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Town Center businesses merge, move and morph

There’s a lot of moving and shaking going on in the Town Center this winter.

Six Walls, an interior design store based in Tabit Square, will be moving into the vacant 77 Central space on 77th Avenue S.E. Clampitt’s Dry Cleaning, also in Tabit Square, has downsized in order to become a more eco-friendly business. The dry cleaner is now sending client clothing to Blue Sky, which the company recently merged with, in order for the clothes to be cleaned through a non-toxic process. Meanwhile, the Shell station on Sunset Highway has made the Chevron switch and will be celebrating with mail-out coupons next month.

Indeed, things are shuffling around downtown. Come January, Tabit Square, owned by Chick’s Shoes merchant Chris Tabit, will hopefully have two new retailers: one in the space vacated by Six Walls, another in the space formerly occupied by Clampitt’s seaming and pressing room.

“We’ve got retailers interested in both spots already,” Tabit said, without revealing more detail.

Yet Clampitts patrons should not worry; the Island dry cleaner is still conducting business as usual.

Tailoring and pressing has been moved to the back of the store, which is still in its original location, only smaller. And despite sending clothing to its Blue Sky Seattle facility, the return time on possessions will not change, said owner Craig Clampitt. Neither will the prices. The only serious change, Clampitt added, is an environmental one.

“There are actually only a few dry cleaners in the United States doing this,” Clampitt said. “It’s very cutting edge.”

Corry’s Dry Cleaners is the only other Island service that offers environmental cleaning.

As for Six Walls’ move across the street, the reason is also both economical and ecological.

The entire 77 Central building is green-certified, with eco-friendly flooring and wall finishes. Six Walls’ future space is smaller than its present location. But, according to owner Dawn Wilkinson, it will better serve the interior design company’s new focus on custom orders.

“We saw a shift in the retail side of our business. The majority of business is now in special orders,” said Wilkinson. “Plus, we’re trying to reduce our ecological footprint. We’re doing the same amount of business in a smaller space.”

The company expects to move after Christmas. A grand opening celebration is planned for Feb. 5. Six Walls customers are invited to follow along with the development of the new 77 Central space — interior choices of lighting, wall structure and ambiance — on the Six Walls Facebook page.

Meanwhile, the new Chevron gas station up the street — which was the Sunset Highway Shell station until two weeks ago — has only a few final touches left before completion.

“We’ll have the pump-toppers and ACM [aluminum composite material] work done by Nov. 30,” said co-owner David Ulrich.

Two weeks into its new life as Chevron, Ulrich said the station has been busy as ever, having hired a car mechanic, Guy Pickering, from the Bellevue Way Chevron services center that closed down last month. The extra help is much appreciated, as Ulrich and his brother, Marty Jr., have plenty of work to do themselves, between building plans and serving their Shell-turned-Chevron patrons.

As for plans to build an Extra Mile mini-mart (see Reporter Web site archive story, “Brothers buy gas station from Shell”), the blueprints are ready for city approval. The new mini-mart will be a big improvement from the one-room snack stand and soda machine currently at the station.

“We’ll have an 18-dispenser soft drink machine and fresh milkshakes — all sorts of stuff,” Ulrich said.

The shop will also have its own generator, allowing the station to become the Island’s official emergency service fuel station for the city. The mini-mart and generator, however, will not be complete until January.

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