MARY STEVENS DECKER
It’ll be a little like “Back to the Future” when Frederick’s Appliance Center, a downtown Redmond fixture since 1971, closes its doors in early 2010.
At 161st Avenue Northeast and Redmond Way — the site of Redmond’s first traffic light — Frederick’s departure will signal the end of an era, but the beginning of a new one, too.
Frederick’s will re-open in March 2010 in a vintage, but fully renovated building at 7509 159th Pl. NE in Redmond.
Superior customer service, quality merchandise, competitive prices and community pride will remain priorities at the new store, said owner Eric Blakemore.
Earlier in the present store’s history, it was known as Frederick’s Value Center and was more of a general store, selling everything from fishing lures to clothing and appliances.
“When we took over in ‘91, we turned to specialization of appliances, focusing on green and energy-efficient,” Blakemore noted.
The reason for the Frederick’s Appliance Center move is twofold.
“The city is expanding and we were ready to grow, anyway,” said Blakemore.
All tenants in the Redmond Shopping Square will relocate as the City of Redmond plans to extend 161st Avenue Northeast from Redmond Way to Bear Creek Parkway, beginning in 2010 (see sidebar).
However, Blakemore sees the timing as serendipitous.
“After 20 years of being in a building that isn’t mine, we’ll go from 5,000 square feet to 6,000 square feet,” he remarked. Frederick’s also has an Appliance Outlet Center at 13625 NE 126th Pl., Suite 430 in Kirkland.
“One big room will be divided into smaller kitchen vignettes with built-in-cabinetry. The (new) building was built in 1969 with beautiful, first-growth timbers. We’re not washing or staining them. We’ll have high ceilings but not blacked out. We’ll start with all new appliance displays — and are offering up to 50 percent off on some of our current appliances.”
So, in several ways, it’s a “sustainable” move in the midst of downtown Redmond’s redevelopment process.
Plus, Blakemore added, “We’re only moving a block and a half away. We chose to stay in Redmond because of the loyalty of our clientele. We’re the only independent appliance store in Redmond. Others come and go. We stayed.”
Motioning to a wall filled with photos of youth sports teams and thank-you notes from local schools, Blakemore stated, “We’re a big supporter of school events, whether it’s advertising in the Mustangs football program or giving away (oversized) cardboard boxes for Halloween mazes. We’re more than a Home Depot. They don’t do that stuff. They say, ‘We’re corporate.’”
And according to Blakemore, that’s not the only thing that sets Frederick’s apart from the national chains.
“Word of mouth is big,” he stated.
“I believe in taking care of one customer at a time because they have two neighbors and they have two neighbors. We’ll be on the same street, sometimes three times a week, because one person tells another that we treated them right. You can call here and get the owner on the phone. I will pick up that call. You buy from us because you can go to our Web page, click on ‘management’ and send me an e-mail. It’s very important for the customer to feel comfortable with their purchase. I’m in the store every day, hands-on,” said Blakemore.
For more information about Frederick’s Appliance Center, currently located at 16109 Redmond Way, call (425) 885-0000 or visit www.fredericksappliance.com.