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Issaquah, Washington
August 12, 2009     The Issaquah Press
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August 12, 2009

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C6 WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 12, 2009 THE ISSAQUAH PRESS BUSINESS Costco eyes new parking garage BY WARREN KAGARISE A new parking structure will be built near the Costco corporate headquarters buildings, but city development commissioners at- tached strings to the development of the five-level garage. Costco executives and project planners said the garage would provide needed employee parking for the largest employer in Is- saquah. Customers visiting the nearby warehouse will not use the structure. The project will include 1,601 parking stalls spread across five levels, with a below-ground first level and a top level with rooftop parking. The structure will not ex- ceed the height of a three-story building and trees and shrubs will be planted to soften the facade. The garage will be built on an existing parking lot off Northwest Lake Drive, south of eickering Barn and north of the Costco Trade Building. "We want to grow our company, which we've been fortunate enough to be able to do quite suc- cessfully over the past few years," said Peter Kahn, Costco develop- ment director. "And we want to stay in Issaquah. To do that, we need to have facilities to support that growth. And this is a first step in doing that." Costco employs 2,500 people in buildings on its Lake Drive cam- pus and others around Issaquah. Costco executives will be re- quired to study traffic patterns be- fore and after the structure is built. They will also analyze the ef- fects of the garage on a nearby AM radio tower operated by the city for emergency operations. "There is some concern on the part of the Emergency Operations Center that a big concrete-and- steel structure so close to their ra- dio tower could affect how its sig- nal is transmitted," city Senior Planner Mark Pywell said. A condition imposed by the De- velopment Commission requires Costco to conduct a study of radio transmissions before construction begins and another study before fi- nal inspection to ensure the tower is still able to effectively transmit. "If it fails that, we have to take a step back and see what steps we need to do in order to return the radio signal back to its current op- eration standard," eywell said. At the Aug. 5 Development Com- mission meeting, a handful of city residents raised concerns about the scale of the project and the vis- ibility of the garage from nearby Pickering Barn. Pywell said a trellis and land- scaping would be added near the historic city-owned barn to soften views of the garage. "I can't emphasize enough that we've worked closely with the ap- plicant and the Parks Department to try to come up with a plan that respects the Pickering Barn and also allows the development they need," eywell said. After the meeting, eywell said the economy would likely deter- mine how Costco executives pro- ceed. "I think they're watching the economy and what they're spend- ing money on right now," he said. Reach Reporter Warren Kagarise at 392- 6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment on this story at www.issaquahpress.com. Chamber of Commerce survey asks about food packaging The Greater Issaquah Chamber of Commerce want business own- ers to provide input about recycla- ble and compostable food packag- ing. The City Council is considering an ordinance that may require food-related businesses, like gro- cers, restaurants and coffee shops, to use recyclable or compostable food packaging products, like to- go boxes, cups, straws, plates and cutlery. Chamber officials are asking business owners to read the latest draft of the city's proposed ()rdi- nance and take a brief survey that will help them advocate at the City Council for your business inter- ests. Go to www.issaquahchambercom and click on "Proposed Issaquah City Ordinance" and "Chamber Member Survey Food Packaging Bill." Acapulco Fresh closes Acapulco Fresh Mexican Grill, 1480 N.W. Gilman Blvd., unex- pectedly closed last week. According to Acapulco Fresh employees at the Redmond and Sammamish locations, the Is- saquah restaurant closed Aug. 5. By the afternoon of Aug. 7, plas- tic sheets and a for-lease sign from JSH Properties Inc. covered the windows and made it difficult to tell if remnants of the restaurant's d6cor remained in the space. No messages were left for would-be customers. The restaurant served fresh American-Mexican favorites, in- cluding burritos and tostada salads. The other locations remain open, employees at other stores said. Tequila bar opens in Issaquah Highlands Agave Cocina & Tequilas restau- rant has opened in the Issaquah Highlands. The restaurant, 1048 N.E. Park Drive, presents fresh, homemade, contemporary Mexi- can fare. Agave also offers a wide selec- tion of fine tequilas. Owner Julian Ramos said the agave plant -- the main ingredient for tequila -- in- spired the restaurant's name. "My family is originally from the state of Jalisco, the only state in Mexico where the agave plant grows naturally," Ramos said. "Handcrafted tequilas and the art of Mexican cooking are part of our heritage. We look forward to shar- ing this rich legacy with our neigh- bors in Issaquah." Agave's menu focuses on natural and organic ingredients and in- cludes time-honored Mexican fa- vorites served with a fresh, local twist. Menu offerings include corn- crusted halibut tacos, smoked ba- con-wrapped jalapefio poppers, masa-crusted calamari and the marcela grande burger. Daily happy hour specials, appe- tizers and outdoor patio service are offered. Issaquah is a hot bed for video game developers BY ANGELO GROSSO Whether residents know it or not, Issaquah has a long history of video game development, and no one knows that better than Ja- son Robar. "I've been in game develop- ment as long as I can remem- ber," he said. "One way or an- other, it's been a constant factor in my life." The Amazing Society is Ro- bar's third company in Issaquah; it employs more than 30 people. Co-founder Jay Minn met Robar in 2005, when the two worked together for a Seattle-based video game development com- pany, Secret Lair. Between them, they have more than 15 years of video game experience. The two have been in business together since. Through their years in the in- dustry, they made important con- nections with people who are now Amazing Society employees. "It's great to have a rich talent pool all around us," Robar said. "In the Puget Sound alone, there are over 100 video game compa- nies. There is a depth of experi- ence here that cannot be com- pared to any other." When The Amazing Society was founded, Robar and Minn GET INVOLVED Go to www.amazingsociety.com. knew that they could not buy ex- perience. Much of what they aimed to achieve relied on others and they needed those they could trust. "So much power comes from reliability and knowing what peo- ple can do," Robar said. "It really all comes down to people." The new employees brought more than knowledge of the in- dustry. They also brought diver- sity. "We have a lot of local connec- tions here," Minn said. "But we also have others from very di- verse backgrounds. We have peo- ple from Ireland all the way to China." The average amount of video game experience of Amazing So- ciety employees is 13 years. Most of the employees played video games growing up and they con- tinue to do so. That's obvious by the amount of video games and accessories that grace the com- pany's break room. The average age of a male em- ployee, about 80 percent of the company, is 38 and 80 percent of them are married with children. Many call themselves "Garner Dads" -- their children play video games and more often than not, they play video games together. This is something that hit home with Robar and Minn and was the epiphany that created The Amaz- ing Society. The main goal at the company is to create games that the entire family can enjoy. Robar and Minn care about what children and their parents want out of their games. That is why their whole mission is to inspire and entertain the whole family. The Amazing Society has a testing room where children can come and play the latest games and then have an open and active discussion with them in order to see what the pros and cons are. This helps the developers create games that truly are what chil- dren dream of. "This place is a team effort," Robar said. "I do the spread- sheets, so they don't have to." The Amazing Society signed a deal to develop Marvel Entertain- ment,, Inc.'s new multiplayer on- line game, based on the current toy line Super Hero Squad. Reach intern Angelo Grosso at isspress@isspress.com. Comment on this story at www.issaquahpress.com. Issaquah businesses named top recyclers The Issaquah School District, Pogacha Restaurant and Rowley Enterprises were among 65 local companies King County's Solid Waste Division named to its Best Workplaces for Recycling & Waste Reduction list. They were recognized for strong internal recycling pro- grams and for their commitment to reducing the amount of waste their companies produce. The ISD has recycling and waste reduction programs at all 27 of its facilities, with a plan to expand to all schools in the future. Staff and students recycle pa- per, cans, bottles, cell phones, printer cartridges, batteries, fluo- rescent tubes and electronic equipment. The food service pro- gram replaced disposable poly- styrene food trays with com- postable trays. Eight schools initi- ated food-scrap recycling pro- grams and reduced solid waste by 50 percent to 75 percent. Pogacha has recently imple- mented food-waste composting. Pogacha works with a biodiesel group that recycles the restau- rant's cooking oil, and the restau- rant's accounting department of- fers paperless billing. Rowley Properties has a com- prehensive construction-waste recycling program. The company collects and recycles copper, steel, brass, gypsum wall board and lumber from every project. In addition, Rowley collects other typically recycled materi- als. To qualify as a Best Workplace, companies met at least 10 crite- ria out of 33 good business recy- cling practices. Evergreen Ford earns national award The Ford Motor Co. recognized Evergreen Ford, of Issaquah, with the 2008 President's Award. The prestigious award honors dealerships that have excelled in automotive retailing in 2008 by providing exceptional customer service and satisfaction. Only 385 out of more than 4,000 dealerships receive the honor. It is given annually to dealers who have led the nation in providing their customers with superior excellence in sales, serv- ice and overall ownership of their Ford vehicles. "We are very community-ori- ented, so the fact that this recog- nition comes from our customers makes the award extremely valu- able," said Evergreen Ford owner Daniel Rowe. "I am so proud of our entire staff's commitment to delivering the best customer ex- perience possible." Goddard School opens this fall The Goddard School, a nation- wide franchise of Goddard Sys- tems Inc., is opening an Issaquah childcare and early childhood- education facility this fall at 5716 E. Lake Sammamish Parkway S.E. The new state-of-the-art, 9,800-square-foot building will accommodate 150 children ages 6 weeks to 6 years, offering flexi- ble schedules from 7 a.m. - 6 p.m. weekdays. Its year-round program encourages children to develop at their own pace sup- ported by a team of dedicated teachers. The Goddard School FLEX Learning Program is based on a unique learning continuum that encompasses developmental guidelines, formative assess- merits and child-focused lesson plans that are delivered in a cre- ative and fun environment with a child-centered approach to meet each child's individual needs. Gemini Fish Market opens Gemini Fish Market opened last week at Meadows Shopping Center, offering ready-made, take-home items. The shop has been a year in the making and is a labor of love for its owner, Jim Oswalt, who has worked in seafood retail for nearly 20 years. "I love to cook and I just love fresh seafood," he said. "We have a largely wild-caught selection and a lot of variety. There aren't many places you will get this va- riety." The shop boasts specialty items, like live lobster and tuna steaks, and standard local fa- voritos, like sea scallops, fresh crab and a variety of salmon. Located at 1410 N.W Gilman Blvd., Suite B, the market is open daily from 9 a.m. - 7 p.m. Oswalt plans a grand opening Aug. 15. He promises "hot deals" on fish, samplers of their signa- ture dips and spreads and other oven-ready entr6es, and cooking demonstrations. (Front, L-R) Jocelyn, Barry Feder D.D.S.,P.S., Mark Germack D.D.S., Heidi, Charlene, (Back, L-R) Julie, Ann, Paula, Yonnie, Patti, (not pictured) Kileen, Laura. Barry Feder, D.D.S., P.S. & Mark Germack, D.D.S. Congratulations to Dr. Feder for being voted Top Dentist for 2009 by his peers in Seattle Metropolitan Magazine Voted Issaquah's favorite dentists for 2007 and 2008 in Best of Issaquah Family Dentists New Patients Welcome Extended Hours MEDICAL mCENTER 450 NW Gilman Blvd. Issaquah 425.392.7541 www.DOCToRFEDER.com From left, back row: Ryan (office mgr.), Donna (office), Joann, Roberta, Shannon, Missy & Shirley. Middle row: Frances, Kim, Jen, Lily & Cecile Gymnastics East is celebrating 30 years of business in the Issaquah area and the Grand Opening of their newest facility on Mall Street. Our staff, many of whom are mothers of gymnasts or former Gym East students themselves, focus on creating a fun, positive environment, encouraging children to enjoy physical exercise and gain the strength, flexibility and confidence to succeed in any sport. H I ASTICS EASt 1680 Mall St. #1, Issaquah 425-392-2621 www.gymnasticseast.com I