Once Upon a Time staying open with a new Queen Anne owner

Once Upon a Time signAbout 10 days ago, we broke the news that the owner of Once Upon a Child was retiring and the shop was up for sale. A local Queen Anne resident read the post and jumped on the opportunity to own a small business on Queen Anne. That means the shop will have a new owner starting Monday, and it’ll stay the same shop that residents know and love.

New owner Liz Heinlein grew up on Queen Anne and she’s raising two kids in the neighborhood. Her kids were a key reason for purchasing Once Upon a Child – she’s now gone from loyal customer to business owner.

According to Liz:

“We are beyond excited to be a part of Queen Anne’s local business community now too! …Once Upon a Time doors will remain open as the very same children’s store Queen Anne knows and loves!”

Once Upon a Time info signThe only change to the long-time shop will be its days and hours. Starting December 1st, Once Upon a Time will be open 7 days a week, Mondays – Saturdays 10am – 7pm, and Sundays 11am – 6pm. Otherwise, you can expect the same great merchandise and focus on unique children’s clothes, toys, and more.

The shop will be open next Friday for the annual Holiday Magic event, so if you have little ones on your holiday list, stop by as you stroll down Queen Anne Ave N before the tree lighting ceremony.

Be sure to stop by the shop at 1622 Queen Anne Ave N and say hello to a new era of Once Upon a Time!

Shocking Queen Anne business featured on Evening Magazine

Local Queen Anne spa Dermaspace was featured on KING5’s Evening Magazine this week with their electrotherapy facial treatment. They’re the only spa in the Northwest offering this shocking treatment – literally, shocking. Owner Jody Leon refers to it as “physical therapy for the face” and according to the Evening Magazine crew, celebrities such as Brad Pitt and Gwyneth Paltrow have been known to get the treatment in NYC and LA.

You can get the celebrity treatment at Dermaspace at 1817 Queen Anne Ave N.

Click on the image below to check out the video that highlights the spa, the treatment, and owner Jody Leon.

New Queen Anne community group spearheading cash mobs to support local businesses

The Queen Anne community has multiple aspects that come together to form the heart and soul of our neighborhood – from residents to organizations to local businesses, we all make up the uniqueness of our neighborhood. And, now a new community group has formed to support our local businesses, and for Valentine’s Day, they’re asking residents to take part in a cash mob to support one of our newest Queen Anne shops, Pistil Flowers & Gifts.

What’s a cash mob and how do you participate? A cash mob is a group of people who meet at a local business and make purchases to help local businesses thrive and build community at the same time. To make the experience more manageable for both participants and merchants, the group is asking that people shop at Pistil between 10am and 7pm on Wednesday, February 13th or Thursday, February 14th – just mention “cash mob” when you make your purchase so the group can track the success of the first Queen Anne cash mob.

As you may recall from our January post, Pistil is at 1422 Queen Anne Ave N, across from the Chase bank on the corner. Owner Laurie Gardner is excited to be featured as the first Queen Anne cash mob business, and the only request is that you please pre-order custom Valentine’s Day arrangements by Wednesday, February 13th. The shop will also have pre-made arrangements available daily, including Valentine’s Day. You can contact Pistil via email or at 206.612.0973.

More Queen Anne cash mobs will follow, and all Queen Anne residents are welcome to join the group and share ideas about shaping and maintaining the neighborhood’s character and supporting local businesses. If you’re interested in joining this new community group, contact Suzi via email for more info.

Abraxus and Mother Nature’s prepare to close, making way for new mixed-use development

After Abraxus Books announced it would be closing just 20 months after moving to Lower Queen Anne from Ballard, its home for seven years, neighboring store Mother Nature’s has said that it too is closing its doors this month.

Mother Nature’s, a natural health store that has been a staple of Lower Queen Anne retailers for 35 years, is closing up shop at the end of the month, according to owner Stephanie Gilbert.

This drawing was created by Mother Nature’s employee Sara Spidell, depicting Sara, Stephanie and Elaine (Stephanie’s mom and prior owner). The date is inaccurate, according to Gilbert, who says the store has been open since 1974.

The store, which has been in Gilbert’s family since the ’70s, has seen declining business for some time now, she says.

“I grew up in the store—since I was 12 I’ve worked here. In the ’80s and ’90s it was a rocking store. We’d get 160 people in the store a day. Now we get 60 people a day,” she said. “Business has been pretty crappy, to be frank, for the past couple years… it’s just hard to be an independent retailer in the city. If we were in Cle Elum, we would probably be fine.”

Though the mixed-use development planned for 100 Republican Street spurred the decision to close, Gilbert says the saturation of the market (with customers coming into the store, finding what they want, and then buying it from larger suppliers who can offer cheaper prices like Costco, Super Supplements, or online) has ultimately led to the store’s choice to close down, rather than relocate.

“It really bums me out that people don’t make a conscious effort to shop local,” Gilbert said. “It’s destroying our communities.”

The property owners of the building that houses Abraxus and Mother Nature’s, the Burkheimer Family LLC, plan to turn the Seattle Center and KeyArena-adjacent site into a residential/retail mixed-use development that will span from the current storefronts to the edge of the empty lot at 100 Republican.

The six-story building will house 275 units–studios, 1-2 bedrooms and 10 town homes–parking, 17,725 square feet of street level retail space, two rooftop courtyards, and a 2,000 square-foot outdoor plaza on Republican that will serve as an entrance to the building. After a series of public hearings on the project, developers have been given the go-ahead to move forward with the project. Developers expect to complete the project in 2012.

While the new development will house ground-level retail, Gilbert says the rent would have been too high for Mother Nature’s to re-open in the new building. But despite the fact that Abraxus and Mother Nature’s will be closing to make way for the development, many in the community support the project. In a negotiation with the city to allow the development to use part of the alleyway bounded by Mercer Street, Republican Street, 1st Avenue N and Warren Avenue N, developers added plans for a public plaza (equipped with a rain garden) to the plan.

On top of that, Uptown Alliance co-chair John Coney shared his support of this proposal with City Council’s Transportation Committee this past fall, noting that he believed the project would revitalize a “dead block” in the neighborhood.

“It’s an important redevelopment on what is now a substantially dead block of Republican,”  he said.  “It is going to bring housing onto Warren Avenue North.  We believe that is important because that is another dead block in an urban center.”

For the time being, Mother Nature’s and Abraxus are making preparations for closing.

Gilbert says her lease is up on the 28th. She plans to keep the store open until just a few days before then (though no final date has been set yet), to clear out its current stock and say goodbye to longtime customers. Everything in the store is currently 30 percent off. Gilbert says discounts could go as high as 75 percent as the end of the month nears.

Abraxus will be closing in just a few days, on Saturday, February 12. “Our building is being torn down and we’re calling it a day on this chapter,” the owners Carol and  Tony wrote on the store’s Facebook page. The last month since announcing plans to close has been a “pretty emotional time” for them, Carol wrote to us.

Everything in the store is being sold at 50 percent off, and bookshelves and other fixtures are also up for sale. The store will be open from 12 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on its last day Saturday.