Sadlier’s Store – icon of a very different time on the Plateau

Ask a Plateau resident who has been here more than 25 years ago about Sadlier’s store, and he or she is probably going to have a story to tell you. Long-time residents will add that the store was originally known as Braden’s.

By Phil Dougherty

Ask a Plateau resident who has been here more than 25 years ago about Sadlier’s store, and he or she is probably going to have a story to tell you.

Long-time residents will add that the store was originally known as Braden’s.

Sadlier’s (Braden’s) was a mom-and-pop grocery store located southeast of Pine Lake, and though not the only store on the Plateau — the smaller Pine View Grocery (known as Barker’s store) was on the other side of Pine Lake between the 1940s and the 1970s — it was the only store on the Plateau that sold meat, which helped assure its success.

In 1944 Roy and Arminta Braden bought land to build a store at 2902 228th Avenue SE in Sammamish, now the address of QFC, though the building itself was located where the August Moon Chinese Restaurant is today.

Construction of the building began in 1946 and the grocery store opened in 1948.

The Braden’s home was located at the back of the building.

A hitching post was later added in front of the store and saw considerable use from locals who rode their horses there.

To the left of the stairs on the store’s front porch was a bulletin board where messages or informal ads were sometimes posted.

The store’s original name was “Star Markets” (a 1949 picture of the store shows a rather amusing sign along the top of the front of the modest building, also proclaiming it to be the “Evergreen Shopping Center”).

But the store was known by another name: Braden’s.

There was a personal touch in a trip to this store that is harder to understand today. If you went, you would probably run into someone you knew, and if you did, you might end up hanging out a while longer than you’d planned.

Roy Braden died in 1951, but Arminta continued to run the store until August 1960.

She sold the store to the Pine Lake Shopping Center, Inc. (though the Pine Lake Shopping Center that we know today would not be developed until the 1980s).

The store was subsequently leased to several merchants and then sold to Joe Sadlier later in the 1960s.

Sadlier renamed the store Sadlier’s Country Store, and the name stuck even after he sold it in 1978.

But unlike the Bradens, the Sadliers did not live behind the store; they had their own house nearby.

The store’s meat market was in the back of the store, and you had to walk up a few steps to get there, because the floor in the back of the building was several feet higher than in the front.

The meat market was known not only for its variety of meats but also for its excellent homemade sandwiches and “frisbee burgers.”

But the store had plenty of other merchandise to attract all ages, ranging from diapers and comic books to a well-stocked grocery.

The store was a favorite with many who knew it. “We went up there nearly every day,” recalls Terri Nairn, who grew up on the Plateau in the 1960s and 70s.

“People loved Sadlier’s. It was the only store in the area where you could get everything you wanted. Not only meat but bottled milk. With cream on top. Our big mission was to get (discarded) milk bottles and turn them into Sadlier’s. They’d give you 15 cents or maybe a quarter a bottle. That’d be our big score; we’d use the money to buy candy.”

In May, 1978 Sadlier sold the store to John and Jean Aman, who updated it with a new facade reading “Sadlier’s Country Store” and a few other improvements, though the hitching post for the horses stayed.

But as development accelerated on the Plateau the inevitable supermarkets followed, and Sadlier’s closed on Aug. 31, 1984.

The building stood for another six months until being deliberately burned down in March, 1985 by crews from King County Fire District 10 to clear the site for a new building for a Plaid Pantry convenience store (now the August Moon).

The old store’s destruction was an occasion unto itself.

About 30 people gathered to watch it burn. Ruth Dingfield, owner of a sweets shop in the new Sammamish Highlands Shopping Center, passed out pastries commemorating Sadlier’s frisbee burgers.

The bystanders snacked, talked about how sad it was to see history disappear, and watched the building burn down to its concrete slab.

In a matchless local legend about the end of Sadlier’s — maybe true, maybe not — the story goes that as the store burned a hot ember floated away from the building, landed in the bed of a passing truck, and started a small fire.

But the store itself left a much more powerful legend, and a quarter century after its close, the memory lives on.

Phil Dougherty is a board member of the Sammamish Heritage Society.