New Seasons still plans to open Ballard store despite ‘strategic shift’

New Seasons announced the departure of its CEO today in a “strategic shift” that will close one California store and halt the opening of three others in the state.

Despite the changes, the company said it’s moving ahead with its new locations in Ballard and the Central District. The Portland-based company is “increasing investments in core stores and local communities,” according to a press release (.pdf).

New Seasons employees have been working toward unionizing and filed a complaint against the company in December, according to the Puget Sound Business Journal. The paper quoted an employee who said she hopes the shift will bring positive changes for employees.

The Ballard store is coming together at 907 NW Ballard Way — the sign is up — with the goal to open this spring. PCC plans to open a new store a few blocks away in spring of next year.

(Full disclosure: Both New Seasons as well as the “Good Jobs Coalition” — which opposes New Seasons opening in the Central District — are My Ballard advertisers)

Scout & Molly’s boutique opens in Old Ballard

In the space between the Other Coast Cafe and Re-soul, a new boutique has opened for business in Old Ballard (at 5317 Ballard Ave NW).

Scout & Molly’s features upscale women’s fashion “tailored to the distinct style of Seattle” and a team of personal stylists to attend to shoppers. It’s the first Seattle outpost for the boutique, which has a few dozen stores nationwide.

The Ballard shop is owned by Magnolia residents Marc & Nikki Harpster.

“Part of the mission of Scout & Molly’s founder Lisa Kornstein is to establish meaningful relationships with long-term clients and become a trusted resource for local shoppers,” said Nikki Harpster. “We aim to make every woman who walks in feel like they’re shopping with their best friends, and we focus on personal touches such as a phone call to let you know a new shipment from your favorite brand just arrived.”

While the shop has quietly opened, the Harpsters invite neighbors to attend its official grand opening on Saturday, February 24th from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. for music, snacks and raffle prizes.

(Photos from the Scout & Molly’s of Ballard Facebook page)

‘Salt & Straw’ founder returns to Ballard to open new shop next week

Seven years ago, Kim Malek sold her Ballard home, held a garage sale and moved to Portland. Together with some cash from her 401K, she scraped together enough money to open Salt & Straw, a handmade, small-batch ice cream shop in Portland’s Arts District.

“It’s all thanks to Ballard,” she laughs inside Salt & Straw’s brand new location in Old Ballard. Together with her co-founder Tyler Malek — who grew up in Snohomish — they’ll open for business at 5420 Ballard Ave. on February 9th. A week later, they’re opening a Capitol Hill location.

“For both of us, coming to Seattle is like coming home,” Kim said. “I spent every weekend at the Ballard Farmer’s Market. Being on this street is just a dream for me.”

From its humble beginnings in Portland, Salt & Straw attracted long lines and grew quickly, adding locations in Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco. The new shop in Ballard is their largest so far, and in keeping with its Portland roots, it will feature new flavors created in collaboration with local artisans, farmers and producers.

“(In Seattle) there are so many people to work with and so much inspiration,” Tyler said, recalling the taste of salted caramels from Fran’s Chocolates when he was younger. “It’s like a homecoming.”

When they open, they’ll feature five Seattle chocolate flavors from the likes of Fran’s, Theo’s and Intrigue’s Chocolate, just in time for Valentines Day. This part of the menu changes every four weeks, and Tyler said there are many more collaborations to come, including a flavor from chef Renee Erickson as well as ice creams created with local roasters… and breweries.

“We want to have a hyperlocal feel,” he said.

The store will also feature Salt & Straw’s classic flavors like Double Fold Vanilla, Chocolate Gooey Brownie, Sea Salt with Caramel Ribbons and Almond Brittle with Salted Ganache — 11 in all. Prices range from $4.95 for a single scoop ($3.95 for kids) up to $11.45 for a “tasting flight” of flavors.

Salt & Straw sells a few sweets from Seattle producers, as well take-home pints and merchandise (even ice cream socks.)

Just in time for spring, the shop opens next Friday. The late-night crowd will be happy to know its hours will be from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days a week

Ballard food blogger launches ‘Not Without Salt Shop’ and her own video show

It’s hard to tell how Ballard entrepreneur Ashley Rodriguez finds time to do it all.

She created a very popular food blog (Not Without Salt), wrote a book (Date Night In) and started selling her own salts and cookie mixes. Then she’s started her own space at the corner of 3rd Ave. NW and 65th St., Not Without Salt Shop, where she hosts workshops and meal events. And now she’s launching a new video show, Kitchen Unnecessary.

Both the shop and her upcoming video show will be celebrated in a private launch party this Saturday afternoon.

“That’s a good question,” she responded when we asked how’s she able to do it all. “First of all, I have an incredibly supportive husband who helps in everything I do. When you make your passion your work it doesn’t even feel like work. I’m so excited to get up and start tackling the to do list,” Rodriguez said. “Except the laundry. That is never done.”

“With this new project, Kitchen Unnecessary, it feels like we’re making our dream our career and that is incredibly exciting,” she said.

The show (watch the preview) features Rodriguez venturing into the outdoors — rain, shine or snow — to cook and enjoy a seasonal local meal. The first episode, which was shot in the woods outside Port Ludlow, will be shown at Saturday’s event.

A 10-year resident of Ballard, Rodriguez says she loves the neighborhood.

“I am so excited to dig deeper into this community with the Not Without Salt Shop (above),” she said. “I love food but what I really love is feeding people, and now I have a beautiful 12-foot long table to fill. We plan to host private dinners, workshops and fun pop-ups. I’m eager to build relationships around the table.”

(Photos from @KitchenUnnecessary and @NotWithoutSaltShop on Instagram.)

‘The Ice Box’ arcade opens in old Allied Ice spot, bowling may be next

Over 45 years ago at the edge of Ballard and Fremont, Allied Ice was born, providing blocks of ice for the fleet of nearby fishing boats. As time went on, the business grew, delivering ice all over the Northwest to stores, sporting facilities and festivals.

Then in 2012, the business sold, and the Allied Ice facilities went up for lease.

Now the manufacturing space — tucked behind the Allied Ice home at 615 NW Bright St. — has become the home of “The Ice Box,” a new arcade packed full of pinball machines and vintage video arcade games. To find it, just follow the artificial-grass-covered driveway to the back.

“I think we have more pinball machines than anywhere but the Seattle Pinball Museum,” said the Ice Box’s Tyler Morgan when we visited on Friday morning. Unlike the museum, there’s no entrance fee, and games cost 50 cents and up. With 30 machines and counting, Morgan said the plan is have as many as 100 pinball machines in all.

The founders have been running an arcade leasing business, and the new space doubles as a repair shop. We spotted several pinball machines opened wide, wires spilling out underneath. Several vintage video games were squirreled away in a side room, their monitors dead. Morgan said the selection constantly changes, as new games come and go.

The Ice Box opened two weeks ago, and Morgan says the reception so far as been good, “mostly from the pinball community.”

But the arcade’s aspirations go beyond pinball. Morgan said they’re thinking about opening a two-lane bowling alley in a boxcar as well as a putt-putt golf course on the roof.

The Ice Box is open daily from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., and keep an eye on the arcade’s Facebook page for upcoming competitions and events.

(Thanks Derek and Leslie for the tips!)

Briefs: Ballard Commons, Nickelsville, Loyal Heights, Joli and more

A hodgepodge of Ballard news to share from our inbox…

BALLARD COMMONS: The Seattle PI published a story about Seattle Police handing out $500 trespassing tickets to campers at Ballard Commons Park last month. We talked with Will Lemke with the city, and he confirmed the tickets were handed out by officers — and that they’re unenforceable. The city’s “navigation team” is working to notify those who received the tickets that they will not have to pay the fines.

NICKELSVILLE: Lemke also tells us there’s no new information on when Ballard Nickelsville will make the move to Northlake, which has been delayed from the target date of mid-December. “But we will have news to share shortly,” he said.

SALMON BAY ASSAULT: Speaking of non-updates, SPD says there’s no new info in the Salmon Bay Park assault case. We know there’s a lot of interest in the case, and we’ll keep checking.

LOYAL HEIGHTS PLAY AREA: The final community meeting for the Loyal Heights Play Area renovation project is on Monday, February 12, 2018 at 7 p.m. at the Loyal Heights Community Center. Parents are encouraged to bring their children.

OCEAN BEAUTY SEAFOODS: We did a story earlier this week about Keyport moving out of Ballard, and KIRO 7 spoke with Ocean Beauty Seafoods, another Ballard seafood company that’s moving most its operation out of the neighborhood. They made the announcement last year.

JOLI HIRE: The 65th St. restaurant and bar Joli has hired the highly-regarded bar manager, Robert Rowland, who worked for a decade crafting cocktails at Oliver’s Twist.

NEIGHBORHOOD MATCHING FUND: One of the best ways to fund neighborhood improvements, the Seattle Neighborhood Matching Fund is holding a workshop on Wednesday, January 31, at 6 p.m. at the Phinney Neighborhood Center, 6532 Phinney Ave N.

Have news to share? Email or submit events directly to the calendar.

Seafood producer Keyport leaving Ballard over ‘challenging business climate’

One of Ballard’s largest fishing-related businesses, Keyport is pulling its seafood business out of Ballard and moving its corporate office to Edmonds.

“Seattle has been our home for 20 years, and its increasingly challenging business climate makes it a good time to move,” said Mark Pedersen, Keyport’s President & CEO, in a statement. “Edmonds is a business friendly, maritime community that will allow us to expand our business and offers our staff less traffic and a safe environment.”

A story in the Everett Herald cited more specific reasons for Keyport’s move: “increased traffic, a homeless camp that opened for a time next to his business and anti-business rhetoric from City Hall, as well as the $15 minimum wage enacted by the city.”

Located on Shilshole Ave. against Salmon Bay, Keyport’s corporate office employees about 40 people, depending on the season. All of them will be making the move to Edmonds, Keyport’s Matthew Bleeker told My Ballard. Keyport leased its space along Salmon Bay, and the company’s new facilities in Edmonds include additional office space and a test kitchen.

Keyport is one of the largest distributors of King, Snow and Dungeness crab around the world. It’s also expanding into frozen seafood entrees — like seafood mac & cheese — and the company said it needed more space to grow.

The company has a sales office in Chapel Hill, NC and processing operations elsewhere in Washington State as well as Norway.

Skillet in Ballard closes down

A little off the beaten path — and still recovering from a flood last year — Skillet has closed its Ballard restaurant for good.

“After 5 years, we sadly announce the closing of our Skillet Ballard location,” the restaurant posted on Facebook yesterday. “Thank you to all our family, friends, customers and employees for all your support over the years. And a big hug for Ballard – thanks for the opportunity to be part of the fabric of the neighborhood.”

In August of last year, Skillet and next door neighbor Parfait were forced to close after a flood in the Greenfire building on 56th St. Skillet was shut down for over a month before it reopened.

“Despite our best efforts, our business did not recover from the flood and we have decided it is in our best interest to close this location,” said Ann Downs, president of the Skillet Group, in a statement. Meanwhile, Skillet still has restaurants in Capitol Hill, Denny Regrade and the Seattle Center — as well as its food trucks.

Skillet said its doing its best to relocate its Ballard employees to its other locations.

Starbucks closes store in Interbay

The Starbucks next to the Red Mill on West Dravus in Interbay closed for good on Sunday.

“As we continue to take steps to make sure we’re meeting customer’s needs, we’ve made the difficult decision to close our location at 1609 West Dravus Street in Seattle,” the Starbucks press team told My Ballard when we asked what happened. “We’re happy to confirm that all Starbucks partners (employees) working at that store have transferred to nearby locations.”

According to county records, the property sold to Six to One LLC in late December. This property listing said the small lot sold for $875,000.

As you can see from the map above — that green dot in the middle of Interbay is the store that closed — Magnolia is down to one location. Central Ballard has 5 Starbucks (3 are inside other stores), and the newest location on 15th gets a heavy amount of drive-through traffic.

“From time to time we make adjustments to make sure we’re providing the right blend of both convenient and premium options to choose from,” Starbucks explained. “Nowhere does this show up more clearly than in Seattle where our stores can feature the convenience of the core Starbucks menu, our immersive coffee bars and the premium Starbucks Roastery on Capitol Hill.”

Of course, there are many other coffee shops in Ballard and Magnolia — many of them independent — so there are always plenty of places to get your coffee fix.

(Thanks Kay for the tip!)

New beauty shop opens in Sunset Hill

The historic building on 32nd Ave. NW that was home to the Sunset Hill Barber Shop for decades has a new tenant: Essential Apothecary Alchemist.

“I was looking for a storefront in a nice neighborhood, and I chose Sunset Hill,” explains owner Kate Poole. “The building fit my aesthetic and l really appreciated the history of this spot.”

According to the City of Seattle, the Sunset Hill Barber Shop moved into 6406 32nd Ave. NW in the 1940s, right next door to the Sunset Hill Beauty Parlor — which had opened in 1928. The barber shop shut down earlier this year.

Essential Apothecary Alchemist is both a retail shop and Kate’s own studio where she makes her products. She specializes in beauty products derived from pure essential oils and the highest quality organic ingredients, Kate says on her website, which offers merchandise for sale online.

The retail shop is open from noon-5 p.m., Monday-Friday.