Couple revives classic Sheridan Market in Lake Forest Park
Time marches on and beloved old buildings get torn down all the time, even during a pandemic. But now, instead of being demolished to make way for condos with a view of Lake Washington, a classic old mom-and-pop grocery store north of Seattle may be coming back to life, thanks to the efforts of a local couple.
Paula Goode and her husband Ernesto Pediangco seem like otherwise reasonable and sane Seattle people in their sixties. They’re healthy and active and maybe looking ahead to retirement, but not necessarily to slowing down.
And so maybe there are other sane people who can identify a little bit with the impulse the couple followed one day last year. It happened when Paula was driving east on Highway 522 through Lake Forest Park, and went past the old Sheridan Market.
“We had been driving by it for years, and it was one of those buildings that I thought, ‘Wow, that’s a really cool building’ or [Ernesto] would drive by, ‘That’s a really cool building,’” Goode said by phone a few days ago.
Fate intervened in 2019 when Goode had to drive to Bothell to call on a customer of her fire safety business.
“I was driving down Bothell Way, and I saw that there was a sign on the building and it was closed,” Goode said. “So I called my husband, I said, ‘Hey, check it out.’ So he drove over there, got the phone number and called Marilyn, who is the daughter of the original owner.”
Later, it struck Paula Goode that many, many things had aligned and that the universe somehow was signaling to them what they should do.
“We started a conversation with [Marilyn], and her main concern was that a lot of people that were interested in buying the building wanted to tear it down,” Goode said. “And she really didn’t want that, because that was her childhood and her memories.”
Thanks to that conversation with Marilyn – Marilyn Stewart – the two parties made a deal. Paula and Ernesto — who’s a well-regarded and very busy percussionist – put the financing together, including borrowing from their retirement accounts, to buy Sheridan Market from Marilyn Stewart.
Stewart is in her 70s and lives in Monroe. She pretty much grew up at the old store because the family lived behind it in an apartment for years. The “mom and pop” of the operation were Marilyn’s parents Edward and Bertha Jahoda, otherwise known as Captain Ed and Birdy.
“Mother was 5’ in stockings and very petite,” said Stewart. “Before she met Dad, her friends called her ‘Birdy,’ and Dad always called her that. Only her older sister called her Bertha.”
OK. But Captain Ed?
“He liked to be called ‘Captain Ed,’” Stewart said. “He always wore kind of a captain’s hat … when he was younger, he used to fly airplanes, barnstorm.”
Ed Jahoda was born in Seattle and worked in the grocery business for years in Alaska in the 1930s and 1940s before returning to Washington after World War II.
Stewart says her parents bought the property along the highway – known for decades as “Victory Way” – in 1946. In those years, before I-5 and before 405, what’s now SR-522 was a main highway and the most direct route to Stevens Pass, as well as something of a bypass of Highway 99.
The property included a structure that had reportedly served as a roadhouse in the 1920s and 1930s – that part of the history is murky – and it included a handful of residential units in an old house immediately behind.
Ed Jahoda, who seems like he was one of those 20th century dynamos made of hardier stock than subsequent generations, continued to work full-time as a produce guy for various grocery stores in the area. He took the next seven years to build Sheridan Market in his off-hours.
By the time Sheridan Market opened on September 1, 1953, America had already entered the age of the post-war supermarket, and the Seattle area was replete with several big and shiny places where respectable people could buy groceries.
Even so, Marilyn Stewart says her parents’ store, with its classic, easy-to access location by a busy highway and with its tall and glowing neon sign that her father had proudly commissioned, filled a particular and very important retail (and thirst-quenching) niche.
“At that time, all the big supermarkets closed on Sundays, so we were open Sundays from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.,” Stewart said. “And so during the weekends, that’s where they made their money, because people are out, especially during the summer, doing their recreation stuff.”
“And then, when the major grocery stores finally decided to open up on Sundays, and I don’t remember what year that was, our business dropped quite a bit,” she continued. “But it was still going pretty good because we had a reputation, and by then, our store was noted for having the coldest beer in town.”
Sheridan Market morphed and evolved over the years, but it always served people who just happened to be driving by, as well as families who lived in the Sheridan Beach neighborhood. And not just adults in search of icy brews.
“We had a lot of walk-in neighbor business, especially on the weekends,” Stewart said. “We were noted, too, for our penny candy. We were having kids all the time coming in for their penny candy, which the bigger stores wouldn’t handle.”
Over the years, Captain Ed even survived a couple of robberies and attempted robberies, including one circa 1970 where he got shot in the leg and the posterior – which provides even more evidence of the toughness of shopkeepers of an earlier era.
In 1976, Marilyn Stewart says the family was approached by a buyer who wanted to purchase the business. Ed and Birdy hadn’t been looking to sell, Stewart says, but they decided to keep the real estate and go ahead and sell the business.
For some reason, the new business owner changed the name to “Lakeview Market.” Then, that same tenant did something that still bothers Marilyn Stewart.
“The original sign that my dad had built, the first tenant [who had bought the business in 1976], the first thing he did was he took down that neon sign,” Stewart said. “And it was out in the yard south of the store building on the ground smashed up.”
“My dad and I saw that, and I could see that it really bothered him,” Stewart said, her voice cracking with emotion as she recounted the demise of the old sign more than 40 years later.
After that, the business changed hands a few more times. At some point in the 1980s, the name changed again, this time to “Everyday Market.” Finally, it became Sheridan Market again sometime, perhaps in the 1990s. It was still operating as a store under this name as recently as a few years ago.
The new owners, Paula Goode and Ernesto Pediangco, now live in one of the apartments behind the store. They’re working to restore and renovate the market’s interior and exterior, and to get approval from the City of Lake Forest Park for various building and occupancy permits they need to operate a business there.
The two seem to definitely embrace the mom-and-pop approach, but have their own 21st century vision for what they want to offer at Sheridan Market once the pandemic passes.
“What we’re going to do with the property is open it as a coffee shop, a grab-and-go type of place, and just a community spot for people to come and buy coffee, buy some food — no cigarettes, no Lotto — but hopefully a glass of wine, maybe some beer, and maybe some entertainment,” Goode said. “And just be part of the community, because we felt that the building was worthwhile to save and not tear down.”
Paula and Ernesto are committed to preserving Sheridan Market and creating a place for the community to gather, but they admit that this labor-of-love approach doesn’t necessarily pencil out. Thus, they do have a GoFundMe page established and are seeking donated building materials as well as financial assistance to replace the roof of the 75-year-old roadside icon.
Ed Jahoda passed away in 2001; his wife Berty died in 1993. Marilyn Stewart says her dad would approve of Paula and Ernesto’s plans for reinventing Sheridan Market, since Captain Ed, in spite of his tough exterior, was a people person at heart.
Stewart also says her dad also was fond of his red Cadillacs, which he always bought used. In one of the many vintage images preserved by Stewart and now belonging to Paula and Ernesto (and featured in the gallery of photos for this story), Captain Ed’s 1950 Cadillac convertible can be seen parked in the background.
And who knows? Maybe once they’ve resurrected Sheridan Market, Paula and Ernesto can bring back a new version of Captain Ed’s beloved neon sign someday, too.