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Nordic News

The student news site of Inglemoor High School

Nordic News

The student news site of Inglemoor High School

Nordic News

Plant-lovers heartbroken at Molbak’s closure

Ava Hedin (she/her)
The glittering front doors of Molbak’s a few days before permanent closure. Inside rests a completely emptied warehouse that was once a home to hundreds of plants.

On Jan. 28, the city of Woodinville mourned the loss of Molbak’s Garden and Home, a family gardening business that has served the community for nearly seven decades. After 67 years of business in the heart of Woodinville, Molbak’s decided to close down permanently. Molbak’s was originally intended to be the main attraction for a new development in Woodinville called The Garden District, but due to a disagreement between the company and their property leaser Green Partners, Molbak’s was removed from the plan. The closure has impacted numerous Woodinville citizens and communities, and many are worried for the future of the city.

The Woodinville mayor, Mike Millman (he/him), said that the news was extremely abrupt and saddening for the city council. He said they were only given a few days of notice before the public announcement. 

“I was sick to my stomach. Molbak’s is a part of Woodinville,” Millman said. “It was the first time that we had a development agreement that included a privately owned business, so when the deal fell apart, it was devastating.”

The unexpected decision generated many conspiracies as the public tried to guess the official cause. Molbak’s was a valuable part of Woodinville, leading to speculation that there had to be a different reason for the store to shut down so unexpectedly. Millman said that both Molbak’s and Green Partners left a lot of information undisclosed, leading to numerous misconceptions about the official cause of the close. He added that the city doesn’t know any more about the closure than the public.

“There’s so much uncertainty and so much information not being shared on both sides, and the public tends to fill in the blanks when there are no answers,” Millman said.

Tyler Freeman (he/him), a former Sales Lead at Molbak’s, said that the closure is going to have lasting impacts not only on the future of Woodinville but also the long-term workers who were employed there.

“I am very sad, especially for the employees who have been here for a very long time; some have worked here for more than a decade, even three decades,” Freeman said. “People come from all over the state, the country, the world, even. Family members come from Germany and ‘Oh yeah, we have to go to Molbak’s.’’’

This brick-and-mortar was a place that cultivated relationships between the company and community. Molbak’s sought to create a heartwarming atmosphere in the store for both employees and customers alike.

“I hear from so many people that Molbak’s is much more than a store. It’s not just a place where you go in, get your stuff and leave. Molbak’s is a place to make memories and traditions, connect with friends and learn about horticulture. It is a beloved gathering spot that fosters learning and connection, living life together amongst residents. It meant a lot to this community,” Freeman said.

Molbak’s was especially memorable during the winter. They were known for their holiday decorations and displays, especially their popular poinsettia tree that had been the star of many Christmas cards. Senior Izzy Baquain (she/her) said that visiting Molbak’s during Christmas had been a tradition for her family ever since she was little. 

“We’d take pictures in front of the poinsettia tree every Christmas. We’d all get dressed up; it was usually a couple days before Christmas. We would walk around and look at all their Christmas decor and ornaments and everything.”

Besides the Christmas visits, Baquain said that she grew up visiting Molbak’s regularly. She has fond memories of other events that Molbak’s put on for the community.

“The employees every year used to put on a play for the little kids in the community. They had “Little Red Riding Hood” and “Rapunzel,” so when I was in preschool, me and my friend would go watch the plays,” Baquain said. 

In addition to the memories and traditions, Molbak’s was a big boost for nearby businesses, Freeman said. 

“Molbak’s is a big source of economic drive. It’s a destination. Where do people go after they buy their things here? They go to the restaurants, and they continue their shopping experience in Woodinville. It’s a big drive for the economy in Woodinville, and if Molbak’s is gone, so is that drive,” Freeman said. 

Millman said that even though Molbak’s was such a big part of Woodinville, he’s confident the city will bounce back. Plans to improve the walkability of Woodinville are underway, and new parks and developments will be built within the next few years.  

“It’s going to be something that is going to sting for a long while,” Millman said, “But we have a lot of great things coming. Losing Molbak’s was not a part of that plan, but we are going to work really hard to recover from this.”

In the decades that Molbak’s spent fostering plants and memories for citizens, the store made a great name for itself, and it will forever be remembered by the people.

“It’s going to be a different Woodinville, if it’s still around in 50 years,” Freeman said, “But time will show, and has shown, that Molbak’s was the heart of Woodinville.”

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About the Contributors
Junior Ava Hedin is starting her first year as a reporter for the 2023-24 Nordic News staff. She is excited to learn more about journalism and design, in addition to becoming a part of this new community. When she isn’t writing for Nordic, she can be found rowing for Inglemoor Crew, working with every art medium possible, spending her last dollars on vintage jewelry, or hanging out with her friends. 
Junior Anna Oleynikova is in her first year on the Nordic News staff. She moved from Ukraine to the US about one and a half years ago and already joined the friendly and close-knit team here. Outside of school, Anna spends most of her time improving her language skills, reading, drawing and listening to motivational podcasts. She looks forward to developing her writing abilities, learning more about how things in school work, making new friends and starting to create interesting articles that will inform and delight students!

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    Marty SalinaFeb 9, 2024 at 9:24 PM

    Wonderful article on Molbak’s. The history and background as well as the current consequences of closure is very interesting.