Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Grange Starbucks Expected to Open This Week

Above: The former Chambers Prairie Grange #191 has come back to life and now bears a Starbucks logo. Pending final inspections, the store at 1301 Yelm Highway in Tumwater is expected to open on Thursday.

Chambers Prairie Grange #191 Sign Comes Home

By Janine Gates
Little Hollywood

Pending final inspections, a new Starbucks at the former Chambers Prairie Grange at 1301 Yelm Highway in Tumwater will open on Thursday.

The coffee shop is inside the 108 year old building, one of the first granges built in Thurston County, located on the corner of Yelm Highway and Henderson Boulevard. 

In recent decades, the former grange hosted a variety of memorable events, community fundraisers, and dances, but had sat neglected for years by the time developer Tom Schrader bought it in 2015 from the Washington State Grange. 

Still, the building retained its historic character and structural integrity.

Starbucks is leasing the upstairs portion of the building from Schrader, and on Tuesday, he was on site juggling a myriad of last minute details. 

Above: Inside the former Chambers Prairie Grange #191 in Tumwater on Tuesday.

Inside, a dozen or so Starbucks employees frantically unpacked boxes full of displays, supplies and equipment which had just been delivered that morning. 

Starbucks construction manager Cheryl Nicholson managed to keep the chaos organized while setting up tables and chairs out on the deck.

The inside features exposed original beams and skylights to allow in natural light. The original glass in the windows was retained. The maple floor was taken off, exposing the original Douglas fir flooring underneath. The stage is gone, but the dark-colored wood that surrounded the stage was repurposed in portions of the floor.

Historically, granges served as the community center for social, agricultural, educational, and political activities. Many artifacts were found in the grange when Schrader purchased the building including ledgers, ribbons, and songbooks. 

For a wall display, Schrader reproduced a list written in calligraphy of grange masters dating from 1908, which features many familiar last names.  

Above: The original Chambers Prairie Grange #191 sign has come home. It will be on display inside the former grange, which has been transformed into a Starbucks.

The land use process for getting the project to this point has been a multi-year roller coaster ride, chronicled by Little Hollywood since 2015. 

But perhaps the most emotionally rewarding achievement for Schrader was his recent procurement of the large, wooden, painted chipped Chamber Prairie Grange #191 sign that hung on the outside of the building for so many years.

Schrader declined to say who had the sign, but he has worked hard to get it. After he learned who had it, he found that she was unwilling to part with it for sentimental reasons.

Two Sundays ago, Schrader said, the woman contacted him. She saw that his dream to open a community space in the former grange was finally becoming a reality and told him it was time for her to let the sign go. 

Schrader purchased it from her, and just yesterday, brought it back to the grange. To protect it from the weather, it will be hung on an inside wall.

“The sign needed to come home,” he said.

Above: Ashley Buller of Tenino, center, is the new Starbucks store manager at the former Chambers Prairie Grange on Yelm Highway. She is excited to open the store and appreciated the reuse of materials throughout the building. 

A grand opening will be scheduled in the near future. 

Store hours will be Monday through Friday, 4:30 a.m. – 9:00 p.m., Saturday, 5:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m., and Sunday, 5:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.

For more photos and information about the history of the Chambers Prairie Grange, the building’s purchase by Tom Schrader, and property rezones, negotiations and compromises between the City of Tumwater and Schrader, go to Little Hollywood at www.janineslittlehollywood.blogspot.com and type key words into the search button.