PORT ANGELES — Business owners are trying to make the most of the seeming certitude of being displaced in coming months by construction of a new downtown hotel.
Cock-A-Doodle Doughnuts owner Dayna Page, Harbor Art gallery operator Bob Stokes and rental care and bus line owner Jack Heckman are not waiting for the announcement of the sale, they said last week.
All have made plans to move or are putting out feelers that will result in major changes to how they go about their daily lives.
A purchase agreement between the city and the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe for the chunk of city-owned parcels between Laurel and Lincoln streets has yet to be signed but is likely by the end of February, city and tribal officials said last week.
That would eventually lead to the entrepreneurs’ departure after being given what tribal Enterprise CEO Michael Peters said Thursday would be notice to “the greatest extent possible.”
He said he would work with each business person individually on a departure date.
“We’ve also been talking about this for over a year,” Peters said. “Hopefully, they’ve got other options.”
Heckman and his wife, Vicki, operate Dungeness Line, Avis Car Rental and Budget Car Rental and the Larry Winters Storage Garage on East Railroad Avenue out of 111 E. Front St., which will be leveled along with the Winters building, a former gas and oil company where the Heckmans store vehicles.
They plan on revitalizing a eyesore area at one of Port Angeles’ busiest intersections by relocating family businesses that have been downtown for seven decades.
Eighth and Lincoln
The Heckmans recently bought property at Eighth and Lincoln streets that includes the corner where the venerable Round-the-Clock convenience store and gas station were located, and four abandoned buildings, including an office building stretching a block west to Laurel Street.
Heckman would upgrade an abandoned car wash for cleaning his business vehicles and for use by the public, putting in operation two self-service bays and one automatic-wash bay.
His bus line and rental car businesses will move from Front Street where the four-story hotel would rise to the empty 107 E. Eighth St., office building, with parking for buses, rental cars, customers and employees on East Eighth and Laurel streets.
His Dungeness Line buses will continue to depart from the Gateway Transit Center in the same block of downtown on East Front Street where he’s now located.
Heckman will outline his plans at 1 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall at a conditional use permit hearing to allow car and new trailer sales and for the car wash improvements.
“We are in support of the project for the Elwha Hotel,” he said last week in an interview. “I think it’s going to be good for the community and the economy of the downtown area.
“I think it will be good all the way around.”
Heckman wants to have the car wash renovated by the end of June and wants to move into the new offices before then.
City Planning Manager Alysson Brekke said the public comment period ends at 5 p.m. Saturday — and none had been received as of Wednesday.
“The Number 1 thing we are looking at is having a blighted corner coming back to life,” she said.
Harbor Art moving
Artist Bob Stokes operates the Harbor Art Gallery at 110 E. Railroad Ave.
The artists’ collective, which has 14 members, will move to 114 N. Laurel St., where Northwest Tobacco Emporium was located and which has room for 25 artists.
Harbor Art Gallery’s new home, which is being renovated for its new use, is more centrally located, Stokes said.
Artists who want to show in the facility “are coming out of the woodwork,” Stokes said. “We are loving the fact that it will have some nice, good display windows.”
Overall, Stokes said he’s happy with the hotel being built and the change he’s been forced to make.
“It will bring in another clientele for our town that will hopefully shop in our town,” he said. “It’s just a little painful getting to that point.”
Page has her 105 E. Front St. business listed for $135,000 for the Cock-A-Doodle Doughnuts trademark and good will, and the business’ inventory and equipment, she said Thursday.
“I gave myself a couple-year window with the building being surplussed,” she said of the city’s decision to sell it.
Page said she and the tribe have discussed the tribe buying the business since last winter and building it back into the new hotel, but does not have a written offer.
“They said they wanted to purchase it and that they were interested and that was it,” she said.
Peters said the tribe has made a verbal offer.
“We’ve been talking about our options, about how it would continue to operate,” he said.
“The doughnut shop is kind of a regional icon. It’s something that we would like to be involved in bringing it back to the location when we get a building and a space.”
Page said that with the tribe delaying the hotel project since the initial announcement last April, she’s put the business she founded 10 years ago this April back on the market.
In the long run, the project is “going to be great,” she said.
“But it would be unfortunate if the town loses our own doughnut shop.”
It’s still time for her to get out of the baking business, she said.
Page, 47, is tired of baking six nights a week from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., and of depending on blackout curtains and a white noise machine for sleep. She had hoped that no one would build a house next to her home — so the noise wouldn’t disturb her in the daytime — but her next-door-neighbors are doing that this week.
“I’m just ready for a normal, regular bedtime,” she said.
“I’m not making any plans further than what I can make right now other than hanging on to see what happens.”
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].