Beadworld Closes: Another Shop on Kirkland's Central Way Leaves Town

The owner of the popular downtown shop cites parking problems as the reason for the move to an expanded location in Seattle.


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!

Sandy January 23, 2013 at 04:01 PM
Parking in Kirkland was problematic, so they moved to Seattle. Hahahaa!!
Greg Johnston (Editor) January 23, 2013 at 04:17 PM
I have not been to the Seattle store Sandy -- maybe it has dedicated parking.
Sibyl Davis January 23, 2013 at 04:42 PM
Beadworld is a great store. It will be missed in Kirkland because it was a community gathering place with a warm, inviting staff and a table to sit down at to create projects. Besides making projects, I used the store to repair earrings and necklaces. I was able to sit at the table, borrow the tools, and get ongoing advice on how to do the work. Kirkland has a serious problem when people cannot get to the stores without risking a hefty parking ticket, driving the block several times, etc. City planning commission, are you listening?
Pam Wright January 23, 2013 at 04:46 PM
Kirkland has become difficult to navigate for any parking unless you want to park in the structure by the ball park and with that the whole down stairs level is permit parking only. Kirkland has lost it's charm with over building! So sad!
Sandy January 23, 2013 at 04:56 PM
Hi Greg, That's true, and some businesses in Kirkland also have dedicated parking. When a business closes, the owners usually place the blame elsewhere & parking is a convenient deflection. A busy & vibrant town will have it's parking lots full. It is the aim of businesses to keep those parking lots as full as they can, and turning over often (meters can help). If you can't operate your business when the parking spaces are full, you won't survive when the parking spaces are empty. If your business depends on ample long-term parking without meters, don't place your business downtown in a high-density area with crowds of people enjoying what Kirkland has to offer. Do what other parking-intensive businesses do, locate outside of the core high-density area. Parking is an eternal problem, the more you have, the more it will be used & the more services, activities & businesses will locate there. This causes more demand for parking, and the cycle continues. The need can never be satisfied unless a business pays for dedicated parking spaces for it's own customers. I understand the frustration, and I also mumble and grumble when I can't find nearby parking at peak times. It's not fun, but I can usually find a spot in the Library and walk a couple of blocks. Unfortunately, high demand for parking spaces is the mark of a successful active downtown core.
Greg Johnston (Editor) January 23, 2013 at 05:03 PM
Pretty spot-on there Sandy. Parking is frustrating, but I love downtown Kirkland and it's far better to have a vibrant city center than a dead one. Still sad to see Beadworld go. Like they say: location, location, location!
Sandy January 23, 2013 at 06:05 PM
It's sad to see a business leave town. It takes a lot of effort and commitment to run a small business. Business owners make enormous personal and financial sacrifices to establish a store. Let's hope a business that can service the people that are filling all the parking spots will move into that space.
Kirkland Advocate January 23, 2013 at 06:29 PM
Somehow consignment stores and nail salons continue to thrive. There was a time when we had TWO bead stores in downtown Kirkland along with the many consignment shops and nail salons. Picking up the slack are "smoke shops" and mystery retail shops that know one "gets". Something is broken here. I want to shop in my own town. Why do I have to go to U Village or Bellevue's Old Main for stores that interest me, or to Bellevue/Redmond for supplies that I actually need? City of Kirkland should build out their dilapidated building (at the corner of 2nd St and 3rd Ave) to an aesthetically pleasing PARKING FACILITY. Creative architecture could incorporate greenery and vines, sidewalk benches, etc. Mandatory permitted parking for downtown employees, the rest for public overflow. Let's get creative!
Ali Elsberry January 23, 2013 at 06:40 PM
I completely agree with Pam! In the 10 years we have been living in Kirkland, we have witnessed a once charming little city turn into another "Bellevue." One of the main reasons we moved here was to take advantage of the numerous friendly and LOCAL shops, as well as restaurants and entertainment that you couldn't experience elsewhere. At Park Place Theater, you can actually still see a nice teenager enjoying their high school job (and not get lost in a maze of screens). This is not an issue of poor placement of businesses, it's simply a matter of over-building. The small businesses that once did well in Kirkland are having a much more difficult time finding a spot that offers both the vibe they need and rent they can afford. It was that small-town feeling that gave Kirkland its great reputation in the beginning, and allowed businesses and residents alike to thrive; that worked, so it's a shame the city thought it should go in the same cookie-cutter direction that we see everywhere else.
Jeff Hoerth January 23, 2013 at 07:39 PM
I'm not sure the bead shop was asking for ample long-term parking. And given the many many examples of stores leaving, I don't think parking is just a convenient deflection. Yes, other factors play into it and yes, stores need to try to attract local residents who can walk rather than drive. But it would be nice to have a variety of retail succeed downtown rather than just banks and restaurants. And "revenue collection services" (i.e. parking enforcement and Kirkland's finest) can send a message that shopping elsewhere can be less of a hassle.
Kirkland parent January 23, 2013 at 08:45 PM
The prices to keep a store in downtown Kirkland is just too much to keep local businesses open anymore. KIrkland is more interested in retying to become a Bellevue than it is trying to keep the sweet lake city charm it had 15 - 20 years ago. Shame.
Recall 4 City Council-members January 24, 2013 at 11:09 PM
Need Council Member to represent Everest - Who will run? We need to clean house with 4 seats open. Remember the plan for Houghton-Everest that almost made it through without anyone receiving notice. If there is not a new councilmember to make sure an protect Everest, we are doomed.
Greg Johnston (Editor) January 24, 2013 at 11:44 PM
Hey 'Recall' and/or 'What the,' post away as much as you please, we love it, but please do so as one entity or the other? If you are actually two people, reply and I will hush up. -Greg


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