Bothell’s Country Village closure was a hard one — for the more than 40 businesses housed in the outdoor shopping space (home to a seasonal farmers market and roaming chickens) and for out-of-towners and locals who would visit the landmark during the holidays.
Most of what was Country Village is gone today, replaced by leveled ground making way for town homes slated to go in just off Bothell Everett Highway. The closure was caused by rising property costs further complicated by family health issues, Bryan Loveless told the Reporter in 2018. Country Village opened in 1981 and by June this year, the spot was closed.
For many of the businesses, finding a new spot within city limits would prove challenging. But some were successful in their transition. Theresa Ankney is one of two owners of Cranberry Cottage. The home decor shop called Country Village home from 2010 until its closure over the summer. Before that, Cranberry Cottage was housed in another spot, in an old barn. This space was sold and developed into a Grease Monkey auto shop and dentist office.
Now Cranberry Cottage sits in its new location a few blocks away from Main Street in Bothell on 102nd Avenue, after finding a location that suited the business’ specific requirements. The owners hoped to maintain a certain kind of aesthetic, a wonder from room-to-room effect. The business is now housed in old offices that had never acted as a retail space before.
“We’ve been a part of the community for so long that we didn’t want to leave the community,” Ankney said. “It was important for us to stay. We had other choices…different places that could probably support our store, but we felt Bothell still needed us.”
The move, however, did not come without its own challenges.
“We don’t have a whole village drawing people — we are the draw,” Ankney said. “So we of course have gotten all of our regular customers coming back, but finding new regular customers is a challenge.”
She added that at Country Village, community events pulled in people.
“Country Village was a tourism site,” Ankney said. “People could live in Tacoma, have family come in to town and go to Country Village and spend the whole day there…I wouldn’t say there’s anything like that. Not a draw like to downtown Bothell yet. Eventually, as the whole course is changing, there could be something like that. But you need a lot more shopping business to attract people from a distance.”
The closure also meant many of the events that happened at Country Village would either cease to exist or people would have to step in to facilitate these gatherings elsewhere.
The annual tree lighting at Country Village is no more.
Nancy Pipinich whose State Farm Insurance business is on Main Street in downtown Bothell, noted that there was an increase in turnout at this year’s downtown tree lighting. She mused that maybe some of those who would return to the Country Village’s tree lighting may have elected to go to either Kenmore’s or Bothell’s events instead. About 5,000 visitors over the course of the day visited a holiday market put on in conjunction with the tree lighting. There were food trucks, vendors and free family activities.
Lucky, the downtown Christmas tree that sits on Pipinich’s property, was lit up brightly, like it has been on and off again since 1937, Pipinich said. It will remain lit on the corner of 102nd Avenue Northeast and Main Street until Jan. 1, 2020.
“Most things in life aren’t forever,” Pipinich said. “What’s important for all of us to remember is to enjoy and cherish things when they’re there. Remember, there’s an end to all of it. It’s easy for all of us to kind of take for granted the things at our fingertips. We don’t really miss something until it’s gone.”