Trader Joe's Slated for Sammamish Ace Hardware Location

The Sammamish Highlands Shopping Center owner has submitted an application for tenant improvements to the space currently occupied by Ace.

The cat is out of the bag, Trader Joe's is coming to Sammamish.

Though Regency Centers has not officially announced the new tenant slated for Ace Hardware's 11,000 square foot space at its Sammamish Highlands shopping center, the company has submitted an application for tenant improvements for the specialty grocery store, city permit staff said.

Ace had secured an extension to its lease following last year's announcement that it would be moving from the center, but the extension expires in August, making way for a new Trader Joe's location in Sammamish.

Recently, the land-swap proposal that Ace owner Tim Koch had referred to as the last best chance to relocate Ace in Sammamish was denied by the city of Sammamish.

Koch recently wrote a letter to customers, asking for help to keep Ace on the Plateau:

Dear Ace Customers,

I regret to inform you all that the city voted down our proposal. As of right now we will be closing our doors August of this year. If anyone has information about space on the plateau please contact me via email or call 425-868-2203. I would love to keep Ace alive on the plateau!

I sincerely appreciate all of your support and patronage throughout the years. Thank you so much!


Tim Koch and the Sammamish Ace Team

Without Ace, the nearest general hardware stores for Sammamish residents are in Redmond or Issaquah.

Ace branded stores are part of a 4,400-store network originated in Chicago in the 1920's, but each store is individually owned. 

Ace occupies an 11,548 square-foot anchor location in the Sammmamish Highlands Center. Regency also manages Inglewood Plaza and Pine Lake Plaza, which have a combined 120,000 square feet of space and are both fully leased.


Despite mixed emotions, do you like the idea of gaining a Trader Joe's in Sammamish? Tell us in the comments.


Previous coverage of Sammamish Ace Hardware

Sammamish Council Rejects Ace Hardware Site

Sammamish Ace Hardware Owner Continues Uphill Climb

Here lies Ace Hardware

Council Hears Two Hours of Comment on Sammamish Ace Hardware

Ace Hardware Owner Asks Sammamish to Represent at Council Meeting

Michele February 08, 2013 at 03:01 PM
I think it is great that Trader Joe's will be here in Sammamish. Although I am a bit sad and feel for Ace. As a business owner as well, I know how hard it can be. However, Ace isn't that "small" of a business. Ace is a national hardware chain. And I'm all about making a profit, but Ace prices are like 3 and 4 times higher for the same products at a Lowe's or Home Depot. I do love Trader Joe's and look forward to it occupying that space.
Robert Gordhamer February 08, 2013 at 03:04 PM
NO, We have lived here since 1987 and have always had a hardware store. I say DO NOT shop at Trader Joe's when it opens. I feel that we need to replace the City Manager and his staff. My reasoning is that everything he did was with an atitude of the glass being half fulled, he complained about having city staff work on the problem, does he not understand, we are paying him and the staff to do a job not complain about having to work. The City Manager does not understand that, he and his staff work for the tax payers of Sammamish. I went to the meetings and I didn't see anyone getting up and saying let's let ACE move out of the city. Just think of all the waste in gas we will use having go off the hill. What does the city staff care they don't live here, we do and they are costing us more money because they have created a plan that does not work. Let's clean house at city hall and get employees that will work for the tax payers of Sammamish.
Robert Gordhamer February 08, 2013 at 03:32 PM
Miichele, you do not shop much at any of those stores apparently. I can't tell you how many items are cheaper at ACE compared to HD or Lowes. I know that you can find things cheaper at each store, but overall ACE is the place. ACE is owned by independents, so this is a small business. It sounds like you you have a hard time with national chains, I understand I own two companies and I am just the pimple on the you know who's rear end, but I stand my own agaisnt the big boys.
Jeanne Gustafson February 08, 2013 at 03:39 PM
Thanks for your comments, Michele. I do want to clarify that Ace Hardware stores are all locally owned affiliates, so our own Tim Koch is the owner. Here's how Ace Hardware describes how it works: "Founded in 1924 by a small group of Chicago hardware store owners, Ace changed the retail landscape by allowing individual stores to purchase merchandise in bulk to save money and buy at the lowest possible price. This partnership enabled even the smaller stores to compete effectively at retail despite larger stores in their market." http://www.acehardware.com
Lauri Kraus February 08, 2013 at 04:49 PM
It is sad to see all the small businesses leaving Sammamish. Petco will make way to have the groomer leave, the small natural pet store, Ace. What is next? Very sad! as Sammamish was built on family and small business.
Marjorie Pacholec February 08, 2013 at 05:51 PM
I have to admit I do not want Trader Joe's or Petco. Regency is turning our little town into just another cookie cutter town. I like the fact that we have a small pet store that cares about our pets and gives great advice. Going into ACE is the same way. If I need a certain type of bolt or screw, they go over to their hundreds of drawers and give me the right one. You will not get that same type of service at Home Depot or Loews. I use G2 Sports Therapy for PT and many patients come in on crutches or using walkers. Regency is going to block the direct entrance and make everyone park farther and then wind through a tunnel to get into G2. This is going to be very difficult on us with injuries that need close parking and easy access. I have heard a rumor (which I haven't confirmed yet) that Regency will also be the owners of the new Town Center. I liked the uniqiness of our Town and I resent Regency and the Council Members allowing these box companies to come in and destroy what we have that the public likes. Obviously neither Regency nor City Hall cares what the people want. No-one asked us because if they had we wouldn't be losing our favorite businesses. Boo to Regency!!! Boo to the City Council Members for ruining our city!!!
Kent Sogge February 08, 2013 at 05:52 PM
I say NO. First it is obvious that Michelle above has no idea of the facts. Second this is another example of Regency proving it has no consideration for a community that has a lack of commercial/retail space and the NEEDS and WANTS of our community. Why do we need a Trader Joe's? We have Safeway and QFC to obtain all of our food needs whether organic or not. Now we have an over supply of grocery stores to go along with Regency's properties having 4 pizza places within about 1000 feet of each other or 5 counting Safeway and they continue to drive out small LOCALLY owned businesses whose employees LIVE in Sammamish. SHAME ON THEM!! I'm also disappointed in the City Council and staff for always looking at the glass half full and not meeting the real needs of their community and basically regulating businesses to prevent any reasonable development. A good example of that is the so called Sammamish Teen center. You should just call it the Sammamish Tweener center. Those that use it are not really those that need a place to gather but that is what happens when you give it to the Boys & Girls Club. That place should have been developed for those in this community aged 15 to 18 not 12 & 13.
Marjorie Pacholec February 08, 2013 at 05:59 PM
I agree with Kent in regards to the Sammamish Teen center. In talking with the kids ages 15-18 they do not want to go there due to the younger and there is nothing that is offered to them. They continue to the Old Redmond Firehouse as you do not have to pay $100 monthly fee. The Fire House provides free computer use, recording studio for $25 per hour, support groups, teen feeds, band contests and concerts and on & on. They only charge a fee for certain events and it is never more than $5. The teens I know are disappointed that yet again the City failed to give them a safe and supportive place to hang out.
Michele February 08, 2013 at 06:34 PM
Nope - have no problems with big chain stores... In fact prefer them because of better price points. Again, sad to see Ace go and I choose not to shop there much because I could find better process elsewhere and was/am willing to drive a little further to do so. Not so excited about Petco coming in (can't imagine there is a huge market need for a pet store in that location). What we need is more food choices, and restaurants. I look forward to TJ coming!
Robert Gordhamer February 08, 2013 at 06:49 PM
Let's vote them all out of office, then clean house at city hall. Everyone remember this is our city not Regency's or the City Manager and his employees, they work for US the taxpayers of Sammamish. Does not the city understand that you do not put all your eggs in one basket and in this case that basket is called Regency.
Joe Kirby February 08, 2013 at 09:28 PM
Michelle do you live in a vacuum? Petco is a huge national retailer with over 445 stores and $775 million dollars in revenue on an annual basis. Trust me they don't open stores for fun and test unknown marketplaces. Our little pet store is going to be crushed. Ace is a great hardware store and always have the expertise from true hardware professionals not like the guys at home depot where you either get the kid who doesn't know the difference between a nut and a bolt or the old timer retired and wants to tell you all about his grand kids rather than helping you out. I am really disappointed in the city council for not coming to an equitable solution with Ace. It seems to me they should be tasked with working together to find a solution both Ace and the council. I would hate to lose another small business and especially a hardware store that is so close and convenience. To answer the price question earlier...who cares if they are more $ when they have expertise and you don't have to drive off the hill to HD or Loews.
Kendall Watson February 08, 2013 at 10:41 PM
Some interesting parallels to Mercer Island here. That community is also facing the possible loss of their last remaining Hardware store, a TrueValue franchise business. The city council there discussed trying to use taxpayer money in a variety of economic development schemes to help core businesses like a hardware store stay in the community, but the majority wasn't comfortable with something like that, calling it a "slippery slope". Still, the city's administrators are trying to work with the hardware store to stay, as Sammamish City Hall is presumably also doing. On the other hand, Mercer Island residents and business leaders have been unsuccessfully courting Trader Joe's for at least a decade, and the fact that new location is opening in Sammamish should be seen as something as a coup, rather than as a Faustian bargain as seems to be intimated here. In other words, I would be spiking the football and asking the city how they helped attract TJ's, and figure out how to use that expertise to attract or retain a hardware store in the community (I hear there is a TrueValue on Mercer Island looking for a new home!).
Marjorie Pacholec February 08, 2013 at 11:00 PM
Michele, why did you move to Sammamish? Most of us moved here for the small town feel. We like the independant businessess. It sounds like you are perfectly happy running all our independant owned business into the ground. Have you considered moving somewhere closer to the big box environment? @Joe..I agree it is time to vote new blood into our city council. Our current head of council Don Gerand has been there for the 10+ years we have been incorporated. There should be a 2 term limit for all politicians, that includes Senators and Legislators. When politicians realize they have very limited time then they listen more to the community. By the way I did receive a phone survey about the new YMCA center. I am glad they are building it and I don't feel sorry for Columbia Athletic Club. There will always be people willing to pay for the priviledge of belonging to a high class club. The Y on the other hand offers pay as you go. That assures me that when I go I know I can swim and that is all I am paying for.
Brad February 08, 2013 at 11:04 PM
I think some people just live to complain and blame others. Are some of you saying that the city council and city employees should have prevented a property owner from leasing his space to a valid, non-offensive, law-abiding business? That's called fascism. I'll venture to guess that if you owned the shopping center, you would be very glad to not have the city telling you who you could and could not rent to. I'm sure the people at the City are good people who try their best and truly want to serve our community, so think twice about ridiculing them while hiding behind your computer. Agree with you on Regency to an extent - I can't blame them on taking the highest rent, but can we get some decent restaurants on the Plateau? As for the waste of gas - I'll guarantee more Plateau residents go to Trader Joe's in Issaquah or Redmond today than go to Ace - so this will probably be a small net positive from an evnironmental standpoint.
Pablo Lopez February 09, 2013 at 12:05 AM
While the focus on the above exchanges lies on Ace's vs. Trader Joe's, the influence Regency may have had with the city council, at the end it was a matter of whether or not Ace's Hardware would have been allowed to go to another, bigger lot. If the request to move Ace to another location would have been granted, then we would have no problems with Trader Joe's using the empty space. The real question (from my perspective); how would Sammamish look like should the request to have a local business, independently owned, opened a huge store in a place that some deemed not in accordance to the zoning of our city? Who would have cried foul if traffic would have become bad and nobody did anything to stop it? Etc
Seth Eliot February 09, 2013 at 12:22 AM
Where the city council failed was leadership. What happened between Ace and Regency is outside the scope for the council, but what happened afterwards was a travesty. Ace wanted to relocate, using their own money, to *somewhere* in Sammamish. Through its rules, regulations, and arrogance city council was unable to take on and solve the difficult problem of enabling Ace to do that. Please vote against every incumbent come November.
Robert Gordhamer February 09, 2013 at 01:10 AM
Kendall, you are NUTS. It is apparent that you did not go to any of the council meetings. Read what our city manager has written, he has been negative from the start. The city did nothing to get trader joe's that was Regency, our city employees don't work for a private company and still work for the city. If the city is doing this they all need to befried. Also if you knew anything about this area, before ACE it was a TrueValve and they pulled out and I believe it was because of the treatment from Regency. Kendall, come live in our little city before you start to think you can tell us hat we should be happy for, get real.
Robert Gordhamer February 09, 2013 at 01:17 AM
Brad, first you say hiding behind the computer well wht didn't you use your last name, I did. HOWEVER, you are correct Regency has every right to rent to whomever they wish to rent to. But, if had gone to the meetings and read what the City Manager has written you can see the negative attitude he has and the rest of the staff just takes his approach. I have work with governement agencies for 39 years and I have seen from the Federal governement down to the small cities.
Robert Gordhamer February 09, 2013 at 01:20 AM
Seth, if have been reading my post on this YOU ARE RIGHT. I for one will help getting new blood in the council, then getting new blood at the city. They have forgotten that they work for the taxpayer.
Marjorie Pacholec February 09, 2013 at 02:04 AM
Brad I am definately not a fascist. I don't hide behind my computer, I have conversations with others and I vote. Yes Regency owns the buildings but why not keep the businesses the community wants? Regency is obviously not hurting for money, look at how long there were vacancies at Saffron, the Hollywood Video space and at the Inglewood Plaza. If there was such a high demand for these new stores why did Regency leave all those storefronts empty for so long? If the city was going to help ACE they should not have tried placing it in an environmentally sensitive area. By the way the next time we have a snowstorm and the parking lots aren't plowed you can blame Regency. I guess they still aren't collecting enough rent to care about our safety. Yes I'm being sarcastic.
Marjorie Pacholec February 09, 2013 at 02:09 AM
One last thought..why is ACE being bound with a gag order from Regency? What are they trying to hide?
Robert Gordhamer February 09, 2013 at 02:17 AM
Folks, read Kendall's bio before you give his statements any credit.
Denise Steele Darnell February 09, 2013 at 06:02 AM
I think these comments are very valuable and I hope each of you writes to the city council to let them know we want to support ACE and feel that this fight shouldn't be over. I am appalled at how these huge out-of-towner landlords can bankrupt small business owners and bring in these big stores. It is terrible and in the end the big stores are the only ones that can afford such outrageous rent. This recently just happened to Queen Anne in Seattle where four small businesses were all forced to close on a street corner due to high rent, and now big name stores are going in. PLEASE email the city council ASAP. I will be doing that tonight! A letter to the paper would be good too. Lets put the pressure on them to find ACE a home after their loyal devotion to our city. And don't forget ....John Curly is on the radio (97.3) so maybe we should call in!
Jeanne Gustafson February 09, 2013 at 06:33 AM
I know that emotions are high on several issues surrounding Ace and Regency, as well as the business climate in Sammamish. I would add a couple of things here, though. First, Kendall worked for a newspaper in Sammamish and Issaquah for a period of time, so just as a point of reference, like many of us, a Patch bio might not tell the whole story. The main thing I want to add, however, is that while the issue is complex, Kendall's MI anecdote, as folks in my hometown of Spokane wanted a Trader Joe's so much that we tracked a petition and any tips on a possible new store there while I worked at a business newspaper there (sad for me, TJ's came to my own neighborhood right after I moved). Living close to a Trader Joe's was not crucial, but one of the benefits I thought of when choosing my new home here on the West Side. That doesn't eliminate the huge benefit of having both locally owned businesses and a hometown hardware store. We all remember when Gilman Blvd. was dark last winter and grocery stores were closed--ACE is a very vital local business. Anyway, I mostly wanted to note that despite all the issues, it's not surprising that getting a TJ's would make Sammamish the envy of other communities. That doesn't eliminate the essential questions of if Sammamish is friendly to small business and if finding ways to add additional retail space (ie., Town Center) shouldn't be prioritized.
Jeanne Gustafson February 09, 2013 at 06:37 AM
Good points, Denise. We always welcome letters and Local Voices blog posts about issues people are passionate about. This is an obvious one!
Robert Gordhamer February 09, 2013 at 04:06 PM
Both Kendall and Jeanne are missing the point and you don't understand what a company does when they look at new locations. You have to have the right population base i.e. income, then you look at the traffic patterns. I can understand why TJ might not want to locate in M.I. bad traffic and you would only sell to the population of M.I. and maybe that does not meet the number required for operating a store of this size and price range. Not every city is equal.
Mona February 19, 2013 at 05:56 PM
Looking forward to TJ. Wish Ace could have stayed too. But fine with it as Opening of TJ will save me biweekly trip to the next nearest TJ. I can handle Ace being a bit far as i go once in 15 days. there's a great Ace in bridle trails and wouldn't mind going to Ace there until a new location iis found for the Ace here. Will definitely miss Ace though.
Llib Setag March 15, 2013 at 10:32 AM
Glad that MOD pizza went into Sammamish Highlands Center as they a local business too.
Robert Gordhamer March 15, 2013 at 01:52 PM
Do you know how to say conflict of interest. If I was Jeff I would not want this out in the public.
Llib Setag July 23, 2013 at 03:32 PM
Off topic | The architectural remodel of this center is looking very nice & was definitely needed! This is more of a Sammamish Highlands looking center now.


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