Big Lots opens, donates to Issaquah school

November 13, 2012

Big Lots is opening at Pickering Place, and the closeout retailer is donating $2,500 to Issaquah Valley Elementary School.

Columbus, Ohio-based Big Lots opened in the space last occupied by Leathers Gallery, a local furniture store. Leathers moved to a space across the parking lot, and Big Lots renovated the former furniture store.

Big Lots plans to donate to the school during the store’s ribbon cutting ceremony at 9 a.m. Nov. 16.

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Costco looms large in race between Barack Obama, Mitt Romney

October 30, 2012

Pundits claim the presidential contest could hinge on so-called Walmart moms, but another discount chain is often mentioned on the campaign trail, too.

Jim Sinegal

Both President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney embraced Issaquah-based Costco on the stump, albeit for different reasons.

Support from Costco cofounder and former CEO Jim Sinegal allows Obama to highlight a business success in a feeble economy. The affluent Romney’s affinity for Costco allows the former Massachusetts governor to project a more down-to-earth image.

“Costco’s story is the American story,” Sinegal proclaimed to delegates and dignitaries in a September speech at the Democratic National Convention focused on job creation and the economy.

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Issaquah store is unaffected in Tully’s Coffee tumult

October 16, 2012

Tully’s Coffee filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Oct. 10, but the chain founded by Issaquah High School alumnus Tom Tully O’Keefe does not plan to close its local store.

The chain announced the filing and the closing of underperforming stores in Seattle, Kirkland and Redmond, plus plans to renegotiate leases for the remaining stores.

Tully’s operates a local store in Pickering Place, 1171 N.W. Sammamish Road.

O’Keefe founded Seattle-based Tully’s in 1992, just as rival Starbucks Coffee started to whet consumers’ appetites for specialty coffee. Tully’s struggled for years to earn a profit and stand out in a crowded coffee marketplace dominated by Seattle-based Starbucks.

O’Keefe stepped down as Tully’s CEO in 2001 and retired as board chairman in June 2010.

Tully’s Coffee files for bankruptcy protection; Issaquah store is unaffected

October 10, 2012

NEW — 4 p.m. Oct. 10, 2012

Tully’s Coffee filed for bankruptcy protection Wednesday, but the chain founded by Issaquah High School alumnus Tom Tully O’Keefe does not plan to close its local store.

The chain announced the Chapter 11 filing and the closing of underperforming stores in Seattle, Kirkland and Redmond, plus plans to renegotiate leases for the remaining stores. Executives said rising commodity prices and challenging lease economics contributed to the bankruptcy decision.

“The company will continue to have a formidable presence in the Puget Sound area, focusing on our core mission of serving the highest quality coffee in a warm and comfortable environment with outstanding customer service,” CEO Scott Pearson said in a statement.

Tully’s operates a local store in Pickering Place, 1171 N.W. Sammamish Road.

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City hosts open house, hearing on Central Issaquah Plan

September 25, 2012

Residents can learn more about the proposal to transform more than 900 acres near Interstate 90 and state Route 900 in the decades ahead at Oct. 4 public meetings.

The municipal Planning Policy Commission’s Central Issaquah Plan open house runs from 4:30-6:30 p.m. and focuses on development and design standards. Then, the commission hosts a public hearing from 6:30-9 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall South, 135 E. Sunset Way.

The long-term Central Issaquah Plan is meant to guide redevelopment from shopping centers and low-rise office buildings to a taller neighborhood meant for businesses and residences.

Central Issaquah encompasses 915 acres — including retail destinations, such as Pickering Place, and the Meadows and Issaquah Commons shopping centers. The area does not include historic downtown.

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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Big Lots, Spirit Halloween take root in Issaquah

September 4, 2012

The closeout retailer Big Lots is coming to Pickering Place, as months of closings, openings and shuffling continues among tenants at the retail center.

Columbus, Ohio-based Big Lots is due to open the space last occupied by Leathers Gallery, a local furniture store. Leathers moved to a space across the parking lot recently, and Big Lots is renovating the former furniture store.

Big Lots executives could not be reached for details about the store opening.

Before Leathers moved into the then-vacant space, Linens-N-Things operated in the 37,500-square-foot storefront.

Elsewhere, Spirit Halloween opened in the former Albertsons along East Lake Sammamish Parkway. The seasonal tenant offers Halloween makeup, costumes and other holiday items.

Albertsons closed in April 2008, and the space has remained vacant since then.

City Council delves into Central Issaquah Plan growth blueprint

September 4, 2012

City Council members advanced the historic proposal to transform more than 900 acres near Interstate 90 and state Route 900 in the decades ahead.

In a special meeting billed as a retreat on the long-term growth blueprint Aug. 27, council members discussed issues related to Central Issaquah and determined how the council can tackle the plan’s components.

The council intends to act on the measure before the year ends.

The long-term Central Issaquah Plan is meant to guide redevelopment from shopping centers and low-rise office buildings to a taller neighborhood meant for businesses and residences.

Central Issaquah encompasses 915 acres — including retail destinations, such as Pickering Place, and the Meadows and Issaquah Commons shopping centers. The area does not include historic downtown Issaquah.

City Council hosts public retreat on Central Issaquah Plan

August 14, 2012

Citizens can learn more about the historic proposal to transform more than 900 acres near Interstate 90 and state Route 900 in the decades ahead.

The far-reaching Central Issaquah Plan is a step closer to implementation, but before city leaders act on the plan, City Council members will have a retreat Aug. 27 to discuss the proposal.

The retreat is open to the public. The council meets at 5:30 p.m. in the Eagle Room at Issaquah City Hall, 130 E. Sunset Way.

The long-term Central Issaquah Plan is meant to guide redevelopment from shopping centers and low-rise office buildings to a taller neighborhood meant for businesses and residences.

Central Issaquah encompasses 915 acres — including retail destinations, such as Pickering Place, and the Meadows and Issaquah Commons shopping centers. The area does not include historic downtown Issaquah.

City Council hires lobbyist to represent Issaquah in Olympia

August 7, 2012

Issaquah needs a lobbyist to advocate in the marble corridors beneath the Capitol dome — and coax state legislators to support local projects, City Council members said in a contentious decision to hire a longtime Olympia lobbyist.

The council agreed in a 5-2 decision July 16 to hire Doug Levy to represent Issaquah in Olympia. Members spent $21,700 to hire the former congressional staffer and onetime journalist through December.

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