Cars pass a fence blocking access to westbound Hewitt Avenue and northbound Maple Street around the burned out Judd & Black Appliance building Thursday, Dec. 20, in Everett. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Cars pass a fence blocking access to westbound Hewitt Avenue and northbound Maple Street around the burned out Judd & Black Appliance building Thursday, Dec. 20, in Everett. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Foot and car traffic around Judd & Black returning to normal

The fire department has not determined the cause of the September blaze on Hewitt Avenue in Everett.

EVERETT — It’s not clear when longtime Everett institution Judd & Black will regain its flagship presence here.

However, city officials say nearby Maple Street is getting closer to fully reopening after three months and counting.

A Sept. 21 blaze caused roughly $3.3 million in damage to the appliance store. The brick building dates from the late 1800s.

The fire investigation is ongoing, and no new details can be shared, Everett Assistant Fire Marshal Steve Goforth said.

Authorities initially described the fire as suspicious but haven’t clarified further.

The city recently released the property back to its owner. The lane closures have continued because officials remained concerned that a damaged wall could fall onto the street.

That issue should be addressed soon, now that the owner and the insurance company can shore up the building, the fire chief told neighbors in a Dec. 13 email.

A permit for the work was issued Nov. 19. Some of the fencing should go away as that wraps up.

As of Thursday, city officials said they have not been provided an exact timeline.

The building at 3001 Hewitt Ave. has been home to Judd & Black since 1962. Before that, its many uses had included a saloon and a bottling plant.

The store’s service and liquidation center, a block away at 2808 Maple St. in Everett, was not affected by the fire and stayed open, as did the company’s other stores.

Judd & Black bills itself as a “hometown appliance store” with locations in Marysville, Lynnwood, Mount Vernon and Bellingham. The store also offers barbecue grills.

The showroom in Lynnwood doesn’t have the visibility of Everett’s Hewitt location along I-5. Even with the trademark blue-and-yellow sign, it can easily go unnoticed along congested Highway 99.

But people find it.

“We’ve been busy,” Lynnwood store manager David Richardson said.

He was the Everett store manager at the time of the fire.

“When it happened you are thinking, ‘Oh my word, how am I going to deal with all this?’ Because we had a lot of traffic there in Everett,” he said.

He and three sales people from the Everett store are now in Lynnwood. Other workers went to the Marysville store on State Avenue. Deliveries continue around Western Washington.

“We’ve kind of had to move everything around logistically to make it still work and function. Everybody came together and it’s all working out,” Richardson said. “It’s business as usual.”

He has been with the company for 25 years, and now sells appliances to the children of customers from when he started.

“A lot of our base has been shopping at Judd & Black for years, if not decades,” he said.

“You want to have the Judd & Black experience. It’s almost handed down.”

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @rikkiking.

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