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Popular Chalet Cadeau Gift Shops Close Doors in Downtown Kirkland

Chalet Cadeau Gifts and Chalet Cadeau Christmas are moving to a new location in Bothell, due to parking and building maintenance issues, the owners say.

 

The two Chalet Cadeau gift shops on Central Way in the heart of downtown Kirkland have closed after six years and are moving to Bothell.

Formerly in Kenmore on Bothell Way, the shops Chalet Cadeau Christmas and Chalet Cadeau Gifts were opened at 116 and 132 Central Way by owner Wendy Marshall in 2006. The shops' doors in Kirkland were closed for good in late December. They will reopen in March at a new Safeway shopping center at 24110 Bothell-Everett Highway.

Wendy Marshall's husband, Jeff Marshall, said Wednesday they would have preferred to stay in Kirkland. But they closed the shops due to a combination of the aging condition of the buildings they were leasing and serious parking issues downtown -- which he said the city needs to do a better job of addressing.

"We would rather not move," he said. "You can imagine how much is involved if you've ever been inside the shops, with literally hundreds of thousands of items to move."

Marshall said downtown parking problems are chronic, and exacerbated by frequent weekend events the city core hosts, such as runs, walks, festivals, parades, bike rides and car shows.

"The parking problem our customers frequently complained about, and they'd say, 'We just won't come in to the shop when there are events downtown,'" he said.

The roof of the main store leaked significantly, and during heavy rain, drainage issues in the alley behind the Christmas store led to water damage inside. "It's become an operational issue for us," Marshall said. "It's just become too hard to grow the business."

They two shops were popular among Kirkland residents and scored strong reviews on Internet sites such as Yelp. One resident noted on the Kirkland Patch Facebook page that she noticed the closure recently while driving through downtown and said, "I loved that store, they had such a great variety of gifts. What a shock!"

Marshall said he and his wife hope the following in Kirkland the shops established would follow them to Bothell.

"We have completely enjoyed all of our customers in this area," he said. "The main message I would leave is, it would really help if the city would take a look at the downtown businesses and (the impact of) events, and the parking. There could be come more creative solutions."

Parking has long been a problem in downtown Kirkland, and a proposal to help address the issue by charging all-day fees at two city lots downtown was rejected by the City Council last spring after a hostile public reaction.

Council Actions Worsen Parking January 10, 2013 at 04:56 PM
City Council is causing more problems by dramatically reducing the number of required parking spaces in a major residential development just 3 blocks away!!! Rather than 1.7 parking spaces plus guest stalls, the council members (most of whom received campaign support from this developer) allowed for .5 parking spaces per unit. Neighbors spoke at council meetings about the anticipated extra cars that this development would contribute to the parking mess. Others asked why the fee-in-lieu which is required for this CBD area was being waived (it would have contributed 1-2 million dollars towards creating other downtown parking). Now ... Not only did the council approve a building with inadequate parking, then waive the policy of fee in lieu... Well fellow citizens, the council disbanded the Parking Advisory Committeewith no notice to the public through the unorthodox method of passing a controversial ordinance as part of "consent items" at the Jan 2nd meeting... This council is certainly making hairbrained decisions ... And the covert manner is concerning!!!
Stacy January 10, 2013 at 06:07 PM
Yes, I've driven by but never stopped because of parking. So sad, I wonder how any business makes it. Look at the turnover in the area.
Greg Johnston (Editor) January 10, 2013 at 06:28 PM
Some solution to Kirkland's longtime parking problem is certainly needed, but a major limiting factor is that most options require either lots of money or that the public be charged more.
Lee January 10, 2013 at 06:36 PM
I couldn't agree with you more!!!
Sandy January 10, 2013 at 08:09 PM
I don't understand why a merchant would complain about the parking spots being full, "exacerbated by frequent weekend events the city core hosts, such as runs, walks, festivals, parades, bike rides and car shows". Do the merchants prefer if the parking spaces are empty? I'm sure they would complain about the lack of business if Kirkland were a sleepy empty town with no visitors. People who live around here obviously love to participate in these events. Sure there could be more spaces, and the existing spaces are full at peak times, what a great problem to have! People love coming to Kirkland. The events are great for the city. Add parking, don't reduce event activities!
Council Actions Worsen Parking January 11, 2013 at 01:16 AM
The solution to parking was supposed to be that developers who didn't want to use their land for sufficient parking could pay an "in-lieu" and it would then be that large amount of money needed for the city to provide the parking elsewhere in the downtown area. The city recently had this type of proposal come forward and it was in the CBD zone that required the fee in lieu. So did we collect the money to help get us out of the mess.... NO SIREE!! The project was fast tracked and zoning was changed without going through the proper process. Citizens asked "why" and got stonewalled.... when all else failed they checked the records of political contributions... Lookie Lookie... The developer had contributed to almost all their campaigns... And now the citizens will be stuck with a project that will provide less than 1/4 of the parking it was required to provide.... And no cash to help create future parking. Yes we need a solution to our parking problem and it needs to start with replacing those that make these crazy decisions .... The correlation with the developer and campaign funds and endorsements merely STINKS.
John L Peterson January 11, 2013 at 11:30 AM
The parking in the downtown area of Kirkland has been inadequate for several decades and it sounds like the area's politicians are actually making a bad situation considerably worse. In 1963 there was one parking lot near the old ferry dock that one could almost always find a parking space. In recent visits to the city, even that lot was full. Of course most of the surrounding communities had homes on acreage verses just small lots. I knew that when 35 homes were put on the ten acres next door to our five acres that the Juanita area had started growth spurt. It is now part of Kirkland. The area has truly changed since I graduated from LWHS in '63 with what some would call progress.
Greg Johnston (Editor) January 11, 2013 at 03:38 PM
I was 10 years old and living just down 80th Street from LW when you graduated John L, I remember those days. More recently, three years ago, a three-acre wooded lot 100 feet away from us on Finn Hill was clearcut for 15 homes being built there right now. Yep, our town has really changed over the years!

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