Issaquah retailers prepare for Black Friday rush

November 20, 2012

The day after Thanksgiving, long before the sun rises, open season for bargains starts at retailers throughout Issaquah and beyond.

Black Friday sends shoppers pinging from store to store like a pinball in search of deals — a 32-inch LCD television for $147 at Target, perhaps, or a Blu-ray player for $39.99 at Best Buy. Consumers brave predawn darkness, long lines and sharp elbows to score early-bird bargains.

The boost to retailers’ bottom lines could also offer a jolt to city coffers. Popular Black Friday destinations — including Bed Bath & Beyond, Best Buy, Fred Meyer, Target and, of course, Issaquah-based Costco — lure consumers from throughout the region.

Issaquah is a retail hub on the Eastside, and city officials hope the holiday rush resuscitates a flat year for spending. Overall, sales tax revenue forms a key piece in the city budget — a larger share than property tax revenue and permit fees, other main sources of dollars.

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Eastside Fire & Rescue launches food, gift drive

November 20, 2012

Eastside Fire & Rescue is joining local businesses for a holiday season food and gift drive set to start on Black Friday.

The agency, Issaquah-based First Due Movers and Fred Meyer plan to collect food, clothing and toys from Nov. 23-25 in Lake Sammamish Center at Fred Meyer, 6100 E. Lake Sammamish Parkway S.E. Items donated during the drive go to the Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank and the Mount Si Helping Hand Food Bank in North Bend.

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Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank holiday program helps children

November 13, 2012

The holiday season can be a stressful time for families struggling through a difficult financial situation.

But the Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank is doing its part to bring holiday cheer to all through its holiday gift-giving program.

Caring Through Sharing ensures that families in need get to experience the joy of the holiday season and that each child has a present to open.

“It’s not in our mission necessarily to do holiday gifts for families; we’re really focused on basic needs, but we see this as a really important part of our community,” said Cori Kauk, executive director at the food bank.

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Panda Express to open Issaquah restaurant

October 30, 2012

Chinese eatery Panda Express plans to open a restaurant in Issaquah.

The fast casual chain is due to open in a vacant space in Lake Sammamish Center near Fred Meyer and The Home Depot. Quiznos last occupied the space at 6150 E. Lake Sammamish Parkway S.E., Suite C.

Crews continue to renovate the space and a large banner in the window proclaims “opening soon” to passers-by.

Panda Express — launched in 1983 and based in Rosemead, Calif. — operates 1,500 restaurants in 42 states, plus Puerto Rico and Mexico.

The chain also operates restaurants in Bellevue, Redmond, Renton and Seattle.

In May, national market research firm Technomic ranked Panda Express as the segment leader for Asian and noodle fast casual restaurants.

Panda Express to open Issaquah restaurant

October 26, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. Oct. 26, 2012

Chinese eatery Panda Express plans to open a restaurant in Issaquah.

The fast casual chain is due to open in a vacant space in Lake Sammamish Center near Fred Meyer and The Home Depot. Quiznos last occupied the space at 6150 E. Lake Sammamish Parkway S.E., Suite C.

Crews continue to renovate the space and a large banner in the window proclaims “opening soon” to passers-by.

Panda Express — launched in 1983 and based in Rosemead, Calif. — operates 1,500 restaurants in 42 states, plus Puerto Rico and Mexico.

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City surveys 2,300 businesses for ideas, input

October 16, 2012

Issaquah leaders put a question to business owners in recent days: How can we help you?

Citywide, all 2,300 businesses started to receive surveys from the economic development team at City Hall last week. The effort is designed to help officials understand business leaders’ concerns and needs.

The data collected from survey responses could influence future decisions related to business regulations, incentives and more.

Not long after joining the staff at City Hall earlier this year, Economic Development Manager Andrea Lehner gathered anecdotal information from business owners from meetings and visits, but, through the process, started to crave more empirical information.

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Offer input on projects to relieve Issaquah traffic woes

September 11, 2012

The city could join other landowners to address traffic congestion and upgrade roads near bustling businesses in North Issaquah.

Before city leaders act, citizens can offer input as planners host a Sept. 18 open house to discuss the proposed transportation changes.

The proposal under consideration calls for the city and other landowners — including Issaquah-based Costco, the largest employer in the city — to form a local improvement district. Landowners in the affected area then shoulder the costs for road improvements, supplemented by state and federal grants.

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Eastside Baby Corner seeks 2,000 pairs of children’s pants

September 4, 2012

Eastside Baby Corner’s third annual Pants Party collection event is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 8 at its wareouse, 1510 N.W. Maple St.

Last year, the organization, which distributes almost everything needy children need from birth to age 12, collected 1,000 pairs of pants. This year, the goal is 2,000.

The community is encouraged to donate new or gently used pants for children, sizes 5 to14.

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Gravity — and team spirit — power Rotary racers’ soapbox derby cars

July 17, 2012

Cian O’Farrell, 11, and driver John Morse, 10, ride the gravity car by sponsor Fred Meyer to a checkered flag waved by the Rotary Club of Issaquah’s Fred Nystrom. By Greg Farrar

A day filled with happiness for children was the goal of the 15th annual Issaquah Rotary Challenge Day Race on July 14.

Viewers lined Second Avenue Southeast to watch — standing or sitting on the bleachers halfway down the block.

The event pairs up children with disabilities and volunteer children drivers to race soapbox derby cars. Gravity pulls the cars down the hill. The vehicles reach speeds of 17 mph.

About 50 children with disabilities got to race three times with rotating drivers and cars. Liberty High School cheerleaders greeted the racers at the finish line before cars were towed back to the starting line.

“It’s a great event for kids to experience a fast, free ride down Second Avenue,” Rotary Club member Russell Joe said. “For some of the riders, it’s the first time they’ve been in a car that’s running on its own without mom or dad.”

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Rotary Club soapbox derby race celebrates 15th anniversary

July 10, 2012

Drivers, co-drivers, parents, Rotary Club of Issaquah members, Issaquah High School wrestlers, Liberty High School cheerleaders and student volunteers pose for a group photo at the 2011 Challenge Day gravity car races. By Greg Farrar

The 15th annual Issaquah Rotary Challenge Day Race, an event that pairs children with disabilities with a young driver of a sleek soapbox derby car, is set for July 14.

The event allows participants to experience the fun of a derby race down Second Avenue past the community center in downtown Issaquah.

For the race, the pair of youngsters climb into the seat of a sleek soapbox derby car. With the slam of the starting gate, the car’s wheels begin to turn. As gravity kicks in, the two-seater makes its way along the street.

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. with racing from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Other activities include adaptive cycling for children and adults with disabilities and lunch hosted by the Rotary Club of Issaquah for event participants and volunteers.

The event was inspired by the vision of longtime Issaquah resident and retired Puget Sound Energy executive Leo Finnegan, the father of an adult son with a disability.

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