With Central District I-502 retail a $1M+ a month business, 15th Ave E pot shop maneuverings play out

The free-play Capitol Hill Family Arcade has to be one of the more peculiar manifestations of Seattle's pot economy (Images:  Capitol Hill Family Arcade)

The free-play Capitol Hill Family Arcade has to be one of the more peculiar manifestations of Seattle’s pot economy (Images: Capitol Hill Family Arcade)

There will not be a pot shop ready for business in time for the 15th Ave E Merchants Association’s 2015 Sidewalk Fest. The ongoing saga of who will open Capitol Hill’s first recreational pot shop has hit a bureaucratic lull. Two competing potreprenuers on 15th Ave E are waiting to obtain licenses from the state as two other businesses in the mix — a third generation cobbler and a punk rock arcade/ice cream shop — await permits from the City.

Ian Eisenberg tells CHS he plans to apply for a new I-502 license next year to open a second Uncle Ike’s pot shop in his building at 15th Ave E and E Republican.

“The more time I spend on 15th, the more I love it,” Eisenberg said. “I really want to open second shop there.”

The 15th Ave E Merchant Association has an interesting year ahead

The 15th Ave E Merchant Association has an interesting year ahead

For now, Eisenberg is operating the Capitol Hill Family Arcade — a business that he says was a quick and fun way to activate the space while he waits to open a pot shop.

But for Sam Burke, an I-502 permit holder who’s attempting to open tok pot shop across the street, the arcade was simply a maneuver to keep his doors shut. Under state zoning regulations, I-502 shops cannot be located within a 1,000-foot buffer of places where children gather, like schools, parks, and arcades (those rules could soon change with new zoning authority available to local municipalities).

Burke did not return calls from CHS for this story and his representative declined to comment.

The Burke-Eisenberg feud began earlier this year when Eisenberg snatched away the 15th Ave building from Burke. The building was previously home to the Capitol Hill Animal Clinic. 15th and Republican is likely the only area on Capitol Hill where a pot shop could open under current zoning rules. So Burke looked across the street to Angel’s Shoe Repair.

After Burke took over the space in June, Eisenberg carved out room for Ray Angel in his building. Angel’s century-old cobbler equipment is all moved in, but his daughter Arlana Angel tells CHS he’s playing the permit waiting game in order to open.

“Everything over there looks great,” she said. “It’s a great location, better foot traffic, better than Republican.”

The last piece of Eisenberg’s puzzle will be handing over his arcade space to Full Tilt. Again, Eisenberg says its just a matter of City permits coming through to open. According to Full Tilt, the new space will have a larger arcade section than any of the other Full Tilt shops, featuring about 20 arcade and pinball machines. The plan is to serve up ice cream in bars, but in not scoops.

11822374_624841627618826_4231241782650768069_nWhile business has been booming at Uncle Ike’s (an eye popping $1.3 million in sales in July, its most productive month yet), the shop has faced it’s fair share of backlash. Last year members of the Mount Calvary Christian Church sued Eisenberg, claiming he should have never been allowed to open near the church.

The lawsuit was dropped earlier this year, but protests outside of the shop persist. An August 9th Black Lives Matter march made its way in front of Uncle Ike’s, where one speaker praised previous protestors, saying “They told him, you don’t come into a black neighborhood and start throwing your weight around. Especially when you’re coming from Israel. And you’re former IDF [Israeli Defense Forces].”


Video provided by Eisenberg

Eisenberg is Jewish, and says he was born in Seattle and was never a member of the Israeli military. After hearing a recording of the speech, Eisenberg said he contacted the Anti-Defamation League and reported the incident to police.

Meanwhile, Eisenberg is planning some upgrades at both of his buildings. Plans are in the works to add a second story office space above the arcade/ice cream shop/cobbler/future pot shop building. Uncle Ike’s Glass and Goods, adjacent to the pot shop at 23rd and E Union, is currently closed for remodeling. “The place had all the ambiance of a nice insurance office,” Eisenberg said. Uncle Ike’s, by the way, is a CHS advertiser.

Finally, a new neon sign on E Union will, according to permits, give lost customers some helpful advice: “HEY STONER! AROUND THE CORNER.”

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24 thoughts on “With Central District I-502 retail a $1M+ a month business, 15th Ave E pot shop maneuverings play out

  1. Oh goodie, the comments section from the last article about this issue was the best online entertainment I’ve seen in a long time.

  2. I’m sure there is going to be people complaining about the opening of the Capitol Hill family Arcade, especially if it was opened to block a pot shop from opening across the street.

    But, from a business standpoint, that is a brilliant move. And why not? They are all competitors, after all….right?

    • In general I’m of the opinion that “business is business”, and I actually think Eisenberg has done a lot of good for the Central District’s development. But I think this posturing and maneuvering and chess game/lockout of Burke was very shady. The zoning authorities should toss out the relevance of the arcade as a disqualifying factor if Burke’s application was already in-process. That’s just bad karma and there’s no need for it. The demand is plenty big to support two weed shops, c’mon.

      • I didn’t say shady was illegal.
        Chick Fil A and Cracker Barrel don’t break any laws either, but I won’t eat at either of them. Just because something’s legal doesn’t mean it isn’t shady, in bad taste, or just plain ruthless– and here, in my opinion, seems uncalled for. I still believe there is plenty of business for weed without having to pull shit like this to hobble your competition. (IF, in fact, this is what really happened– You never really know, do you?).

      • I agree with Jim. It just doesn’t make sense that Eisenberg would open an arcade, and then pass it on to another business (Full Tilt), if it’s only going to be open for a few months. There just has to be an ulterior motive. I’m no fan of Burke, but in this case I think he has a legitimate beef.

  3. I find this all very interesting. Excellent reporting, CHS. Depending on how it all plays out, I could see at as a longform piece in a magazine or other publication–business rivalries, grey area laws and loopholes, citizen controversy, etc. I don’t really have a dog in the game, but since I live a lot closer to Uncle Ike’s it might be nice to see some of the northern capitol hill traffic go up to 15th.

  4. “Eisenberg is Jewish, but says he was born in Seattle and was never a member of the Israeli military.”

    I’m still trying to fathom this sentence. Wouldn’t a better way to report this be: “Eisenberg is Seattle born and raised. He’s not Israeli and hasn’t served in the Israeli army.”

    His being Jewish arguably is irrelevant. He was targeted because of his last name and rightly brought in the ADL.

    And, being Jewish “but” from Seattle. I believe there are many – millions, in fact – of Jews born outside of Israel.

    • It doesn’t seem that strange in light of the previous sentence and what it alleges:

      >An August 9th Black Lives Matter march made its way in front of Uncle Ike’s, where one speaker praised previous protestors, saying “They told him, you don’t come into a black neighborhood and start throwing your weight around. Especially when you’re coming from Israel. And you’re former IDF [Israeli Defense Forces].”

      Noting that he’s Jewish may give some indication as to why people thought he was Israeli. I don’t think it implies that it’s some big deal.

      • So you’re saying, explaining hate speech by emphasizing that the target is Jewish is understandable? You have to be kidding. Author of the posting seems to have stuck his foot in his mouth, and should correct the posting to retract this nod to hate speech (which hopefully wasn’t intended).

        If you have questions about the above, try this one on for size– what if the haters said “he’s an outside communist civil rights agitator who don’t belong in our town”, for example, and you explain it by saying, the target of this attack is Black, but not an outsider or a communist? Again, are you kidding?

      • Thanks for acknowledging the issue. My concern about saying the target of a slur like this is Jewish, boils down to this: the slur really doesn’t have anything to do with the target actually being Jewish (or whatever inspires the speaker’s hate). It just has to do with the speaker’s hate. For an extremely vivid example of this, recall the murder in Seattle a few years back of Charles Goldmark and his family. The murderer said that he killed them because Goldmark was a Jew and a communist. Goldmark of course was neither. The point I take from this is, don’t think you’re safe from hate-monger just because you don’t think you’re the type of person they hate. Hate mongers are stupid and/or crazy, and the real story is, they are still spewing their poison on our streets and in this case, unfortunately, in a blog post where a hate monger has succeeded in making the religion of his target the issue, when it has nothing to do with either the issues in the story or the hatred in the heart of the spewer.

  5. Arguably, the black lives matter folks, if indeed someone said that he was from Israel and was in the IDF, are anti-semitic. The majority of Jews in the world are not Israeli and have never been in the IDF. Most likely have never been to Israel. I am not sure of the right comparison, but perhaps assuming that all blacks are Democrats or love hip-hop begins to approach this sort of absurd and ill-founded statement.

    All this said, I hope that his maneuver does not result in his competitor being shut out. The idea of competing arcades is brilliant.

    Is there any rule precluding two dispensaries being a block away, once he shuts the arcade and opens his shop?

  6. Please, please, Capitol Hill, open a pot store(s) on 15th or SOMEWHERE in your own neighborhood. NOW. I live near 23rd and Union and the traffic around our Uncle Ike’s is horrendous at times.

  7. hilarious.. the central district was originally a predominantly jewish neighborhood. temple de hirsch ring a bell? hell, even the langston hughes center was originally a synagogue. how quick history can be forgotten or changed depending on who it benefits.

    • Originally this land was tribal.

      Nobody has forgotten that many Jewish (& Irish, Italian, Asian, etc.) people have also lived in the CD. Stop with the red herring.