Thanks, Pinterest: Two Seattle pubs compete for your pennies

SEATTLE -- You find them on the ground, in your car, even between your couch cushions. Now, two local pubs think they have the perfect place to put those spare pennies, and it's not in your piggy bank.

The race is on to showcase the small coins as the next big thing in unique dcor between the Olde 99 Pub in Green Lake and the soon to be Brimmer & Heeltap gastropub in Ballard.

"It's a pretty cool looking idea," said Treza Hafzalla.

Hafzalla, a bartender at the Olde 99 Pub, saw the penny-covered floor idea on Pinterest and thought it could make a nice addition to the bar's rustic look and feel.

"We just put a picture up on a jar and said what we wanted to do, and we got a lot of support," Hafzalla said.

While the Olde 99 Pub was slowly collecting pennies from its patrons over the last seven months, little did they know that just down the street in Ballard a similar plan was in play.

"I had seen something on Pinterest, so I sent an email out to friends and family and just said it might be crazy but visually it's pretty cool and however many I can collect we will make it part of the installation," said Jen Doak, owner of Brimmer & Heeltap.

Doak is planning for a mid-December opening, and her goal is to create a place centered around community, so she thought giving people a chance to share their "two-cents" would be a great way to get others involved.

"The support has been so crazy; we are going to be able to do a large majority of the floor," Doak said.

Like Hafzalla at the Olde 99 Pub, Doak said collecting pennies wasn't intended to be a fundraiser for her neighborhood pub but more of a personal gesture. In fact, Doak started blogging about her penny donors, creating penny profiles for some of the people who have helped her along the way.

But as soon as Doak's penny collecting became public, some wondered if gluing the coins to the floor was really the best use of the money. Comments posted on several neighborhood message boards expressed dislike for the penny dcor idea, wondering if a charity wasn't a better place for those unwanted coins.

"It made my heart sink," Doak said. "It's a really valid question, and I don't want them to feel like they have to make a choice."

Adams Elementary School in Ballard has held a penny drive for charity every November for the past 15 years. But Heidi Osborn, one of the parents helping organize this year's event, isn't worried the pubs penny collecting will take away from their efforts.

"We don't see it as competition for pennies, especially as these are elementary aged kids reaching out to family and neighbors for coins," Osborn said.

While Hafzalla hasn't heard any complaints about their idea so far, she said covering the floor in pennies isn't just a stylish decision, it can also save a small business owner some money in the end.

"I get it, but honestly I have looked it up and it's almost cheaper than actually getting flooring," Hafzalla said. "I think it's going to complement the building really well."

Olde 99 Pub hopes to have its penny floor done before Brimmer & Heeltap opens. Doak said she doesn't see it as a competition between the two pubs and she thinks there's plenty of room in the community to share the coin floor concept.