Eddie Bauer showcase pops up in Melrose Market, Christian university ad on E Pike

Nope, the latest tenant of local-focused Melrose Market isn’t giant Pacific Northwest — and financially troubled — retailer Eddie Bauer. The giant EB marks a “pop-up” showcase space for *next* winter’s collection that has suddenly appeared on Melrose Ave.

Meanwhile, around the corner, a large banner for Newberg, Oregon’s George Fox University — just “3 1/2 hours away” — hangs from E Pike’s Benson’s Grocery. Here is the story of two Capitol Hill commercial spaces within a few blocks of each other finding ways to squeeze a few more dollars out of their assets via marketing.

On Melrose, we haven’t had the information confirmed by Eddie Bauer or the market’s leasing agent but CHS has talked to people working at other shops in the market who provided details of the Eddie Bauer project in the former home of Sonic Boom Records. With the music retailer long gone, the market has leased the space for the short-term use. Expect to see a few glitzy events with DJs and style people checking out the Eddie Bauer fashions of the future. UPDATE: We heard back from Eddie Bauer and they said, yup, we’re using the space to showcase an upcoming line for a press event.

Meanwhile on E Pike, there is a seemingly less legit showcase going on. We’ve delved into the issues around on-promise and off-premise banner advertising in the city before — most recently when we made note of a giant back-pack ad on the side of the Odd Fellows building back in August. That promotion quickly disappeared after our post. We’ve received a few notes from readers about a similar ad that has appeared on Benson’s Grocery for “Christ-centered university” George Fox. Its juxtaposition with the Bearacuda night banner hanging off the neighboring Eagle has been too rich to ignore.

A check of DPD records shows Benson’s permit for a non-illuminated sign expired earlier this year. Even then, many at City Hall would argue that the sign falls into the off-premise advertising category — read more at Crosscut — despite the availability of a “application for undergraduate admission” packet available on the store’s back counter.

It’s not the first time Benson’s has been in the sign business for a product in the on/off premise grey area. In the past, they’ve displayed promotions including a large banner for AT&T Wireless.

In the end, you might argue that there isn’t much difference in the two real estate revenue optimizations and CHS definitely doesn’t want to further its role as the signage tattletale of Capitol Hill. Instead, let’s put this in the long list of things the City of Seattle needs to sort out as we grow into a bigger, busier neighborhood in a bigger, busier city. The key is to make sure there’s plenty of room for Bearacudas and less room for George Foxes.

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13 thoughts on “Eddie Bauer showcase pops up in Melrose Market, Christian university ad on E Pike

  1. I saw that sign the other day and thought it was so weird. Why there? It’s partially hidden by that tree, too. And the pretend-highway-sign concept not in a highway context is kind of confusing.

  2. Times must be tough for Benson’s owner, to need this kind of sign to stay in business. Let’s hope so…that is a very sleazy place, with sketchy people always loitering around just outside.

    If their permit is expired, why is the city allowing it to be there?

  3. I saw this ad a few weeks ago and wondered WTF? Here is what Wikipedia has to say:
    George Fox University is a center for Quaker thought, although only about 5% of the student body are Quakers,and houses an extensive library of historical Quaker and non-violence literature. In 1984, the university founded its Center for Peace Learning, now known as the Center for Peace and Justice, as an outgrowth of its connection to the Friends peace testimony.

  4. I don’t remember anyone getting all up in arms about the Sounders add that was plastered on the building before the George Fox University add was put up.

  5. that actually changes everything as far as I’m concerned. Quakers are traditionally pro-gay. Without taking the time myself to do any research, it appears the sign shouldn’t offend me after all.