Kirkland residents bid farewell to decades-old businesses

KIRKLAND, Wash. - The demand for new development is muscling out two long-time small businesses in Kirkland, and customers are mourning the loss of what they wish could stay the same.

It's an old street corner overshadowed by a growing city, a corner where White Swan Car Wash shares its space with Coffee Crossing.

Coffee Crossing owner Brandee Krumbah found out she has three weeks to shut down to make way for a mixed-use apartment and retail complex.

"One day I'm crying. One day I'm laughing, and one day I'm just angry," Krumbah says.

Like the faces of her loyal customers, Krumbah knows their drink orders by heart.

Krumbah and her half-dozen employees certainly worry about their financial future, but that's not what hurts most. Krumbah has owned the stand for ten years, and worked as an employee for five years before that.

"When I really start to think about not seeing everybody," Krumbah says, "I just can't imagine it. Honestly, I just really can't. I love these people. I really do."

White Swan Car Wash has served the community for nearly forty years.

"Customers come up and say, 'Hey, you look exactly like the guy that used to run this place!' I'm like 'Yeah, that's my dad'," carwash supervisor Joe Rall says.

Rall's father managed the place for more than two decades. The younger Rall loves that history with long-time customers.

"The connection with them is one of the reasons I'm still working here. It's just awesome to be around them," Rall adds.

It's a sad goodbye and a heartfelt thanks to regulars who will miss the familiar corner.

"This going away represents to me the fall of a small town," a nearby resident says.

Both White Swan and Coffee Crossing will be gone by September 3, 2013. The complex replacing the businesses expects to open by summer of 2015.