Business

"Winslow sees comings, goings"

"June appears to be the season for changes. Graduation time. Wedding time. Fickle weather, at least in the Northwest.And this year, June is a time of change in the downtown Winslow streetscape.In what the owner vows is only a temporary move, the Blue Water Diner on Madison Avenue is closed for re-tooling, as is the oil-change operation of the neighboring Packard's Quality Service. The businesses opened in 1997.I've got a museum piece over there, owner Al Packard said of the diner. I'll do something to get it going again.The diner is a faux rail car that Packard found in Pennsylvania, trucked to Bainbridge Island and restored.Packard envisioned what he called a Northeast-style diner, something between fast food and fine dining. He theorized that Bainbridge Island was slow to embrace the concept out of misunderstanding.There are misconceptions about a diner, Packard said. People think the ingredients are cheap or that it's fast food. But that's not the case.He was more baffled about the slow acceptance of the oil-change business.I was in Silverdale for eight years, and had lots of customers from Bainbridge. I thought it would be a convenience for them if the operation was on the island. But when I opened, they didn't show up, he said.Packard emphasized that the car wash and detailing portion of the business would continue. And he said that he would resume some form of auto-related business at the service station, a replica of a 1930s-era Sinclair gas station.One problem, he said, is the thin pool of potential employees on the island.I've had some wonderful employees, Packard said, and a lot of the success we've had is because of them. But some have not been so good.* Meanwhile, it appears that one of Winslow's oldest restaurants will go under the wrecking ball.The building on Winslow Way and Ericksen Avenue that most recently housed Doogal's Restaurant and bar will be demolished, probably this summer, to make way for a mixed-use development, according to Bror Elmquist, development and construction manager for the project.It will be some sort of mixed use involving residential, retail and office space, Elmquist said. We're in a preliminary stage, and don't have exact plans yet.But he did confirm that the building, which is about 50 years old and has always been a restaurant, is too far gone to be usable. Property owners the Magnano family have leased the site to a number of operators, and after Doogal's closed last summer, the property was put up for lease or sale. But after testing the market, the Magnanos decided to develop it themselves.We haven't put a plan together or selected architects yet, Elmquist said. At this point, we're listening to public input about what should go there.* The area that housed the defunct Europa West's restaurant and gourmet take-out operation has been leased, and will become a woman's clothing store called Hearts. No further details were available at press time.* The Flying Saucer paint-it-yourself pottery and glass studio on Winslow Way will close at the end of June, so owner Becky Mitchell can retire and spend full time with 6-month-old baby Olivia. Mitchell said the chiropractors and architects who presently flank her space will move in, each taking about half.* Bainbridge Blenders in the Pavilion is under new ownership. Purchasers are Tina Nguyen, owner of Simon's Chinese Restaurant in the Pavilion, Tracy Doan of Seattle and Pavilion co-owner Jeff Brein. The restaurant now offers sushi on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, fruit and vegetable salads, bagel sandwiches and three different sizes of smoothies, Nguyen said."

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