Victrola’s downtown cafe brings along Capitol Hill roots (and opportunity to make some big new giant retailer friends)

Born in 2000 on 15th Ave E, Victrola has survived neighboring competitive corporate mimicry — remember 15th Ave Coffee & Tea? — and downright overwhelming investment on a global scale. This week, the small chain of cafes has expanded into new Seattle territory directly in the maw of massive brands downtown at 3rd and Pine — and it has made some surprising alliances along the way.

Wednesday, Victrola opened its new cafe inside the Macy’s building, well off Capitol Hill.

Victrola’s Andrew Wheeler tells CHS one of the 15th Ave cafe’s earliest customers called that shop “the living room of the neighborhood.” It’s an ideal Victrola hopes to carry downtown. Continue reading

Book Launch for DELIVER US by Robinson & Kovite, with Amanda Knox and Jack Ballard

Christopher Robinson & Gavin Kovite will read from their controversial new novel, DELIVER US, which features Amazon, Detroit, race politics, and drone delivery. Jeff Bezos is even a character in the book.

Amanda Knox will host the event and moderate the Q&A. Her experience with controversy, competing narratives, and commitment to racial justice in the Innocence Movement will provide a framework for discussing this provocative book.

And comedian Jack Ballard will open the event with some Amazonian jokes!

Comically absurd and painfully real, DELIVER US is a prescient and provocative literary novel that moves swiftly through near-future Detroit as a black social-media activist leads a campaign against Amazon, whose new fleet of delivery drones offers rebirth to the blighted city while threatening to magnify existing racial inequalities. ​​

Robinson & Kovite’s last novel, WAR OF THE ENCYCLOPAEDISTS (Scribner, 2015) was critically acclaimed. Michiko Kakutani of The New York Times called it “Spirited…a captivating coming-of-age novel that is, by turns, funny and sad and elegiac.”

Reading starts at 7pm, May 25th. Come support Elliott Bay Book Company, and help foster a discussion of Amazon’s relationship with racial and economic inequality.

 

Seattle earmarks $1M for ’emergency’ homelessness services as Sawant holds ‘Tax Amazon’ town hall

With Seattle homelessness advocates continuing to debate short-term and immediate services vs. more permanent housing, the city’s Human Services Department has earmarked $1 million in bridge funding to providers of emergency shelter, hygiene services in the city.

Meanwhile, District 3 representative Kshama Sawant will hold a Tax Amazon Town Hall Tuesday night at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute to raise support for the proposed $75-million Seattle “employment tax” on businesses that is hoped will fund housing and homelessness services in Seattle.

The $1 million in “augmented” funding for Compass, LIHI – Urban Rest Stop, SHARE/WHEEL shelters, and the Seattle Indian Center comes from the city council’s decision to sell a $11 million South Lake Union property and use the proceeds, in part, to address the city’s homelessness and affordability crisis. Continue reading

You can soon ‘Go’ to Amazon’s new automagic grocery store on your way back to Capitol Hill

Only a mile from the crowd around the self check-out kiosks at the Harvard Market QFC, a new shopping experience — probably worked on by a few Capitol Hill residents who have stood in that crowd — will be unveiled early next year on 7th Ave.

Amazon Go will be a “self driving” grocery store in Seattle’s burgeoning new Amazonia neighborhood where shoppers can walk in and walk out with anything they like — without having to wait to ring up their purchases.

“What if we could weave the most advanced machine learning, computer vision and AI into the very fabric of a store, so you never have to wait in line,” the promo video released Monday morning asks. “No lines, no checkout, no registers — welcome to Amazon Go.”

The company’s secret grocery project comes as the retail giant has laid claim to around a third of the country’s online holiday spending this year and many industry watchers have been predicting advances with delivery technology like drones. The company is also planning drive-up grocery stores with a prototype nearly ready to open in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood.

While the planned Amazon Go debut in 2017 at 2131 7th Ave has garnered a lot of buzz, we’ll be more impressed when the retailer shows its new system can work on Broadway where many grocery shoppers have been employing a version of “just walk out technology” for years.

“Take whatever you like. Anything you pick up is automatically added to your virtual card. If you change your mind about that, Cupcake, just put it back…”