Funko, a maker of popular culture toys and merchandise, is planning to move into downtown Everett.

Funko, a maker of popular culture toys and merchandise, is planning to move into downtown Everett.

Historical Commission OKs Funko’s funky signs in Everett

EVERETT — Funko, the maker of popular culture toys and merchandise that is planning to move into downtown Everett, is proposing to deck its new headquarters in neon.

They’ll be LEDs, actually, and not glass tubes filled with neon gas. But the signs the company wants to use to adorn the building are designed to evoke a bygone era.

Brian Mariotti, the company’s owner and CEO, told the Everett Historical Commission last week the signs will bring “a touch of whimsy, a touch of retro, a touch of class,” to downtown.

“We think it’s going to be a draw,” he said.

The Historical Commission unanimously agreed.

Commission Chairman Jack O’Donnell said the plans called to mind the downtown of Easton, Pennsylvania, which used to be the headquarters of the Crayola company.

“In my opinion, this is wonderful. This is exactly what downtown Everett needs,” O’Donnell said.

Commissioner Neil Anderson also likened the Funko plans to other area landmark signs, such as the Seattle P-I globe and the red “R” atop the old Rainier Brewery.

“I think the neon is just great for downtowns, especially in historic districts,” Anderson said.

Funko is proposing to move into the building most recently occupied by Trinity Lutheran College.

The school shut down earlier this year after years of losses. City officials believe Funko is going to lease, rather than buy the building.

Funko is currently leasing space in an office park off Shuksan Way in south Everett. It plans to move its business and design departments downtown, with about 175 employees of 300 total. Its warehouse will be located elsewhere.

The building at 2802 Wetmore Ave. was built in 1929. It is listed on Everett’s Register of Historic Places as the Port Gardner Building. It initially housed Rumbaugh’s Department Store and the Balboa Theatre next door. In the 1940s, it was bought and became the Bon Marché. The store closed in 1991.

Under city rules, any time a building on the register is being changed, the owner or operator must obtain permission from the Historical Commission.

The main sign, on the corner of Wetmore and California Street, would be 34 feet tall and topped by a rotating gold crown. The letters are designed to mimic old-style signs with multiple bulbs per letter.

The company’s logo also would appear on the side of the building and above the door. The company agreed to preserve some of the original interior features, such as the terrazzo floors, a decorative stairway handrail and the large storefront windows. Funko also would expose the original ceiling.

Several large statues of the company’s characteristic Pop! figures would adorn the awning, though city planner Paul Popelka said those were considered public art and not under the commission’s purview.

Mariotti said the company plans to include a 2,000-square-foot museum on the ground floor and stock the display windows with rotating line-ups of figures.

The company has legions of fans who follow its artists, Mariotti said.

“These people make pilgrimages,” he said, “and these people make their visit to that corporate business park.”

When asked why he wanted to move into downtown Everett, Mariotti at first joked, “I live up north and I don’t want to drive any farther.”

“If we went to Bellevue or Seattle, we’d be just another company,” he then said. “We want to be something special.”

Chris Winters: 425-374-4165; cwinters@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @Chris_At_Herald.

Talk to us

More in Local News

NO CAPTION NECESSARY: Logo for the Cornfield Report by Jerry Cornfield. 20200112
Things are heating up in Olympia — and not just the weather

Here’s what’s happening on Day 94 of the 2021 session of the Washington Legislature.

Jesse L. Hartman (Everett Police Department)
Suspect in fatal Everett shooting captured at U.S. border

Jesse Hartman was arrested in California as he tried to re-enter the country from Mexico.

Eric Adler, the mystery man who is on Twitter as @EdmondsScanner (E. Wong)
Revealed: The mystery man behind the @EdmondsScanner tweets

He’s a 50-year-old mail carrier who dusted off his English degree to curate 6,000 tales on Twitter.

The state House transportation budget proposes $15,000,000 to widen state improving Highway 524 between 24th Avenue West in Lynnwood and 9th Avenue SE.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Who wants a wider Highway 524 between Bothell and Lynnwood?

The project list includes expanding the three-mile, two-lane road between Bothell and Lynnwood.

People on jet skis and boats drive past the Hannah Marie, formerly called the Midas, that was run aground along the banks of the Snohomish River on Tuesday, July 3, 2018 in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett couple writes check to clean up the Snohomish River

Phil and Kelly Johnson have donated $50,000 to the county project that removes derelict vessels.

FILE - This Monday, June 17, 2019, file photo shows 5-mg pills of Oxycodone. While the nation's attorneys general debate a legal settlement with Purdue Pharma, the opioid epidemic associated with the company's blockbuster painkiller OxyContin rages on. The drugs still kill tens of thousands of people each year with no end in sight. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)
High court ruling spurs effort to retool state’s drug laws

Meanwhile, the Blake decision has gotten people out jail, charges dismissed and possibly clemency for some.

Gabriel van Winkle, center, struggles with lifting a bag of rice weighing nearly half his weight as he and volunteers help move the Granite Falls Food Bank from their old location to a new one on Tuesday, April 6, 2021 in Granite Falls, Washington.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
New digs will give Granite Falls nonprofit room to grow

The small town’s community coalition and food bank have found a home on school district grounds.

NO CAPTION NECESSARY: Logo for the Cornfield Report by Jerry Cornfield. 20200112
5 wrinkles for lawmakers to iron out in session’s last days

Here’s what’s happening on Day 92 of the 2021 session of the Washington Legislature.

Most Read