Feed Store to be host for nonprofits
November 19, 2008
By Jon Savelle
The Hailstone Feed Store has a new role to play in Issaquah.
Now a prize-winning restoration of an historic store and Shell gas station on Front Street North, the building houses an office for the DownTown Issaquah Association. But much discussion has centered on what else might be done with the property.The answer: It will be used by nonprofit organizations for meetings, social events and other activities that require a gathering place. It will not be a gift shop or coffee shop, nor will it be available for rent by private parties.
“The gift shop was a dream that goes all the way back to the depot restoration days,” said Greg Spranger, executive director of the DownTown Issaquah Association.But after much thought the notion was deemed unworkable.
“Just to maintain it, let alone staff it, and the number of hours it would be open, just became a nightmare,” he said. “There is just no way to facilitate this with volunteers.”
One idea had been to combine the gift shop and coffee shop. Jamie Cook, the owner of the Common Grounds coffee bar at Front Street Market, was interested and said she still would love to have a shop there. But Spranger said it didn’t pencil out for the nonprofits, which would have had to spend money on sinks, plumbing and other upgrades.
Even as a gathering place, one volunteer is needed to manage the schedule, he said. Anyone who is interested may call the association’s office at 391-1112.
Already, the building has been used for meetings, even though the association has not promoted it. And there is a lot of interest from a variety of potential users.
“There is a lady who does a creative writing class,” Spranger said. “She used it last Thursday night and she loved it. We’ve also gotten a call from a Girl Scout group. There are so many different groups that really don’t have a place to meet.”
The building has heat, electricity and plumbing, but not a lot of interior space. During pleasant weather, the outdoor areas also can be used.
“One of the neat things about this building is that in the summertime it is a great place to have a little event,” Spranger said. “You could actually use the lot out front and the back. It’s perfect for somebody who wants to have a social event but needs a perimeter.”
Reach Reporter Jon Savelle at 392-6434, ext. 234, or firstname.lastname@example.org.