Earlier this week, we reported that 15th Ave E was losing one of its independent video rental stores as Video Connection had posted the always tragic handmade “Going out of business” signs in its window. We got a chance to talk with owner Chris Larson about his decision to pull the plug on the business he’s run since buying the shop in 2002. Meanwhile, we also got a tip about another Hill business with rent problems calling it quits.
Victoria Landis described her 618 Broadway E shop to us back in September:
Besides all the goods that I sell from the Middle East, Turkey, India, Morocco, etc., I also have Art openings once a month called “Last Friday Arts”, featuring a local artist and along with the art show there is some performing artists to complement the visual art that is being shown. Also HAREM has an event twice a month called HAREM NIGHTS which I have performers such as belly Dancers, DJ, etc. And I teach Belly Dance on the premises three times a week.
It appears the ‘decline’ of north Broadway is a transformation. On one hand, you have the empty restaurant spaces and deadzone from the massive Joule construction. On the other, Joule’s opening is planned for late this year and we just reported on an interesting little restaurant project about to fill one of the empty spaces before Bank of America steps in. Meanwhile, brave Poppy moved in early in the wave that now includes Roy Street Coffee while neighborhood institutions like Deluxe and, yes, even the Museum of Mysteries held their ground.
Part of this transformation means change for the older businesses like Harem. This week, the signs have finally gone up and Harem is having a closeout sale through the end of the month. Thanks to neighbor Traevynn for the tip. One of the signs says that Harem has ‘lost’ its lease. We’ll check in with Landis to see what else there is to the story.
Back on 15th Ave E, Video Connection’s owner Chris Larson tells CHS that his decision to close shop now wasn’t purely financial. Larson said problems with the building and his dissatisfaction with his lease situation led him to make the decision to close down the video shop he has operated since purchasing it in 2002. “It just didn’t make sense to leave the building and keep going,” Larson said.
We’ve been told by others that Larson’s rent had been increased — and the same thing popped up in CHS comments.
He declined to comment on whether he will take legal action against his landlord over the building conditions he said led to his decision. The 345 15th Ave E building is owned by a Jan Blake English who purchased the property in 1986 for $1 million.