Sex shop Castle Megastore plans relocation in Capitol Hill

Much to the dismay of greasy vegan food lovers and punk fans, owners of The Highline announced last week that today would be the last call for food at the venue. The announcement, along with this real estate listing, sparked a flurry of questions about the future of the punk rock space and their downstairs neighbor, adult product purveyors Castle Megastore.

DSCN0928

Castle sign announces clearance sale ahead of move to an undisclosed Capitol Hill location.

While Highline owner Dylan Desmond says he’s staying put, CHS has confirmed that Broadway’s decade-old sex shop is moving. Castle Megastore president Mark Franks told CHS he has been increasingly frustrated by public safety on Broadway and the maintenance of Castle’s building. He said graffiti and public urination are keeping customers away.

“That end of Capitol Hill has dwindled for years,” he said in a phone interview from Castle’s Phoenix, AZ headquarters. “The lease is ending and we decided not to renew.”

Franks declined to say where the new store would be located, but assured CHS Castle would stay in the neighborhood. He said the move would take place this fall. Castle has operated out of the Broadway and E John building for 10 years. The adult boutique has 15 other locations in the northwest and southwest that specialize in selling sex toys and lingerie.

Franks also said the building was in frequent need of repair and the building owners were slow to address leaks and plumbing issues. According to King County records, the building is owned by Tacoma-based Sunway B.C., LLC. CHS could not reach Sunway partner Matthew Chan for comment.

Despite the light rail station opening down the block (and Castle occupying Seattle’s most Seattle address at 206 Broadway), Marks said he was happy to be leaving the immediate area.

“Longterm (Broadway) will probably be pretty nice,” he said. “Short term, it’s turning a lot of people away.”

Over the years CHS has reported on the struggles that retailers face to stay afloat in the neighborhood. When asked how Castle was able to maintain, Franks said “It’s all about selling a product that people want and support.”

Subscribe and support CHS Contributors -- $1/$5/$10 per month

14 thoughts on “Sex shop Castle Megastore plans relocation in Capitol Hill

  1. If anything, it’s probably their customers doing the public urinating and graffiti. By their vacating, we’ll no doubt land another awesome restaurant or more suitable retailer, so I’m not sad to see them go. Broadway has evolved beyond a sex toy/lingerie shop.

  2. Phoenix? I guess that his explains his definition of “dwindling” over the past 10 years as new building after new building goes up and the neighboring shops change from shitholes like his to celebrated restaurants, national retailers, etc.

  3. God yes, let’s make Capitol Hill even more like Bellevue. Unless you are into $$$ restaurants, there is no place for you here anymore.

  4. I find some of these comments perplexing. I don’t see how having a sex toy shop is unsuitable to this or any neighborhood (unless it were right next to a school) and I don’t think we need yet another expensive restaurant and definitely we don’t need any more bars. That said, I think this place is having to move because it is a boring chain shop that is not really currently in tune with the neighborhood. Babeland and the Crypt have better stuff for better prices and shopping at Castle always feels like a bland suburban experience. I suspect that is why many of their customers don’t go–they have found preferable alternatives.

  5. Castle seems to be a well-run, non-sleazy business….but I’m not sorry to see them go. My hope is that some locally-owned business will lease that space.

    Yes, graffiti and urination are a problem along Broadway, but much less so than other parts of Capitol Hill…Pike-Pine for example.

  6. Not a well-run company at all! The CEO and HR Director like to threaten your job and tell you how much of a “failure” you are without offering any tools to help improve.

  7. Anyone who lives in the area knows the “urine and graffiti” has nothing to do with customers going into Castle. It’s actually a pretty clean area of Cap Hill. Every business on Cap Hill and downtown has to deal with some elements of graffiti and urine. It’s called life in the city and it hasn’t derailed any other business.

    This store has always been too big for what it offers. They are inefficient in many ways. (from layout, to how they ring people up). Despite having few customers, they tend to have just one register open (and usually 3 people behind the desk). It’s a slow process. Do they really need to ask zip code everytime? Do we really need a foot long receipt for one item?

    The people that work there are nice enough. The store is clean. It’s just boring and sterile and corporate.

  8. About 1/3 of their square footage is dedicated to rack after rack of DVDs… who buys porn in a store anymore? Better! Who buys porn on physical media at all anymore? Makes no business sense at all to lease all that extra prime real estate to sell a product with a twilighting market. As to the people rooting for yet another stupid restaurant on Broadway… look, fools: there’re *plenty* of options for food on the Hill… a huge chunk of them on Broadway. We don’t need another shitty national retailer, either. Capitol Hill isn’t Kirkland. Broadway isn’t a suburban shopping mall. it’s a neighborhood destination for the sorts of folks who not only *want* to live in the urban core, but who also celebrate the culture of living in the city. That includes sex toy stores, gay bars that are actually queer (Q, I’m looking at you), and the right to be different in our own neighborhood without fear of being shot. That’s the *point* of neighborhoods like Capitol Hill. Why move to the neighborhood if what you really want is to live in Bellevue?

  9. Actually I have been to the Castle very recently and to much of my surprise the store is equip with all new staff member that are much more pleasant to be around than the old staff and they have also dramatically improved the layout of the store with a better inventory. I would be sad to see them go!!

  10. Pingback: Broadway’s only sex shop, Castle Megastore is staying put | CHS Capitol Hill Seattle