Craig Pratt and Dawn Kerber (Courtesy Photo)

Craig Pratt and Dawn Kerber (Courtesy Photo)

Island businesses in transition

  • Wednesday, November 28, 2018 12:35pm
  • News

Bad break for new Harbor Mercantile owner

Harbor Mercantile’s soon-to-be new owner, Craig Pratt, left his home and corporate job in Castro Valley, east of San Francisco, in early November, intending to have Sandy Mattara teach him “the ropes” before she was scheduled to leave on Nov. 15. Unfortunately, one of the first things he did after arriving here was to break his ankle — badly enough to require surgery and time in a wheelchair. So closing the sale and the transfer of day-to-day operations has been put on hold while Pratt recovers.

That has required Mattara to remain on the island and at the store through to at least January, allowing for one more holiday season of grown-and-flown islanders visiting and reminiscing at the Burton landmark as has been tradition throughout her tenure as owner.

Pratt — who Mattara said has been coming in to the store daily, despite not being allowed to bear weight yet on his healing ankle — grew up in the town of Orange in Orange County, California. His parents ran a mom-and-pop general store there, selling, he said, “a little bit of a lot of things, similar to Sandy’s,” and where he worked from age 14 to 20. Pratt is also a professional photographer.

Dawn Kerber, Pratt’s wife, will join him by the first of next year — her sister lives on the island.

Pratt and Kerber have three grown children and two dogs. Patrons should not be surprised to see canine assistants “Pinky” and “Artie” in the store in the future.

“We’re looking forward to being part of a community,” Pratt said. “Sandy and I may have different styles, but I’m not planning on making any changes. I intend to keep that same community spirit that’s alive now — it’s a priceless part of the business.”

Mattara noted that she will stay on as long as she needs to.

“It’s no different than what I’ve been doing all these years,” she said with her trademark laugh.

— Kaj Wyn Berry and Sarah Low

Brewery to occupy former Saucy Sisters location

Camp Colvos Brewing, originally slated to move into the old Kimmco Inc. building early next year, will instead open a tap room in the vacant Saucy Sisters pizzeria while permits and licensing are secured to start the business in its permanent location.

Matthew Lawrence, who envisioned the brewery on Vashon, said he and his team approached islanders Pepa Brower and Dre Neely about leasing the Saucy Sisters space for one year. Brower and Neely — who also own and operate Gravy — purchased the building in partnership with entrepreneur Mike McConnell and his wife Liz Weber McConnell through McConnell’s real estate LLC in February.

“It worked out where they needed time to put their next project together,” said Lawrence, adding that the county’s rigorous permitting process had held up Camp Colvos’ plans for opening in the Kimmco building as anticipated. “It was kind of mutually beneficial.”

Lawrence said that the brewery will open the tap room — calling it a pop-up — as originally scheduled. They hope to be in operation by the first Friday of January. Work to prepare the space has already begun.

“We’re starting to put things together and get equipment in. It’s just a matter of keeping everything moving and pushing forward,” Lawrence said, adding that they were awaiting notice for an application to serve a light menu of food in the former pizza place, in addition to their craft beer. No major interior changes to the former Saucy Sisters building will be made in order to limit interference with future construction plans. Brower and Neely announced in April that they intended to renovate the space to open Sugo, an Italian restaurant.

“We’re going to make it our own as much as we can, but our goal is to build a durable business, and so with that, we want to be super smart how we build things out,” Lawrence said.

Brower and Neely could not be reached for comment before press time.

— Paul Rowley

Island Quilter re-opens on Vashon

Island Quilter made a splash with it local fans when it re-opened last Friday in the former Windermere Building.

The colorful quilt shop closed three years ago, and in July of this year announced its plans to reopen in August at the current location. That process was delayed until last week.

Owner Anja Moritz said the shop will have two openings. First, it will be open for two weeks with 50 percent off everything, primarily to make room for other inventory. Once that sale is over, on Dec. 9 she and her partner Paul Robinson will bring the new material in, including designer fabrics, such as those from Kaffe Fassett.

Last Sunday afternoon, Robinson was working in the shop while a steady stream of people came in to browse and buy. He said that he opened the shop at 10 a.m., at the same time Moritz sent out an email notice that the store was re-opening. By 11:15 a.m., he said, some former customers who live in Port Orchard were already in the store. One of the women said she read the email, called her friend and told her, “Put on your coat, we are going to the boat.”

“It’s been nice seeing a lot of people we had not seen in awhile,” Robinson said.

Meredith Pickerel waited in line Sunday to purchase her fabrics and said she was excited to see all the material again after three years. Shannon Flora, whose daughter learned to sew at the former store, bought fabrics to sew a tablecloth, with possible help from her daughter, and another woman who would not give her name.

“My husband does not know I am here,” she said to laughter all around.

During the sale, store hours will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and Sundays noon to 4 p.m. The address is 17233 Vashon Hwy SW.

— Susan Riemer

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