Mercer Island 2016 Local Business Year in Review

December 18, 2016 | by Erin Sirianni

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After another exciting year of reporting on local business activities on Mercer Island, we’re sharing a look back at the biggest openings, quiet closures, movers and shakers, and more of 2016, plus what you can look forward to in 2017.

We also reached out to the expert of local commerce to find out her reflections on the year:

Q & A with Terry Moreman, Mercer Island Chamber of Commerce Executive Director

How did Mercer Island local businesses fare in 2016 compared to previous years?

I think 2016 was a good year for most local business owners. The strength of the regional economy is also seen on Mercer Island. The Hadley was able to lease their retail space before the building was finished. Businesses that have opened this year have been successful from their opening. It’s been exciting to watch them take off, and I’m looking forward to the opening of even more in the few months. Several established businesses have moved to larger spaces to accommodate growth. There are only a few spaces available, a challenge because the Chamber regularly gets calls from businesses in Eastside locations who are interested in moving here.

What is contributing to the vitality of our Town Center and the success of our local businesses?

The strength of the town center and the businesses is reflected in the growing number of events and activities that take place there. The Chamber’s Art UnCorked continues to grow as does the Farmers Market, the Halloween trick-or-treating event, and National Night Out. First Thursday Art Walks are very successful. I can see the possibility of lunchtime concerts in the next year or two. The vitality and energy we’d hoped for is happening. I expect the enthusiasm of businesses to be part of the community and residents to support them to continue to grow.

Many people are talking about the impending construction of the EastLink light rail system.  Any thoughts / predictions on how this will impact Mercer Island businesses?

We will need to have that strong retail core because the impact of Sound Transit construction is going to be significant. When the current I-90 was being built, it was very difficult for the town center businesses. It took a concerted effort by both businesses and the community to overcome the challenges that the construction brought.   There were some hard times, but the tenacity of the businesses and the support of the community helped everyone get through them. We will need to do that again. I think we can and will. I-90 was worth it in the end, and I think the transit station and light rail will be as well.

Thank you, Terry!

2016 Mercer Island Local Business Year in Review

Here’s our complete report about what opened, what closed, what moved, what to look forward to in 2017, and more:

What opened?

Last year, one of Mercer Island’s biggest stories of the year was the closure of Albertsons grocery store. This year, it was the opening of New Seasons Market in Albertsons former retail space. Pagliacci Pizza was also warmly welcomed on Mercer Island, especially as they offered everyone two free slices on their opening day.

Anthophiles, a sweet European-style flower shop, opened in a corner-store location in downtown Mercer Island. Movement Systems Physical Therapy opened in Mercer Island’s south end shopping center.

Brow and Lash, specializing in eyelash extensions and permanent makeup, opened in Mercer Island Town Center in retail space near RiteAid.

Further adding to the dynamic of Mercer Island Town Center, Suzanne Zahr, Art + Architecture, and SZ Build opened in the Aviara Apartments building in downtown Mercer Island. Suzanne kicked off a regular Mercer Island Art Walk, an art and wine tasting event that takes place the first Thursday of every month. Current participants include Suzanne Zahr, Art + Architecture (SZ Gallery), The Islander, and Clarke & Clarke Art + Artifacts Gallery.

All newly opened Mercer Island businesses:

  • Anthophiles
  • Brow and Lash
  • Hadley Apartments
  • Movement Systems Physical Therapy
  • New Seasons Market
  • Pagliacci Pizza
  • Suzanne Zahr, Art + Architecture / SZ Build

What closed?

El Sombrero, a Mexican restaurant in the south end shopping center, quietly closed its doors this year. Zaw Artisan Pizza also announced it will be closing before the end of the year.

  • El Sombrero
  • Zaw Artisan Pizza (closing December 17th)

What moved?

Terra Bella has moved to a new location in the Islandia Shopping Center and is now a neighboring retailer with Island Books and Homegrown Sustainable Sandwich Shop. This move was originally planned for 2015, when the former store location appeared to be the imminent site of a 5-story mixed-used development building.  The developer changed plans after a town center development moratorium was extended, and Terra Bella extended its stay.

Re-Opened / New Ownership

Roberto’s Pizza reopened under the new ownership of Jish and Dolly Nath and now also offers Indian food options under the name Dalhousie Square. Seven Stars Chinese Restaurant & Lounge has new ownership and is now Tiger Garden Restaurant.

2016 Business of the Year

Congratulations to Dorothy Reeck and the Roanoke Inn, named Mercer Island Business of the Year. We love that our local, historic tavern received this honor and Dorothy got a standing ovation. We also wrote a feature blog post earlier this year about the Roanoke Inn, its history, and its meaning in the Mercer Island community, which turned out to be one of our most popular posts of the year.

What’s ahead in 2017?

With the completion of the Hadley Apartments building and new residents moving in, commercial space renters are working toward completing their spaces as well.

Opening soon in the Hadley Apartments building:

  • Mioposto Pizzeria expects to open in the coming weeks. Mioposto currently has three Seattle locations (Mt. Baker, Bryant, and West Seattle), and this will be its first Eastside location.
  • Orangetheory Fitness is aiming for an opening shortly after the New Year and is currently offering Founder’s Rates and two-week trial membership specials (email Frank for details).
  • Freshy’s Sustainable Seafood, currently located in a repurposed gas station in Mercer Island town center, is planning an expansion to the Hadley building as well.

Are you a local business owner? Feel free to share your business reflections for the year 2016.  Any business news we missed? Let us know in the comments.