Grand Ridge Plaza Gives Back


IssaquahGiving back is an essential aspect of strong communities, and something that’s reflected in the volunteerism of local businesses. Throughout the year, employees of Grand Ridge Plaza businesses donate goods and services, host fundraisers and collect donations to support more than 100 local, regional and national charities. One merchant is even the top fundraiser among their stores nationwide. This spirit of giving reflects the values of the businesses as much as it does the generosity of the community. Here are highlights of nonprofit organizations that benefited in 2016.

American Cancer Society: Each year, more than 4 million people in 20 countries take part in the American Cancer Association’s Relay For Life to raise funds and awareness to save lives from cancer. This year, Ben & Jerry’s designated Relay For Life as the beneficiary of its Free Cone Day event. The team scooped 4,165 cups/cones and raised $1,600 in donations for Relay for Life. Across the street at The RAM Restaurant & Brewery, the team raised funds during Breast Cancer Awareness month by featuring pink drink specials, with $1 from each purchase donated to the cause.

Big Fish Grill Issaquah Schools FoundationIssaquah Schools Foundation: Did you know that Optica Vision Care donates a portion of its annual proceeds to help local students? Dr. Sam Ahn makes a commitment to support the Foundation as part of his practice. Many Grand Ridge Plaza restaurants are also active fundraisers for the Foundation, regularly hosting Dine For Kids events. At Dine For Kids, each restaurant donates a portion of the day’s proceeds to the Foundation. This year’s donors include Agave Cocina & Tequilas, MOD Pizza, Bai Tong Thai, Big Fish Grill and Chinoise Sushi Bar & Asian Grill. In addition, PinkaBella Cupcakes sponsored the 2016 Issaquah Schools Foundation – Nourish Every Mind luncheon.

Olive Crest: Dedicated to preventing child abuse, treating and educating at-risk children, Olive Crest helps thousands of families in the Pacific Northwest each year. At their recent fundraising gala, PinkaBella Cupcakes Founder Margo Engberg donated 46 cakes to the Dessert Dash. The cakes generated an amazing $16,000 in donations.

Carters IssaquahEastside Baby Corner: Did you know that Eastside Baby Corner distributes thousands of diapers each week? Diapers are desperately needed by many families throughout the area. This year, both Carter’s and the Issaquah Highlands Community Association (IHCA) hosted diaper collection drive, while La Boutique Jolie hosted a Shop for the Cause event with a portion of proceeds donated to EBC.

Seattle Children’s Hospital: One of the world’s leading pediatric hospital centers, Children’s has more than 11,000 admissions each year. Many local businesses support Children’s, including Big Fish Grill, which hosts an annual Santa Brunch that raises funds for the hospital. PinkaBella Cupcakes also supports Children’s, sponsoring the American Girl Doll fashion Show with Star Guild to raise money for uncompensated care.

Dental Care for Neighbors In Need: Each year, Issaquah Highlands Dental Group helps localIssaquah Highlands Dentist residents in need at their Serve Day. The team, including four dentists, provides free dental care 20 community members. These patients, who would not otherwise have access to dental care, receive everything from cleanings, exams and digital X-rays to extractions, implants and restorations. The dental office teams up with local organizations and community partners, such as youth centers, nonprofit organizations and churches, to identify individuals that are in need of basic dental care.

ALS Therapy Development Institute: The world’s leading ALS research organization, the Institutethe-ram-ales4als aims to discover and develop effective treatments and a cure for ALS. This summer, The RAM Restaurant & Brewery raised more than $10,000 across all restaurants for ALS research. For each pint purchased of their IPA For ALS small-batch beer, they donated $1 to ALS research.

Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation: Did you know that Marshalls raises more than $3 million each year for Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation through their paper sneaker sale campaign? Donations received at stores help to fund life-changing treatments and research to find a cure for type 1 diabetes.

Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank: The Food Bank, which provides support to hundreds of families in-need, also offers case management, holiday gift programs, school supplies, and toiletries. This year, MOD Pizza continued its tradition of raising funds for the Food Bank by donating $1 from every pizza sold during a fundraising drive. Many other businesses also lent their support to the Food Bank this year, including HomeStreet Bank, which hosted and contributed to a food drive.

Ulta Beauty IssaquahBreast Cancer Research Foundation: Each year, Ulta Beauty supports the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and its mission to prevent and cure breast cancer by advancing the world’s most promising research. In October, Ulta hosted its annual Cut-for-a-Cause event offering $10 haircuts in the Ulta Salon – and donating 100 percent of funds raised to the Foundation.

Snoqualmie Valley Food Bank: In 2015, 1,044 different households relied on the assistance of the Food Bank, which distributed 669,849 pounds of food. They expect those numbers to increase significantly this year. One of its significant supporters is Issaquah Highlands Safeway, which donates thousands of pounds of food each year.

Art Institute of Seattle: The Institute, which offers programs in design, fashion, media arts, and culinary fields, presents an annual fashion show to showcase the work of its students and offer them real-life experience. Each year, Sorella Salon & Spa donates professional styling services to the show. Sorella stylists manage the models and help the students complete their final looks to put on an amazing show.


Harborstone Credit Union Pays It Forward

Harborstone Credit Union Issaquah

Harborstone Credit Union IssaquahHarborstone Credit Union’s Pay It Forward campaign is back for the 2016 holiday season. For the past three years, Harborstone has given employees the opportunity to select a nonprofit organization and pay it forward by helping neighbors in need. This year, the Grand Ridge Plaza branch chose Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank as its beneficiary.

To pay if forward, Harborstone takes the average annual savings that credit union members receive by banking with a credit union versus a commercial bank, which was $198 in 2016. Then, Harborstone gives each participating branch that amount to donate to their selected nonprofit.

Since 1982, the Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank has worked diligently to ensure that community members who are unable to afford life’s essentials still have access to these much-needed items. Harborstone’s Grand Ridge Plaza branch understands the impact the Food Bank has on the community.Harborstone Issaquah In making their donation, the team got creative. They made “diaper cakes” for young families, which included essential infant and baby items – organized and tiered to look like cakes – putting a fun spin on items that are often overlooked. Donated items included diapers, burp rags, washcloths, bathing items and bibs. With these items, Harborstone’s Grand Ridge Plaza team hopes that families will be reassured, knowing their little ones having everything they need this holiday season.

Harborstone is currently featuring stories on Facebook of different branches paying it forward. The three projects with the most reactions, shares and comments will be entered to win $1,000 to donate to their selected nonprofit. Click here to open Facebook, like the photo and and cast a vote for Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank. Be sure to vote by January 16, 2017.

Harborstone Credit Union IssaquahAbout Harborstone Credit Union: With branch locations in King, Pierce and Thurston counties, Harborstone is a community credit union open to all Washington State residents. From its roots as McChord Credit Union (founded in 1955 on McChord Air Force Base) and Prevail Credit Union (founded in 1940 as King County Employees Credit Union), Harborstone is a member-owned, not-for-profit alternative to banking. A name change and 60 years later, Harborstone is still serving members with the same member-owned approach—in person, over the phone and on digital devices. At Grand Ridge Plaza, the ATM is available 24/7 and the branch is open Monday thru Friday from 9 am to 5 pm.


Optica Vision Care Offers Optomap Technology

Optica Issaquah Grand Ridge Plaza

Optica Vision IssaquahDid you know that early signs of disease can be detected during an eye exam? In addition to eye conditions such as glaucoma, signs of other diseases such as stroke, heart disease, hypertension and diabetes can be seen in the retina. This is why regular eye exams are an essential part of routine healthcare.

To improve the efficacy of eye exams for patients, Dr. Samuel Ahn of Optica Vision Care  introduced Optomap retinal image technology. Produced by Optos, it’s a laser that takes a digital image of the inside of the patient’s eye. Having an Optomap image taken does not require dilation (eye drops), which makes it a good alternative to traditional eye exams incorporating dilation.

Optomap’s ultra-widefield view helps optometrists detect early signs of retinal disease more effectivelyOptica Issaquah Grand Ridge Plaza than with traditional eye exams because it captures more than 80 percent of the retina in one panoramic image. By contrast, traditional imaging methods typically only show 15 percent of the retina at one time. Optomap images can also be saved and compared for future treatment.

A low powered scanning laser is used to capture the image. Nothing touches the eye at any time. The scan only takes a second and it’s suitable for patients of all ages. And, unlike traditional retinal exams, the Optomap image can be saved for future comparisons. At Optica Vision Care, Optomap is available for $39.

dsc_8619Optica Vision Care is a trusted community resource for comprehensive vision care. Led by Dr. Samuel Ahn, the optometry practice offers services ranging from eye exams to medical evaluations, as well as a large selection of designer frames, sunglasses and children’s frames.

Optica Vision Care is located at 1000 NE Park Drive next to Caffe Ladro. To reach the clinic, call 425-391-3222.

 Photos by Shubha Tirumale Photography LLC.


Get Gorgeous for the Holidays at Ulta Beauty

Ulta Issaquah HighlandsUlta Beauty is one of our favorite shops to visit during the holiday season at Grand Ridge Plaza. They offer all things beauty, all in one place. Ulta’s in-house makeup artists will even demonstrate how to use products and help you create a gorgeous look for parties.

Ulta showcases thousands of cosmetic, fragrance, skincare and haircare products, as well as haircare appliances. It’s also home to Ulta Salon, a full-service hair salon (see tips for saving at the Salon below).

Ulta’s Benefit Brow Bar – where arch experts tweeze, wax, trim and tint your eyebrows to perfectly frame your face – is one of the best kept secrets in town. Ulta Issaquah

Here’s what we love about shopping at Ulta:

— Stocking stuffers! From $2 lip gloss to $4 body lotion, it’s is a one-stop-shop for gifts.
— They carry everything from inexpensive brands to luxury products.
— The free rewards club adds up quickly and it’s easy to redeem points.
— You can sample and play with new products.
— They offer many products in travel sizes.
— Professional makeup artists offer touch-ups.

Ulta Beauty Issaquah HighlandsTheir weekly sales also offer great savings. You can save even more with these tips:

Buy $100 in gift cards and get a $10 bonus gift card: When you buy $100 in gift cards, Ulta Beauty will reward you with a bonus $10 gift card. You can buy gift cards in any denomination.

Save at Ulta Salon: New guests get 20% off their first service at Ulta Salon, which offers a full range of salon services including blowouts and color. Mention this offer when booking your appointment.

Refer a friend to Ulta Salon and get $10 off your next visit: Refer a friend to Ulta Salon and they’ll reward you with a $10 voucher off your next service. Your friend must be a first-time guest. Ask your friend to mention this offer when booking an appointment.

To reach the store, call (425) 427-0508. You can also book Ulta Salon appointments at


Buy gift cards, get bonus cards

Sip Happy Hour‘Tis the season for gift cards! This month, several local restaurants are treating customers to bonus gift cards (free!). When you buy a gift card, these restaurants will thank you with a bonus card to enjoy on your next visit. Here are our top picks for great deals here at Grand Ridge Plaza:

Sip at the wine bar & restaurant: Purchase a $100 Sip gift card and receive four bonus $25 gift cards, valid throughout 2017. With one of the largest Washington wine selections in the region, Sip is a favorite among wine connoisseurs. Guests love their locally-sourced meats and seafood, as well as fresh seasonal produce from Sip’s organic garden. Deal available now through December 24.

Agave IssaquahAgave Cocina & Tequilas: Purchase a $50 gift card and receive a bonus $20 gift card. Known for hand-crafted dishes made-to-order, scratch cocktails and one of the region’s largest selections of fine tequilas, Agave has built a reputation for excellent Mexican fare. Deal available now through December 15.

The Big Fish Grill: Purchase a $100 gift card and receiveBig Fish Grill Seattle Restaurant Week a bonus $25 gift card. Purchase a $50 gift card and receive a bonus $10 gift card. The Big Fish Grill is a hot spot for delicious seafood, craft cocktails and Happy Hour specials, and their a la carte Sunday Brunch is always a hit.

On Sunday, December 18, Brunch at The Big Fish Grill will feature a visit from Santa, plus surprises for children. Deal available now through December 24.

the-ram-issaquahThe RAM Restaurant & Brewery: Purchase a $50 gift card and receive a $10 bonus card. The RAM is all about great food, ice-cold hand-crafted beer, flavorful burgers, and creating memories. It’s is a great destination for a girls’ night out, dinner and a movie, celebration or fun family night. Deal available now through December 31.

Bai Tong Thai: This deal is only available at Costco. Pay $80 and receive $100 in gift cards (you’llbai-tong-thai-team-member-2 receive two $50 cards). Bai Tong offers an authentic taste of Thailand in a beautiful setting that reflects traditional Thai hospitality. With a team of chefs who trained in Bangkok, Bai Tong serves classics such as Crispy Garlic Chicken, Pad Kee Mao, and curries, plus vegetarian and vegan choices. Available while quantities last. Must be purchased at Costco.

Photos by Shubha Tirumale Photography LLC