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Future of Olsen’s Scandinavian Foods in doubt

Posted by Geeky Swedes on June 15th, 2009

One of Ballard’s longest-running businesses and a cultural staple of the neighborhood, Olsen’s Scandinavian Foods could close soon. The store told us “there’s a good possibility” that it could join the growing line of empty stores on Market St., but “we’re really unsure right now.”

You may remember last summer, owners Reidun and Anita Endresen said Olsen’s was dangerously close to closing while trying to help a potential buyer secure financing. Today the store denies a report that a final decision has been made, and the owners promise to make an official announcement to their customers and community if it becomes a reality. Which means there’s no better time to stop by, pick up some Lutefisk and show your support!

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21 reader comments so far ↓

  • 1 SeattleRichardson // Jun 15, 2009 at 10:31 pm

    That is sad news!

  • 2 Trix // Jun 15, 2009 at 10:44 pm

    Oh, no!!!! This sucks! It's not Ballard without Olsen's.

  • 3 Barfly // Jun 15, 2009 at 10:46 pm

    Yawn…..

  • 4 Born right the first time // Jun 15, 2009 at 11:12 pm

    Maybe they should hire some young lovelies to work in their bikinis and frilly underthings?!

  • 5 Pele // Jun 16, 2009 at 5:54 am

    why don't any of these stores try opening on Sunday?

  • 6 Uncle Snuffy // Jun 16, 2009 at 6:18 pm

    Rats! I hope they don't close. I liked experimenting there. Trying new things.

    Olsen's, Sunset Bowl, Denny's, Archie McPhee, All the King's Flags, Ballard Camera, Matt's Gourmet Hot Dogs, Jacobsen's Marine, Gordo's, Hallmark, The Tux Shop, etc. They're gone.

    At least QFC is coming back. I'll be back to a nice walk to the store. Some change is good. I like the new library and park accross the street. I like family friendly Snoose Junction. The Lunchbox Lab is cool, especially since they have the lunch box I used to have back in the day. I'm sure I'll see a lot more change before I'm ready to move into the Norse Home.

  • 7 Robert // Jun 16, 2009 at 7:51 pm

    So, do the Market St. landlords really enjoy empty storefronts and no rent, and think that it's an improvement on their current revenue?

  • 8 gmer // Jun 16, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    Does anyone know what is going into the other half of bella's old space, next door to la isla? I noticed that they are doing work in there and have interior walls framed.

  • 9 Trix // Jun 16, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    That's what it looks like. Rents keep going up for these stores and restaurants despite people spending less.

  • 10 Duncan // Jun 16, 2009 at 9:00 pm

    That's the new SuperCuts location, according to staff.

  • 11 gmer // Jun 16, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    Yet there still isn't that many empty storefronts due to rent increases. Most of the businesses are being replaced in a relatively short time. This is the world of commercial real estate and its not limited to ballard, they know what they are doing and know how to make money.

  • 12 gurple // Jun 16, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    According to this blog right here, it's going to be more La Isla:
    http://www.myballard.com/2009/03/24/la-isla-exp

  • 13 gmer // Jun 16, 2009 at 9:29 pm

    I was talking about the other half. Duncan noted that it is the new supercuts, which would be great as there is a lack a cheap hair cuts in ballard. I still prefer seeing gene up on 64th and 32nd though.

  • 14 Uncle Snuffy // Jun 16, 2009 at 10:27 pm

    Gene's the best!

  • 15 Trix // Jun 16, 2009 at 11:52 pm

    Any talk of another Great Clips?
    I've been going to the one in Greenwood but I'd like to see one here again.

  • 16 Trix // Jun 16, 2009 at 11:54 pm

    By replacing the businesses who have been here a long time by new businesses willing to pay the high rents they ask.

  • 17 alex // Jun 17, 2009 at 12:52 am

    Isn't La Isla expanding to the old Bellas location?

  • 18 kevin // Jun 17, 2009 at 3:12 am

    NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!! Just another way that Ballard is becoming Belltown. Get those trendy kids to eat some Lefse and Herring.

  • 19 Arch Stanton // Jun 19, 2009 at 10:24 am

    Well maybe if they had a good inventory and put some effort into making the place look like the year 2009 they wouldn't have as big of a problem selling their small selection of over priced items.

    I think it sucks that they're going to be closing but I'm not in the least bit surprised. Actually I am surprised it's taken this long. At the parade this year there was hardly a line at their store and I remember years where I was standing in line for 20 minutes to get my hotdog and Solo. Now I'm shocked if they even have Solo in stock. However their hotdogs are still phenomenal.

    There's still a couple Scandinavian businesses left in Ballard that are doing well. Larsens bakery of course, and Scandinavian Specialties on 15th. Also the Scandinavian Bakery near 85th is doing good business last I heard.

    Anyway this won't be the end of Scandinavian influence in Ballard, just directly on Market Street. For now at least.

  • 20 Meghan O'Connor // Jun 19, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    OMG I hope they manage to stay, or stay in Ballard. There's no better place to get Swedish meatball mix, or lingonberry soda, or even that yummy salty cracker paste. Seriously, can we please support something that is a part of Ballard history and its uniqueness?

  • 21 Ballardpdx // Jun 19, 2009 at 8:57 pm

    FYI, just walked by and they have a “Store Closing” sign in the window.

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