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Real estate terms prevent new store launch

 


A Sammamish couple, and their daughter from Electric City, continue to face barriers as they try to locate a new variety store in the area.

Doug and Mary Lou Lockard, and daughter, Launi Ritter, have a variety store on the ready, but no location.

The Lockards have tried to lease the building the Variety Store occupied before it closed out late last fall. However, according to Lockard, owners Bill and Stacia Mattson only want to sell the building, at $349,000, not lease it.

A realtor handling the property, Chad Blevins, confirmed this Tuesday. He stated that in early discussions with the Lockards there had been talk of a lease-option plan. But that is no longer true. The Matsons want to sell the property, not lease it.

After they were turned down on a lease deal, the Lockards looked at the building Larry Maier owns on Midway Avenue, next to Pepper Jack’s Bar and Grille; he, too, only wants to sell the building, for $225,000.

The old Variety Store building is 5,400 square feet, “just the right size,” Lockard says.

The Maier building is 3,400 square feet, “a little small for what we want to do, but manageable,” Lockard noted.

Lockard, frustrated, said last weekend: “I find it interesting that these building owners don’t seem to understand that having an active lease makes their property more attractive to buyers. Very few small business owners want or need to own the building they occupy. It’s very strange that these few individuals can have such a stranglehold on the economic vitality of an entire community.”

Lockard has product and plans on the ready, and says he could open as early as late February if he could secure a location.

Lockard currently has a coin-op business with about 300 locations scattered around the state, which has been in operation for 16 years. The machines hold toys and are located in such places as hospitals and dental offices.

“I grew up in Kennewick, and several of my coin-ops are in Eastern Washington,” Lockard said.

Ritter has a business of her own, “Heaven-Sent Computer Services,” located in the professional building on Midway.

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