By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News
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“We were all surprised. There were hundreds of people,” said Jeannie Moore, owner of Potpourri Northwest Interiors.
“It was a great celebration.”
“A lot of people showed up,” said Hanna Lose-Frahn, a yoga instructor at Uptown Nutrition.
“We were so happy that they showed up to support us,” she said.
The Tuesday celebration, “Foolin' Around Uptown: A Party,” was hosted by merchants, who refreshments.
Highlights included oysters and beer at Printery Communications, fish tacos at Sweet Laurette Cafe and Bistro, chocolate fondue at the Uptown Pub — with help from the Blue Moose Cafe — and foot and hand massages, mini-makeovers and five-minute facials at Uptown Nutrition.
It also provided the occasion for Aldrich's Market, the area's anchor business at 940 Lawrence St., to show off its renovated mezzanine, which includes a new sushi bar and retail space devoted to Northwest products.
After the store reopened in March 2012 following a month's closure for repairs, traffic has not risen to previous levels, owner Milt Fukuda said.
“Every since we reopened, business has been way off,” Fukuda said.
“People have changed their buying habits and gone elsewhere.
“We want to bring some of those people back.”
Half of the market's mezzanine space is occupied by a large dining room, while the rest had been vacant since First Federal moved out and an espresso stand closed in 2010.
Last year's repairs were made necessary by an improperly installed freezer, and renovations were postponed.
The new space moves the sushi operation from downstairs and fills the back wall with wine, cheese and other goods that originate in the Northwest.
Along with the sushi bar, operated by Tomoka Tolson, the market will serve several tapas-style lunch entrees, with the new space open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.
“We've always done our best to support local merchants,” Fukuda said.
“Up here, we will sell wines from Washington and Oregon that we don't offer downstairs in the regular wine section.”
Several of the wines will be featured in the sushi bar, with 1-ounce taste glasses offered for 75 cents or $1 for the really good stuff.
Fukuda hopes to break even on the new enterprise, saying the profit will come from drawing more customers to the downstairs portion of the market.
He also said he hopes it will benefit the neighborhood at large.
“Everyone is doing a little less business than what they were doing last year,” Lose-Frahn said.
“There are always ebbs and flows, but it was amazing to see all the people who showed up at the party.”
Aldrich's first opened in 1895 and operated continuously until Aug. 4, 2003, when the historic building burned down.
Nearly two years later, it reopened in the same location in a new building constructed by David Hamilton and Jonathon Ryweck, operating as Ham and Rye LLC.
The Fukudas took over the market in 2007.
The store employs 15 to 17 people in addition to Fukuda, wife Renee and son Scott.
Other businesses that participated in Tuesday's party included Maxwell Bean, Curly Top Collectibles, IndiGlo Holistic Massage, Key City Public Theatre, Lanza's Ristorante, The Perfect Season, Petals Flower Shop, Uptown Fabrics, Vasu Video and Wallyworks Construction.
Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.