A post on social media website nextdoor.com instigated a lot of virtual hugs for the Saveway Mart. The Saveway has been a local icon in downtown Pioneer Square for over 50 years. There is no question that it has an interesting reputation. Located in what is probably considered a “Seattle-sketchy,” area, it has numerous monikers: “Murder Mart,” “Death Mart,” “Stab and Grab,” etc. (You get the idea.) The location is notorious for drug-dealing, hyperactive sports fans, homelessness, and late-night club-goers.
The initial post which incited response was written by John Butler:
“This family as you can imagine has put up with untold amount of outside forces that might have caused most to give up. Instead what I have found is an unbending commitment to the neighborhood, they offer many of the marginalized population jobs, the customers on SNAP credit when they are at the end of a month, and what has amazed me the most is their offer of respect to every customer, many that you and I may find hard to extend.”
There were thumbs-up appreciation and “thank yous” everywhere, except for one poster who complained about the clientele: “I can’t go in there without being bugged by some scalllywags lurking outside the door.”
The Saveway: It can be defined as a deli, convenience store, the place you buy eggs or beer. You can buy the New York Times and condoms, potato salad, and toilet paper.
It is located in the heart of Occidental Park and it has been there for over 50 years, the last 15 years managed by the Hurs.
Louis Hur and Jae Hur moved from Seoul, Korea on advice from Louis’s sister. The reason for moving? Simply, “We wanted a better life,” says Louis. They originally opened a store in South Park, by Boeing Field, but then took the opportunity to lease the current location in Pioneer Square, in a corner of a neighborhood which most businesses would hesitate to occupy.
When most would flee, they held steady. In fact, their lessor told them he was surprised they would last for more than two years.
So they have remained, amid the craziness that is Pioneer Square and downtown Seattle.
The store is manned by the Hurs and their children, Jean, Patty, and Larry. They have also offered job opportunities to the community (Manuel is allowed to bring his cute Chihuahua to work. John always greets customers and canines).
According to Hur, the homeless population is not a hassle. In fact, they tend to be the most gracious and considerate customers.
Shoplifting has not been an issue as much as many would think. (But they do post pictures of shoplifters, so make sure to smile, because you will be on camera.)
And what will happen to the little market with the fancy new development in downtown?
It looks good. There will probably be more yay, yay, yays for Saveway. Weyerhauser will be opening their new corporate office right on the next block, introducing over 800 new employees into the neighborhood.
Hopefully we will keep paying respect to those businesses that have decided to stick around and support our neighborhoods all these years. According to the response on social media, there is nothing to worry about.