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.