Offer input on Central Issaquah Plan for business district

July 10, 2012

The historic proposal to transform more than 900 acres near Interstate 90 and state Route 900 in the decades ahead is a step closer to implementation, but before city leaders act on the plan, citizens can comment on the bid.

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.

Before the proposal reaches the City Council for discussion and possible implementation, citizens can comment July 12 at a public hearing hosted by the Planning Policy Commission.

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Prepare for detours amid Costco gas station expansion

June 19, 2012

Motorists should expect lane restrictions and detours near Costco in the months ahead, as the Issaquah-based warehouse giant expands the gas station at the flagship warehouse.

The changes should occur along Lake Drive and 10th Avenue throughout the summer.

In addition, the sidewalk along the north side of Lake Drive should be temporarily closed for most of June and some of July.

Crews plan to post detour signs to guide pedestrians.

Several months ago, city planners approved Costco’s application to add two fueling islands to the gas station, and to expand the parking area adjacent to the warehouse for a net increase of 101 parking spaces, including upgraded handicapped parking stalls.

Plans call for about one-fourth of existing wetland to be filled for the parking lot. Costco plans to mitigate for the impact by creating about 2.2 acres of wetland and 2.8 acres of wetland buffer on land east of Pickering Place and Issaquah Creek.

The gas station expansion is adjacent to the intersection of 10th Avenue and Lake Drive. The parking area expansion is located along Lake Drive east of 11th Avenue.

Prepare for detours amid Costco gas station expansion

June 14, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. June 14, 2012

Motorists should expect lane restrictions and detours near Costco in the months ahead, as the Issaquah-based warehouse giant expands the gas station at the flagship warehouse.

The changes should occur along Lake Drive and 10th Avenue throughout the summer.

In addition, the sidewalk along the north side of Lake Drive should be temporarily closed for most of June and some of July. Pedestrians can instead use the existing sidewalk along the entrance and exit to Costco on Lake Drive along the front of Costco and the tire center and to a sidewalk to connect to Northwest Sammamish Road.

Crews plans to post detour signs to guide pedestrians.

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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.

Costco gasoline is consumers’ favorite in national survey

May 29, 2012

The rising cost of gasoline put more people on the hunt for inexpensive fuel — and the top brand for discount gasoline in a recent survey is Issaquah-based Costco.

Using a survey to judge consumers’ familiarity, quality and purchase consideration, the 2012 Harris Poll EquiTrend study surveyed Americans about top brands in numerous retail segments. The annual study examines the bonds between brands and consumers.

Costco debuted in the retail gas category in 2012 and nabbed the top spot as Gasoline Retail Brand of the Year. Shell received the highest familiarity rating from consumers in the category, but Costco gasoline bested rivals for quality and purchase consideration.

Costco, as the largest employer in Issaquah, employs about 2,700 people in corporate offices and at the flagship warehouse in Pickering Place.

Issaquah startup transforms trash into treasure at local grocery store

May 15, 2012

City Council President Tola Marts speaks at WISErg’s public unveiling of a food-scrap harvester at PCC Natural Market on May 8. By Autumn Monahan

The castoffs from daily activity in a grocery store — fruit peels from the juice bar, meat trimmings from the deli, discarded vegetable leaves from the produce section — no longer go to the compost heap at the PCC Natural Markets store at Pickering Place.

Instead, employees dump the refuse into a boxy structure tucked near the loading dock. The apparatus, a machine called a harvester, transforms the peels and trimmings into sludge — a building block for organic fertilizer.

Issaquah-based WISErg developed the harvester and built the prototype for the local grocery co-op. The company also uses the sludge to produce fertilizer, a tawny liquid no thicker than water.

Microsoft alumni Larry LeSueur and Jose Lugo founded WISErg in 2009. The startup venture is based across the street from Pickering Place. (The company name is a nod to the erg, a tiny unit of energy.)

“We all know the scraps headed for the Dumpsters are full of nutrients and value,” LeSueur said at a public debut for the harvester May 8. “The last thing we should do is landfill them and create more environmental and community headaches.”

WISErg approached Diana Crane, director of sustainability for Seattle-based PCC, and broached the idea of installing a harvester at a store.

“How exciting it is that the trash produced daily from our juice bar, deli, meat and produce departments that would otherwise be sent to landfills is now being offered in our PCC stores as a high-quality plant food,” Issaquah Store Director Debbi Montgomery said.

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Issaquah-based Costco earns high spot on Fortune 500

May 8, 2012

Issaquah-based Costco is No. 24 on the Fortune 500, the annual list of top companies in the United States compiled and published by the magazine.

The largest warehouse club chain on the planet sold about $89 billion in merchandise last year — including electronics, gasoline, rotisserie chickens and the bestselling product, toilet paper.

“Even as the economy slowly recovers, many shoppers are sticking to the thrifty habits they acquired over the past few years,” the magazine noted. “This spells good news for Costco.”

Fortune released the list May 7. Oil giant Exxon Mobil claimed the No. 1 spot. Costco rival Wal-Mart Stores came in at No. 2.

Costco, as the largest employer in Issaquah, employs about 2,700 people in corporate offices and at the flagship warehouse in Pickering Place.

The company headquarters relocated from Kirkland to Issaquah in 1996 — hence the Kirkland Signature name on store-brand products.

Issaquah-based Costco ranks No. 24 on Fortune 500

May 7, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. May 7, 2012

Issaquah-based Costco is No. 24 on the Fortune 500, the annual list of top companies in the United States compiled and published by the magazine.

The largest warehouse club chain on the planet sold about $89 billion in merchandise last year — including electronics, gasoline, rotisserie chickens and the bestselling product, toilet paper.

“Even as the economy slowly recovers, many shoppers are sticking to the thrifty habits they acquired over the past few years,” the magazine noted. “This spells good news for Costco.”

Fortune released the list Monday. Oil giant Exxon Mobil claimed the No. 1 spot. Costco rival Wal-Mart Stores came in at No. 2.

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Former Issaquah Mayor Herb Herrington dies

April 24, 2012

Herb Herrington

Former Mayor Herb Herrington, a genteel Texan and the chief executive as Issaquah started a long metamorphosis from a one-stoplight town to a commercial hub, died April 13.

Herrington, 83, served as mayor from 1974-81, before the Eastside population boom reshaped Issaquah from a former coal-mining and logging settlement into a center for high-tech and service industries. Later city leaders credited Herrington for creating a City Hall culture more responsive to citizens’ concerns.

“One of the things I learned from him is that you can disagree without being disagreeable,” former Mayor Rowan Hinds said.

Compassion also defined Herrington’s legacy. In 1977, the then-mayor spearheaded Community Enterprises of Issaquah, a predecessor to AtWork! — a nonprofit organization dedicated to skills training and job placement for disabled people.

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Peek behind the scenes as documentary examines ‘Costco Craze’

April 24, 2012

Issaquah-based Costco sells $4 billion in produce, almost $2 billion in televisions, 55 million rotisserie chickens, 2.6 billion gallons of gasoline and 3 million pairs of eyeglasses each year.

The largest warehouse club chain on the planet is the subject of a CNBC documentary, “The Costco Craze: Inside the Warehouse Giant,” scheduled to debut April 26.

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