Red Light Vintage, Aprie leaving Broadway

IMG_3391IMG_3384Signs announcing closing sales are up in the windows of neighboring Broadway thrift and fashion shops Red Light Vintage and Aprie as higher rents and trailing business prospects have conspired to execute a full turnover of the longtime tenants on this block of Capitol Hill. To the north, the former home of the Broadway Grill has been empty and tenant-less since spring of 2013.

(Image: Red Light Vintage)

(Image: Red Light Vintage)

CHS has not yet spoken with ownership of the stores but people familiar with the situation confirmed that both Red Light and Aprie will only have until early winter before moving on. Red Light and Aprie are owned by the same company. In the meantime, both are holding sales to clear out merchandise. It’s not clear what’s next for the spaces and we haven’t yet verified rumors of new tenants.

A check of permits shows no upgrades or tenant improvements currently planned for the building. The block’s three main components — the northern Terriyaki restaurant, the former Broadway Grill, and the Red Light/Aprie/Julia’s building –have three separate ownership groups at this time, according to county records.

It’s been a rough couple of months for Broadway fashion retail. Earlier this year, CHS reported on the closure of the Seattle outlet of the Tatyana Boutique chain. Its space one block north of Redlight remains empty. Tatyana ownership blamed a lack of Broadway shoppers for its failure on the street. We talked with Aprie’s buyers this summer about the boutique and the state of its business on Broadway. Aprie’s U District store has also shuttered.

Founded in 1996, the Red Light Vintage company will continue to operate its U District location and does a reportedly robust online business at redlightvintage.com. Acknowledged as the longest running thrift shop on Capitol Hill, it will leave behind a void in the vintage retail scene in the neighborhood. Saturday, a new venue will join the scene as Out of the Closet opens on E Pike.

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48 thoughts on “Red Light Vintage, Aprie leaving Broadway

  1. Let the countdown begin… only Julia’s must now fall to make way for a brand new condo of 6 stories can be built. (And good riddance to Julia’s.)

  2. Like they NEED to kick Julia’s out first? It’s just as likely the landlord is simply jacking rents to attract more chi-chi, upscale establishments to cater to the increasing swarm of tech-drones moving into all the new condos on Broadway. Imagine: wouldn’t a shiny new P.F. Chang’s be an ideal tenant to replace those low-brow thrift stores?

  3. Really anything would be an improvement on the useless thrift stores that litter Broadway. And if I had to choose between eating at PF Changs or Lindas, Changs would be an easy choice.

  4. This is probably a broader retail store issue than a sign of the state of businesses on Broadway. If their online business is doing well, why pay for a store at all… I won’t miss them but their displays were pretty funny. I would also love to see these properties turned into mixed use. With light rail coming, these few blocks should be as dense as possible.

    • I agree that Mixed Use would be the way to go, but now it would displace too many working poor residents of the apartments on harrison and 10th ave e. Parking requirements for any new development would have to be addressed, taking the underground route. Additionally, that block may have old WWII era underground bunker and fuel tanks that is sure to cause an uproar in the community

      • Seems to me that, with the vacant Broadway Grill property and now the two vacancies announced here, there would be ample room for a new mixed use development….even without the Julia’s property (which is a nice brick building, even though the restaurant is mediocre), or the property at the north end of the block. It shouldn’t be necessary to include the building at the SW corner of 10th & Harrison (the Ellenbert, I think) and it would be a shame if that was demolished….it’s a reasonably well-maintained place, and provides affordable housing for many people.

  5. Okay, I get it. Certain stores closing means change. And ticky tacky generic stores moving in sucks. I get it. And it keeps happening. And it will keep happening. So remember: Capitol Hill Is About People. We are not stores.

      • A fair comment, and I could easily take the same attitude, except of course that while I’m not one of the “new people” maybe you would think I am just by looking at me. So who knows who is new and who isn’t? And if I as a non-new, yet of course endlessly, purely Capitol Hill fascinating person because I’m not new, has nobody interesting and new to interact with, then I look just as damn boring (and feel just as damn bored) that I may as well be new.

        Oh wait, here’s how you can tell I’m not new. I hate Capitol Hill now. Which makes me worse than the new people. So really, fuck it all. Now I’m going to go out clubbing at Office Max. See the Broadway club scene isn’t dead at all. I wonder what the cover charge is? Some pens?

      • Hey man, Im with you. Capitol Hill blows load now. I used to be annoyed by all the brogrammers and shit, but its too late. This is their hood now, the freaks are gunna have to go else where. Question is, where do I go? Where all the freaks at??

      • Instead of asking where all the freaks out, go outside and be a freak. But yeah, it’s not the same and neither am I. I think the biggest thing is Capitol Hill is just another neighborhood now. It’s remarkable only in its location and density. For me, living in Seattle means Capitol Hill is still the best option. It’s just a shitty option. The backup is to just move away to another city. Something edgier. Something freakier. Something TUKWILA

      • Talk about a gross generalization. I’m sure many of the new people are perfectly OK. Just because they might have more of an income than you do doesn’t mean they “suck.”

      • That’s what makes the takeover hard to stomach. They make ridiculous money to do next to nothing and in turn jack up rent prices and force many of us out of our lifelong neighborhood then turn around and say “if you can’t afford it move off the hill.”

        Seattle in general is losing the majority of the character and quirkiness that made it what it is by over-development and mass forced relocation out of the city of the middle and lower class. I pray for another dot com crash and a mass handing out of pink slips if for no other reason than to wipe the smugness off of these losers faces and so that they can feel the same pinch that they have put on all of us.

      • If they get paid ridiculous $ to do next to nothing, why aren’t you and everybody doing it instead of slaving for little? Tell me more about it, I want to work less, get paid more, to have energy back to fingerpaint unicorns.
        Here is a more realistic scenario. In 4 years all these “do nothing” rich techies will be fully vested in rsu’s to buy houses and condos. It’ll be like 2005 again. You know Amazon gives a rats behind about their stock, they’re sitting on billions in cash, so a crash will not solve the problem, only to redistribute the wealth to the top.

      • “They make ridiculous money to do next to nothing”

        So basically you don’t understand how any business works. The business owners pay employees, under the belief the investment will ultimately generate more money than what was spent (i.e. profit).
        It is worth it to someone other than you, to pay ridiculous money for next to nothing.

      • @ brain.f: Oh really? And how do you know this? My guess is that you don’t know or haven’t talked to any of the “new people.”

    • A neighborhood is not just about people. It’s also about the character created by the businesses and architecture. For many of us long-time Cap Hill residents it is heart-breaking to see all of the character demolished and replaced with generic condos/apartments and chain stores. Something very real is being lost.

      • But not for all of us. Been on the hill for over 20 years and I love all of the changes. I miss a couple of the old places, but new and better places have replaced them. It’s called progress. For a city of progressives people seem to sure hate progress around here.

  6. ATTN: Displaced Red Light/Aprie employees:

    I saw that the Crossroads across Broadway from you has “Now Hiring” signs plastered on its windows. Good luck.

  7. Sad to see any business in our neighborhood close their doors, as each contributes to the tapestry of our community. As a long time CH EOB (East of Broadway) resident, there have been many changes, but no more than usual. I don’t think it’s the tech move-in guys/gals that are fueling the changes on Broadway.

    Everybody knows Julia’s, but i remember them messing with their formula, that previously seemed successful. Broadway Grill just got sloppy and so inconsistent. Couple years ago I had my birthday party there at BG. The tab for dinner and drinks came to about 600 bucks. Service was atrocious, food had fallen into uninspiring territory and a few of their staff were openly getting shitfaced. Within that whole block, the teriyaki wok is the only place that looks successful maybe because they have a parking lot. I cut through their parking lot all the time, often stopping in to pick up takeout, because it is AFFORDABLE!!!!

    Maybe it’s me but the clothing stores on Broadway seem to sell a lesser quality clothing at high prices.
    For that block to be viable for future development, the ground the apartment buildings behind Broadway grill would have to be included. Julia’s and broadway grill is not going to be enough land to build a 6 story condo.

  8. Wouldn’t be surprised if the land/building owner is jacking up rents to force out the businesses so he/she can sell to a developer who in turn will put up more worthless “mixed use” buildings. Way overpriced condos on top, cupcake and other useless businesses on the bottom.

    Amazombies and Microsofties have all but taken over the hill. Again and again this has happened over the past few years. Cap Hill is nothing like it was even five years ago. An Average Joe non overpaid tech worker can no longer afford to live on Cap Hill. A whole vibrant and artistic culture has been systematically wiped out by the influx of techies.

  9. And yet there’s a bunch of similar clothing stores on the other side of the street — Crossroads, Panache, Metro, Michiu — that seem to be doing fine.

    • Red Light is nowhere near similar to any of those stores. Does Crossroads have a basement full of bizarre Halloween type costumers year round? Does Michiu have wigs? As for Panache and Metro, I think those are owned by the same person and Metro has pretty much a monopoly on goth fashions, while Panache has a monopoly on horrible clothes made by slave labor.

      Broadway used to be a shopping destination before the downtown retail core became a thing. People would actually travel over from Bellevue or wherever to shop on Broadway. It was never all residents that made it profitable. I keep trying to take a higher level view of all this because it’s the same conversation.

      • I’m so middle-aged that all these clothing shops do look alike to me, and also not nearly as interesting as thrifts were when I was young, hmph. Also I remember when one could buy useful things on B’way like socks and even a sofa.

        But, so, they were different. In which case, it looks like Broadway is *still* a shopping destination and is specializing in cheap costumes (goth, raver, sex). The Aprie like stores are in… Fremont? Ballard?

  10. The current owner of Redlight had only owned the Udistrict location since 1999- he bought it from the owner of the Portland store. The Broadway location was opene in 2000.
    The entire strip of Broadway is suffering from a lack of foot traffic -it isn’t jut retail but restaurants in the neighborhood have reported a drop in sales too.
    With the ridiculous rent increase most of the “regulars” in the Capitol hill neighborhood (old and young alike ) have either relocated or cut back drastically on spending. The influx of new people just don’t seem to be the type of people who care about supporting local business because they haven’t been exposed to that sort of thing- they have no sense of community. if you are moving to Seattle from Bellevue for example you are coming from a place of malls, fastfood, generic stores and online shopping – so how would you know that not going to the family owned Thai place for lunch occasionally could in fact put them out of business.

    • The biggest problem is likely the success of Pike/Pine, and the subsequent pull from Broadway. While you may be on to something about the regulars, you’d need more data to assert they are less willing to spend locally; chances are, they’re just “spending locally” at Pike/Pine (locally owned) businesses, because the ones Broadway are less interesting, or of lower quality.

      There’s also the problem that Capitol Hill folk tend to brush off or be actively in denial (or outright hostile) about; how the lack of parking impacts foot traffic on Broadway for people outside of the neighborhood. Most neighborhood businesses–exceptions being specialty places, like grocery stores, coffee–can’t rely exclusively on locals, or at least it’s dangerous as the general tastes of a neighborhood vary over time. (You’ll always need groceries.)

      • Most Capitol Hill residents I know of and talk to are very aware of the problems with parking. We have even discussed this with the city many times. There was a push to require them to build a parking lot for the light rail. None of it has mattered.

        As a disabled person who relies on their car, this is a very important topic to me. The less available parking there is, the less likely it is for me to find a place to park within my walking distance of my apartment.

        On a similar not, it is disappointing that all commercial things are moving down to pike/pine. For those of us on the north end of the hill, who cannot walk all the way down there and back, it is becoming more and more of a problem. If I need to drive to get to food/shopping, I will go someplace further away where I can actually find parking, and a wider range of options.

    • This matches my personal experience. I don’t really go out to eat or buy clothes because I’m paying for rent and other basics. I suppose if my focus was purely on supporting local small businesses I would move to a cheaper neighborhood (is there even one for people who don’t drive?), and support businesses there. As it stands, my goal is to pay for my own basics.

      Counting down to Urban Outfitters vacating.

  11. We pine for the 80’s when Broadway had wonderful restaurants (Bafferts, Lion O’Reilly’s, Henry’s (off Broadway) in addition to GREAT shops for urban living..furniture stores such as Del Teet, gift stores such as Keegs, the Confectionary candy store, Rex’s take out food. We had a Gap which everyone hates now but really was great for grabbing a t-shirt, jeans or jacket. B&0 was in the Broadway Market. Now it’s used clothes, noodle shops and crap. Oh and a choo choo train to drive by all of them.

  12. I’m completely bummed about this news. I love Red Light and have shopped there often for about 16 years. I’m glad their U District store is staying open and they’re doing well online. (For some reason, I had no idea they sold online.)

    I’m also sad about the bigger issue–the changing face of Capitol Hill. I still love living on the hill, and there are still great small businesses and beautiful old buildings. I’m not a huge fan of pointing fingers and saying “get off the hill” to any one group, because everyone has a right to live here. People naturally want to live close to where they work. Unfortunately, with Amazon in SLU, this means the hill is taking a huge hit on housing this workforce. I have to admit I wish Amazon had settled on the east side where there is more room for development and more room to house a huge workforce.

    • Unfortunately, east side corporate parks seem to have gotten passé since the nineties (I blame Office Space for making it look uncool!). Having them be a long commute from Seattle did a good job of spreading out the workforce.

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