I am SO EXCITED to announce the signing of a long term lease for approximately half of the Old Hardware Store building at 240 Winslow Way East on Bainbridge Island. After sitting vacant for the past four years, the nearly 70-year old building was acquired in January 2016 by The Old Hardware Store, LLC managed by local businessman Joseph Lacko. Recent announcements end years of speculation about what would come of this historic centerpiece on Winslow’s main street.
“We are proud contributors to the next generation of this nostalgic address on Bainbridge Island,” said Dean Jones, President and CEO of RSIR. “Everyone shares a passion to create a special place for locals and visitors to come together, just as it was generations ago. While the products and services of this building have evolved with the times, it’s spirit of community remains.”
Jones confirms his Island Living Gallery, a full-service real estate brokerage, along withBruciato Osteria, a new restaurant by local chef Brendan McGill will be the anchor tenants. The two businesses have been collaborating with Lacko for several months after being hand-selected to re-envision a sustainable and dynamic use for the building.
Lacko was inspired by the history of The Old Hardware Store, which existed as a portal to the mainland for its island customers. It was a place where the the township came together to enjoy a cup of coffee, get prudent advice on their real estate projects and obtain nearly anything needed for building a storybook lifestyle on the island.
“I smile thinking about wallhung family photos throughout Bainbridge Island that use nails purchased at the old Holger’s Hardware Store,” said Lacko. “Soon new memories will be created within the walls of the restored building. We’ve identified tremendous local businesses that will return this retail storefront into that special third place it once was.”
As the first building to be built on the north side of Winslow Way, the building has a proud, front-and-center perch within the city center. The new storefront will almost completely open up to create an indoor-outdoor environment inviting pedestrians to come in. Guests will enjoy a voluminous barrel roof ceiling, exposed concrete floors and a rural but contemporary aesthetic that pays tribute to its historic past while embracing the future. The retail floor plan is carefully designed to read as one living room that doubles as a reception for the real estate brokerage as well as an expanded lounge for patrons of the restaurant. Preliminary plans include a fireside library, an integrated showcase of properties, an art gallery and access to Italian coffee, fine food and robust beverage services operated by Bruciato.
A large barn door will open between the retail spaces for even larger community events like art and fashion shows, philanthropic programs and community celebrations including the annual Fourth of July parade. Smaller venues may also serve full-service private dining, executive meetings and presentations by special guests.
“The Island Living Gallery will be host to pop up events as well,” said Jones. “In addition to third party businesses, we envision pairing food and wine with unique real estate and travel opportunities to showcase sun, surf and snow destinations from our network. After all, we are uniquely positioned to help clients whether their next address is around the corner or around the world.”
RSIR plans to consolidate their two Bainbridge Island locations into this new gallery upon completion, which is scheduled for completion in early summer 2016. The global real estate network arrived to Bainbridge Island in March 2011 with a branch office and art gallery located at 271 Madison Avenue South. Over the past five years, RSIR’s operations have grown significantly to include 18 sales professionals and employees. Despite being boutique, the firm ranks third in total dollar volume and is a top producer on a per broker basis, according to Trendgraphix research.
While global in reach, Jones confirms his company culture is very much rooted on Bainbridge Island with local professionals that have made it their home and their business for decades.
“We now have a venue and the opportunity to get even more involved in the community,” adds Jones. “We look forward to returning this building into a living piece of history for all to enjoy.”
Jerri Lane, Executive Director of Bainbridge Island Downtown Association recently welcomed McGill, Jones, and his many brokers during a private event held at the building. As a former Senior Vice President of Marketing for Visit Seattle, she knows firsthand how vital it is to maintain a vibrant retail presence while adding attractions and enhancing visibility for other Bainbridge Island businesses.
“There is much anticipation about this future use of the Old Hardware Store and I think it’s an excellent evolution,” said Lane. “This may be the best kept, well-known secret on the island.”