A month-and-a-half since the Elliott Bay Book Company relocated to 10th Ave from Pioneer Square, it appears that the first Capitol Hill chapter of the independent bookseller’s saga is a happy one.
“We are thrilled to be here,” manager Tracy Taylor said. “Business is great. Our sales are up. Reading attendance is up.”
Michael Malone, the principal at property owner Hunters Capital who reached out to bookstore owner Peter Aaron to explore the feasibility of the move, reports that the store racks in about 800 individual transactions each day, and that sales are up about 40 percent. “The result of a good fit is success,” Malone said.
He added that Pike/Pine benefits from the bookstore being a destination retailer, in addition to serving neighborhood residents. Elliott Bay’s customers also patronize other local businesses, he said. “Elliott Bay is an ideal destination retailer because they contribute to social and economic diversity,” Malon said.
“It is not a Walmart or Costco where people go [only] for convenience. They come with a purpose,” Malone said. “They come for lunch at Quinn’s or Oddfellows and ice cream at Molly Moon’s.”
It’s difficult for CHS to call any bluff in Elliott Bay’s numbers, of course. In Pioneer Square, sales tanked so precipitously that Aaron said he maxed out his credit trying to stay afloat. The Capitol Hill move, for now anyway, seems to have reversed the trend. Elliott Bay, by the way, is a CHS advertiser but, as with all advertisers, that will not curry favor nor invite increased scrutiny of the largest retailer on the Hill by this site. We’ll cover the big indie bookstore as we see fit.
At Elliott Bay, Taylor said that the staff is happy with the relocation to a neighborhood with the range of amenities that Capitol Hill offers. “The staff love being in a neighborhood with restaurants, a grocery store, movies, and bars. One evening the staff organized a kickball game at the park,” she said. “We’ve had a staff party at the Garage to celebrate.”
The quality of the space – which features exposed wood beams, skylights, and a more open layout than the bookstore’s previous home in Pioneer Square – has proven to be another boon for the bookstore. “Customers seem amazed by the light and the feel,” Taylor said.
Malone added, “Not only did the space carry on the feel of the Pioneer Square store, but it improved it with natural light, convenience, and parking.”
What’s in store for the next chapter at EBBC? We’ll continue to follow one of the more important retail stories on the Hill. For CHS’s previous coverage of Elliott Bay’s move to Capitol Hill, click here.
The Elliott Bay Book Company is located at 1521 10th Ave. between Pike and Pine Streets.