Spaceworks manager Heather Joy can hardly contain her excitement about the announcement that Do The Extraordinary, the retail clothing venture helmed by Justin Kercher and former Seattle Seahawks running back Shaun Alexander, will be opening its first retail store in downtown Tacoma.
Tacoma’s Spaceworks, a joint initiative of the City and the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce that matches creative entrepreneurs with vacant spaces, connected Kercher with the University of Tacoma. The school owns the property on Pacific Avenue where DTE, formerly an online-only operation, will open its doors; the space was formerly occupied for nine years by Cutter’s Point Coffee until that business departed last summer. The story was first reported by local blog Exit 133, gleaned from Spaceworks and DTE social media.
“Justin applied to Spaceworks when we had a call for applications in January,” explained Joy, whose Spaceworks program negotiates 180-day, $1 a month leases with commercial landlords to help get local fledgling companies off the ground. “His was one of the selected projects, so he got on our roster.
“With the University of Washington, they came to us early in the year … They came to Spaceworks and said, ‘Do you have a project that could fill this space?’ I met with them about our roster, and we identified a short list. They identified DTE as a great business match.”
The empty space’s proximity to apparel stores Urban X Change and Bleach, according to Joy, was a draw for the school to zero in on DTE.
“They could all feed of each other,” she said. “I met with Justin. We talked about the space to see if it would work for his business, and he was really excited about it, so it just went from there.”
Spaceworks and the school had worked together before to some success, with Tinkertopia filling another vacant space on Pacific Avenue. That business, a “creative reuse center” that sells alternative art supplies, signed a one-year lease after its initial Spaceworks lease expired.
Joy is hoping for the same story with DTE, which opens in June under the same six-month Spaceworks agreement.
“I think it's a good match,” she said. “They were exactly what UWT was looking for.”