This baby beat the wrecking ball. Merry Go Round, the children's store that has been a fixture in Bellevue since 1961, moves to a new crib...

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This baby beat the wrecking ball. Merry Go Round, the children’s store that has been a fixture in Bellevue since 1961, moves to a new crib next week.


The popular baby shop has been an anchor merchant in Raymer Square on Northeast Eighth Street. By the end of the month, it will reopen in the Design Market on 116th Avenue Northeast.


While no final plans have been announced for the Raymer Square property, owners have talked about building a hotel complex on the land adjacent to the Meydenbauer Center. Businesses there have been operating on short-term leases pending possible construction.


“We knew we were moving eventually,” said Bob Pressey, who owns the business with his wife, Molly Brown Pressey. “We’ve been searching for six years for a spot.”


The first Merry Go Round store, owned by George Steiner, opened in 1947 in downtown Seattle. Steiner opened the Bellevue branch in 1961. Molly Brown Pressey’s father, Bob Brown, purchased it in 1972, and she and Pressey bought the business in 1999.


The reason it took so long to find a new location, Pressey said, was because of what the store needed — more space and parking nearby.


“Pregnant women have enough trouble getting around without having to carry a big car seat or other purchases a long way,” Pressey said. “We’ll have 12,000 square feet instead of the cut-up, chopped-up 7,000 feet we have now.”


The store’s symbol carousel horses will reappear in the new location after they’ve been refurbished. Ditto the trademark red door. The Presseys would like to add something else to the store: memories and photographs from customers.


“We’re collecting people’s stories,” Bob Pressey said. “We’ll preserve them in a store scrapbook.”



Destination dramatics



An improv theater in North Bend? When did that happen?


“That’s what everyone asks,” said Gary Schwartz, founder and director of Unity Theater on the top floor of the North Bend Masonic Lodge. “We’ve been here 1 ½ years now.”


The Hollywood actor teaches acting and puts on a variety theater production the last Saturday of each month and improv the third Saturday. This fall, he will produce Neil Simon’s “Odd Couple.”


Tonight’s usual third Saturday event moves outdoors to The Nursery at Mount Si, 42328 S.E. 108th St. It’s a combination of roving improv games, scenes from plays and a benefit for his nonprofit theater company. The party runs from 6 to 9 p.m. Tickets are available at the door and include wine and nibbles for $20 per person.



Help on the menu



Schwartz Brothers Restaurants, headquartered in Bellevue, just donated $10,000 to a Sri Lanka beachfront restaurant destroyed in the December tsunami.


Schwartz Brothers Chairman Bill Schwartz said there’s a good reason the donation was made now instead of five months ago.


“Rather than simply donating money to an involved charity, we wanted to find a family-owned restaurant company similar to our own that needed assistance,” Schwartz said.


Through international contacts, Schwartz and company President Lindsey Schwartz learned of Re-Fresh Seafood. With the donation, a bank loan and sponsorships from suppliers, owner Koralage Upali hopes to open shop in November.


The $10,000 was a combination of donations from Schwartz Brothers employees and the company.



One last grin



Bumper sticker of the week: “Hug a logger. You’ll never go back to a tree.”


Sherry Grindeland: 206-515-5633 or sgrindeland@seattletimes.com