The biggest commercial development in Ocean Shores in more than a decade is now fully underway, with the owner of what is known as the Ocean Sunset project disclosing ongoing plans for the site of what will soon become the former Buck Electric Ace Hardware facility.
The plans include the move of the city’s only drugstore this spring or early summer, with Ocean Sunset Drug locating in the new building going up in the parking lot between Ace and the IGA grocery store.
In a statement for the North Coast News, property owner Dick Morris said Ocean Sunset Drug will be located in what will be called Sunset Plaza, now being constructed to the south of the existing Alec’s by the Sea restaurant.
“Thee new drugstore, with pharmacist Doug Morrill, will feature a selection of thousands of popular health, beauty and lifestyle products, and a convenient drive-through pharmacy window,” the statement said. “Doug Morrill (Ocean Shores’ first pharmacist) and Dick Morris, owner of Dick’s Food Center, first collaborated back in 1981 when Dick offered pharmacy space in the grocery store. Up until that time, locals had to drive out of town to fill their prescription needs.
“Ocean Sunset Drug will also offer a walk-in health and wellness care clinic to treat common conditions, minor illness, injuries and to offer preventative care, similar to the ‘Convenient Care’ clinics offered by city drugstores like Walgreens or Bartells.”
The plans for what will soon be the former Ace building also were referenced: “With the space made available by the relocation of Ace Hardware, Sunset Plaza will grow into a mixed-use lifestyle center. The beach village setting will offer shopping, dining and expanded public spaces for meeting, mingling, and social time.”
Traffic concerns and the growth of Ocean Shores were cited as the primary reason for creating what eventually will be a new entrance to the shopping center.
“When Dick built the grocery store in 1977, there was only a flashing red light in town near the entrance to the store, and the city population was only a fraction of what it is now. The city has grown, and that stop light has since been replaced with a large roundabout. The original entrance to the property is now unsafe and unsuitable, so the city of Ocean Shores has required the entrance be relocated to the west side of Alec’s By the Sea restaurant,” the statement said.
“Dick remains committed to his original mission from 1967 to bring products and services to the people of Ocean Shores and the North Beach area to keep business dollars local. Our goal with Sunset Plaza in the heart of Ocean Shores is to transform our city into a walkable, connected community. We believe this development has great potential to serve Ocean Shores, Grays Harbor County and the entire central Washington coast in positive ways and to expand the economic development of the whole area.”
12th Woman displaced
Last week, however, the redevelopment construction also caused the closure of the 12th Woman drive-through coffee stand, with customers and employees decrying the loss of their local business. At the coffee stand, Kina Almendarez said she had long heard rumors.
“It’s not just a coffee stand, it’s so much more,” she said. The Seahawks-themed location became a focal point of previous preseason Hawks Fan Fests, and Kina has photos of all the notable player mothers who held court over coffee at the popular business.
After more than a year of what seemed to be a reprieve when the original development plans were announced, the 12th Woman was closed in pouring rain last week.
“We didn’t hear anything until (Wednesday). The day before, I came to work, the power was off. But we turned the power back on. I worked the full day, but then they shut the power off at 5. They took the whole breaker box out, and I spend the whole next day crying. No letter, no nothing. No way to tell our customers goodbye.”
Customer Dana Harris told about how she was stranded in Ocean Shores when she first came to town and needed to take a bus to Olympia. Kina took her all the way on her own. “They are like my family,” she said.
Dianne Shepard helped organize support for the stand and there is at least one offer of a new location. “This stand has been in our community for 20 years. We have four amazing women that work in there and support their families,” Shepard said. “We are very passionate about keeping this mocha stand going.”