‘Save Our Angel’ — Community fundraiser started as Angel’s Shoe Repair evicted to make way for new pot shop

The Save Our Angel! Gofundme Page (Image: @solv17 via Twitter)

The Save Our Angel! Gofundme Page (Image: @solv17 via Twitter)

An attempt to forge a sweet ending for Angel’s Shoe Repair after 35 years at 15th and Republican has gone sour. Last week, CHS reported on the more than 100-year-old business losing its month-to-month lease as a new I-502 marijuana retailer was taking over the space. When we talked with Tok owner Sam Burke, there was still a chance he and Ray Angel could work out a deal to give the cobbler a part to play in the new marijuana shop.

But by Friday afternoon, the eviction notice went up — and the deal, apparently, was off.

Ben Livingston, who is working as Burke’s broker in acquiring a location for the business, said Burke offered Angel “a part-time job” with a five-year contract and that Angel was “pretty stoked about the job.” Burke also offered Angel a $95,000 “goodwill payment,” Livingston said. “The only goal was to make him happy and not complain to the media,” Livingston said. UPDATE 6/3/2015 8:15 AM: Livingston provided a correction clarifying the offer he says was offered to Angel —

Mr. Burke offered a lump sum payment of $20,000 and five years of half-time employment at $15/hr ($15k per year times five years minimum guaranteed employment).

Livingston said there was an informal agreement between the men but that changed when lawyers got involved. According to Livingston, Angel wanted a guarantee of payment even if Tok never opened.

UPDATE 6/3/2015 5:00 PM: The lawyer representing Ray Angel tells CHS she refutes Livingston’s account of the negotiations. “It would have been nice if there were a $20,000 lump sum payment and/or a five-year guaranteed employment,” Cecilia Cordova of Pacific Alliance Law said. “The fact is, either one of those would have been a good deal, but neither was offered.”

“My understanding is different from what Mr. Livingston is purporting the terms of the agreement to be,” Cordova said.

Angel’s eviction date looms at the end of the month but Cordova declined to comment further on the situation at this time. Commercial eviction can be a lengthy process and there are avenues including bankruptcy court that can add even more time to the process.

The eviction notice went up Friday -- enlarge

The eviction notice went up Friday — enlarge

Arlana Angel, Ray’s daughter who has been representing the business, said the Capitol Hill cobbler will be taking the next two weeks to complete orders and start moving out his century-old equipment. Ideally, Arlana said Angel will find a new home for his shop in the coming weeks.

“He got bullied out of his space,” she said. “It wouldn’t be easy for anyone, let alone someone who’s 67-years-old.”

Arlana said “a longtime customer and family friend” has created a donation page for supporting her dad’s move. $1,300 had been raised as of Tuesday afternoon.

Arlana also referred CHS to lawyers representing her father but they have not yet responded to our messages.

The family shoe repair business first opened in 1912 and has been on Capitol Hill for nearly 70 years.

Due to restrictions on where I-502 shops can be located, the area around 15th and Republican is in high demand. Entrepreneur and real estate investor Ian Eisenberg has confirmed with CHS his plans to convert the former veterinary clinic he purchased at 15th and Republican into a marijuana shop. CHS reported on the $1.5 million purchase in February as the CHS advertiser and Uncle Ike’s owner snatched the property out from under Burke.

Burke was initially trying to buy the building where the shoe repair business has been located, Livingston said. Ed Zhang — the official postmaster and business owner of the US Postal Service outlet next door to Angel’s in the building, told CHS he has two years left on his lease but has been notified by the building’s ownership that he will face a doubling of rents.

Livingston said Burke will take possession of the Angel’s Shoe Repair retail space starting July 1st.

tōk, Capitol Hill’s first pot shop, to open in longtime home of Angel’s Shoe Repair — UPDATE

IMG_4970When his target location for a recreational pot store on 15th Ave E was snatched up in an 11th hour deal earlier this year, Samuel Burke scrambled in search of a place to open Capitol Hill’s first I-502 shop. He may have found it across Republican at Angel’s Shoe Repair.

If all goes according to plan, Burke tells CHS he will open tōk by the end of June in the space that Ray Angel has occupied since 1980. Customers may also find a familiar face behind the pot shop’s counter: Burke says he wants to sign on Angel to work in his shop.

“I’m always looking for a win-win situation,” Burke told CHS.

Angel, a third generation cobbler, declined to comment on the future of his shop or his involvement with tōk. The family shoe repair business first opened in 1912 and has been on Capitol Hill for nearly 70 years. Joel Ostroff, who manages the property for Stanley Real Estate on behalf of the real estate investors who own the building, also declined to comment.

State Totals via the WSLCB’s Marijuana Dashboard

Burke told CHS on Thursday that he was prepared to sign a lease that day with the 1463 E Republican property owner. The state liquor board has already conditionally approved the new location, which Burke hopes could open as early as next month after he submits a copy of his lease and security plans to state regulators. However, Burke has reason to be cautious. Continue reading

CHS Pics | 2015 Cannabis Freedom march brings signs, causes, and I-502 product placements to streets of Capitol Hill

(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

IMG_7197Believer or not, there are elements of “cannabis freedom” greater than I-502 victories like “sophisticated” pot cookies and neighborhoods like 15th Ave E facing competition between potential multiple legal pot retail shops. Saturday, the various forces pushing for the next horizons of pot freedom gathered again in Volunteer Park for a rally and march for the cause.

Here’s a look at the march as it traveled down Broadway and Pine along with the messages of the many constituencies represented — from the cannabis as PTSD treatment “22” movement that marks the number of veterans believed to commit suicide every day, to the ongoing fight to have marijuana removed from the federal roster of controlled substances, to the fight against Washington’s plans to transition medical marijuana into the purview of I-502 retailers. And, in true I-502 spirit, there was also some community-friendly product placement thanks to providers like Nana’s Secret “cannabis-infused” sodas.

Meanwhile, Central Seattle potrepreneur Ian Eisenberg may not have had a float in this year’s march but he did have reason to celebrate. The lawsuit brought against his Uncle Ike’s shop at 23rd and Union by a neighboring church and community group has been dropped, the Seattle Times reports. CHS reported here on some of the early legal victories for Eisenberg’s store. Last month, Eisenberg told CHS he is planning to open a second I-502 retailer in the former veterinarian clinic building he purchased at 15th Ave and Republican.IMG_7269

More pictures, below. Continue reading

Medical marijuana overhaul will close dispensaries and shift patients to I-502 retailers

Capitol Hill celebrated the passage of I-502, which brought about the medical marijuana overhaul (Image: CHS)

Capitol Hill celebrated the passage of I-502, which brought about the medical marijuana overhaul (Image: CHS)

The green cross has grown into a symbol of the marijuana medical marijuana industry

The green cross has grown into a symbol of the marijuana medical marijuana industry

Last week, Governor Jay Inslee enacted the most sweeping overhaul to the state’s medical marijuana system since voters first approved it in 1998. It was an effort to bring the mostly unregulated medical marijuana system in-line with the highly regulated recreational one.

For Seattle’s non-patients, the most noticeable change might be an urban landscape suddenly devoid of signs bearing green crosses.

Shutting down medical shops will also mean putting some people out of a job including workers and owners at a handful of Central District dispensaries.

Shy Sadis, who claims ownership of 10 dispensaries including Starbuds at 23rd and John, said nearly all of his 80 employees could be out of work if the state doesn’t establish a pathway for medical shops to re-open as retailers.

“I wish medical could stay, but if it’s going, I’m going to have to make the transition to full I-502,” he said. “I’m hoping they will give us I-502 licenses for shutting us down.”

Many of the city’s medical marijuana dispensaries are expected to close by July 2016 under the reformation act, though the overhaul does pave pathway for some to transition into recreational shops. I-502 shops already in operation will be able to obtain medical endorsements to sell medical marijuana to card-holding patients tax-free. Continue reading

Sophisticated pot cookies from Cupcake Royale owner hit Washington shelves this week

IMG_500411042995_790407917720004_6485921742731297610_nJody Hall took cupcakes to a new level when the Capitol Hill resident opened Cupcake Royale, now she wants to do the same for marijuana infused treats. After a year of research and tinkering with recipes, CHS can report that Hall is rolling out a line of edibles under her new business, The Goodship Company.

On Friday, Goodship began distributing its first retail-ready batch of two types of cookies — sea-salt chocolate chip and Saigon cinnamon snickerdoodle — to ten I-502 retailers in the region, including Uncle Ike’s at 23rd and Union. Unfortunately, you won’t find them for sale at Cupcake Royale’s E Pike flagship.

Bringing her baking expertise to the world of edibles, Hall said her soft batch cookies are made with the “welcome back potter” in mind — adults returning to marijuana after giving it up in their younger days. From the packaging artwork to the wholesome ingredients, Hall said she wants her products to shake off the seedy stigma attached to weed-infused sweets.

“You should bring this to a dinner party like you bring a nice bottle of wine,” she said. “I’m calling it sophisticated good times.” Continue reading

East Precinct meeting talks pot, reform, but mostly violent crime in the CD with City Attorney and SPD brass

Thursday night, Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes and East Precinct commander Captain Pierre Davis met with community members in a packed Seattle University room to talk about updates on precinct crime and how SPD and the attorney’s office can better serve residents.

Many of those in attendance who spoke vented their frustration and concerns with both the nuisance of day to day criminal activity and more serious violence around Capitol Hill and the Central District.

“Cops can’t do everything,” Holmes told the crowd. “if there are building code violations, if there is something that SDOT can do… that [collaboration between departments] is something that my office is really good at helping pull in.” He added that law enforcement is not always the solution. “It could be civil, it could be regulatory.”

Violent crime, particularly in the Central District, was on most attendees’ minds, particularly the intersection of 23rd and Union, which has recently seen numerous instances of gunfire.

“It’s not about gentrification, it’s not about any of that shit. It’s about getting gangs off the streets … you can actually time it [when gun shots occur],” said one attendee.

Some speakers blamed the Midtown Center property at 23rd and Union for the criminal activity. One speaker called out property owner Tom Bangasser — who was present at the meeting — for not selling the property to developers fast enough because he was waiting as the value rises. Continue reading

Uncle Ike’s owner snatches up 15th Ave E property sought by tōk pot shop owner

Samuel Burke was well on his way to opening Capitol Hill’s first retail marijuana shop this spring, but a curveball from a surprising source is putting his plans on hold.

Late last month, Uncle Ike’s owner Ian Eisenberg bought the 15th Ave E and E Republican building where Burke has been planning to open tōk. Eisenberg bought the Capitol Hill Veterinary Clinic for $1.5 million under his company Capitol Hill Holdings, LLC.

The acquisition gives Eisenberg a potential contingency plan if Uncle Ike’s is forced to move, though he didn’t rule out the possibility of leasing the property to Burke. “I have a lawsuit trying to force me to move as well as a state senate bill forcing me to move,” Eisenberg told CHS. Continue reading

Olympia Roundup: New medical pot system, renter posthumous rights, light rail to Ballard

Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 8.49.26 PMThe bills are in, now its time for state legislators to take action. Last month, we wrote about how revenue and education would be the overriding issues facing Olympia this year. That remains the case, but Capitol Hill’s 43rd District delegation — which includes Sen. Jaime Pedersen, House Speaker Frank Chopp, and Rep. Brady Walkinshaw — are involved in a number of other issues also affecting Capitol Hill.

  • Medical marijuana bill passes Senate — A bill seeking to rein in the state’s largely unregulated medical marijuana system and bring it more in line with the highly regulated retail market is heading to the House after it passed the Senate earlier this month. SB 5052 would create a database of medical patients, and allow those patients to possess up to three times more marijuana than non-patient adults. Patients could grow up to six plants at home and the bill would replace the current collective garden structure with 4-person coops. The bill would also give the state Liquor Control Board, which regulated marijuana, a much needed new name: the Liquor and Cannabis Board. Continue reading

Uncle Ike’s first Christmas comes up big but 2015 starts with Washington pot supply (finally) exceeding demand

(Source: WSLCB)

Uncle Ike’s sales outpaced state growth totals on the holiday revenue end of things (Source: WSLCB)

Uncle Ike's first customers were paying $26 for the shop's cheapest gram (Photo: Alex Garland)

Uncle Ike’s first customers were paying $26 per gram for the cheapest strains, now selling for $10. (Photo: Alex Garland)

If you’ve been avoiding Seattle’s retail marijuana shops because of the sky high prices, now might be the time to make a visit . Across the state, retail marijuana prices have dropped by over half in some places from when sales first started last summer.

At Uncle Ike’s, Capitol Hill’s nearest recreational pot retailer at 23rd and Union, some strains are now selling for around $10 per gram. The average gram was selling for $30 when the store opened in September. At the time, the state hadn’t permitted enough growers to meet demand, but the tides have apparently turned.

“Processors are now just sitting on hundreds of pounds and they can’t sell it,” said Ike’s owner Ian Eisenberg. “There are more growers coming on line every day.”

In fact, Eisenberg said the CHS advertiser has so much surplus that he’s having to build out more storage for the glut of pre-packaged pot. Eisenberg filed construction permits for the work last month.

The lower prices may get more customers in the door, but Eisenberg said he and other I-502 retailers still can’t compete with the less regulated and less taxed medical market. This week, City Attorney Pete Holmes issued a call to state lawmakers to fold the medical system in the I-502 framework, a proposal Eisenberg said he supports.

Still, Uncle Ike’s remains one of the most successful shops in the state. State sales jumped 5% on average between November and December, while sales at Uncle Ike’s jumped 23%. Eisenberg’s shop was responsible for 4.15% of total marijuana sales in the state in December with just over $700,000 in pre-tax sales.

An ongoing lawsuit from a neighboring church isn’t slowing Ike’s down, either. In December, a King County Superior Court judge denied Mount Calvary Christian Center’s attempt to shut down Ike’s while their lawsuit against the business moves through court. The church is suing the pot shop for operating too close to a facility it says it being used as a teen center.

Meanwhile, a shuttered pot delivery service that operated on Capitol Hill is getting a new life in the legal market. Last month, the state liquor board approved the Winterlife Coop to become a marijuana processor at a north Seattle facility. Winterlife’s plans include producing “solvent-less” concentrates for vaporizers using alcohol rather than petroleum.

“Our main focus is edibles and concentrates as we believe that more and more the customer base will move away from smoking as the primary delivery source,” Winterlife’s Evan Cox told CHS. “It’s quite a change, but we’ve been preparing for it for some time and we’re overjoyed.”

And one last note: The timeline for an I-502 store opening on 15th Ave E is getting moved back again. Samuel Burke told CHS he now hopes to open tōk sometime in May.

City attorney calls for pot lounges and a crackdown on illegal medical shops

In 2013 we called it the renter’s paradox: Washington has legal pot, but many people, including renters and tourists, don’t have a place to “legally” use it. At the time, City Attorney Pete Holmes said the legislature needed to address the issue. This week, Holmes issued a wide-ranging memo urging the legislature to make legal pot reforms, including allowing for “marijuana use lounges.”

Single family homeowners have a legal place to consume marijuana; others, however, such as out-of-town visitors, the homeless, and renter and condominium owners whose building do not permit marijuana use, have fewer options. Enforcement against public marijuana use will be more effective if people have alternative locations to use marijuana legally.

With a prohibition against using marijuana “in view of the general public,” the situation has left some conscientious renters and tourists wondering where they can technically smoke-up.

Holmes envisions the new lounge businesses would be 21 and over, allowed to sell food but not alcohol, and restricted to vaporizers and edibles. Since legal pot can’t be used where it’s sold, lounge customers would have to bring their own product. Continue reading