The 1,000-square-foot building sitting on the northwest corner of 212th Street Southwest and 44th Avenue West has been home to various businesses over the years; now three Iraqi brothers have bought the property and have opened up a new market on the site.
Alex, Josh and Noor Al-Mtowaq opened Sunshine Market on Sept. 12, selling fresh and organic fruits and vegetables now, with plans to add dairy projects as soon as coolers are installed and seasonal items during the year, such as pumpkins in October and Christmas trees in December.
“And if you don’t see it here, we will find it and get it for you,” Josh Al-Mtowaq said.
The brothers plan on operating the store seven days a week, 365 days a year. With little fanfare, the store had its “soft” opening late last week, even before all the business’s equipment had been installed and store signs erected.
The brothers purchased the property in March and have spent almost six months rebuilding the structure, adding landscaping and obtaining all the appropriate licenses from the City of Lynnwood. While the other three corner properties at the busy intersection lie within the city limits of Mountlake Terrace, the northwest corner parcel that is home to Sunshine Market sits inside the City of Lynnwood jurisdiction.
The effort to open the store has been somewhat of a struggle for the University of Washington graduates. In addition to a new $10,000 sprinkler system, the building’s support posts required structural re-enforcement, and specific requirements for tree planting had to be met in the landscaping scheme. “We had to put the whole thing on hold for awhile because we ran out of money,” Josh said.
The brothers decided to go into business for themselves after leaving various jobs in the computer repair field. “It’s a little scary,” Josh confessed. “We have put everything on the line.”
While the store is open for business, the brothers stressed they are still in the early stages of bringing the enterprise up to the level they want it. Signs identifying the business as Sunshine Market aren’t up yet, their website and Facebook pages are still a few weeks away, and not all the store equipment has been brought in yet.
“We’re still waiting to install new coolers,” said Alex Al-Mtowaq . “It’s killing me not to have them here yet.”
— Story and photo by Doug Petrowski