When it's a warehouse.
The space at 2510 Beacon Ave. S., current home of Hui Trading, is zoned Neighborhood Commercial 2 ("A moderately-sized pedestrian-oriented shopping area that provides a full range of retail sales and services to the surrounding neighborhood"). In other words, it's supposed to be pedestrian retail.
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However, if you look at the Seattle DPD's own webpage for this
property, you will see that its present use is being listed as a warehouse:
"Present Use: Warehouse"
Which, in fact, it is. It's a food import / wholesaling business, and this is where the food is stored before heading out to restaurants.
The business is mentioned in a P-I story as being a rice importer/wholesaler:
"Wen Hui, the owner of Hui Intertrading, which supplies about 100 restaurants in the Seattle area with rice, said Wednesday that it was now taking seven weeks, rather than four weeks, for shipments of rice to arrive from Thailand."
It's no big secret that this is a warehouse and not a store. The first DPD complaint about this was logged way back in 2004. But someone high up at the DPD must have a crush on Mr. Hui or something, because the Department let Hui Trading fail to pass inspections on this single complaint 11 consecutive times in 2004... and in 2005... and in 2006... and in 2007 without being forced to "comply" until February 2008 -- four years after the complaint was filed.
But they didn't really comply. It's still a warehouse. When Inspector Kevin Hou came around for his 12th inspection, they must have finally used Jedi mind control on him or something to make him think that it was a retail store.
So some pesky neighbor filed another complaint in May. They failed a few inspections by Inspector James Blackmon, so at some point the importer decided to cloak their warehouse with a printout in the window, which you gotta see to believe:
These are not the droids you're looking for, Inspector Blackmon!
So, anyway, the neighbors have complained again.
They've failed the first inspection. Their front doors were locked during business hours:
BEACON AVE ENTRANCE DOOR TO GROCERY BUSINESS LOCKED. NC2P40 ZONE REQUIRES ACCESS TO RETAIL BUSINESSES FROM STREET.
We'll see how this goes. They've been unlawfully operating a warehouse in that space since at least 2004, and neighbors have been continually complaining about it since 2004. It seems like they get to perpetually be in violation year after year after year after year without any consequences.
I just hope that this complaint doesn't get dismissed if the doors happen to be unlocked during the next inspection. I wish the inspector could just look at that room full of sealed brown cardboard boxes piled on the floor, without any cash registers or salespeople or merchandise displays or price tags, and say, "Duh -- this is a warehouse, not a store," and be done with it once and for all.