Beadworld, a popular bead and accessory shop for 6.5 years in downtown Kirkland, has closed its doors and moved its inventory to an expanded shop in Seattle -- the second business along Central Way to shut down in recent weeks.
The owner cited parking issues as the reason for the move, the same as the other business owner that left downtown Kirkland recently.
Beadworld owner Nicolette Stessin said parking issues were severe the entire time the store was in Kirkland and prompted the reluctant move. Nearby streets became so congested that many customers found it inconvenient, having to park too far away. In addition, a two-hour parking limit on downtown streets limited participation in the shop, which offered classes and work space for customers to craft things.
“We have dear customers we left," she said Tuesday. "We had community. We had a table where people could sit and work. (But) parking was a big concern and it was really challenging."
Stessin said she attended city meetings about downtown Kirkland's longtime parking problems, and when she heard discussion of adding parking meters, she knew the issue would continue for her store.
"That did it for us," she said. "We went through a horrific recession. We expected to weather that. But we couldn't with the parking. We actually paid parking tickets for some customers. But that isn't a business model."
She said one potential solution was for the city to purchase additional parking space at the end of Park Lane, but it lacks the funds.
The remaining Beadworld store is at 9520 Roosevelt Way in Seattle, and it has been greatly expanded. The Kirkland location closed in early December. It had offered thousands of beads in various shapes, colors, sizes and materials -- stone, bone, glass, ceramics, etc. -- beading accessories and classes. The store was known for its friendly, helpful staff.
Just before Christmas, the owner of the two Chalet Cadeau gift shops on Central Way just east of Beadworld also moved to a new location, in Bothell, citing long-term parking problems and building maintenance issues. See a Kirkland Patch story on that here.
For an earlier story on Kirkland's ongoing effort to deal with downtown parking problems, click here.
Are you sad to see it Beadworld leave Kirkland? Have any ideas on how the city can deal with downtown parking problems? Please let us know in the comments box below!