Loyal Eastsiders, including me, have been griping. What were the folks behind The Container Store thinking? They designated the Seattle...

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Loyal Eastsiders, including me, have been griping. What were the folks behind The Container Store thinking?

They designated the Seattle Symphony as the charity of choice for the grand opening last weekend of their Lincoln Square store in Bellevue.

While I am a big fan of the Symphony, when you move into new territory wouldn’t it make good public relations to donate opening proceeds to a local organization? How about the Bellevue Philharmonic Orchestra, Bellevue Youth Symphony or Bellevue Chamber Chorus?

According to Container Store spokespeople, the company “interviewed” a number of groups.

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Apparently not the Bellevue Philharmonic. John Silliman Dodge, president of the Phil board, said he wasn’t aware of any conversations with the Container Store people.

“When you’re moving into an area like the Eastside, you should be aware it is rich with cultural treasures,” Dodge said Wednesday. “All you have to do is look around at the Bellevue Arts Museum next door and the new Performing Arts Center that will be built. If they knew that already, that’s fine.”

Dodge added that the Seattle Symphony is a wonderful organization, and he’s glad to see companies designate arts groups as opening-day beneficiaries. (The store donated 10 percent of its weekend sales.)

Casey Priest, vice president of marketing for Container Stores, did comment.

“At this time, this is a one-store market for us, so we wanted to partner with a charity organization that has great community outreach,” she said. “Knowing the Seattle Symphony had a broad reach in the community, including Seattle and the Eastside, we thought they would be an ideal partner.”

The bottom line? The Seattle Symphony probably had the biggest mailing list.

On the other hand

The Westin folks got it right. In addition to the ribbon-cutting ceremony and tours Tuesday, they offered to celebrate the formal opening of the hotel and Lincoln Square with a gala.

Proceeds would go to the Bellevue Arts Museum. But the lean staff at the museum worried they couldn’t pull off organizing the event.

Betty Nokes, chair and CEO of the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce, volunteered. She and her staff pulled the event together. The nearly 400 guests expected at the black-tie party Saturday will inaugurate the Westin’s ballroom with a gourmet dinner, music and a small art auction.

A few $175-per-person tickets are still available. For information, call the Bellevue Chamber at 425-213-1201.

Well-parked

Folks visiting the triumvirate of retail heaven — Bellevue Square, Lincoln Square and Bellevue Place — shouldn’t have trouble finding a parking place. Nicknamed The Bellevue Collection, the three sites boast 10,000 parking places.

Just imagine the traffic jams the day after Thanksgiving and on Christmas Eve.

One last grin

The Honda Odyssey minivan had a small sticker by the window. It read, “Professional Shopper On Board.”

The car was parked in one of those 10,000 stalls — in the garage at Bellevue Square.