You can now purchase ‘technical luxury’ at Kit and Ace Capitol Hill

(Image: CHS)

(Image: CHS)

IMG_5992Vancouver, BC-based Kit and Ace has opened on Pike just across the street from the Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Melrose Market.

The new store is a world away from the longtime former tenant of the space, Uncle Elizabeth’s, the last of Capitol Hill’s internet cafes. Demand for commercial space in Pike/Pine is reportedly high despite a flood of new construction. Occult and magick retailer Edge of the Circle got the boot from its 20-year-plus Pike home as its new landlord said it was fielding lots of interest for the space. Edge has since landed in the U-District. Nearby, a giant 10,000 square-foot mystery retailer is lined up for new construction. Meanwhile, the demand apparently has a new space to absorb as Atomic Cosmetics has shuttered.

CHS wrote about the arrival of Kit and Ace on Capitol Hill in June. The “technical luxury” clothing retailer was created by J.J. Wilson, son of Lululemon founder Chip Wilson, and J.J.’s stepmom Shannon Wilson.

So what, exactly, does “technical luxury” mean?

(Image: Kit and Ace)

(Image: Kit and Ace)

Luxury is in the details. From hem to neckline and from the inside out, we consider how you move throughout your day. We create fabric compositions that are versatile, functional and designed with your comfort in mind. Kit and Ace clothing gives you unrestrained freedom, so there are no limits to your range of motion. This is luxury made to live in.

J.J. told CHS “the Capitol Hill area is us” in June. With the new company plans to open 50 shops worldwide by the end of 2015, J.J. said Seattle’s new minimum wage laws were never a factor in deciding to open a store here. “We’re huge fans of the emerging creative class and the real estate factor has to be there — the right space on the right street,” Wilson said.

You can learn more at

Capitol Hill’s Ada’s launches its own book collection through crowd-powered publisher Inkshares

IMG_6756The shelves inside Ada’s Technical Books are chock full of inspiration for innovation and experimentation, so it’s no surprise the shop itself has taken a few of those lessons to heart. From the lock picking classes that started at the old Harvard Ave location, to the cafe and coworking space that were added in the move to 15th Ave, Ada’s has made a habit of elevating the neighborhood bookshop game.

Now the bookseller is stepping into the realm of book publisher. Ada’s recently announced a partnership with crowd-powered publisher Inkshares to release books under The Ada’s Technical Books Collection.

“We’re looking for books we think are interesting and fit within our store,” said Ada’s events coordinator Alex Hughes.

In addition to being part of an Ada’s curated collection, writers will also get promotional support for their book and, of course, a place on Ada’s shelves. Continue reading

Edge of the Circle finds new U-District home

After losing the lease on its more than 20-year E Pike home, Edge of the Circle is moving to the University District — and could use a hand:

Hi, everyone! Edge of the Circle is in dire need of someone who can paint the interior of the new space in the U-District, (formerly Xanadu Comics). We need a professional job done ASAP, so we can move and re-open the store with as little lag time as possible!

Contact info is here if you can help.

Earlier this month, CHS spoke with Edge owner Robert Anderson about the new ownership of The Ludlow building and the landlord’s decision to boot the shop specializing in books and goods of magick and the occult. “We’ve received tremendous interest in the space and we are committed to bringing in a small business that will add something new and exciting to the neighborhood in which we live,” a representative for the ownership told CHS.

No new tenant has been publicly announced.


Electric Lady revs up plans for bike shop to serve next generation of ‘city trekkers’ at 23rd and Union

ElectricLadyFINAL2bigAlex Kostelnik says you should think of his plans for two bike shops around 23rd and Union like an old school Sears — but with a bike lane, not an escalator.

“Think of it like a department store,” Kostelnik tells CHS. “Only you go down the street to get to another department.”

This winter, Kostelnik will open Electric Lady, a new store inside the currently under construction development on the southwest corner of 23rd and Union. Where his 20/20 Cycle tops out with used bikes around $400 to $600, Electric Lady is set to address a riding market that Kostelnik believes is finally ready for business in Seattle.

The Central with 92 apartment units and 4,500 square feet of commercial space is set to complete construction at 23rd and Union before the end of the year

The Central with 92 apartment units and 4,500 square feet of commercial space is set to complete construction at 23rd and Union before the end of the year

“99% of my biking has been spent commuting by bike,” Kostelnik said. “I’m 47 and never owned a car.” Plus, Kostelnik is a new father — so he has a growing interest in the cargo end of a cargo bike.

Electric Lady*, inspired by and named in the glow of amazement Kostelnik felt as his wife gave birth to his first child 10 months ago, will feature electric cargo bikes, a full line of new bikes, kits, gear including handmade bike bags and panniers, “and the best touring rack selection in Seattle.” The Lady will also sell Kostelnik’s handmade Kalakala bikes and he’s working on which folding bike and single-rider electric bike brands to feature. The new bike section is set. Italian classic Bianchi, the oldest bike manufacturer in the world, will house its line inside the coming Central District store. *Kostelnik is also a recording engineer so the name is also inspired by Electric Lady Studios, of course, the legendary Greenwich Village studio constructed for Jimi Hendrix.

The star attraction will be the cargo “city trekking” bikes designed to carry commuters, and families, and dogs, and cats, and Christmas trees, and sometimes more than a 100 pounds of stuff plus a rider. On Saturday, you can check one out at a pop-up event at 20/20 Cycle featuring the new Xtracycle Edgerunner. Continue reading

CHS Pics | With Pride rainbows and black leather, Doghouse Leathers unveils expansion

Celebrate the start of Pride Week on Capitol Hill with black, not a rainbow.

The expansion of Doghouse Leathers is complete on E Pike. CHS told you about the LGBTQ and kink friendly retailer’s plans to double its Pike/Pine presence earlier this year with more room to shop and create male-focused leather goods. Meanwhile, Dennis McDonnell and his much-loved Central Vacuum Service said goodbye to the neighborhood after 56 years of repairs. Doghouse Leathers, by the way, is a CHS advertiser.

The neighborhood, meanwhile, is gearing up for a busy week of Pride — you can check out the roster of Capitol Hill Pride Events here via the CHS Calendar. And keep your eyes peeled — Tuesday, even more rainbows are soon expected to appear.

Amid changes on 15th Ave E, Station 7 opens shop

(Images: CHS)

The 15th Ave E commercial village is welcoming a new merchant this month as Station 7 has opened inside the old firehouse at 15th and Harrison.

Here is how owners Danielle Yoakum Tilden and Jan Reingold describe the new boutique:

We are a community-based store offering art, jewelry, found furniture pieces with an industrial flair, home goods and accessories. We search hard and gather one of a kind objects. We especially love architectural salvaged items, rust, worn leather, crystal and industrial metal, but you’ll find all sorts of goods in our shop. We are proud to showcase the work of many talented artists and artisans in our community. We feature locally made craft jewelry, art, ceramics, glass works, leather goods and clothing.

FEATURED ARTISTS: Jan Reingold, jewelry – Leslie West, encaustic art, assemblages – David Tuthill, metal work, jewelry – Eric Saeter, ceramics, jewelry – Hannah Reingold, jewelry – Linda Van Hare, glass work – Mojo Studio, jewelry – Courtney Keene, jewelry FEATURED PRODUCT LINES: glassybaby – Blackbird – Formulary 55

CHS spoke with North Capitol Hiller Yoakum Tilden earlier this year about the new life for the building as a creative boutique. “I really wanted it to be close to home. I wanted it to be a neighborhood thing,” she said at the time.

Station 7 opened earlier this month after a buildout that reclaimed the parking lot as a new patio space and emptied the old firehouse of the remnants of its longtime tenant, the dearly departed last video rental shop on Capitol Hill, On 15th Video. With new faces like Rudy’s Capitol Hill East moving in, and longtime businesses being pushed aside by the strip’s I-502 friendly zoning opportunities, Station 7 represents a bit of old school 15th Ave E. But Yoakum Tilden isn’t part of the truly old 15th Ave E merchant class — we asked.

Station 7 is located at 400 15th Ave E and is open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 11 AM to 7 PM and Sundays, 11 AM to 6 PM. You can learn more at


After more than 20 years on E Pike, Edge of the Circle loses lease

“The business doesn’t look as slick and professional as the other stores. Maybe they just don’t want us on the block.”

When landlords can say goodbye to a 20+ year retail tenant without a new business lined up to take the space, the good times in Pike/Pine must be very good.

Edge of the Circle, Seattle’s source for paganism and the occult, has lost its lease on E Pike, owner Robert Anderson tells CHS.

“He told me, we’ve been thinking about different business strategies and we’ve decided we want to do something else with the lease. We want yo to move. We’re choosing not to renew the lease,” Anderson said about a painfully awkward conversation with a property manger representing the company that purchased The Ludlow, the 700-block E Pike building home to Edge and a variety of Capitol Hill-flavored businesses, last year. You can read more of the play-by-play of the way in which Anderson found out his bookstore and emporium was getting the boot here via the Slog which broke the news about the situation Thursday. Anderson tells CHS he only found about the change Wednesday — he now has until August to move out, and find a new home for the shop.


Anderson tells CHS he has been in a month to month lease situation in the building after his longterm lease with the Ludlow’s previous owners ran out. When those longtime owners sold the property in September for $7.5 million, Anderson said the new owners told him to hang tight and that they planned to keep things as they were.

Wednesday’s news comes as a shock and has Anderson wondering what exactly was behind the ouster. “In 20 year, I’ve always paid my rent,” he said. “The business doesn’t look as slick and professional as the other stores. Maybe they just don’t want us on the block.” Continue reading

Pike/Pine businesses await ‘precedent-setting’ help under city’s construction hub program

IMG_8667Pike/Pine business owners could finally get some relief from the neighborhood growing pains they say have battered their prospects for years. While each block and venture faces its own unique challenges, owners say the major issues are well known: The rush of construction is overwhelming the neighborhood and the area’s precious few parking spaces get unfairly tied up by unresponsive construction companies while constant sidewalk closures push customers away.

After more than a year of meetings, the city’s Office of Economic Development and Seattle Department of Transportation have told business owners they’re ready to release a “precedent-setting” strategy to help those businesses stay afloat. But business owners working with the city are still unclear about what those policies will include.

“I’m eager to see the details,” said Philip Shaw, president of the 11th and E Union design firm Golden Lasso

In an April meeting with city officials, business owners floated several ideas, including having developers pay for local business parking spots in private lots, offering public parking in residential underground garages, or having developers put together purchase coupons for retailer or restaurants to give to their new residents. Continue reading

Nevertold Casket Company looks for new home after zoning discrepancy forces closure of its Capitol Hill ‘odditorium’


(Image: Nevertold Casket Company)

“Everything is temporary in the city.”

For a shop as weird and haunted as the Nevertold Casket Company, it seems unfitting that the store had to shutter over a mundane zoning discrepancy. On the bright side, it wasn’t skyrocketing rent or evil spirits that forced Nevertold out after opening last September, and owners Jack and Tiffany Bennett tell CHS they’re planing to resurrect their little shop of horrors as soon as possible.

The 14th and E Republican “odditorium” selling “haunted goods” — and more — closed over Memorial Day weekend after the Bennetts said someone lodged a complaint with the city about their location.

The shop’s partial-basement space was once the office for the Capitola Apartments building, and was not zoned specifically for retail. The Bennetts said the city knew about the issue, but granted them a permit to open anyway while it sorted out what to do.

“It was not completely unexpected… but surprising how suddenly it happened,” Jack said. “The time we could’ve spent ‘fighting it’ would’ve been time wasted on actually making the business work and making it better.” Continue reading

Edie’s Shoes ties up 15 years on Capitol Hill, ready to try on many more


The Edie's crew with Dolan, far right (Image: Edie's Shoes with permission to CHS)

The Edie’s crew with Dolan, left in blue clogs (Image: Edie’s Shoes with permission to CHS)

With some signs that the downtown retail core is seeping up the Hill, a neighborhood longtimer is celebrating an important — surely, comfortable — milestone.

Edie’s Shoes owner Erin Dolan says she recognizes the challenges of being surrounded by construction, but is optimistic about the future of E Pike. “Construction puts a damper on street life for sure,” she said. “Scaffolding, noise, no parking and construction trucks and crews blocking streets, it all changes people’s shopping patterns, but everyone is doing their best to get through it and we are excited about the future of this street. It will be a great shopping/restaurant/entertainment corridor. In a year’s time East Pike Street will be completely transformed.”

It’s a good time to be optimistic. Edie’s is celebrating 15 years of business this week. You’ll find deals and special events starting this week to celebrate the anniversary. Continue reading