Big Foot Music opens in Smokey Point after months of uncertainty

A customer browses through guitar and bass tablature books at Big Foot Music June 1. - Adam Rudnick
A customer browses through guitar and bass tablature books at Big Foot Music June 1.
— image credit: Adam Rudnick

SMOKEY POINT — Deric Dobesh remembers the first time he saw the damage.

Wading through 18 inches of water and a walking over pieces of collapsed roofing, the owner of Big Foot Music noticed that a couple of guitars still hung from a partially collapsed wall.

“They were literally falling apart on the wall,” Dobesh said Tuesday, June 1 — seven months after a fire destroyed or damaged five businesses in a Smokey Point commercial space last November. “(The ordeal) is over and behind us, but at the time it was a big deal to sit in the parking lot and see it burn.”

The fire did more than $1 million in damages, ravaging approximately 5,000-square-feet of retail space in Smokey Point Plaza, located in the 3400 block of 172nd Street NE.

A newly remodeled south end of the building now stands where smoldering ashes and burned out amplifiers once sat, and Big Foot Music officially re-opened its doors earlier this month after months of insurance claims and uncertainty.

Dobesh said most of the inventory and losses were covered by insurance, but rebuilding Big Foot’s inventory has been a slow process.

The store owner estimated that he lost 99 percent of his inventory — hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of guitars, amplifiers and other musical instruments and equipment — during the fire, which doesn’t include customers’ instruments that had been left on site for repair.

“The hardest stuff to deal with was on the repair end,” Dobesh said. “One girl lost her trumpet, a lot of people lost their guitars. Everybody has been really understanding and patient.”

Since staff moved into their new space in May, they have been building up inventory. The store had about 60 guitars in stock during their first day of business June 1, with that number growing by the day.

Employee Brad Stivers spent some time hanging new wall hooks during the store’s first day open, while Dobesh entered inventory on the store’s new computer system.

Other tasks on the day’s agenda were routine repairs and paper work, as well as helping customers who began trickling into the new space.

“We tried to get in here sooner, but in the end it worked out,” Dobesh said.

With the exception of a “new building smell,” Big Foot remains largely unchanged structurally.

The building itself does have a higher ceiling, giving staff members more room to hang guitars and music accessories from the store’s walls. Dobesh said the store has the same amount of square-footage as it did before.

“The building has been rebuilt from scratch, but it’s mostly the same,” he said. “A lot of our customers think that we’re bigger.”

Big Foot Music staff are planning to hold a grand re-opening in the upcoming weeks to let customers know that they are again ready for business.

Other businesses affected by the November fire were Smokey Point Pawn Shop, #1 Teriyaki, Loans 4 You and H & R Block.

The pawn shop currently has a now open sign, but staff from the business could not be reached. Number 1 Teriyaki opened June 3

Loans 4 You did not re-open, while the Smokey Point H & R Block moved across Interstate 5 to Lakewood Crossing.

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