SEATTLE — A longtime Ballard business is facing an uncertain future after its building was sold to new owners.
Scandinavian Specialties has been a source for Nordic goods and food since the 1960s. It’s been in its current location at NW 67th and 15th Ave NW since 2001.
Owner Bjørn Ruud said they serve and sell many of cultural favorites like “fish cakes and goat cheese,” Scandinavian chocolate, and traditional rice porridge.
“One of our most popular is lingonberry tarts,” Ruud said. “We also sell a lot of waffles with goat cheese. And over here, we’ve got the shrimp sandwich, a perennial favorite for savory.”
Ruud was raised in a household where Norwegian was the primary language and now shares that culture with his customers.
“I feel lucky to have a sense of connection to my heritage in that regard,” he said. “I think it’s kind of unique to be in that position.”
But Ruud and his customers are wondering what the future of the store will be. King County property records show his longtime landlord sold the property to “67th and 15th Ave LLC” on May 17. The property, which includes the now-closed auto shop next door, sold for $2.9 million.
Ruud said he hasn’t heard from the old owners or the new but worries he could be pushed out for more development in booming Ballard. The good news is Rudd has a one-year termination clause in his lease, so he expects to remain in their current location at least that long.
“It’s tough,” he said. “I like change, I like density, but it’s tough to see some of the things go away.”
Angela Giaever, who visited the store Wednesday, echoed that. Her husband was born in Norway and they met while she was studying the language.
“How many more apartments can you put up?” Giaever asked. “It’s disheartening to see merchants like him going out of business or moving.”
Ruud has no plans to close the store, although he worries affording a similar space could be difficult. Rudd said many properties rent for triple what he pays for the space.
“The hope is to stay in Ballard and continue for the next generations,” he said. “Providing at least an experience that speaks to the history, and what this community has been.”