Changes in the works for Goosefoot, Bayview Cash Store

Sandy Whiting, manager of Open Door Gallery + Coffee at the Bayview Cash Store, examines artwork in the Front Room. The popular area soon will be  converted to office and retail space. - Roy Jacobson / The Record
Sandy Whiting, manager of Open Door Gallery + Coffee at the Bayview Cash Store, examines artwork in the Front Room. The popular area soon will be converted to office and retail space.
— image credit: Roy Jacobson / The Record

The Front Room of the Cash Store at Bayview Corner will be converted to office and retail space in January, according to the building’s owner.

As part of the transition, Goosefoot also will move its offices to the Front Room from the historic Sears House a block or so down Bayview Road.

The Sears House will be sold or leased, said Chris Hurley, chief executive officer of Goosefoot. A “for sale” sign has been posted out front.

Goosefoot, the nonprofit organization that owns and operates the Cash Store, said the new plan for the 1,212-square-foot Front Room upstairs will be a more efficient use of space and provide more operating income.

Since the Cash Store was renovated four years ago, the Front Room primarily has been rented at subsidized rates as gallery space for local artists. It also has been used for lectures, private events and concerts.

Hurley said use of the Front Room has been limited during the past year, with only about 70 events booked.

“We’ve done a lot of soul- searching,” she said. “It’s a pretty expensive building to run.”

“I have mixed feelings about it,” said Susanne Newbold, one of three local artists whose work was on display in the Front Room. “People really love this room.”

“We took a hard look and found that the use of the Front Room by artists was increasing and other rentals were steadily decreasing,” Hurley said. “Since Goosefoot was already subsidizing the Front Room at a heavy loss each year, this was not a financially sound path for us.”

Hurley said artists will continue to have gallery space in the Cash Store. It will be in the Hub open area downstairs, and along the stairwell and in the hallways upstairs.

As part of the transition, the new Cash Store gallery space will be managed by Open Door Gallery + Coffee downstairs.

“So many enterprising artists have organized their own very successful, professional shows in the Front Room and we wanted to continue to offer that option,” said Louise Long, Open Door owner.

“It’s also our intent to accommodate group meetings,” added Sandy Whiting, local artist and Open Door Gallery manager.

Goosefoot was established as a nonprofit in

1999 through the efforts of local philanthropist Nancy Nordhoff, and Linda Moore, who was experienced in real-estate law and economic development.

They engineered the purchase of the Cash Store and 22 acres surrounding it.

Since 1924, the Cash Store had been a general store, gas station, feed store, pet laundry, food co-op and art store, but by 1999 it had fallen into disrepair.

It was renovated by Goosefoot, and now contains a grocery store, a cafe, a salon, a fish market, a gallery and coffee shop, a bicycle shop, a writer’s studio and the offices of The Record.

Fine Balance Imagining Studios, currently upstairs in the Cash Store, is negotiating a move into the new Front Room commercial space so its business can expand.

Owners Joe Menth and Nancy McFarland said the goal is to offer fine-arts printing services to artists on Whidbey Island and the Seattle-Everett area.

The first Bayview Cash Store was built about 1908 at Lone Lake. In 1916, the store burned down and the area was without a general store until 1924, when William Burk built a new store in its current location.

The Sears House down the street is one of the original mail-order dwellings sold between 1908 and 1940 by Sears Roebuck to promote the dream of home ownership to rural America.

Plans and materials ordered through its catalog were shipped by rail and included instructions, pre-cut lumber and nails. The kits also included supplies for plumbing, water, heating, masonry, doors, windows and screens. Sears reportedly sold 110,000 kits in a variety of models.

The house had several occupants through the years at its original Greenbank Farm location until 2001, when Goosefoot had it moved to Bayview.

“It’s a win-win situation,” Hurley said of the new plans. “Two of our tenants will be able to grow, affordable space remains available for artists to rent and the Cash Store will realize a healthier financial performance.”

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