H.D. Hotspurs closes in Kent; Goodwill Outlet store might be moving in
By STEVE HUNTER
Kent Reporter Courts, government reporter
May 25, 2012 · 10:41 AM
The closure of H.D. Hotspurs after 32 years as a popular Kent restaurant and nightclub is just one of several changes going on next to Kmart in the Washington Avenue strip mall.
The liquor store is moving out by the end of June. Furniture Plus and Lil's Thrift Shop will close the end of May. All four businesses received notices from the landlord to vacate.
Outgoing business owners have heard Kmart's new neighbor could be a Goodwill Outlet store, although details have yet to be released.
"We're looking at an outlet store in the Kent area," said Amanda Bedell, a Goodwill spokeswoman, who added she could not confirm a specific location at this time.
An outlet store carries items not sold at Goodwill retail stores, so prices are even lower. Clothing, housewares, glassware, books, media and toys are sold by the pound. All other outlet merchandise is priced as marked. Items sold by the pound are not pre-sorted, and customers can sort through a variety of merchandise bins.The company has outlet stores in Seattle, Tacoma, Everett and Vancouver.
"We have devout followers waiting for the arrival of goods," Bedell said.
Devout followers flocked to H.D. Hotspurs over the last three decades. The barbecue restaurant, which opened in 1979, closed in late April.
Priscilla Hoflack, of Kent, walked up to the restaurant last week and saw a small note on the door that read "Closed Thanks for 32 years."
"I'm shocked," said Hoflack. "I had good memories here."
Hoflack said she actually hadn't been to Hotspurs in about five years but wanted to check the hours on the door to see if it would be open Sunday nights.
"They used to have an open mic on Sunday nights I liked," she said. "I was looking forward to coming back on Sundays."
The restaurant's popularity drew Al Hamamoto and his business partners to buy it nine months ago.
But Hamamoto said high rent and a landlord's decision to not extend the lease past September caused them to close the restaurant.
"He wanted everybody out," Hamamoto said.
Greg Close, owner of Bellevue-based Pacific Asset Advisors, Inc., which manages the property, did not return voicemails for comment about the changes next to Kmart or the reason for the eviction notices.
Longtime Hotspurs customers took the news hard.
"Oh yeah, they all were pretty upset we were closing down," said Hamamoto, who bought the restaurant from Dick Lowe.
Hamamoto said business had started to pick up at the restaurant and nightclub, which he changed to live music from hip-hop. The hip-hop crowd had made the bar a regular stop for Kent Police in response to fights and other incidents.
"It was going to work," Hamamoto said. "Then we had the whole thing with the landlord."
Hamamoto said he's looking into possibly opening a restaurant in Grand Coulee. He said other investors might try to find a new location for Hotspurs in the next several months.
Terry Thompson, owner of Furniture Plus, just moved into his spot in February next to Hotspurs. Now he's having a moving sale.
Thompson agreed to a month-to-month lease and then received 30-day notice that he needed to clear out by the end of May. He said he's heard crews will remove walls between his store and Hotspurs to make room for a new store.
"I'm scrambling," Thompson said about finding a new spot. "With the economy, there's plenty of space. I have a few offers in."
Thompson has looked at retail space on Kent's East Hill as well in Puyallup. His current space didn't turn out to be as attractive as he anticipated.
"It's a rough neighborhood," Thompson said. "There are a lot of homeless camps, people just hanging out and dumpster divers. There are panhandlers outside of Kmart."
Lil Hobbs opened her thrift shop seven years ago. She showed up to work one day and saw an eviction notice on the door to be out in 30 days.
"I was shocked," said Hobbs, who plans to rent space in Auburn. "I had just talked to the landlord a couple of days before."
Sukhwinder Sandhu might have had the biggest surprise of all. Sandhu and a partner purchased the rights to the state liquor store for $125,100 through the state Liquor Control Board in April. They had hoped to sell liquor starting June 1 at the site under the state's new privatization law that gets the state out of the liquor business. Then he found out the landlord wanted the space for something else.
Sandhu said he's being allowed to stay until the end of June. He hopes to open June 1 at the current site but remains busy looking for another retail space nearby.
The state told successful bidders they would need to secure a lease with the property landlord. If they are unable to secure a lease, they may re-sell their right or request an alternative location within a 1-mile radius of the existing location.
Contact Kent Reporter Courts, government reporter Steve Hunter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 253-872-6600, ext. 5052.