Celebrating the Importance of Small Business in an Expanding Marketplace
Small Business Saturday has been anything but small for Kirkland. Since American Express first founded the concept in 2010, local businesses and brick-and-mortar shops across the country have been given a special boost on the Saturday following Thanksgiving. In addition to the Black Friday big-box madness and Cyber Monday’s armchair shopping convenience, we are reminding holiday shoppers to pay attention to some of the unique and oftentimes family-run businesses that are essential to Kirkland’s economy and to shop locally on Small Business Saturday.
One of Kirkland’s strongest attributes is its selection of small, independently owned businesses. The considerable growth we’ve seen in recent years brings plenty of conveniences like desirable grocery stores and national retail locales, but Kirklanders seem steadfast in their commitment to supporting the smaller businesses that align with the boutique charm of our town. From fresh mozzarella and macarons to upscale fashion and rainy-day reads, The Little City that Could holds its own in terms of what it offers to its residents.
A Changing Marketplace
Longtime Kirklanders may remember the days when JC Penny and Ben Franklin flanked Lake Street or shopping at the Lamonts and Ernst Hardware at Totem Lake Mall. Today, Kirkland represents a mix of urban contemporary and charming boutique, much different than it was a few decades ago but aware of the fine line between commercial and character.
Totem Lake Mall now the Village at Totem Lake
When the Totem Lake Mall opened in 1973 as part of the Totem Lake Center, the air-conditioned venue with the Native American motif had dreams as high as the totem pole that marked its entrance. Things slowed down, however, with the development of larger, regional malls, and a steady loss of tenants left Totem Lake Mall looking more like a ghost town than a thriving marketplace. Today, the Village at Totem Lake is anything but barren, occupied with retail shops, fresh food markets and restaurants, with more to come. Forty-five years later, it’s once again becoming the gathering place it was intended to be.
Kirkland Parkplace now Kirkland Urban
The 11.5-acre development next to Peter Kirk Park will soon be flaunting Kirkland Urban, a mixed-use hub touting around-the-clock lifestyle of retail, dining, workspace, entertainment and Northwest-inspired apartment homes. What is deemed to be the “most urban development in the city” was once the spot to see a matinee, order a Dutch baby at Pancake House or fresh seafood at Todd’s Crab Cracker and browse best-sellers at Parkplace Books. On the horizon for the revamped heart of Kirkland: a new movie theater, an “upscale grocery concept,” restaurants and, hopefully, at least a few small businesses.
Updated Juanita Village
North toward Juanita Beach lies the updated Juanita Village, featuring a decidedly urban feel with coffee shops, restaurants, salons and spas.
As Kirkland experiences growth—and inevitable growing pains—there holds firm a desire to preserve the town’s charm. Shopping local and supporting Kirkland’s small businesses is a simple, albeit enjoyable, way to cultivate the character of the city we love.