Molbak’s Garden + Home in Woodinville, Washington closed on Jan. 28 2024. (Photo courtesy of Molbak’s)

Molbak’s Garden + Home in Woodinville, Washington closed on Jan. 28 2024. (Photo courtesy of Molbak’s)

Molbak’s, former Woodinville garden store, hopes for a comeback

Molbak’s wants to create a “hub” for retailers and community groups at its former Woodinville store. But first it must raise $2.5 million.

WOODINVILLE — Like a perennial, Molbak’s hopes to spring back to life.

The 67-year-old Woodinville home-and-garden store closed earlier this year after it was unable to reach an agreement with its landlord, Green Partners, a local developer.

“When we had to suddenly shut down Molbak’s retail operations in January 2024, the outpouring of memories, support and affection from all corners of our community meant so much to us,” the company said on its website.

Inspired by the community’s support, the business has created a new initiative called the Green Phoenix Collaborative at Molbak’s. To get the new concept off the ground, Molbak’s has launched a $2.5 million fundraising effort.

“Since we can no longer be a large-format retailer, we’re going to focus on being a catalyst and connector in the community,” the company said.

The business hopes to turn its former site into a “hub” of retailers offering gardening and landscaping products. The mix could also include demonstration gardens, classes, pop-up shops, and a farmers market, Molbak’s CEO Julie Kouhia told The Daily Herald on Friday.

“It wouldn’t be Molbak’s but other companies that would utilize the space,” Kouhia said. “We envision an eclectic group of really fun retail shops, nonprofits and community groups.”

Molbak’s has several years left on the lease at its former retail site, Kouhia said. But due to nondisclosure agreements, “we are not allowed to talk about the details of the lease and how we currently function,” she noted.

“Knowing that we were going to be in downtown Woodinville for a couple years, we wanted to create something for the community and customers,” Kouhia said of the new initiative.

Molbak’s goal is to raise $2.5 million by May 9 through online funding and community outreach.

“We’ve already put in $1 million,” Kouhia said.

If it meets the goal and target date, the company plans to hire “a very small team” and open the Green Phoenix Collaborative on the 17-acre site, she said.

“If we’re successful, it’s off to the races. We’ll then spend the next six to nine months filling this place with all sorts of people,” Kouhia said.

If the venture takes off, it could move to another location in Woodinville once the current lease is up, she said.

A new Molbak’s had been expected to be a centerpiece of The Gardens District, a privately funded Woodinville residential and retail development in a garden setting under consideration since 2008. But late last year, developer Green Partners said it was pausing the project due to high interest rates and rising construction costs.

The store was established in 1956 by Egon and Laina Molbak, who immigrated to rural Woodinville from Denmark that same year. They brought with them a passion for gardening and the dream of launching their own business.

Besides plants, flowers and foliage, the garden center also offered classes, art, clothing and furniture.

Janice Podsada: 425-339-3097; jpodsada@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @JanicePods.

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