Did we have fireworks? Dancing in the street? Did the phoenix arise from the ashes? Perhaps the elation was only in our hearts when the neighborhood received an unexpected holiday gift: the extension of City People’s Garden Store’s lease. The joyful refrains heard throughout the community were certainly real.
The proposed construction at the site has passed the initial phase of the design review but has a few more steps to complete. Due to the slope and nature of the site, construction is only permitted during the dry months of the year. Thus, the building opportunity for 2017 will have passed. Instead of leaving the present building vacant and forlorn during this process, the owners of the land agreed to lease the space to City People’s. The lease runs through December 31, 2017 with options to extend again if the new project is not ready to move forward.
The City People’s Garden Store has two new owners: long-time employees Jose Gonzales and Alison Greene. Jose and Alison are beloved and well-known faces at the Garden Store. Together with three investors, Jose and Alison were able to purchase the business from Steve Magley and Dianne Casper with a very generous deal. Steve and Dianne have stayed on as supportive consultants as the new owners evolve from gardeners to business owners/managers.
“It’s been a really steep learning curve,” Jose admits. He and Alison have been participating in a mentorship program through the national Small Business Administration. They meet monthly with their mentor to formulate their business plan and wade through the mountains of paperwork. “We are lucky to have a great mentor,” Jose said, “and we feel much more comfortable now with the business side of the garden store.”
Many of the previous employees have chosen to stay on with the garden store. They were able to continue at or above their previous salary and benefit program.
Jose and Alison envision the Gift Store’s inventory as a bit more streamlined but with all the usual elements in place. They will continue to offer delivery and potting-up services as well as special orders. The landscaping side of the business has been reinvented as a separate entity: The Peoples Gardening Collective. That business will move forward as a co-op.
City Peeps, as the Garden Store is affectionately known, continues to look for a new site. Given the current land availability in Seattle, this search has been a challenge. They envision a place that is about 15,000–25,000 sq. ft. with 2/3 being outside space and 1/3 inside. They enthusiastically encourage investors and any tips about promising available sites. They will keep the name City Peoples Garden Store.
Jose and Alison optimistically assert that City People’s Garden Store is “Here to stay! We have the passion and people to serve the community and want everyone to know we are here for them”. The staff and community are recovering from the trauma of last year’s sudden closing announcement and are ready to move forward.
Both the local community and Seattle at large wish to extend their heartfelt gratitude to Jose and Alison for their dedicated and bold move to breathe new life into City People’s Garden Store.
You got to admit, it’s kind of cool: teenage clerk grows up to become the shopkeeper. Yep. That’s the classic American dream and Adam Hagan is living it. Adam is the latest owner of historic Madison Park Hardware.
In 2010, Adam purchased the store from the McKee Family who had served the community for over 54 years. Lola McKee, the unofficial Mayor of Madison Park, had a very specific vision for the continuity of the family’s business and Adam fit the bill perfectly. He is a fourth generation Madison Park resident and attended local public schools and the University of Washington. He worked for many years during both high school and college as a clerk in the store. When Scott McKee, Lola’s son, died; Adam stepped right in to help out. After much thought, Lola and daughter Jeri came to the decision that the business was too much for the two of them to manage and it was time to sell. Adam was there to take up the reins. It was a smooth transition.
Adam understands his community and is committed to preserving the store’s familiar and beloved persona. It’s still a family business. Adam’s dad pops in at lunchtime to give everyone a break and his mom keeps the books. Girlfriend Christine is there during the busy Saturdays. Everything one could possibly need is available: gardening supplies, kitchen gadgets, light bulbs, hardware, paint and the uber-popular central aisle full of delightful classic children’s toys including Legos. Customer service is unmatched anywhere in the universe.
Adam describes the community response to the transition:
“When I purchased the business, I think the community was keeping a close eye on what was going to happen with the store. If I were not the new owner, I would have been doing the exact same thing, so I appreciated hearing people’s perceptions. I got questions about inventory as we moved a few things around and found a designated place for everything. People were also curious if we were going to carry the same kinds of things, or if we were going to add any major lines of products. One man even said that he hoped we were not going to put down floor tile to make the store ‘more formal.’ People would come in and say, ‘I don’t know what it is, but something’s different over there,’ as they gestured to an area of the store. In reality, very little has changed. The lighting is better, the store is cleaner and there is a daily effort to keep things organized. We manage over 8,000 different items, so this is a necessity for me. For the most part, people like the more organized look, although some still miss the old way, which was more like a treasure hunt in some areas of the store.”
Adam says that one of his challenges lies in the smallness of the space. Many suppliers require minimum orders that are not in keeping with his business. Still he seems to keep the customers satisfied. At the request of many, he has begun stocking jugs of vinegar to be used as a “natural” cleaning product and herbicide. Requests for earth-friendly products are a trend. Adam tracks customer requests and when they have a source for something and space allows, they try to add the item.
And again, there’s that customer service. Regulars feel comfortable with long-term clerk, Richard, and equally at home with Kim, who works part time. Both are friendly and seem to possess unlimited knowledge about everything the store has to offer. Why would anyone even consider struggling in one of those huge, impersonal and confusing mega-stores?
Although famous in Madison Park proper, perhaps the store is less well known in the wider community of Madison Valley, Montlake, Madrona, and Leschi. It seems that the majority of businesses proliferating in our neighborhoods tend to be banks, restaurants, and gift shops. It is a delightful wonder that a small business, which caters to our everyday needs, still exists.
Asked about what he wants the community to know about the store, Adam says “Just that we’re here, we love to keep our customers happy, and we have three parking places in the back that are always available.”
Ahh! Parking! Let’s see. I need twine, a new measuring cup, light bulbs…
Madison Park Hardware
1837 42nd Avenue East
(at the corner of E Madison and 42nd Ave E.)
Open: Monday–Saturday, 9AM–6PM
Many of you have seen the surveyors and trucks on our property and have had questions about what is happening. We are sad to report that the property City People's Garden Store leases is in the process of being sold. While there is still uncertainty as to whether the sale will go through, we are preparing for that possibility.
The timeline is still being determined, but we have been assured of being open at least through 2016. We will keep you posted as details emerge.
We are devastated by this news but are determined to enjoy this year and to make it our best ever. The staff wants everyone to know that we have cherished your support over the years, and we will make the most of the remaining time. We love what we do. Each day we remind ourselves how lucky we have been to work together in such a nurturing environment, in this location, with such great customers.
Some staff are exploring the possibility of creating a new retail nursery if it comes to that. As these plans develop, we will be asking the community for help in this endeavor.
In the meantime, we hope you will continue to visit us in Madison Valley and in return, we will continue to provide a great selection of outdoor plants, houseplants, gift items and excellent customer service.
Thank you very much,
Steve Magley & Staff
Warm yourself by the beach bonfire while you watch the parade of Christmas ships in the annual Madison Park Holiday Bash & Christmas Ship Parade! Live jazz band, beverages, cookies and more!
Sunday, December 20th 2015
3:30 PM – 6 PM
Madison Park Bathhouse
1900 43rd Avenue East, Seattle, WA 98112
Christmas Ship Parade begins at 4:40 PM
There's a new gift shop on 22nd and Madison, located inside Aegis Living, which opened in February of 2014. The Mercantile features a nice assortment of jewelry, chocolates, locally made cards, lotions and soaps, teas, Seahawks products, children's toys and books, and some unique and vintage items you won't find in other gift shops.
While you're there stop by the Queen Bee Cafe next door for coffee, crumpets, breakfast or lunch. A great new destination in the neighborhood.
Join us on Friday, March 6th as we celebrate the Eighth Anniversary of The BottleNeck Lounge. In addition to an extended Happy Hour from 4–8 PM, we’re rolling out our new cocktail menu featuring (you guessed it) eight new drinks at the special price of just $8 until midnight. Our 850 sq. ft. bar is certainly on the smaller side in Seattle but our penchant for celebration knows no bounds. Grab a friend or make a new one here — the party will go all night.
Friday, March 6th
Extended Happy Hour from 4 until 8 PM
The BottleNeck Lounge
2328 E. Madison St.
I sat down with Jim Henkens for a chat about his new store, Marine Area 7, here in Madison Valley. It’s a kitchen store with new and vintage items for sale, including cookbooks, wine, pantry items, linens, and tools. The store is located at 2814 E. Madison.
What title would you give yourself — you do so many things!
Photographer, kitchen-store owner
What drew you to the Madison Valley area?
This is definitely a nice little storefront. We did a lot of research on which neighborhoods would support this kind of place and we thought this would be a great choice. It already has a built-in network of home-related stores that bring people in. And we didn’t want to pick a place with a super loud, busy nightlife.
What made you want to open up your shop?
I’ve been doing food photography for a dozen years or so and we’ve collected so many props and you get to a point where you have no more room for things and you can only re-use props so many times before people start to notice the same cutting board in all your pictures. At first we were thinking about doing all vintage things but we started adding in cookbooks and pantry items and that’s what this turned into.
So are you a good cook?
I think so, yeah.
What do you like to cook?
Well I really like to cook outside — I like barbecuing, my friends have a pizza oven...I’m definitely not a vegetarian.
How did you get into food photography?
I love to travel and I love food...I started photographing chefs and then it evolved into working on cookbooks.
What’s your goal for the store?
Our goal as a store is to find out what people want - whether it’s the vintage stuff or the pantry items...so far it’s been a bit of everything. Our big goal is to get the kitchen in the back ready to go for classes and demonstrations - stuff like pickling and canning and all kinds of cooking.
Is there a story behind the store name?
There are a 13 marine areas in Washington and number seven is the San Juan Islands. We (my wife and I) have a cabin up there where we do a lot of food photography and dinner parties and go crabbing and it’s just a very inspiring area. You have to fill out all kinds of forms for fishing and boating up there, so we just kept writing “Marine Area 7” and when we couldn’t think of a store name, we thought that sounded good.
What do you think is the best gift in the store?
I think you can never go wrong with a cookbook. And there’s the wine which is a good bet for the vast majority of people. The gourmet pantry items are always a good choice. And from there everything becomes a little more personal, I think.
Marine Area 7
2814 E Madison St.
To encourage shopping local this season, Madison Valley is hosting a:
Holiday Happy Hour
Tuesday, December 2nd, 4:00 – 8:00 PM
The event includes:
* Select shops open until 8 p.m. offering holiday sales and specials.
* Restaurants offering specialty holiday cocktails and/or food from 4-8 p.m.
River Song Jewelry
City People’s Garden Store
Baas Framing Studio
Fury Women’s Consignment
Annie Mauad Massage Therapy
The BottleNeck Lounge
Bring your friends, support our local businesses, and have a great time!
The Capitol Hill Blog reports that Whole Foods is coming to Madison & Broadway! They'll be tearing down the brick building at 1001 Broadway and building the new store. http://bit.ly/13P6Yye. WF updates timeline to Spring 2017: http://bit.ly/1xeZX4c
Stop in at the Queen Bee Cafe opposite Safeway and have a coffee and delectable snack, then head next door and check out The Mercantile, a gift shop out of the ordinary in its décor. Both opened in recent months, and both are part of Aegis on Madison, the new assisted living community that opened its doors Valentine’s Day and gained its first resident four days later. There are now 60 people living there, about 40% of them men, a higher ratio than in most such places, and they range in age from 61 to 101.
The Queen Bee Cafe Pastry Case.
“We have room for 104,” says general manager Rob Liebreich, who clearly loves his job and talks about the facility with pride and pleasure. As he takes me around, he greets every resident we meet by name, wishing one a happy birthday, and also all the staff, from housekeepers to therapist. We are greeted back with smiles.
Aegis is working itself quickly into our Madison Valley community. Neighborhood groups from the YMCA to Planned Parenthood hold meetings here in the private dining room that looks like a very posh restaurant and has a wine cave with lockers for the residents. Seattle University students have come by to conduct oral histories, and Holy Names students volunteer here.
Aegis' private dining room.
“Aegis is a for-profit company, but with a philanthropic side,” explains Liebreich. “All the profits from the Queen Bee and The Mercantile go to nonprofits. For our first quarter, we gave $500 to the YMCA, for the second they’ll go to the Hearing and Speech Center up the road. Childhaven brings their kids and we welcome them and make things for them. Just now we have a quilting club. We make things to give back to the world.”
Every Saturday morning, the marquee over the little theater announces a matinee movie for neighborhood kids. “Frozen” was a recent showing.
Aegis’ parent company was started in Redmond 17 years ago by Dwayne Clark, after seeing his grandmother in a facility he felt he could improve on. There are now 30 Aegis facilities with the majority—14—in the greater Seattle area and five more planned. One, to be located in Newcastle, is intended to serve the Asian community.
“When Dwayne Clark’s mother needed Alzheimer’s care, she lived for ten years in an Aegis in Kirkland,” says Liebreich. “It’s one thing to work for an owner who understands from a business level, and quite another to work for someone who understands from the inside, on an intimate level. It’s a really innovative company. They don’t follow the rules, they want to go well beyond them.”
He points out that the comfortable chairs in the spacious lobby are specifically designed with arm rests and cushion depth and resilience for maximum ease for the residents, and the enclosed garden on the dementia floor with its 1956 Thunderbird and old gas station in the corner. All Aegis dementia floors have a garden, but this one was designed with input from Disney to make people feel comfortable in an era they remember. One resident having lunch proudly told us she had been washing the car that morning, while others had picked the blueberries they were growing and then made muffins.
The Life Neighborbood Patio, with 1956 Thunderbird and blueberry bushes.
The residents’ rooms or suites on all five floors are lit by large windows for maximum natural light, while those on the dementia floor also have motion sensors so staff can quickly tell if someone is restless or needs help, and a second sensor that turns on a bathroom light when it senses someone moving in that direction at night.
“People’s dignity is the overriding element in what we do, then safety, then enrichment,” says Liebreich. Quality shows in the attention to myriad details, such as the restaurant with a four-star ambience, always serving freshly prepared food. Another is the beautiful little quiet room, the Conservatory, on the dementia floor. Quietly lit, no windows, the walls painted pale blue with vines and birds on them, a faint lavender scent and gentle bird song, it’s designed to help someone feel less agitated.
As of now there are 64 staff working in shifts, many local and about 50% of them care staff, including three full-time RNs. Liebreich is currently recruiting a fourth. “We’re affiliated with the University of Washington Medical Center,” he says, “and our medical director comes in every couple of weeks regularly and more if necessary, visiting residents in their rooms. He’s just added a nurse practitioner so his office can be more responsive.” He goes on, “We don’t structure staff numbers on ratio but on needs. We have a number who need two-person support. As of now we are trying to make sure we have 16 hours of nursing supervision daily, eventually it will be 24 hours. We’ll need that if we have a lot of diabetic management.”
Not everyone at Aegis needs that kind of care. Many just need a bit of help, others are high need, but people can stay at Aegis until they die, and it has hospice care.
“Regarding medications,” says Liebreich, “we are working with Bastyr to find non-pharmacological solutions, like chamomile tea to soothe at night, or ginger tea for stomach upsets. We want to come off over-medicating, and this year we will have our own Bastyr clinic.”
Quite a few people have pets and there are even pet walkers to give residents a hand walking their animals as needed. There are five full-time enrichment staff for the dozens of indoor and out-and-about activities, including a horticultural therapist and a master gardener, and are about to be joined by another with a music therapy background.
The Sports Den in the basement is where everyone congregates to watch TV. Originally called the Man Cave, “we discovered that the women are more sports fanatics than the men so we changed it,” says Liebreich. Also he points out that it’s a draw for families. “It gives families reason to come back. A big challenge in the industry is creating reasons for families to return and not just drop off grandma. Grandkids enjoy this.”
The Sports Den
There are often parties in the Sky Lounge up on the top floor, a room with a gorgeous view and an outside deck looking over to Mt. Rainier and the Cascades. There are parties not only for residents and their families, but for employees, as well.
Thanks to owner Clark’s experiences, the parent company of Aegis also runs the Potato Soup Foundation. At one time his single mom was so short of funds she asked her boss for help, and he gave her a sack of potatoes which made soup for a week. Now, maybe 20 or 30 employees a year who need help can get it, including most recently a housekeeper who lost everything in a fire. Liebreich is proud that last year, as announced by KING-5, Aegis was voted by the employees as the best employer in the Seattle metropolitan area.
This facility is likely the only Aegis one built from scratch with respect for the residents’ needs and dignity paramount in every detail. As such, people in the field are flying in from all over the country. “People who’ve seen a thousand of these,” says Liebreich, “are coming to look at this one and see what’s been done. It makes me want to do more. This residence should be seen as a beacon to the community.”
It’s not cheap to live at Aegis on Madison. The base cost is $131 per day which includes all meals, but Liebreich considers that anyone owning a house in this area could live comfortably at Aegis for 15-20 years.
Go see it! I wouldn’t mind living there myself, down the road.
Barbara Collins and her daughter Lillian have opened a new café in Madison Valley, Simply Soulful, specializing in homemade soul food, prepared from family recipes passed down through the generations.
This Saturday, May 17, from noon to three, Barbara and Lillian will be celebrating the opening of their new location (formerly Ines Patisserie, next to Missi Lu). At the event they will be offering:
• Free samples of Biscuits & Sausage Gravy & Strawberry Shortcake.
• Face painting and Coloring Contest for Kids.
• First 50 customers entered into a drawing for a $25 gift card!
"Socializing is the Key to Life,” says Barbara.
Simply Soulful Cafe and Espresso
2909-B Madison Street, Seattle, 98112
Saturday, May 17, 2014, 12:00 PM until 3:00 PM
Now showing at Baas Framing Studio, Carla Dimitriou's recent work in encaustic painting and mixed media on tar paper features a cast of animal, human, and mythological creatures. The raw, visceral textures create give these characters a strong visual presence that is at times both dark and humorous. Carla Dimitriou is a graduate of Cornish College of the Arts and the Vermont College of Norwich University. She is also co-owner of Dimitriou's Jazz Alley, a landmark Seattle jazz venue.
An artist of rare intelligence, Dimitrious mixes empathy, ethics, and wit to create sumptuous images that provide ample food for thought. Her work can be found in numerous private collections throughout the Northwest and on her website.
Happy Hour at the Crowbar
Bird on Brain
As reported by the Madison Park Blogger on Feb 2nd, the Madison Park Conservatory will close February 15th. Just another reminder of the importance of supporting our local businesses.
Local resident Pippa Kiraly begins a monthly series of Madison Valley merchant profiles.
Coffeehouses began in Turkey in the mid-17th century, reached Europe not so much later, and by 1739 there were 551 coffeehouses in London. They’ve always been places that attracted people to talk business, play games, socialize with likeminded people—and drink coffee. Fast forward to mid-20th century when they began to become popular in the U.S. Not just Starbucks but other independent coffeehouses sprang up, offering snacks as well as coffee and tea, as well as game boards, newspapers, armchairs and tables where meetings could be held.
It’s our good fortune that this type of coffeehouse has arrived in Madison Valley. Zander Natallani opened Harbour Pointe Coffeehouse at 2818 E Madison a year ago, with the intention of making it a community go-to place to hang out with a cup of good coffee, hold a meeting, attend a class, or just enjoy a newspaper.
He’s not just offering coffee and tea, but baked goods he makes himself on the premises. When I interviewed him early one morning he was rolling pastry and lining mini pie pans preparatory to making individual savory tarts which he is offering as one item on of his new brunch menu.
As far as possible he uses fresh organic ingredients, and always has something vegan, even a vegan pastry, for those customers. “I don’t use any processed ingredients, everything is made from scratch. A lot of stuff is farm fresh, from a friend.”
To Natallani, it’s all about community. “It’s a big thing in my life,” he says. “A coffeehouse is where people meet, for food, entertainment, games, books, movies, parents’ date night, video games. That’s what we serve.” Almost all of these he is now offering—a bookshelf with books to borrow, PTA meetings, French classes on Tuesdays, art classes for kids, and soon adults: “Painting With Coffee.”
He chose Madison Valley because it just felt right. “My family is all spread out and not close, and I need a community.” His dad was a chef, and Natallani watched, listened and learned from him and from working in restaurants since age fifteen (he’s now 35). “I was invited to learn from a school for chefs in Tuscany, but I was too young and stupid to realize what it meant,” and he didn’t go.
His clientele is building with people of all ages. “We’re busier than we’ve ever been,” he says as he tips flour onto a wooden board, but has quite a way to go yet to reach his goal of 6–8000 customers a month. One of his latest ventures is working with the Bush School to teach about entrepreneurship. Some of the staff come to the coffeehouse, and the plan is for the Bush students to have their own coffee shop, business plan and all, Natallani helping as a mentor.
In the spring he hopes to have his beer and wine license so he’ll have a wine bar after 5.30 p.m. For now, Natallani works long hours daily, 7 A.M.–7 P.M., a bit shorter on Sundays, and down the road, he’d like to open another coffeehouse, in the U district.
Pippa Kiraly is a Madison Valley resident and merchant, teaching the Buteyko method of retraining breathing. You can find her at lifelongeasybreathing.com. She is also a longtime classical music critic writing under her given name of Philippa Kiraly.
Photos by D.I. Forbes
Madison Valley is among the top five hottest Seattle neighborhoods of 2014 based on the places that are trending among the millions of homebuyers searching on Redfin.com leading into the new year. Common features shared by the hottest neighborhoods include highly rated schools, short commutes, and affordable prices. Instead of creating a list of the consistently or historically popular neighborhoods in each city, Redfin analyzed the growth in their website visitors’ pageviews and homes they added as Favorites and collected Redfin agents’ insights into which neighborhoods have seen the biggest growth in popularity among today’s homebuyers.
#1 Phinney Ridge Median Sale Price in 2013: $502,625
#2 Madison Valley......................................................$575,000
#3 Northeast Bellevue..............................................$505,000
#4 North Rose Hill......................................................$431,500
#5 West Bellevue........................................................$690,000
You can read the full report on Redfin's blog.
Congratulations to the students at McGilvra Elementary for a hugely successful Run-a-thon on October 10th. For the second year in a row, Bert’s Red Apple has been the main sponsor for this event. The students go out and collect pledges using their pledge forms or personalized web pages that were made for each student. The kids then run the perimeter of the soccer field or school, depending on their grade, for one whole hour!
This year the school has a goal of $55,000. The kids have until October 28th to turn in their pledges. The money raised goes towards various programs not funded by Seattle Public Schools such as art and supplies, reading and math support, a school counselor, teacher grants, and classroom tutors. McGilvra is so thankful for all the support they received around this event. Trainers from FT Training came to warm up the kids, ladies from the Seattle Reign came to cheer them on, and Ari and his band from The Music Factory played to keep the kids going.
The student who raises the most money will receive four VIP tickets to the Lion King, generously donated by the Paramount Theater.
AFH Salon is a great new addition to the neighborhood. It opened in September on the corner of MLK behind The Essential Baking Company. The salon is beautiful with great natural light and charm.
The salon provides a full range of services including His and Hers Haircuts, Color, Blowouts, Event Hair and more. Annie Fisher, the owner and head stylist, has 18 years of industry experience and she and her team of stylists are passionate about working with clients to create personal beauty. The salon is unique in its dedication to education.
“I opened AFH Salon to provide a safe place for hairstylists/artists to be heard and supported in their craft,” says Annie, “AFH is committed to education and providing the best products for a great value. My vision was a beautiful space that was welcoming and offered clients an experience where they can come as they are and leave looking their personal best!”
The Annie Fisher Hair Salon team is committed to becoming an integral part of the Madison Valley community. They are supporting the Bailey-Boushay house by collecting unused travel, hotel or sample beauty products.
Sound Community Bank, headquartered in Downtown Seattle, opened its sixth office in Madison Valley in March. The Madison Valley location is a Loan Production Office where seasoned lenders Joshua Buckingham and David A. Raney specialize in both conventional mortgage lending, but also land, construction, and portfolio loans. Many in Madison Valley may know David Raney, the VP & Residential Lending Manager. David grew up in the neighborhood and formerly worked at the Washington Mutual in Madison Park. David believes that local lending is an excellent addition to the banking mix currently found in the Madison Valley.
Sound Community Bank, celebrating a new office and 60 years of business, invites you to experience the one-of-a-kind, individualized service that it provides. They feature in-house loans with flexible terms, super-jumbo loans, loans that compliment various tax and financial strategies, plus — all loans are underwritten and serviced right here in Seattle.
Please join bank staff including Senior Management on Thursday, September 19th from 2–7 PM at the Loan Product Office for an open house. Enjoy a drink or two, conversation, and assorted heavy snacks sourced from local merchants. Sound Community Bank is located in the Landmark Group Building — 3101 E. Madison Street, at the corner of Lake Washington Blvd. E. and E. Madison St.
McGilvra Elementary is so pleased to welcome its new principal, Maria Breuder. Maria was raised in Seattle where she attended Seattle Public Schools as well as a local private school. She moved to Portland to attend Lewis & Clark College, where she received her B.A. in Psychology, and her M.A. in Teaching. Oregon was Maria’s home for many years, until she and her husband, Paul, decided to move back to Seattle in 2005. Maria and Paul have two children — Dante is 7, and Giovanna (Gia) is 5.
Maria has been an elementary teacher for the past twelve years, beginning her career at North Plains Elementary in the Hillsboro School District in Oregon. Upon returning to Seattle, she accepted a teaching position at McGilvra Elementary, where she has taught for the past eight years.
Maria acquired her Principal Certification through Seattle Pacific University, and served as an Administrative Intern while teaching at McGilvra. The parents and PTA at McGilvra are really looking forward to working closely with Maria and her entire family. Maria has said that it is her goal to work with our entire community (Madison Park, Madrona, Washington Park, Central and everyone in between) to make this a fantastic and successful school year for all and hopes that the community, not just the families who attend McGilvra will become more involved with helping our kids and our community.
It has almost been a year since the Madison Park Times article, “From Conflict to Community,” was published. The article highlighted the history, challenges, success, and aspirations of the MLK FAME Community Center. As a long time arts educator, artistic director of Ewajo Dance Workshop located in Madison Valley for 15 years and youth arts coordinator at MLK, I am excited and inspired by the progress over the past year.
Since January 2012, there has been a successful and well-attended after school and summer program. It is designed so each student is introduced to dance, music, theatre, and visual arts within a 12-week session. The age range is 5 – 15 years. It is fun, energetic and open to all levels.
Having taught for many years and seeing programs come and go, you get used to the status quo and what it brings. Closing the achievement gap and students having equal access to resources has been a prime topic of discussion and debate for a while. Having taught youth from public and private schools and different socioeconomic backgrounds, I see how vital it is to create an environment that excites, challenges, and emphasizes equal contribution from all participants.
This summer we had a group of students from CAYA (Central Area Youth Association) and the Valley School learn, practice, and perform traditional Caribbean rhythms and songs on the steel pans (the main percussion instrument in the Trinidadian Carnival festivities). They had to work together supporting and encouraging each other while focusing on playing as an ensemble. The end result was extremely inspiring and boosted self esteem for all the students. I feel that before an achievement gap is closed, there must be a common interest and consistent interaction over a period of time. This created camaraderie and a sense that their capabilities are the same. The creativity and excitement of the performing arts makes it the perfect medium to achieve this.
Madison Valley saw the opening of a new dining location — Bar Cantinetta opened its doors at the corner of Madison St. and 29th Ave E on Thursday evening. The soft opening served a limited menu suitable for service as hors d’oeuvres: brioche grilled cheese, country ham BLTs and fried bacalao balls. The event was very well attended: the baked figs wrapped in Speck could not make it 15 feet from the kitchen before disappearing into hungry diner’s hands.
The space has changed a bit from its days as La Côte. A full bar with lots of seating now extends towards the back of the restaurant, facing the open kitchen. Décor is simple, with charming crystalline light fixtures in the main seating area and glowing lamps above the bar. Service was amazingly prompt even with the large crowd, and the entire staff was excited about being a part of the Valley.
Bar Cantinetta is a welcome addition to the neighborhood. The regular menu looks delicious, and promises to vary with the availability of seasonal produce. Entrees are reasonably priced (around $16 a plate), and many appetizers can be had for less than $10. We look forward to fall nights cozied up to the bar, watching the foot traffic go by, munching on some of the best Seattle has to offer. Buon appetito!
Yesterday Hans Riechsteiner opened a new chocolate store, Ascona Chocolat Suisse. Many of us know Hans as the founder of the Arosa Cafe, and the gentleman to thank for bringing those tasty waffles to the Valley. Many years ago Hans sold his Madison Valley cafe, and went on to open another Arosa on First Hill. Now he’s returned to Madison Valley, this time with the world’s finest chocolates.
Hans is importing Läderach chocolate from Glarus, Switzerland. When I asked him why Läderach, his answer was simply, “It’s the best chocolate in the world.” The Swiss native isn’t new to the chocolate business, either — Hans owned seven chocolate shops back in the ’80s.
The new store, named after Ascona, a posh resort town in Switzerland, is a beautifully designed space with a wide range of chocolate flavors, including Orange Dark, Divine Red Calvados, Pistachio, Champagne, Hazelnut, Naugatine, and Cognac. Assortments of chocolate come in three box sizes: Prices are $18, $38, and $48.
When asked about his favorite part of this new business venture, he said, “I found the exact job I want for the rest of my life. Hopefully, another twenty years.”
Ascona is open Mon–Sat, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM. The shop is located on the bottom floor of the Madison Lofts condominium building. 2914 East Madison Street, Suite 103. 206 329-0153
Saturday night my husband and I celebrated our 11th anniversary by dining at Rover’s. It was also our last chance to celebrate a special occasion at that fine establishment. After 25 years, Rover’s closed its doors yesterday. But Thierry and Kathy Rautureau are still part of our neighborhood!
In addition to running their world-famous restaurant, they have lived in Madison Valley, sent their sons to local schools, and will still be busy running Luc, their local French neighborhood restaurant.
And look for Thierry's name around November, when a new restaurant somewhere downtown will be announced! But I've already said too much…
Rover’s has been a special occasion restaurant for us for years. I remember waddling over there exactly nine years ago celebrating another anniversary. I was bemoaning the fact I was nine months pregnant and would surely be the only woman in the restaurant who looked like a blimp. Then we sat down right next to a couple celebrating their anniversary…and she was nine months pregnant as well!
Five years later some other moms and I began the tradition of having lunch at Rover's on a Friday each September after our kids returned to school. Who will take over the space after Rover’s vacates? No takers so far. But I was happy when our waiter told us he would be working at Thierry’s new restaurant once it opens. Goodbye, Rover's—and keep up the good work Thierry and Kathy!
This past Saturday the Madison Valley merchants and residents took part in a Spring cleaning along Madison between 27th and 30th.
Merchants, volunteers, and some paid help worked together to clean moss-covered awnings, paint over graffiti, remove stickers from poles and bike racks, pressure wash storefronts and sidewalks, remove weeds from the tree wells and sidewalks, and install beauty bark.
The Madison Valley Merchants Association spent about $2,500 to pay for the cleaning effort. Harbour Pointe Coffeehouse provided coffee, Harvest Vine baked some wonderful pastries for volunteers, and Pagliacci Pizza provided pizza for everyone at lunchtime. City People’s Garden Store gave everyone a discount for plants, flowers, and supplies.
The next time you’re in a neighborhood shop, please tell the proprietor how much you appreciate a clean and pretty shopping district!
Thierry Rautureau removing Cash for Junk signs on street posts.
The side of Madison Cleaners pressure washed and the tree wells cleaned.
Volunteers removing hundreds of stickers from poles.
Not only did Pagliacci donate pizza, they also helped!
The freshly painted space between Jae's and the Cleaners.
The "before" photo of the Music Factory walkway.
The "after" photo. What a difference!
The tree wells with weeds removed and bark in place.
The front of Henrietta's hat shop got a fresh coat of paint.
Karrie Baas planting flowers in front of her shop.
Carolin Messier pressure washing the sidewalk.
Sound Community Bank, a local bank of 50 years, has opened a lending office at the corner of East Madison and Lake Washington Blvd. in the Landmark Real Estate Building.
The new location is not a bank, but a loan processing office specializing in a variety of lending services. Sound Community is a portfolio lender, which means it originates loans, and also holds a portfolio of its loans instead of selling them off in the secondary market.
Many in Madison Valley may know David Raney, the VP & Residential Lending Manager. David grew up here and formerly worked at the Washington Mutual in Madison Park. David believes that local lending will be a good addition to the business environment, and tells us that Sound Community is enthusiastic about being part of the neighborhood.
We were particularly impressed that Sound Community made certain its signage wasn’t too obtrusive—a refreshing change from previous banks.
Residents and businesspeople with questions about home refinance, credit approval, construction loans, and the like are invited to stop in and visit the new Sound Community Bank. The office is at 3101 East Madison Street, and open Monday–Friday 9–5. Loans made locally just like an old-time bank.
Joshua Buckingham, Senior Residential Loan Officer
David Raney, VP & Residential Lending Manager
The Madison Valley Merchants Association received a $15,000 grant from the Department of Economic Development to help with a variety of projects in the Valley, including promotion for Bastille Bash, website maintenance, and administrative help.
Mayor McGinn was present to present the award to the 17 neighborhoods who received grants from OED. Accepting for the neighborhood were Molly Van Nostrand, Lindy Wishard, and Larry Levine.
Read the full press release.