With over 100 years of service, Angel’s Shoe Repair (and new friend Uncle Ike) planning end of month re-opening

The new look at 15th and Republican is finally nearing the end of construction (Image: CHS)

The new look at 15th and Republican is finally nearing the end of construction (Image: CHS)



“No, we haven’t talked about that,” Ray Angel tells CHS in response to our jackass-level question about whether his about to re-open 105-year-old Seattle shoe repair business is planning any, um, joint promotions with new landlord Uncle Ike’s.

Growing accustom to dumb pot jokes will only be part of the changes the Angel’s Shoe Repair cobbler will face when his shop in the overhauled building at 15th and Republican opens soon.

“It’s really a great thing he’s done for me,” Angel said about Ian Eisenberg’s offer to lease a small portion of the building where he is building the new Capitol Hill pot shop. Angel said he will have his own entrance and will be fully separated from the high security retail cannabis operation. He’ll have a little less space than his old location on E Republican but will fill the shop with his old machines and cobbler gear.

Angel says he expects to be open by the end of the month. Neighbor Ike’s hasn’t announced its planned opening date yet. Angel says the party will start early, however, when the 15th Ave E Merchants group holds its annual Sidewalk Fest on Sunday. They can also celebrate a decade for Liberty, expansion for Teriyaki Madness, and landmark status for the Gaslight Inn.

15th Ave E Merchants Sidewalk Fest

There is also one bit of sadness we can finally confirm. Eisenberg confirmed word on the street for a while now that Full Tilt will no longer be part of the plans at the new pot shop.

For Angel and Angel’s Shoe Repair, the new address is part of decades of cobbler work in Seattle. In 2012, Angel’s marked 100 years in the city. “I like working with my hands,” Angel told us back then. “Working with criminals for a bit after I graduated, I realized how hard they were to get along with. My customers though, they’ve always been great, and make the job so rewarding for me. The people are wonderful, and I’ve never really gotten a bad check—people who take care of their shoes tend to be good, reliable people.”

Angel’s latest odyssey began as the captains of Seattle’s I-502 pot industry shuffled about in a retail space grab around 15th and Republican, the only location on Capitol Hill where the combination of various rules and restrictions seemed not to prohibit retail cannabis. Eisenberg purchased the Capitol Hill Animal Clinic building and set off a series of events that ended with an Uncle Ike’s destined for 15th and Republican, competitor Ruckus taking over the old shop space where Angel worked, and the old cobbler business without a home. “When I went to the 15th Avenue merchant meeting, I said I wanted to be a good neighbor,” Eisenberg told CHS last summer. “I followed the trials and tribulations at Angel’s. I have the extra space.”

Whether an opportunity to show up his competitors at Ruckus, Eisenberg, a longtime CHS advertiser, being truly magnanimous, or some combination of it all, Angel’s has found yet another way to stay in business in the city.

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15 thoughts on “With over 100 years of service, Angel’s Shoe Repair (and new friend Uncle Ike) planning end of month re-opening

  1. Angel was evicted because Ruckus moved into Angel’s old space. The article makes it seem like Angel just got in the middle of something — but the actuality is, the owner of Ruckus saw an opportunity to displace Angel’s business and offered more for the space, resulting in Angel’s eviction and replacement by Ruckus. Yes, this is how business sometimes works. The pot business is more profitable than shoe repair. The owner of Ruckus didn’t lift a finger to help Angel. No legal responsibility for him to do so. I for one understand the economics of the situation, but I’d look for the business that forced Angel out to be magnanimous. Unfortunately, from where I sit, no way. So as a result of Ruckus moving in, Angel was facing ruin of his business.

    The owner of Ruckus had also tried to get the space that Uncle Ike’s is fixing up, Eisenberg outbid him. This blog reported people saying, this was somehow unfair, because Ruckus wanted the space first. So we had two entrepreneurs in the pot business looking at the same space, and one of them bid more, and people called that unfair to the one who bid less, because tried to get the space first. (As if, commercial real estate should be governed by a first-come, first serve rule.) The same people saw nothing unfair about Ruckus pushing out Angel’s Shoe Repair, a neighborhood business over 100 years old. The posting above unfairly says that Eisenberg’s purchase of the property set of a chain of events that led to Angel’s eviction, as if the owner of Ruckus had no choice about what he did. It was Ruckus’ owner who decided to take over Angel’s space, not Eisenberg.

    Nevertheless, Eisenberg made space available to Angel, obviously on terms that Angel can afford, even though it wasn’t Eisenberg who forced Angel out, but Ruckus. Nevertheless, the posting rather snottily suggests maybe it was just to show up his competitor. Anything to put a taint on Uncle Ike’s — even when the owner steps in to save a longtime neighborhood business that would have been destroyed otherwise.

    I say, Eisenberg deserves much credit for doing right by a business that humanizes and enriches our neighborhood, and does not deserve snide barbs from this blog. I for one also like the look of the building — it’s a big improvement over the rather ugly structure that was there before.

    As a consumer, I think it’s great that Uncle Ike’s is opening across the street from Ruckus. Usually barriers to entry of pot shops create an artificial restriction on competition, causing higher prices. Having head to head competition on 15th should help that and hopefully give both stores a good incentive for good customer service, selection, etc.

    • Everything you say is true, neglecting one point– Eisenberg’s stunt of trying to pot-block Ruckus by pretending to start an ice cream shop/arcade, (trying to trigger the prohibition of a pot shop too-close to where kids congregate), was classless. I guess the Cannabis board saw through that? Certainly there’s enough weed business for both of them without playing ruthless, classless games like that. (to wit– Ponder is just a block away from Uncle Ike’s in the CD, and they both do fine). Overall I think Eisenberg has provided a great pot-buying experience and rejuvenated his corner of Union&23rd, which is commendable. I just think that fakeout game with the arcade-that-never-happened was ruthless and rude.

    • Hey Ian (JK?),

      What about the vet that Ike’s forced out?

      Also, if I understand correctly, Ruckus was trying to buy the vet space, when Ian outbid him that is when they made an offer on Angel’s space. Not that that changes anything but, I think maybe that’s what was meant when it was said Ian was the catalyst.

      Either way, Ike’s sucks. He just did this to gain cred with the neighborhood. Also, what happened to that Full Tilt? You know, the one that was going to replace the temporary arcade Ian put up (that never seemed to be open), just to try to block Ruckus (yet stupidly didn’t have the right permitting or licensing or some such thing). And yeah, it was a legal business move, just like all of his and his family’s questionable business practices (years ago Ian was sued, successfully, by the FTC for deceptive practices, also for wiping out a competitor’s hard drives when he was still in the phone sex business… oh, and he has tried to sue Ponder over signage laws that I’m pretty sure he has also violated).

    • In addition to the two comments above, I would add that Ian Eisenberg is a businessman. And like any other successful businessman, everything he does is going to net him money. In this case, Angels was a successful, stable tenant that was ready to move in. The fact that the community is happy that Angels gets to stay is icing on the cake, not the main reason Ian did it. I’m not faulting Ian for being a businessman, just pointing out his (likely) motive.

  2. Well, for sure this is the only location in the world where a pot shop and a shoe repair business share the same building!

    I’m happy for Angel….he deserves this after his shoddy treatment and eviction by the owner of his previous shop.

  3. Any guesses on what its going to be like trying to get a spot in the Walgreens lot once this pot store opens up? Going to be interesting.

  4. Nobody talks about the post office guy being outbid from his lease. Capitol Hill is becoming the destination to get high. and eat. Not much else left to do. Listen to live music while getting high. Eat during and after getting high. Visit the hospital after months and years of overeating and getting high.

    Ian, successful businessperson or not, you strike me as a thug. Yeah, like some breaking badass character out of aTarantino movie. You like that comparison, don’t you? I understand the value of real estate around here and why longtime folks lose their leases. It’s business, we all get it. But after that “arcade” debacle, I will never recommend your establishment(s) to my airbnb guests or anyone else who might ask (and plenty do).

    May your wallet get fatter as your wee soul withers.