going up yesterday – Keri’s tip came in late last night – and more was being added when we went by this morning.
As shown in the top photo, Whole Foods is still projecting it’ll open in fall of next year (when we last checked in April, the company told us “latter part of 2019”). The West Seattle Whole Foods saga is a long one – dating back almost 13 years, to the original February 2006 announcement that they would open in what was then Fauntleroy Place, a project later idled (post-excavation, so it was nicknamed “The Hole” for 4+ years), eventually becoming (under different owners/developers) Spruce, with LA Fitness in the commercial space instead. Then in November 2012, developers of The Whittaker announced WF as their anchor tenant, to open in 2015. That timeline kept sliding until the plan was officially shelved for half of last year, then revived.
As for when Whole Foods’ Whittaker build-out will start, city files verify that permits are in progress. We have inquiries out to WF, though the looming holiday could delay the response.
Three quick notes from Alki:
EX-TULLY’S SPACE: We noticed the tape and dug-up front while passing by today. The space – now vacant almost 10 months – is still posted as “for lease” and there’s nothing in permit files. So we’re mentioning this just in case you wondered too.
VACATION CLOSURE: B’s Po Boy is closed for vacation until early February, according to the sign on the door.
Until 6 pm tonight, the team at Illusions Hair Design (WSB sponsor) invites you to stop in for their Holiday Open House – the last party of the year that also saw Illusions celebrating its 40th anniversary! Sweet treats were out when we stopped by, and savory treats – including the “lunchy stuff” – should have joined the spread by now:
Illusions is at 5919 California SW. After today, the shop is on holiday break until next Wednesday.
When you are out in The Junction doing your last-minute holiday shopping – and beyond – you will see something new in 14 shops: In-store donation boxes like the one above, to rev up the fundraising campaign to help Junction merchants pay the dramatically increasing bill for providing you with “free” parking. That bill – taxes, rent, fees – will total almost a quarter-million dollars next year, says Junction Association executive director Lora Radford. So every few bucks helps. And while supplies last, a donation of at least $5 will get you a classic Junction tree ornament from a rare cache that recently turned up!
The donation boxes are at these West Seattle Junction businesses:
8 Limbs Yoga Centers
Emerald Water Anglers (WSB sponsor)
Jan’s Beauty Supply
Next to Nature
Northwest Art & Frame
Pegasus Book Exchange
Stop n’ Shop
Thunder Road Guitars (WSB sponsor)
Verizon West Seattle
You can drink beer to support the lots, too.
10:18 AM: Thanks for all the tips/questions! Here’s what we have found out about the Delridge Arco/AM-PM, suddenly fenced off and boarded up, apparently at some time yesterday. Nobody around when we first took a look last night; the city online files show a permit issued yesterday for electrical work to “install a fuel-tank monitor.: There was also a permit issued less than a week ago for electrical work involving “kitchen equipment.”
But that’s just part of the story. The gas station and mini-mart are changing ownership, according to someone who answered the phone associated with the current business license (not the phone number listed for the business – that turned out to be disconnected). She said BP is taking over. So we’re now trying to track down the new ownership to find out about a timeline for reopening. Crews are on site now, as our photos show. A few of the people who e-mailed also expressed concern about inability to access packages at an Amazon Locker on the site. We’re checking on that too.
2:12 PM: Just heard back from Michael Abendhoff, BP’s director of media affairs: “Yes, BP now owns the location and will be updating it over the next couple of weeks. It will have a fresh ampm look, along with new customer offers. We hope to have it opened up by the 1st of the year.”
If you get the chance to stop by Juneau Street Market sometime soon, Sami Ibrahim would appreciate your business.
As reported here, the little corner store, owned by Sami since 2011, was rocked twice by crime in the span of one week.
Five days after that, a violent attack that made regional news – with the 71-year-old clerk badly injured by a would-be robber, saved by bystanders. Though this time there was an arrest, the store was again left in disarray, some stock destroyed.
Sami says his clerk is out of the hospital and recovering at home. As reported here last week, her family is crowdfunding, and generous community members have already surpassed the first goal. She has a long road to travel to heal.
As for the shop, Sami says he’s not looking for donations. He invited us to come down and visit the store so you would be reminded that the shop is still open. Business has been down since the crimes, but business is what the store needs to recover (insurance won’t cover the entirety of the damage and loss). The store, he says, is the same neighborhood place it’s always been and he welcomes everyone to come see for themselves. He’s also grateful for neighbors’ support over the years – they’re “cool people,” he says.
And while you’re there, you’ll see a photo of his brave clerk on the counter, with a reminder of the GoFundMe campaign that’s helping her.
(Juneau Street Market is at 5901 California SW.)
The open-enrollment period for health insurance is almost closed! If you have a decision to make, you only have until Saturday night to make it. So we’re reminding you about Financial Designs (WSB sponsor), whose owner Carol McClure is a registered agent for the Washington Healthplanfinder. As noted in our announcement four weeks ago:
Our professional services are always free, unbiased, and customized to you. No matter what your income, budget, family history, or current state of health, you have many options to stay healthy and financially secure today and long into the future. We are experts in helping individuals, families, seniors, and small businesses find affordable health-insurance plans.
Her office is in The Admiral District; Carol tells us she’ll even be open 8 am-6 pm this Saturday so she can keep helping people until the almost-last minute. Call 425-392-7390 to make an appointment for a free consultation, or do it online by going here.
Before the night ends, a quick look ahead to a peak week for the West Seattle Junction Hometown Holidays (with WSB among the community co-sponsors)
COAT DRIVE, WITH COCOA: Set aside new or gently used coats and/or hats and/or gloves between now and Sunday and bring them to the West Seattle Farmers’ Market for this giving opportunity:
Just look for the West Seattle Kiwanis tent at the south end of the market, California/Alaska, 10 am-2 pm. And while you’re there …
SANTA BUS ENCORE! Missed the Santa Bus hosted by Quail Park Memory Care of West Seattle (WSB sponsor) last Sunday? Or, had so much fun you want to do it again? Also 10 am-2 pm this Sunday, also at the south end of the market, another round of free rides!
And before then:
HOLIDAY ART WALK: 5 pm “until late” on Thursday (December 13th), this is a fun night to browse and buy art, and enjoy food and drink specials. The official West Seattle Art Walk website has the previews.
MURAL UNVEILING: At 6 pm Thursday, be at the breezeway (west side of California SW between Puerto Vallarta and Northwest Art and Frame) for the unveiling of the community-created Summer Fest mural!
Artist Stacey Sterling will be there.
SHOP LATE THURSDAY: Also Thursday night – second-to-last Shop Late Thursday – here’s a preview of which businesses to visit! The Silver Belles will be caroling 6-8 pm, so keep an eye (and ear) out for them, too.
CASPAR BABYPANTS: Saturday night (December 15) at 6:30 pm, Verity Credit Union (WSB sponsor) presents the family-rock powerhouse at Easy Street Records (California/Alaska), free admission.
Check the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide for even more holiday happenings!
Perfect weekend to shop local! The photo is from Click! Design That Fits (WSB sponsor), where Eda from Boejack Design has a pop-up under way until 3 pm. Click! tells us, “She handcrafts bags in leather, vegan leather, and Japanese fabric.” More info here.
(Got a shopping spotlight? Let us know for the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide!)
This afternoon, we’re welcoming Daystar Retirement Village as a new WSB sponsor. Here’s what they’d like you to know:
Daystar is making a difference in the lives of our seniors here in West Seattle through providing a safe and secure environment. Our activity program will keep you on the run or enjoy our beautiful gardens. Our location is very user-friendly, with access to public transportation available right in front of our building, and the Westwood Village mall across the street for convenient shopping.
Right now Daystar is offering a move-in special. Move in before the end of January and you can lock in your rate on selected one- or two-bedroom units. Also, if you act before December 31st, you might be eligible for $1500 off your first month’s rent.
Located on SW Barton near Westwood Village, Daystar has been family owned and operated since 1987 by the Powell family of Federal Way. Come and experience our family and let us carry the responsibilities of cooking and cleaning. Call 206-937-6122 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
We thank Daystar Retirement Village for sponsoring independent, community-collaborative neighborhood news via WSB; find our current sponsor team listed in directory format here, and find info on joining the team by going here.
Thanks to Scott for spotting the new signs that have just gone up along Delridge Way SW. These are the signs referred to in a survey the Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association circulated a month ago – one result of the North Delridge Action Plan process that’s been unfolding over the past few years. As DNDA executive director David Bestock explained when announcing the survey:
There are ~83 store-front small businesses along Delridge Way SW that are operated by a diverse group of owners who provide the neighborhood access to vital goods and services. Despite their numbers and longstanding presence in the area, thousands unknowingly pass by Delridge business destinations unaware of the wonderful goods and services they offer.
The signs mark the North Delridge business districts/nodes at/near Andover, Brandon, and Sylvan. They were funded as part of an “Only in Seattle” grant from the city Office of Economic Development and installed by SDOT.
In the most-recent viaduct-to-tunnel discussion we covered, part of the advice for dealing with the “Seattle Squeeze” was to cowork if you can. West Seattle Coworking (WSB sponsor) has taken that to heart and is offering a special. From co-proprietor Ross:
Dear fellow West Seattle residents: Are you dreading the downtown commute coming January? We can help. We still have 8 desks left! And for those who act before Saturday, December 8th, we will waive the convenience fee.
In addition to a convenient workspace we offer fast internet, free coffee, phone rooms for private calls, 24/7 access, monitors, secure premises, and a fun network of built-in friends. Act soon! westseattlecoworking.com or 206-531-0557.
Even on a rainy night, the annual Holiday Open House at Husky Deli draws a crowd. There’s live holiday music while proprietor Jack Miller and staff serve up samples to their fans.
The open house at 4721 California SW continues until 9 pm. Lots of other holiday events this weekend, in The Junction and beyond – see the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide!
That’s the note on the door at what had been the home of In Tandem Midwifery at 4522 44th SW. As of this afternoon, the midwives have delivered themselves (well, with the help of friends and fans) to a larger new location in Burien, at 14924 8th SW. In Tandem was West Seattle’s first midwifery-only practice when Taylor Hamil and Christine Tindal opened their original Junction location in early 2012.
Two months have passed since Roxbury Auto Parts closed, its building “red-tagged” by a King County Department of Permitting and Environmental Review inspector as unsafe to occupy. A reader e-mailed wondering what’s happened since our previous report. We checked with the owners and they say they’re still in “a holding pattern” – waiting for another structural engineer’s report, via one of the insurance companies involved, so there’s no timeline yet for repairs or reopening. The county inspector primarily focused on damage to the building’s back wall; store owners believe that was caused when the county was using the back of the lot for storage during sidewalk construction out front, but identification of the cause and blame is pending completion of evaluation reports.