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Olhava’s size doesn’t matter to Kingston

KINGSTON — While the city by the sea is only 10 minutes from the Olhava development in Poulsbo, Kingston business owners have mixed feelings about the impact the new commercial and residential plan will have on them.

Members of the Kingston Chamber of Commerce were introduced to the specifics of Olhava March 19 during their quarterly Extraordinary Business Luncheon at the Kingston Cove Yacht Club.

Steve Ruggiero, president of First American Properties, which is marketing Olhava, spoke to the crowded room about what can be expected within the next few years at the 216-acre parcel.

Ruggiero reviewed the history of the property and explained which sites would be developed for commercial and residential uses as well as Olympic College.

“Convenience drives retail,” he told the room of Kingston business owners, emphasizing the fact that the new development will help cut back on trips to Silverdale.

“Why fight congestion in Silverdale when you can go 10 minutes closer?” Ruggiero asked.

The site developer, First Western, will reveal the name of the site’s first anchor tenant within the next few weeks, Ruggiero said. He noted the mystery tenant has been compared to the likes of Target, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Wal-Mart and Costco and is slated for a 150,000- square-foot store.

Ruggiero also said a series of commercial developments, such as fast food restaurants, convenience stores and gas stations, a home improvement retailer, a hotel and maybe a pet store, could be a part of the site’s development.

Some Kingston business owners were a bit shocked by the plan’s size, but were confident that the development wouldn’t offer the same quality products and customer service as their small town businesses.

“I’m always interested in economic growth in the region,” said Jeff Petersen, co-owner of Olympic Printer Resources. “I think it’ll help economically, but (there is) some threat to small businesses in the area.”

He noted that Staples, the office supply store, presents potential loss to his store but said his prices are very competitive.

“I know I give much better services,” Petersen added.

Stephanie Stebbing of the Country Pet Shoppe had a light attitude about the development at first.

“I bribed (Ruggiero) with a cookie and he said he’d keep them out,” she joked, referring to the possibility of a PetSmart or PetCo at Olhava, before settling on a serious note. “In all reality, I think what we have to offer in terms of services, quality products and working with customers is something the (big box retailers) will not be able to compete with.”

Others were more concerned about future development in general.

“I think a lot of people like myself want to avoid more development,” said Tom Ogden of Tom Ogden Design, which creates websites. “But there is a limit as to how far we can go. We have to be realistic.”

Doug Anderson of Handy in Hansville, said to attract people to this site, Olhava’s going to offer something that Silverdale doesn’t have.

“I think they’d definitely have to have something new,” Anderson said. “Like a Wal-Mart, like a Lowe’s, instead of going all the way to Bremerton. I bet on a Lowe’s and Wal-Mart.”

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