It was all hands on deck the morning of July 29, as workers pushed to get the new QFC Kirkland flagship store — the sole grocery tenant in the expansive Kirkland Urban development — ready for the grand opening on July 31.
The roughly 50,000-square foot space employs 170 people and was a $23 million investment for the company. Though it won’t be brand’s largest Seattle-area store, it will be one of its leaders in organic food options, elevating QFC’s Simple Truth label more than ever while still providing conventional national brands.
The store’s opening is part of the first phase of a multi-phase construction plan at 425 Urban Plaza; the next step will include the demolition of the older QFC store nearby at 211 Parkplace Center.
Zach Stratton, corporate affairs manager for QFC, said the new store offers a variety of one-of-a-kind products that can’t be found at other locales.
“Everything was curated with this demographic in mind…We have years of data from [the Park Place] store, so now it’s about, ‘What does downtown Kirkland want? What do they buy?’ And starting fresh from there,” Stratton said.
He added, “It’s not an overwhelmingly big grocery section, it’s just a lot more local, natural and organic sections. You can see your national brands, you can still find your Cheetos, you’re just not going to have five feet of Cheetos.”
The butcher shop will feature grass-fed Angus beef, and in seafood, shoppers can try fish-based protein noodles to avoid carbs. Yummi Sushi, which won a bid among eight other sushi brands, will prepare fresh sushi daily and offer a special “Kirkland roll.”
Unique to the Kirkland location is the Q20 pub, replete with five high-definition TVs, eight rotating taps and a Frosé machine.
At the bar area, customers will be able to use iPads to order from in-store pizzeria Tutta Bella, another new QFC addition. The restaurant chain, founded in 2004 in Columbia City, is owned by a large Catholic family and in keeping with Tutta Bella tradition, a priest blessed the wood-fired oven in a family ceremony before the official opening.
Kirkland Urban will join other walkable communities like Ballard and Capitol Hill in having a DogSpot — a temperature-controlled, pay-by-the-hour dog house monitored via an app — so shoppers don’t have to bring their dogs inside.
Above the escalators leading up into the store from the parking garage hangs a specially commissioned mural by local artist Eleanor Doughty; the first 100 customers on Wednesday morning received a grocery bag with the Lake Washington-themed mural design on it.
The Kirkland Urban location will also be the second store to have a Fit Market section, stacked with a variety of whey protein, vitamins and other supplements, along with wellness items like bath bombs.