WSU gold rush of Everett begins with new Cougar store

Watch out, Dawg.

The Cougar is on the prowl.

Washington State University has set up shop in downtown Everett with a barrage of crimson and gray Cougar paraphernalia — on the Husky side of the Cascades.

It’s a sign of more “Wazzu” power to come as the Pullman-based university extends claws westward with educational programs in an area where the University of Washington has held sway.

Shoppers loaded up at the weekend grand opening of WSU Connections, 2809 Colby Ave.

“I’m really proud of the education I received and show it in my gear,” said WSU alumni Nicole Kennedy of Mukilteo. “It’s a little harder being on the west side as a Coug. There’s a lot of purple. We get a lot of flak for being Cougs.”

That’s changing as WSU takes over administration of the University Center of North Puget Sound in Everett this summer. Plans are in the works to design a new $10 million, 95,000-square-foot center on the Everett Community College campus.

The Colby Avenue shop is a smaller version of the downtown Seattle flagship store, which sells WSU tricycles and toothbrushes, branding irons, gnomes, athletic apparel and more.

“It’s more of a boutique,” manager Dave Walsh said of the Everett location.

The building, formerly a flower shop, is sleek and stylish, with brick walls, flashy graphics and bottles of wine.

A cooler brims with fat cans of cheese.

Husky fans might think that’s a lot of Cheese Whiz.

Not hardly. Not that there’s anything wrong with Cheese Whiz.

The crumbly cheese, made at the WSU Creamery in Pullman, is $28 for a 30-ounce can. The land-grant college’s creamery makes about 250,000 cans a year in various styles in brightly striped tins. The big cheese is the sharp white cheddar, Cougar Gold, named for professor N.S. Golding, who helped create the canned wonder about 75 years ago in what was revolutionary packaging at the time.

“The cheese turned out so good they’ve continued doing it the same way ever since,” Walsh said.

According to the WSU website, customers have stored unopened cans of Cougar Gold for 30 years. Once opened, it lasts similar to other natural cheese. The empty tins have been used to make banjos, called “canjos,” which can be used to play the WSU Fight Song. For real. Here’s proof:

“The cheese by far is the most popular item,” Walsh said. “After that, it’s the athletic apparel.”

Start ‘em young in a onesie garment shaped like a football.

Wine is another draw.

“All the wines have some association with the viticulture program or the alumni association,” Walsh said. Bottles range from $10 to $30.

An interactive screen has a campus map, virtual tour and history.

“People can come in and reminisce,” Walsh said.

It brought back memories for Jim and Mary Barcott of Everett, who picked up mugs, cheese and gift items.

“Jim and I are WSU grads, 50 years this year,” Mary said. “For us, it’s amazing the things that are still there, such as the Cougar Gold.”

Card-carrying Cougar alumni get 10 percent off at the store on everything except wine, cheese and sale items.

“For Huskies there’s a $5 surcharge,” Walsh said.

Andrea Brown; 425-339-3443;

Washington State Connections

The Everett store, 2809 Colby Ave., is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

For more information, call 425-249-2394.

The Seattle flagship store in Westlake Center, 400 Pine St., will close the day after Memorial Day and reopen in mid-June at a new location in Rainier Square, 411 Union St. Hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Merchandise can also be purchased online at

More in Local News

Mom gives her $25,000 windfall to Marysville high schools

Among the beneficiaries is the drama club, which gets much-needed audio equipment.

Why Republican legislators voted against a property tax cut

You’ll no doubt be hearing about it in campaign ads next fall.

Driver hospitalized after I-5 rollover crash near Arlington

A medical problem is believed to have caused the accident.

Man struck, killed by Everett Transit bus Friday night

He was in the roadway between 75th Street SE and Beverly Boulevard when he was hit, police said.

Sky Valley honors its own

Civic and nonprofit groups in Sultan, Gold Bar, Index and Skykomish gather to recognize volunteers.

Rotary Club of Everett honors outstanding seniors

The Rotary Club of Everett honored its February Students of the Month:… Continue reading

ORCA places third at Orca Bowl

A team from Everett Community College’s Ocean Research College Academy (ORCA) for… Continue reading

Edmonds man gets prison for Navy cadet program embezzlement

Michael Leighton, 49, also must pay over $75,000 in restitution.

New books donated to Edmonds schools highlight diversity

The Edmonds Diversity Commission donated children’s books to local elementary schools that… Continue reading

Most Read