The tale of a new home for Postal Plus, an expansion for Ruckus pot shop, and the exit of a Capitol Hill antiquarian book seller

Postal Plus will, indeed, be moving on from its longtime home on Republican at 15th. Because this is Capitol Hill, Seattle in the year 2017, the move involves both a pot shop expansion and changes for an antiquarian book seller.

Let’s start with the mail. Postmaster Ed Zhang has found a new address to help serve as a contractor for the United States Post Office.

“I feel very much relieved,” Zhang said about finding a new location.

Zhang said the new location, which formerly housed Louis Collins Rare Books, is not only more affordable, but it also has space for parking. Zhang said the lease he signed is for 10 years with the option to renew for another 10. After taking the weekend to move and set up, the shop will reopen at 1211 E Denny Way on April 3.

But talk about burying the lede, yes, Capitol Hill has lost its “rare books” retailer as Louis Collins, the man behind the Seattle Antiquarian Book Fair, has decided to move his operations to North Seattle.

There is also a third alternative lede to this story. E Republican at 15th pot shop Ruckus, as expected, is planning to expand into the Postal Plus space. Though the timing of the expansion is still being worked out, employees say a recent ad in The Stranger promoting a “moving sale” should really be an “expansion sale.” Apparently there are a few discounts to be had as the Ruckus crew cleans up inventory to get ready to more than double the size of the shop.

CHS reported in October 2016 that Postal Plus was faced with doubling rent after about 30 years at its current home and Zhang was looking for a new location. Zhang’s neighbor Angel’s Shoe Repair owner Ray Angel moved out earlier and re-opened his 105-year-old business at 15th and Republican under new landlord and Ruckus competitor Uncle Ike’s.

The business situation around Postal Plus is more complicated than most small ventures on the street.

The US Post Office pays contract retailers like Zhang a flat fee, regardless of other expenses, to independently run a de-facto post office with the ability to offer other services. Zhang has been searching for a cheaper location on Capitol Hill, which needed to be in the 98112 ZIP code to keep the USPS contract. UPDATE: We checked in on the ZIP issue raised in comments. Zhang clarified to CHS that his contract covers 98102, 98122, and 98112. Sorry for the error.

Resident Ellen Taft organized a meeting last month to help find a new location for Postal Plus, but Zhang shared there that he had found a new spot.

While Zhang worked through finalizing the lease, he asked CHS to hold off on reporting on the move until he actually had the deal signed. We were happy to oblige.

“The community has tried to help a lot. They really stand on my side,” Zhang said.

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9 thoughts on “The tale of a new home for Postal Plus, an expansion for Ruckus pot shop, and the exit of a Capitol Hill antiquarian book seller

  1. > needed to be in the 98112 zip code to keep the USPS contract

    The 12th Ave side of the block that Zhang is moving to is in 98122 and Google Maps says his new address on E Denny is, as well. Oops?

  2. At the risk of bringing up minutiae, I must point out that that (in general) Denny Way is the dividing line between 98112 and 98122, and that Collins Rare Books is on the SOUTH side of Denny Way and hence is presumably in 98122. (“needed to be in the 98112 ZIP code to keep the USPS contract.”)

    BTW I’ve been passing Collins Rare Books for decades and almost never saw it open to the public, and only went inside once (I assumed it did its business online) . And yes, it did have old travel books that featured my English hometown. Kind of wished I’d bought them.

  3. I went to that post office once years ago; don’t know if they have the same ownership. They overcharged me for the package I was going to mail; I know these places often slap on an additional fee to the regular post office charge, but they weighed the package incorrectly. I only discovered this because I didn’t have enough money. And the next time I went to the regular post office and the package weighed much less than what I’d been told. I didn’t think they were necessarily trying to cheat me; more like incompetent. So I never went back. Hope service has improved since then.

    • The couple of times I went in the place to mail or purchase something, this guy was so rude not only to me but also to everyone else who was in front of me in line. I never went back in, and certainly won’t go in a new location…

    • I’ve used this PO for years (there’s a professional writer in the household, so we use it a lot in fact) and have been very happy with the service. Mr. Zhang has always been accommodating and precise. It’s not a chatty place, but when I go to get stamps or mail something, I’m more interested in getting in and out without chattiness holding up a line. The supplies are great, and the location has been marvelous.

      Good luck with the move to Mr. Zhang!

      (12th and Denny is a bit further, but we’ve got dogs and are at Broadway Veterinary more than a few times a year . Also, I believe that location is just a block or two north of the Rachel’s Ginger Beer shop, which I like visit far more often than to the vet .)

  4. For years I’ve enjoyed efficient and friendly service from Mr. Zhang at the postal store, and I’m so glad he has found a new place. Where else can you take care of postal business with KING FM playing classical music in the background? He’s always been more than courteous to me, and very helpful in explaining the ins and outs of various packaging and routing rules.