City Council bans plastic bags at Issaquah retailers

June 12, 2012

Ordinance goes into effect for most businesses in March 2013

Issaquah joined a string of cities along Puget Sound to outlaw plastic bags at local retailers June 4, after months of sometimes-acrimonious debate about adverse impacts to the marine environment and the regional economy.

In the end, concerns about the environment led the City Council to decide 5-2 to eliminate most retail uses for plastic bags. The legislation — and a 5-cent fee on paper bags — go into effect in March 2013 for most businesses.

The council listened to advocates from environmental groups and the plastics industry in public meetings throughout April and May, and then again before the decision.

The plastic bag ban sponsor, Issaquah Highlands entrepreneur and City Councilman Mark Mullet, presented the legislation as a way to reduce the estimated 10 million plastic bags the city sends to the King County landfill each year.

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Trader Joe’s to occupy former Issaquah Commons party store

June 5, 2012

The longtime party store in the Issaquah Commons along Northwest Gilman Boulevard moved the celebration elsewhere last week to make way for Trader Joe’s.

Party @ Display & Costume settled in a space next to Best Buy in the same shopping center as Fred Meyer and The Home Depot along East Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast. The relocated party store opened to customers May 31.

The 60-year-old company also operates stores in Everett and Seattle.

Party @ Display & Costume left a space at the Issaquah Commons near Lane Bryant and Ross Dress for Less to make room for a relocated Trader Joe’s.

The specialty grocer’s existing location in Pickering Place does not meet the 10,000-square-foot threshold for retailers to sell liquor, but the former party store space in the Issaquah Commons offers enough space.

Trader Joe’s is expected to relocate within the next several months.

Issaquah liquor store closes before changeover

May 29, 2012

The state-run liquor store in Issaquah closed May 29, as the Washington State Liquor Control Board prepares to shift stores from public to private ownership.

Under a state law approved by voters last year, liquor sales by private entrepreneurs can start June 1.

The board auctioned the rights to entrepreneurs to sell liquor at the state-run store in Town & Country Square along Northwest Gilman Boulevard last month. State records show the right to the Issaquah store sold to Seattle merchant Leon Capelouto for $251,000.

“There is a lot of work involved in transferring these stores to private ownership,” Chris Liu, director of retail services for the liquor authority, said in a statement.

The availability of liquor in Issaquah is poised to expand beyond a single storefront.

Bartell Drugs, Fred Meyer, Front Street Market, Rite Aid, Safeway, Target, QFC, Walgreens and Costco received licenses to sell liquor.

QFC received licenses for the Northwest Gilman Boulevard and Klahanie stores.

Issaquah liquor store to close May 29 before changeover

May 24, 2012

NEW — 2 p.m. May 24, 2012

The state-run liquor store in Issaquah is due to close May 29, as the Washington State Liquor Control Board prepares to shift stores from public to private ownership.

Under a state law approved by voters last year, liquor sales by private entrepreneurs can start June 1.

The board auctioned the rights to entrepreneurs to sell liquor at the state-run store in Town & Country Square along Northwest Gilman Boulevard last month. State records show the right to the Issaquah store sold to Seattle merchant Leon Capelouto for $251,000.

“There is a lot of work involved in transferring these stores to private ownership,” Chris Liu, director of retail services for the liquor authority, said in a statement. “This method will ensure that our customers have the ability to buy liquor right up until June 1, when private retailers take over.”

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Liquor sales expand in Issaquah, statewide June 1

May 15, 2012

Jeffrey Roh, of Milton, purchased the right to sell spirits at a liquor store under construction in the Klahanie Shopping Center. By Greg Farrar

The availability of liquor in Issaquah is poised to expand beyond a single storefront next month, as major retailers prepare to add spirits to store shelves and the state completes the process to privatize liquor sales.

Bartell Drugs, Fred Meyer, Front Street Market, Rite Aid, Safeway, Target, QFC, Walgreens and Costco received licenses to sell liquor. (QFC received licenses for the Northwest Gilman Boulevard and Klahanie stores.)

Until the transition to liquor privatization is completed, liquor is available only at a state-run store.

In the meantime, entrepreneurs purchased the rights to apply for a retail spirits license at the state-run liquor store along Northwest Gilman Boulevard and a liquor store under construction in the Klahanie Shopping Center.

State records show the right to the Issaquah store sold to Seattle merchant Leon Capelouto for $251,000. The right to the unfinished Klahanie store sold to Milton entrepreneur Jeffrey Roh for $82,100.

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Best Buy spares Issaquah store from closure

April 17, 2012

Best Buy plans to spare the Issaquah store from closure as the electronics retailer closes 50 stores nationwide in a bid to cut costs.

Executives announced the closure plan March 29, but did not release the list of affected stores until April 14. The only Washington store impacted under the plan is in Vancouver.

The company plans to close most of the stores by May 12 and the additional locations by late summer.

Richfield, Minn.-based Best Buy announced plans in February 2010 to open a store in Issaquah. The outpost opened in November 2010 in the same retail center as Fred Meyer.

The local Best Buy sprawls across almost 40,000 square feet in the former La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries.

In addition to the closures, Best Buy plans to eliminate about 400 positions in corporate and support areas, and cut costs by $800 million.

 

Best Buy spares Issaquah store from closure

April 15, 2012

NEW — 4 p.m. April 15, 2012

Best Buy plans to spare the Issaquah store from closure as the electronics retailer closes 50 stores nationwide in a bid to cut costs.

Executives announced the closure plan March 29, but did not release the list of affected stores until April 14. The only Washington store impacted under the plan is in Vancouver.

The company plans to close most of the stores by May 12 and the additional locations by late summer.

Richfield, Minn.-based Best Buy announced plans in February 2010 to open a store in Issaquah. The outpost opened in November 2010 in the same retail center as Fred Meyer.

The local Best Buy sprawls across almost 40,000 square feet in the former La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries.

In addition to the closures, Best Buy plans to eliminate about 400 positions in corporate and support areas, and cut costs by $800 million.

City Council delays decision on plastic bag ban

April 10, 2012

The decision to outlaw plastic bags at Issaquah businesses is on hold, City Council members decided April 2 after listening to appeals from environmentalists concerned about Puget Sound pollution and plastics manufacturers anxious about lost livelihoods.

The proposed plastic bag ban at local retailers is meant to limit garbage headed for the King County landfill and reduce marine pollution.

The measure stalled after speakers questioned the scope, timing and lack of input from the businesses affected by such a change. The council opted in a 6-1 decision to postpone further discussions on the plastic bag ban to a still-unscheduled meeting in May.

“It bothers me that in this last week that we were still turning over stones,” Councilwoman Stacy Goodman said before the meeting.

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Users can transfer state recreation pass between vehicles

April 10, 2012

Users can transfer the Discover Pass for state parks and recreation lands between vehicles, under legislation Gov. Chris Gregoire signed March 30 — not long before Memorial Day launches the summer recreation season.

The change to the 1-year-old Discover Pass took effect immediately. The legislation allows users to transfer the annual pass between two vehicles at no additional cost.

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Stores say no more ‘pink slime’ in meat cases

April 3, 2012

Questions about ground beef fly more often across the counter at Fischer Meats since the issue of “lean finely textured beef” — more recognizable by the headline-grabbing nickname “pink slime” — captured the media zeitgeist late last month.

“I’ve probably had a half a dozen people that have mentioned it and said, ‘We’ll never buy ground beef in the grocery store again because of that,” owner Chris Chiechi said April 2. “We have been selling a little more ground beef in the last month. I wouldn’t call it a huge impact.”

Fischer Meats does not use the additive.

The product is made from beef trimmings treated in ammonium hydroxide to eliminate pathogens. The additive is used in ground beef and beef-based products.

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