Uncle Ikes — and Angel’s Shoe Repair — now open on Capitol Hill

Eisenberg inside the new shop Friday morning (Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

Eisenberg inside the new shop Friday morning (Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

Seattle’s largest pot purveyor and the city’s oldest shoe cobbler are finally ready to make their improbable double-header debut on Capitol Hill.

Ian Eisenberg opened his third Uncle Ike’s marijuana shop at 15th and E Republican Friday at 8 AM while Ray Angel debuted his re-opened Angel’s Shoe Repair next door after closing last year.

Eisenberg said he expects his Capitol Hill shop, the neighborhood’s second, will be less of a destination than the first Uncle Ike’s on 23rd and Union. “Probably more of a neighborhood feel, more people walking in because there’s less parking,” he said.

Prices and offerings on 15th Ave E are planned to mirror the locations in the Central District and White Center, which opened in August. Eisenberg said there are no special celebrations planned for Friday as the space, formerly home to Capitol Hill Animal Clinic, got its final touches this week.

The opening should also attract less attention, positive and negative, than the 2014 opening in the Central District. Since then, Black Lives Matter marches have occasionally stopped at the shop to protest the selling of legal marijuana on a corner that had long been known for arrests of black men during the so-called war on drugs. So far, there has been little public pushback to expanding up the hill. “The neighborhood has been pretty welcoming,” Eisenberg said.

Uncle Ike’s continues to be a dominating force in Seattle’s legal marijuana market and has long been the second most profitable pot business in the state. In September the business reported $1.3 million in sales and recorded $27.3 million in total sales since opening in 2014, state records show.

Uncle Ike’s is a CHS advertiser.

While some people may prefer the smaller confines of his competitors, Eisenberg said the most important factor in his success has been price — Uncle Ike’s markets itself on having the lowest prices in the city. The local pot chain is hammering home its “cheap pot” tagline directly comparing its prices to Ruckus, which opened around the corner in December 2015.

Ruckus owner Sam Burke told CHS he is taking a different approach to the business. “I want to find, for any price point, the best pot available,” Burke said.

CHS has documented the ongoing rivalry between Burke and Eisenberg as the two have tussled for space — and sometimes left older neighborhood businesses struggling in their wake — on one of the only pot-friendly corners of Central Seattle. Ruckus actually took its name from the pot drama that played out between the two owners. Burke said he’s thankful the business has not lived up to its name since opening.

“We’ve been pleasantly surprised that the neighborhood seems to have incorporated us with very little ruckus, excuse the pun,” he said.

Sales at Ruckus have steadily climbed since it opened last year, according to state data, but have come nowhere close to the much larger Uncle Ike’s. In September the shop reported $289,618 in sales and $1.7 million in total sales. However, Burke may soon have an opportunity to expand with neighbor Postal Plus planning to move in March.

Like most I-502 store owners, Burke had no experience in the marijuana business before opening his shop, but did come with some relevant experience. In the 1980’s he owned two video rental shops in the region but closed them when the larger chain stores moved in.

“In the video business, the inventory is predictable. Everyone had the same opportunity to get the same titles,” he said. “A lot of growers I have no exposure to. It’s a constant unearthing to find the people we want to carry in the store.”

How I-502 shops will handle medical marijuana remains a looming question for most owners. For now Burke says he will offer anyone on the state’s patient list a 10% discount. Eisenberg said he is still waiting on rolling out medical sales, but it would likely happen at the 15th Ave E location first as the space is slightly larger than his other two stores.

Friday’s Ike’s opening in the overhauled building formerly home to an animal clinic also includes the debut of a new retail space in the project for longtime 15th Ave E neighborhood business, Angel’s Shoe Repair and cobbler Ray Angel. Plans for a Full Tilt ice cream component to the project were, however, scrapped.

Looking ahead, Eisenberg is eager to see how sales of various product types including flowers, vaporizing, and edibles differ across the three neighborhoods Ike’s now serves — Capitol Hill, White Center, and the Central District. As for when the confluence of city, state, and federal regulation will loosen up, Eisenberg said he expects to see lounges where smokers can gather before any expansion of areas where new retail stores might be allowed.

Uncle Ike’s Capitol Hill is located at 501 15th Ave E and is open 8 AM to 11:45 PM. You can learn more at uncleikespotshop.com.

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

13 thoughts on “Uncle Ikes — and Angel’s Shoe Repair — now open on Capitol Hill

  1. The “You’re on camera (and we might be listening, too)” signs on the fairly hideous building are the creepiest thing I’ve ever seen in the neighborhood.

  2. Well he has a track record of not being respectful to neighborhoods he sets up shop in given the circus he has turned the corner of 23rd and Union into, and the fact that the White Center shop sign says “RAT CITY”.

    • I don’t think it’s fair to blame Ike’s for that. Rat City is a pretty well-known nickname for the neighborhood, and is explained this way by the Rat City Rollergirls:

      “The Rat City Rollergirls were named after “Rat City”, the nickname for White Center, a south Seattle neighborhood, where the Rollergirls started playing at the Southgate Roller Rink. There are a couple theories about the name; some people assume there was once a prolific rat problem in the 1940’s, others remember when there was a military Relocation and Training (RAT) Center in White Center during WWII, while others claim it’s an acronym for Restricted Alcohol Territory.”

      http://ratcityrollergirls.com/about-us/a-brief-history/

    • “Turned into a circus.”

      If by circus you mean an improvement from the murder and arson hotspot it was before Ike’s came in.

      The corner of 23rd and Union where Ike’s operates has never been safer or better maintained than it is now, thanks to Ian’s investments in Ike’s and his overhaul of that formerly-sketchy carwash.

      As a resident of the area, it’s been a very positive change.

    • But why would we hope for a lucrative locally-owned business that generates large tax revenues to fail?

      Makes no sense.

  3. I popped into Angel’s shoe repair today and he was so happy to be open and even gave me 20% off my purchase for his grand re-opening. Go support him!

  4. I like how the remodel looks — not the standard concrete and glass of most new development on Capital Hill, it adds a little variety to the street front. Not all buildings need to be the same style, and it’s definitely more interesting than before the makeover.

    Lots of angry stuff in comments here, as if it’s a which-side-are-you-on situation. I like the idea of two pot businesses competing, or possibly complementing each other right across the street. In the restaurant and grocery businesses it’s pretty well known that having several similar offerings nearby can help all of them. Hopefully that will be the case here.

    In any event, it’s really great the Angel’s Shoe Repair has a home and hopefully Postal Plus will find a new home nearby too.

    • …having owned my home and apt. bldg. here on 15th for 31 years, and you’re going to start debating fugly architecture design, lets start with the Key bank building and WalGroan’s.
      People in this neighborhood need to dig their heads out of their butts.