Madrona Business Spotlight: Switchback Travel

switchbackSwitchback Travel occupies a quiet corner on 34th Avenue and Pike Street in Madrona, but visit the travel company’s website and find yourself among fjords in Norway, glacier-blue lakes in Patagonia, and looking out over jaw-dropping vistas from the peaks of the North Cascades in our own backyard. An underlying theme of adventure threads throughout Switchback’s catalogue of detailed travel guides, focusing on where to hike, ski, climb and more in locations as varied as the well-tracked American West to Tierra del Fuego in the southernmost reaches of Argentina. Not only that, but the site’s extensive selection of product and gear reviews ensure you’ll know which tents will keep you dry, which shoes will hold up on your trek, and which camera to capture it all with.

Switchback founder David Wilkinson set out to create an online destination for travel guides that don’t follow the traditional guidebook formula, and prioritizes quality and length of content over quantity. “We aim for articles that are longer than the norm, have writing that is more polished, and are written by people that truly are experts in the field. Instead of publishing articles as fast as we can, we try to make sure they are written and designed the right way,” Wilkinson wrote in an e-mail. For example, readers can follow contributor and accomplished climber Chris Kalman up and down the peaks of the Andes in the Cochamó Valley in Chile through his three-part journal, or read about photographer Cody Duncan’s personal journey to the Lofoten Islands in Norway.

The site is easy to navigate and every page brings one stunning photograph after another, which was part of Switchback’s design strategy. Wilkinson says, “I was always someone who grabbed a travel guidebook and went straight for the photographs in the middle, so photography and good user experience both were big priorities.” There is also only one ad per page, which is a refreshing departure from travel sites running endless ads for car rentals and hotels.

Although the site, which was founded in 2011, now has a global reach (a third of its readers are in Europe), Wilkinson says he is enjoying the office’s tucked away location in Madrona. The neighborhood was the first place he visited in Seattle, and he says “There is a lot more in terms of business here than most people realize, with start-ups, design studios, small businesses, etc. Madrona is a vibrant community and I’m happy to be a part of it.” So, give the Switchback crew a wave when you’re in the neighborhood, and visit the site for endless travel inspiration!

Chuck’s Hop Shop Has Successful Soft Opening

According to Madrona residents, Chuck’s Hop Shop is already seeing success after their soft opening last weekend at their new location on 20th & Union. Residents have boasted that the bar currently has 20 beers on tap and many in a huge cold case that lines the back wall. They plan on having 49 beers on tap when they’re open to full capacity, and if you’re gluten intolerant (or just don’t care for beer) they also have a smaller cooler filled with hard cider, many of them local. Chuck’s has a family friendly atmosphere, welcoming children and dogs at their tables.Chucks Beer

They are also planning to serve a selection of food items such as bratwursts. Chuck’s other location in Greewood has been successfully running since 2010. It is reassuring that the Hop Shop has patrons filling the tables even before their official opening, so hopefully beer lovers in the neighborhood will make this a successful new spot for a cold brew. If you have stopped in for a cold one, we would love to hear your feedback!

Genesis House Planning To Move

The Genesis House, which has been successfully running in the Madrona neighborhood for over 40 years is going to sell their property. After months of deliberation, the Genesis House Board and management team agreed it was the right move for the long term success of the program, and their clientele. The goal with the sale of the property is still to continue supporting chemical dependency treatment to no/low income individuals and to help families with small children affected by addiction. genesis

If you’re interested to learn more about their program or plans for the future you can call Monica Ramsey at 206-860-26232, she will be available to answer any questions or concerns from the community about their upcoming move, and future plans. Ramsey will also continue to keep the public informed on the sale of the property  through the MCC newsletter and at community meetings.

Madrona Wine Merchants Celebrate Two Years in Madrona!

A big (and overdue) congrats to Madrona Wine Merchants, celebrating two years in business in Madrona! Beginning Tuesday Nov 19th, they will be open on Tuesdays! Hours will be Tues-Fri 12-7, Saturday 11-7, and Sunday 11-5. Madrona Wine Merchants has the best selection of wines in town, and a fruitful wine club for neighbors and friends, and hosts tastings regularly at their storefront. The next tasting is scheduled this upcoming Saturday November 16th, featuring Rieninger Winery of Walla Walla. If you need wine for the holidays, buy 6 bottles receive 5% off your total, or if you need 12 bottles, receive a 10% discount. Congrats and thank you to our local wine experts, and here is to another prosperous year!

2013-11 Madrone Wine Merchants



New Doggie DayCare in Madrona

There is a new doggie daycare in town, and it’s taking over the old Facts newspaper space! The Facts Newspaper, the first African American oriented newspaper to circulate the northwest had previously occupied the office space on the corner of Martin Luther King and E Cherry St for years. After they vacated the building was torn down and replaced by the simple structure that stands today, which has also been vacant for sometime, leaving passersby curious as to what will go in the space next.

The secrets out! We’ve got a snapshot of the sign on their window, and PLAY, a family run doggie daycare start up by a previous dog walking company is coming to the neighborhood in August to take care of your furry friends while you’re at work. Daycare service is around $6/hr, up to 5hrs a day, and they’ll even pick your dog up for daycare if you want to mark one thing off the list to do in the morning. They do doggie baths as well, should you want your pup to come home smelling squeaky clean. For more information on PLAY’s services visit their website.