Northwest Design Store may be set for demo

POULSBO — National drugstore chain Rite Aid might have its sights set on the corner of Hostmark and State Route 305. Plans to demolish the building that now houses the Northwest Design Store and Bella Rosa Espresso are in the pre-application phase, according to associate Poulsbo city planner Alyse Nelson.

“It’s moving slowly and we wished it was moving faster, because of the economy it slowed down the activity,” Daniel Taylor, the architect working with the current owners of the property — Nicholson Investments — said.

The building was originally built as a supermarket in 1974. Rite Aid plans to build a larger pharmacy and retail building, adding drive-through pharmacy services. The pre-application was submitted in January and approved in February, and allows a year from the approval date to move forward with the application.

Rite Aid would be a tenant and ownership of the land and new building will remain with Nicholson Investments, Taylor said.

For Bella Rosa Espresso’s customers, that means either caffeine depravation or finding owner Gabrielle McGraw wherever she lands.

“Because of the economy and everything else, Rite Aid keeps pushing it back, the developer has been pushing it back,” McGraw said. “I at least have until January.”

The owners have promised to keep her coffee stand operational until then, she said.

“Well, since they’re demolishing the building, I don’t have a lot of options,” McGraw said. “I’m a pre-existing business but pretty much, I’m a sitting duck.”

McGraw would like to keep her coffee stand open, even during demolition and construction, but dealing with the city of Poulsbo’s requirements for building a small drive through is exhausting, McGraw said. Her only options are to move her coffee shop to a new available space in Poulsbo or close completely until construction is finished. She has been promised a future spot in the new building, she said.

Constance Swanlund, owner of the Northwest Design Store, occupies the majority of the current building but isn’t moving because of the threat of demolition.

“I’m moving because I’m exhausted,” Swanlund said. “This is a huge building to maintain.”

With around 40,000 square-feet of space, Swanlund is looking at closing the Northwest Design Store and opening a smaller store.

She said it will take 60 to 90 days to liquidate her current showroom. Swanlund also owns Bad Blanche in downtown Poulsbo and will continue to keep that business open.

Rite Aid public relations contact, Eric Harkreader said the upcoming site planning is still just that, planning.

“We have been looking for a suitable location in the Poulsbo area to upgrade and relocate an existing store,” Harkreader said.

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