The national economy may still be sluggish, but things are on the upswing here in Woodinville with new businesses slated to open in spring and several others considering opening up shop.
“There’s been an uptake in activity in 2011,” said Rick Parks, leasing director for TRF Pacific, LLC, the company that manages a swath of shopping centers in downtown Woodinville. “Things were really spotty last year but started picking up at the end of the year and the first quarter of this year”
Why is business looking to come here? Because with the closest regional malls in Lynwood and Bellevue, retailers are realizing there is untapped market potential in greater Woodinville area.
Both national chains and homegrown businesses are viewing Woodinville as the next up-and-coming marketplace. Almost before Ruby’s shooed out the last customer, new restaurant owners were eyeing the property. , a popular Kirkland seafood restaurant grabbed the space and will open in the old burger building in late spring, said Howard Zoet, general manager of the Kirkland store.
opened two week ago in the storefront vacated by Linen n Things. Bobbi Chaville, spokesperson for the company, said the site was chosen for its high visibility and established shopping community. Panera Bread plans on moving to the storefront vacated by the now defunct Hollywood Video chain.
The 2010 census showed an 18 percent increase in the city’s population, now at nearly 11,000 residents. Factor in the more than 20,000 people living in unincorporated King County with a Woodinville address, and the potential for attracting business becomes stronger, but not always easy.
“It’s something we struggle with a bit,” said Bob Parks, one of the principals at TRF Pacific. “But when they look at the whole area, it gets easier.”
TCBY/Mrs. Field’s Cookies had no trouble deciding to come to Woodinville. The new shop, 13804 NE 175th St., opened last Monday.
“We picked Woodinville because we like to go into small communities and because it’s so friendly,” said Jeff Yoon, operations manager for the western region of Mrs. Fields’s Famous Brands, LLC.
The French Bakery, a small regional chain with successful locations in Kirkland, downtown Bellevue and Crossroads shopping center in Bellevue, is also interested in coming to downtown Woodinville, according to owner Frederic Courteau. As yet, Courteau has not found the right Woodinville location, but is still looking.
There is another French bakery business that has a marquee sign along Woodinville-Redmond Road that states it will be opening this spring, but that is on land in unincorporated King County. That land is designated heritage agriculture by the county, officials said, and no plans are in place to accommodate that business at this time.