Capitol Hill’s Ghost Gallery raising funds for online store

Art space Ghost Gallery is trying to crowdfund its online expansion.

The Capitol Hill gallery, located at 504 E Denny Way, announced an Indiegogo campaign with a target of $10,000 by early July to fund the completion of the online expansion by fall 2016.

Gallery founder Laurie Kearney says she is expanding her online store to keep up with the an increasingly digital market, both for art collectors and more run-of-the-mill shoppers looking for handmade items. “Taking the website to the next level will enable the gallery to reach a wider national/global audience, which in turn will of course create a positive impact on the artists and makers I work with,” said Kearney. “More people shop online out of convenience, and it’s time for the gallery to embrace that.” Continue reading

Capitol Hill candy shop Rocket Fizz ready for lift off on Broadway

Sindelar (Image: CHS)

Sindelar (Image: CHS)

Theresa Sindelar moved from Omaha to Seattle just to set up a candy shop on Capitol Hill.

Retro soda and candy shop Rocket Fizz in the Hollywood Lofts retail space next to Dick’s Drive In, announced that it was coming to the neighborhood in March.

The franchise store part of a national chain of sweet spots first opened for business three weeks ago, and will have its grand opening on Capitol Hill Friday afternoon.

Sindelar says that she helped her brother with his Rocket Fizz shop in Lincoln, Nebraska, and it inspired her to open her own.

“It was just so fun to have happy customers every day – i just kind of fell in love with concept and found out Seattle didn’t have one yet, so he kind of helped me get it off the ground,” said Sindelar. “We figured Capitol Hill has a great vibe and a kinda fits in with our inventory.” Continue reading

Capitol Hill not getting an urban winery — but Aluel Cellars tasting room to open this summer

Blessed by copious amounts of freshly brewed beer and recently roasted coffee, Capitol Hill has only a couple liquor distilleries. It has even fewer wineries. Aluel Cellars won’t exactly change that. But the new business slated to open this summer on E Thomas just off Broadway will give Capitol Hill a tasting room for one of the city’s best urban wineries.

Partners in love, life, and now wine, Samuel Hilbert and Alex Oh are teaming up to open Aluel in the newly built Westside off Broadway building. With a cutesy name to give you warm feelies, the new project will create a tasting room a block from Broadway featuring the fine works of SoDo winemaker Bart Fawbush of Bartholomew Winery.

“We want when people walk in for it to feel like they’re in a winery tasting room,” Hilbert tells CHS. Aluel Cellars will feature 10 to 15 of Fawbush’s creations along with Aluel “private label” choices. You can stop in to taste — and, hopefully, buy. Aluel will also feature cheeses and chocolate pairings and the loft space in the new street-level commercial berth in the six-story development can be used for events and meet-ups. Continue reading

E Union kids’ shop Magpie going out of business after five years in the CD

(Image: CHS)

(Image: CHS)

Central District children’s toy and clothing store Magpie plans to close up shop — just as development in the area has hit full stride.

“It’s been a good run,” said owner Malia Keene.

Keene first opened the store in the fall of 2011 at the corner of 18th Ave and E Union St, and two years ago she moved it to its current location, 2002 E Union. Though Keene says that the neighborhood has certainly changed over the years and cited more people and more traffic, she says the development wave did not really change the kind of customers that came into the shop.

Recently, however, business has been slowing.

“In the last year it’s gotten much slower in the shop,” said Keene. “It’s really hard for retail.” Keene says she hears anecdotes from small businesses across Seattle that are struggling to stay afloat. “When I talk to businesses in other cities, it seems easier.”

Keene said the difficulty that her store and others like it face in Seattle may be an “unfortunate side effect” of the lack of expendable income that stems from a high cost of living coupled with a DIY culture. Keene thought another factor might be “perceived value” – she says that even if her handmade toys are the same price as a toy at a big box store, people will often be unwilling to spend that money on what they see as a luxury item.

“There’s this nice idea of having small businesses, but it’s not going to last,” she said.

Keene is not sure when Magpie will officially close — it could be as soon as this week. In the meantime, the storewide sale continues.

You can learn more at facebook.com/MagpieKid.

Eco-first (but also vegan), Drizzle + Shine opens on Capitol Hill

White inside the newly opened Drizzle + Shine (Image: CHS)

White inside the newly opened Drizzle + Shine (Image: CHS)

Drizzle + Shine - 2 of 2Jean White has been vegan for years. Her new Capitol Hill eco boutique has been vegan for all of one day.

Drizzle + Shine opened Wednesday in a commercial space along 15th Ave E on the Group Health Capitol Hill campus.

“I’ve been vegan for 16 years,” White tells CHS. “I extended that to my clothing.”

The new store sells clothing and accessories from undies to sunglasses to shoes — for men and women and everybody. Items stocked at Drizzle + Shine are animal-free and the goods are either fair trade, organic, local, USA-made, recycled — or all of the above.

“The environmental aspect is the central goal,” White says.

The shop is an outgrowth of a style blog White maintained and while she also has created Drizzle + Shine as an online retail presence with drizzleandshine.com, she believed it was important to create a space where people can see and feel the products in person.

“My experience is it’s really hard to find a place to look at these labels,” she said.

Finding goods for the shelves hasn’t been difficult. White says brick and mortar stores like hers are so rare that manufacturers are eager to have a real-world location to make their creations available.

As for 15th Ave E, the space has sputtered along as a cafe in recent years with the eclectic Abodegas exiting the property in JanuaryInsomniax Cafe also shut after fading in the space. Meanwhile, salon A New You has been doing its thing next door with plenty of regulars for years. White, who used to live on the Hill, said she has been happy to see so many people walking by as she has been busy setting up the shop this week. “I want to be where the people are,” she said. She hopes the hundreds of Group Health employees will also present a built-in customer base.

She also believes in Drizzle + Shine beyond its retail goals.

“I wouldn’t have just gone into retail to open any store,” she said.

Drizzle + Shine is located at 102 15th Ave E and planned to be open Monday though Saturday 11-7 and Sundays 12-5. Sunday, the store will hold a grand opening party with prizes and snacks. You can learn more at drizzleandshine.com.

New Seasons Market considers 23rd and Union in search of second Seattle location

Screen-Shot-2016-02-16-at-4.11.19-PM-600x385UnknownThe Portland-based grocer vying for the marquee space at the future Capitol Hill Station development has expanded its search for a location near Capitol Hill.

Developers behind a project at northwest corner of 23rd and Union tell CHS that New Seasons Market has expressed an interest in taking over the future building’s 18,000-square-foot ground-level retail space. No leases have been signed and New Seasons declined to comment about any specific locations the company was scouting except to say that it was excited about the prospect of landing near Capitol Hill. The grocer is opening its first Seattle location in Ballard next year.

The Lake Union Partners project at 2220 E Union will replace the intersection’s gas station, community garden area, and former boxing gym with a six-story, 144-unit  “market -rate apartment building” planned to stand 65-feet tall includes underground parking.

The main retail space will be geared for a small format grocer, said Lake Union Partners principal Pat Foley. “When we started meeting with the neighborhood we heard that people wanted an independent market,” he said.

New Seasons received some public push back when it came out that the company was an early frontrunner to occupy the future development above the recently opened subway station at Broadway and Denny Way. News of the 19-store grocery chain coming to Seattle prompted a group of unions and advocacy organizations to send a letter to the Sound Transit Board saying they were concerned with “an anti-union climate” at the company. CHS recently reported on Central Co-op’s aspirations to takeover the anchor tenant space.

In a statement to CHS, New Seasons touted its B Corporation certification, focus on local and sustainable products, and above industry wages as evidence of its progressive values. “Capitol Hill is a vibrant community and we are excited by the potential of being part of the neighborhood,” the company said in a statement.

East Union is the second development for Lake Union Parters on 23rd and Union. After starting construction in May of 2014, six-story apartment development The Central is now open for new tenants on the southwest corner of the intersection. The corner retail space at The Central remains open after e-bike dealer Electric Lady opened in April and Squirrel Chops cafe+salon cafe+salon opens next door later this year. Foley said he envisions a family focused cafe or possibly a hardware store moving into the space.

Between the two projects, Lake Union will have spent $7.9 million on property alone to create around 240 apartment units, nearly 16,000 square feet of commercial space, and parking for some 160 cars.

Capitol Hill’s Cairo art, retail, and music space to close

Cairo way back in 2009 (Image: CHS)

Cairo way back in 2009 (Image: CHS)

A small space on Mercer at Summit that made a big impression on Capitol Hill culture will be closing, its backers announced Monday.

When Cairo was founded 8 years ago, it was with a vision to create a platform for underground art by emerging artists, musicians, and curators. We wanted to provide a supportive place for individuals to hone and elevate their craft while cultivating a sense of community and warmth in a city that isn’t always known for its open arms. The goal was never to have a “successful” retail store, rather a store that could support the artists and curators utilizing the rest of the space. Retail-wise, it’s always been a struggle. Cairo is tucked away, with minimal foot traffic, and making ends meet financially over the years has been a profoundly difficult challenge.

The message from Cairo owners Aimee Butterworth and Joel Leshefka said they’re still working out logistics of when the storefront will be shuttered.

Born as an art gallery and transitioned to a vintage fashion shop and performance venue, Cairo has been held up as an example of the Seattle nexus of art and commerce. Now, Butterworth and Leshefka say they’ll focus their retail efforts on the Prism shop in Ballard. We’ll have to check in with them about what’s next for Cairo’s annual Vibrations music festival in Volunteer Park. UPDATE: Want to help keep Vibrations happening?

Right now we need to find a non-profit to take over some logistics of vibrations (mainly the insurance policy the park requires).  This is all super fresh for us, and we don’t really have a solid answer.  The park is reserved, but we could use help finding a new partner to work with our dedicated booking and event planning crew!

The funky E Mercer space has a long history of creative uses — some of them were compiled here by CHS readers in 2008. Around the corner, Indian Summer still does the vintage thing on Summit while, across the street, at Bellevue and Mercer, the old Harry’s Fine Foods in the midst of a massive transformation.

Union members throw support behind Central Co-op’s Capitol Hill Station bid

DSC02980Somebody hand you a banana at Capitol Hill Station? They’re part of the #coopthestation campaign to help the E Madison-headquartered Central Co-op win its bid to be the anchor grocery store at the 85-foot development slated to rise around the Broadway light rail station where empty pavement sits today.

Now, a group of members from UCFW 21 — “the largest private sector union in Washington State” and representative for Central Co-op’s nearly 100 unionized employees — have sent an “open letter” to Gerding Edlen partner Jill Sherman calling on the developer to “do better by local workers and choose a union grocer where workers have a voice on the job, and earn a living wage.”

The full letter is below. Central Co-op, by the way, is a CHS advertiser.

Labor groups and District 3 rep Kshama Sawant have already come out swinging against Portland-based developer Gerding Edlen’s consideration of Portland-based grocery chain New Seasons for the light rail project. Continue reading

Central Co-op wants to be center of Capitol Hill Station development

New development will rise to 85 feet along Broadway -- a grocery store will be at the center of the mixed-use project. Will Central Co-op fill the space? (Image: CHS)

New development will rise to 85 feet along Broadway — a grocery store will be at the center of the mixed-use project. Will Central Co-op fill the space? (Image: CHS)

Capitol Hill’s homegrown food cooperative wants to return to its roots by doubling down in the the neighborhood with a new store in Capitol Hill’s future gateway development on Broadway.

Central Co-op announced Sunday night it is pursuing the anchor tenant space in the Capitol Hill Station “transit orientated development” — the four-site, mixed-use project that will surround the recently opened subway station. The yet-to-be-built building it could call home along Broadway between John and Denny is just two blocks from where the grocer got its start on 12th Ave in 1978.

“We are the only grocer that was born and raised in this neighborhood, and that means something,” said Central Co-op chief Dan Arnett.

Arnett tells CHS he has already pitched the idea to developer Gerding Edlen. The co-op says it has no plans to close its 16th and E Madison location, where it recently signed a longterm lease.

Central Co-op’s expansion aspirations were announced after it came out that Portland-based New Seasons Market was an early frontrunner to take over the anchor space. A Gerding representative told CHS they were in talks with New Seasons, but the company has not made any final decisions on a tenant. Continue reading