Mourning stores that close their doors | Jan Hallahan

May 16, 2010

The ending of one thing usually means the beginning of another. Or maybe that’s just what we say when things don’t go our way.

Driving through the former Metropolitan Market parking lot last week with perfect timing, I witnessed the tan, rectangular shaped monument signage for Metropolitan Market being dismembered with a saw. It lay on the wet pavement like a tombstone: Desolate, unwanted and depressing. I stopped my car and just stared. I will admit that I loved the atmosphere in that store, but didn’t shop there often. Maybe I judged the book by its cover and didn’t give it a chance because I’m one of those people who place savings above ambiance.

“Maybe if we tried harder, they wouldn’t have left...” I lamented to myself. Another silly phrase popped into my head: “Live your life with no regrets.” And I wonder just how much Federal Way residents regret losing that store.

P.J. Pockets Casino shut its doors last week. Some would say, “Good riddance!” But it shocked me because we were just there a couple of weeks ago listening to a friend’s band play. For those people who had never stepped a foot in the door, it might have surprised you. Known as a gambling establishment, the food was good, with lots of pool tables — hence the pocket part of the name. However, I rarely went in there, just like the Metropolitan Market. I don’t have the right to feel bad about the demise of a business that I clearly didn’t support enough to make a difference.

How do coffee houses make money without an anchor on the block? What happens when the anchor, let’s say, Albertson's, closes? It’s a slow and painful decline of customers, that’s what happens. And the question of how many coffee shops Federal Way can support is obvious without answering the query. Regrettably, another business has closed its doors. Tully’s Coffee, located by the Twin Lakes post office and Fred Meyer, shut its doors for good at this location in Federal Way on Sunday. Ironically, the former Tully’s manager, who relocated to Issaquah, came back for a farewell party with his former co-workers and customers. It was his band who played at P.J. Pockets on a regular basis. I can’t help but take these closures personally. Tully’s was my husband’s favorite coffee shop for years.

This Twin Lakes Tully’s was reminiscent of the old TV show "Cheers," where everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came. I’m not sure if my husband owned a spot on the floor where no one else was allowed to stand, but he knew most of the people’s names that frequented Tully’s in the morning. The misplaced friendships take their toll — as does the loss of jobs, which bolsters low morale. Once again, I have no right to cry about it. I rarely went into Tully’s for coffee. But still, it bothered me to drive by Tully’s yesterday and notice the store front letters pried off, with only the silhouetted outline of what once was there.

There are other places to frequent for groceries, card games and coffee. It’s just sadness for the loss of favorite places to go, the memories associated with them, and the fear of what other businesses will be gone tomorrow. I’m officially sorry for all business closings, and now we need to remain hopeful for the beginning of something else.

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