Pine Street in Ellensburg

@Rodney Harwood Apr 18
4 min. read

The good news is Clean Cut Men’s Shop is coming soon to the location at 415, but on flip side, there are still four other vacancies in storefronts along Pine Street as business and city leaders look for ways to boost commerce and commercial stability in this area of the downtown district.

There was a time when Pine Street was known for its grocery stores, meat markets and retail. Several business moved there from other parts of town. While JCPenney held a longtime retail presence on the corner of Fifth and Pine it was replaced by the Dollar Tree, which also generates a tremendous amount of foot traffic.

Ellensburg Downtown Association director Molly Jones-Kerchner outlined the EDA’s new focus on Pine Street, including additional signage in the windows advertising the space for rent, to the city council at Monday night’s meeting.

On Wednesday, the Ellensburg Downtown Association will be adding additional window display space and filling the vacant windows. Borders of the windows will be painted in a winter theme and lit with Christmas lights, she said. Roofline lighting will be installed in the spring on the Pine Street buildings between Fifth and Third Avenue.

“Lighting aids in creating a safe and walkable downtown all year round,” Jones-Kerchner said.

The end game is creating a more diverse retail environment. Where Pearl Street has its identity with museums, art galleries and other businesses, creative minds are looking to generate an identity of commerce for Pine Street.

“Economic development is important to Ellensburg and I’m excited with some of the ideas Molly presented tonight,” said councilwoman Stacy Bankston-Engel. “It gives us a direction to go with. This tactic worked, this tactic didn’t work. I don’t have any specific thoughts on what needs to go in, but we want to support economic growth.

“I think Pearl Street is working really well and we’ll see if we can’t get some long-term commitment to Pine Street.”


Mayor Bruce Tabb also agrees with the idea a diverse economic base that gives Pine Street its own personality, per se.

“I actually knew the store manager of JCPenney and I believe he had more sales per square foot than any JCPenney in this region,” he said. “What I think is important about downtown is to have a diversity.

“Businesses generate foot traffic. Ideally, the owners will work with the downtown association to see the value of it, and the more diverse the better.”

Perma Color Interiors owner Merrill Greenlee has run his business at 305 N. Pine Street for the past 20 years. His business is mostly commercial, but he would like to see a stability to the retail side of Pine Street.

“I’ve seen the businesses come and go,” he said. “There used to be drug store on the corner. There’s been a couple of different restaurants across the street,” said Greenlee, who also leases the space at 307 Pine. “There’s pockets (of success). Fourth was basically nothing for awhile, then all of a sudden they’re restoring the buildings and putting in offices.

“Obviously it’s better when all the storefronts are filled. So I guess I’d like to see offices come in. But I’ve never really thought about what businesses could come in here long term.”

Ellensburg Floral & Gifts owner Dottie Rogers has been located at 120 East Fourth Avenue for the past 10 years. Like Greenlee, she has see several changes over the course of the past decade.

“I think a kitchen store would be really nice or another restaurant,” Rogers said. “I don’t want to see offices. I would rather that they be retail stores because that tends to bring better foot traffic to downtown. I would say 30 percent of our business is walk-in.”

Of the current 14 businesses on the Pine Street corridor from Fifth to Third, including one property management office, one real estate firm and a law firm. There is also a donut shop and Tai restaurant, as well as several retail outlets. The two-block district also has above store-front apartments.

Three locations in the middle of the block are for lease and another on the corner of Fourth and Pine. Two are being managed by Accolade Property Management Group and two are private owners.

Accolade commercial property broker Ann Shaw said there has been interest at the 2,880-square foot location at 416 Pine and the 2,040 square-foot location at 411.

“I’ve shown the property at 411 five times and the 416 property four-five times,” Shaw said. “I’m not at liberty to say who has been interested, but we are talking to people interested as long-term tenants.

“We have several tenants that have been on Pine Street for a long time like Alente Spa & Salon (310 North Pine), which have been great tenants. And, that’s what we’re looking for is someone that’s committed to being here for a long, long time.”