Then and Now

Now Then

400 N. 43rd Street

At the time when the 1937 photo was taken, there were at least 33 grocery stores in Fremont. This 1912 building, located on the corner of N. 43rd St. and Phinney Ave N., housed Snow’s Grocery in 1937. The building has had a long history as a “mom and pop” grocery stores, including Snow’s Grocery (1931-1961), Young’s Grocery (1961-1973), and the Phinney Street Co-op (1974-1986). Since 1994 it has housed Lighthouse Roasters, a coffee roaster and wholesale business with a retail coffee shop at street level.

When Saul Fortunoff purchased the building in 1989 from the Phinney Street Co-op, he was looking for a space to run a business in addition to a place to live. The building was basically sound, but cluttered with many years of accumulated stuff. As he worked on remodeling, he kept an eye on preserving the original look and feel of the building. The inside was renovated with new wiring, plumbing, and floor. The outside received a new garage door and corner entrance. In 2000, the siding was repaired and the bay window rebuilt. Additional improvements include the rockery on the east side of the building and a bench in front. Otherwise, they have just kept the place in good repair.

When asked what he likes about the building, Fortunoff said, “I love that it has been preserved as a ‘living room’ for the neighborhood and is still acting as a ‘mom and pop’-type store by serving the immediate neighborhood. So many of these corner commercial stores were lost to development when their zoning lapsed, after a year of being empty. I am proud to have helped preserve this one.”

He also has three sentimental reasons to be attached to the building. First, he was a weekly worker at the Phinney Street Co-op which was an all-volunteer, natural-foods cooperative owned by a number of neighborhood families. (The group that came out of it, the Fremont Neighborhood Fund, continues to serve Fremont.) Two, he met his future wife there when he walked in the door in the summer of 1977. And, three, his son was born in the upstairs apartment in 1993.

Sources: Saul Fortunoff
Property Record Card, Puget Sound Regional Archives; Polk’s Seattle City Directory, 1937; 1937 photo courtesy of Washington State Archives, Puget Sound Regional Branch