Thursday, May 25, 2006

Bellevue Is No Longer a Little Suburb

Last week my partner Herb and I went on a scouting mission into the great Mecca of retailing known as Bellevue. Just past the mall and over one block is where we currently have our 2nd store. But things are changing so quickly; there is a HUGE multi-condo/retail/blah-blah-blah complex being constructed where the old Arby's (and other small scale businesses) used to be. Now there is a big gaping hole, and we can see Bellevue Square right from the front doors of the shop.

So. With the growth of snazzy shopping experiences and high-end condo living, our humble paint store needs to find new digs. This is a good thing actually. It will bring us closer to our core base of customers.

In the old days, it didn't matter that we were in the heart of Bellevue, that's where everything was. But now, it can take 15 minutes just to dive in from the freeway (less than a mile), so the hassle factor is soon going to outweigh and benefits of history. We have been on the same block since the early 60's. Before the 520 floating bridge, if you can believe it!

Anyway - Herb and I went on a hunt. BINGO!! On a whim I drove him past a competitor's paint store that is ideally located just on the other side of the freeway in a small shopping center with 2 hip furniture stores, an appliance store, children's boutique furniture store and a high-end cabinet shop. Guess what? The store is moving and the space is soon available!!

How cool would that be? Not only that, but people who used to shop at the old place might automatically come to ours.

Not so good, it turns out. The rent is ASTRONOMICAL. Plus, the landlord is not too excited about negotiating price. Scratch that one off the list. Damn, woulda been pretty cool.

All is not lost, however. Another space is probably opening up in a few months, and it's soooooo much more affordable. And ample parking. And visible from the street. And easy access.

We shall see!