The old North Bend Fire Station became home to JazzClubsNW after Boxley’s Place closed in 2016. Now that Piccola Cellars has left, the non-profit jazz organization is partnering with Wildflower Wine Shop for food and beverage services. (Evan Pappas/Staff Photo)

JazzClubsNW prepares for fresh start with new partner

After losing its partner for food and wine service at the old North Bend Fire Station, the non-profit JazzClubsNW, previously the Boxley Music Fund, has announced a partnership with Wildflower Wine Shop to renovate the building. Together, the two organizations will serve up live music, plus food and drink.

Piccola Cellars ended operation in North Bend on July 30.

Gregory Malcolm, executive director of JazzClubsNW, said that although the organization did lose a business partner, the change gave them some new opportunities, such as applying for grants, many of which require the applicant to be the primary lease holder of their space.

Piccola Cellars had leased the old fire station building from the city for its tasting room and subleased the space to JazzClubsNW after the group’s former headquarters, Boxley’s Place closed its doors in April 2016. Now Malcolm is in talks with the city of North Bend to have the jazz club become the primary lease holder and expects the negotiations to be complete with council approval at the Sept. 19, city council meeting.

“We wanted to have the ability to seek grants, many of the grants require that you are the main lease holder,” Malcolm said. “We approached the city and they agreed to negotiate a lease with us that would last five years, it would allow us to sublease to another party who we would choose to provide food and beverage.”

Malcolm didn’t have to wait long to find a partner that matched what the organization was looking for.

JazzClubsNW began a partnership with Wildflower Wine Shop, a bistro-style wine bar and restaurant, open since 2016, soon after Piccola Cellars left.

Wildflower, which is currently located between Sydney Avenue N and Bendigo Boulevard N on North Bend Way, will relocate to the old fire station to set up alongside JazzClubsNW. The shop has applied for a liquor license for the new location and Malcolm said they plan to have full food and beverage service in November.

“It was our dream to work with someone who would work with us to make it a destination facility,” Malcolm said. “Great entertainment, supportive of jazz and jazz education, and great food and beverages.”

The building itself has also been undergoing some change, with the removal of a wall to increase performance center capacity to 99 seats and other changes to adapt the space for Wildflower Wine Shop.

The partnership will also allow JazzClubsNW to feature more music and branch out beyond the days they normally host shows.

“We are still open and presenting jazz four nights a week for our members and their guests. Once Wildflower moves in, we will be working with them to expand the number of nights we present music,” Malcolm said. “It won’t exclusively be jazz and blues, an eclectic mix of other music choices on other nights like Tuesday and Friday, while still maintaining our position on jazz and jazz education through our existing programming.”

Until then, JazzClubsNW is operating in a reduced capacity exclusively for its membership while the organization waits on all of the permits and licenses to come through.

“Even without the winery, we can serve a complimentary glass of wine to our existing members and their guests,” he said. “The other thing that members and their guests have been able to enjoy, they can bring their own beverages and food into the facility until Wildflower begins their operations.”

Malcolm said that now that a plan is in place for food and beverages, he has seen a surge in the membership numbers due to people being excited to see the organization return to the level of service it provided while at Boxley’s.

JazzClubsNW is also preparing for the fifth annual, and extremely popular, Blues Walk on Saturday, Sept. 23. Because the Blue Walk requires a one-time event permit, the shows hosted in the JazzClubsNW building won’t be held back by the organization’s lack of a liquor licence for their regular operations.

“The current state of affairs doesn’t hinder us because its a different type of permit, it allows us to host the event as a non-profit and as a major fundraiser,” Malcolm said.”It’s a special occasion permit, which allows us a different set of rules, so it’s the same full-blown fundraiser and Blues Walk.”

Malcolm is looking forward to moving forward with a new, local partner to not only stabilize the operations of JazzClubsNW, but to grow the organization even more and become a destination location.

“We are really looking forward to working with a local group,” he said. “Because Wildflower is locally owned, it’s going to really distinguish itself as a partner that wants to do good in the community and partner that brings something unique and brings it that truly local flavor that people who live here like to seek out and support.”