A flurry of activity at Key Pen businesses


Danna Webster, KP News

The Key Peninsula world of business is on the move. Alphabetically, change has roamed from the “A” of Absolute Auto Care to the “Z” of Zimmerman’s CostLess Pharmacy. There have been changes in owners and location, interiors and exteriors.

The crew of the newly renamed Absolute Auto Care. Photo by Hugh McMillan

►Starting with the ABC of things, Absolute Auto Care has experienced all types of changes to some degree. Jim Guinn bought this car care business in November 2006 from Eric Moreland. A contest was held to find a new name and was won by Gig Harbor resident Michelle Mandapat. But it was the permit process for remodeling the customer waiting room that produced a surprise change for the business. The county and fire department informed Guinn his address was changed. “Our new address is 9707 Key Peninsula Highway KPN, which was changed from 15317 KPN by the county due to growth. I want to make sure everybody understands that we have not moved,” says Guinn.

►There is a new venture on the horizon for Blondie’s in Key Center. So far, the new sports bar concept is scoring big, according to the owners.

Cool Beans Espresso at the 76 Station on SR-302 and Wright-Bliss Road (aka four-corners) got a new owner in February. Jennifer Sorenson is a Peninsula High School graduate and former Gig Harbor resident who commutes regularly between her California home and her Gig Harbor family. Her manager, Julia Janikowski, is in charge of the daily specials and four other employees. An October grand opening is in the planning.

►In August, business owner Laurie Ellis moved Ellis Accounting and Taxes into a new building, next door to Seabeck Pizza. Their new address is 9501 SR-302, Suite B, Gig Harbor, WA 98329. “The phone number stayed the same, just the address changed,” says her mother and business partner Genevieve Ellis. “We have twice the space we had before and all brand new — all very nice. My 10-year-old grandson, Alex Barna, is really a fan of next door. Fun,” she says.

►The Huck built a smokers’ lounge in the back of its historic Huckleberry Inn. Friends and customers of the bar did all the work as a team effort. Smokers have a comfortable place to sit and relax outside of the restaurant and bar area, which are smoke-free.

►The ownership of JED’S Good Stuff health food store will soon change. Dawn and Eric Kerkes made a decision to sell when they thought the family would be moving out of the area. “The business is growing. There is a big need for it out here,” says Dawn Kerkes. She is ready to sit back, relax and consider starting something new.

John L. Scott Key Peninsula moved in next door to Green Acres Realty in August. “We already are doing very well,” says part-owner and broker Jeremiah Durham. “We’ve had a ton of walk-ins, people stopping by welcoming us.” Five agents opened the new business as a new roof was being built overhead. Another six agents will be added to the staff when they occupy the entire building. Durham estimates 35 to 40 agents will be on board by the time they move into the large vacant house next door. They hope to make that move by the first of next year.

►The Landing in Key Center has full occupancy. Larry Berg has moved Titan Formwork into Suites A and G; Ruth Danielson and Mark Sullivan of Mulberry Street Marketing and PR are in Suites B and E; Joe Hendricks moved JoBehaviors into Suite C; Rich VanEngers with Sturdi Products is in Suite I; Erin Ewald moved Pierce Conservaton District into Suite D; and building owner and manager Ira Spector of NextStep Systems, Inc. is in Suite F. “We certainly want to say thank you to the Key Peninsula,” says Spector. “It’s very rewarding that we have been received so well. We appreciate the support.”

Lulu’s Homeport Restaurant remodeled after the smoking ban went into effect. This summer, the establishment added a large beer garden complete with a horseshoe pit. It became so popular that a second pit is required for tournaments and competition. The construction was done by Ken Trudgeon and has a marine motif.

►The beer garden at O’Callahan’s Pub went into full swing this summer with live music entertainment on the outdoor stage. The construction of the stage and storage units was done by Scott Heffernan and the bar satellite was built by Steve Wilson.

RE/MAX RED DOOR is the new name on the old Windermere building. “Since 1996 the building served as a realty and as the information center for the Peninsula for phone calls and phone numbers,” says the former owner, Joyce Tovey. Tovey has moved to the new Windermere location as a licensed realtor but has retired as a broker.

RE/MAX RED Door owner Janna Manson looks forward to continuing the warm, friendly welcome policy associated with the downtown Key Center building. “One of my main purposes in buying the building is I loved the location and that residents counted on having a place to stop by. I’d like to introduce and welcome my broker, Bob Peterson. We look forward to doing business with Key Center,” says Manson. Both Manson and Peterson are Lakebay residents.

Windermere Key Realty is in full operation at the former Brookside location. Twelve of the agents formerly from Key Center have added two new agents to their team. “All the agents live on the Key Peninsula,” says office manager and agent Cindy Wilson, who is an outsider from the Gig Harbor area. “I have received a very warm welcome,” she says. The building is designed so that offices have partial walls with glass dividers to the ceiling. “An open concept,” Wilson says. “You can stand anywhere and see outside.” The agents have already enjoyed a barbecue on their patio that overlooks Minter Creek.

►Last but not least, Don Zimmerman, owner and pharmacist of CostLess Pharmacy at the Lake Kathryn Shopping Center, has worked with his pharmacist partner, Ian Warren, to create an extreme makeover for the pharmacy. “Don and I visited five pharmacies, and met with people from Texas and back East about different designs. We put together a design ourselves, right down to the floor mats and the size of the cash registers, then gave it to a contractor,” Warren says. The new pharmacy has doubled its work space, which helps efficiency of the pharmacists and service for the customers. The new counter will be topped with a lighted awning that reads “CostLess Rx.”