Second Capitol Hill pot shop approved for 15th Ave

IMG_5911The owner of Uncle Ike’s Pot Shop may finally realize his aspirations to open a recreational marijuana store in his 15th and Republican building, even if the business itself isn’t his.

A West Seattle medical marijuana entrepreneur has been given the green light by the state Liquor and Cannabis Board to open a retail marijuana shop in the space last home to the Capitol Hill Family Arcade.

The permit approval for Lion’s Heart puts owner Daniela Bernhard one step closer to opening Capitol Hill’s second pot shop in a building owned by fellow potreprenuer Ian Eisenberg. Bernhard was a co-owner of the Northwest Patient Resource Center in West Seattle prior to moving ahead with her Capitol Hill business.

Bernhard did not respond to CHS requests for comment and Eisenberg said he could not comment on the approval. Continue reading

Volunteer Park Cafe and Chop Shop sibling Canal Market shutters in Portage Bay

Part of a ripple of Seattle boutique grocery markets — and a member of a small but ambitious family of food+drink venture — has shuttered in Portage Bay after less than a year of business.

Canal Market, on Fuhrman Ave E squeezed between the north tip of Capitol Hill and the water, closed without fanfare this week due to “business reasons,” a former employee tells CHS. Neighbors wondering about the suddenly darkened stretch of retail asked CHS to check in on the market. A representative for the business has not responded to our inquiry about the closure.

The project from Capitol Hill food and drink entrepreneur and chef Ericka Burke took over the space of a former neighborhood bodega with a vision for a marketplace and cafe as other ventures like 19th Ave E-born Cone and Steiner also were forming to give the small-scale grocer business a try.

(Image: Canal Market)

(Image: Canal Market)

“I want this to be the quintessential neighborhood market, a vibrant hub,” Burke’s press release read at the time. “Canal Market will be a meeting place for neighbors to catch up over a cup of coffee, quickly grab a bottle of wine, and shop for dinner. We’re even going totally old school, offering house accounts to make getting in-and-out easy and convenient.”

Designed by Graham Baba and beset with construction delays, Burke finally opened Canal Market last May as her Volunteer Park Cafe settled in after a dispute with neighbors at 19th and Galer and as she geared up for her largest, most ambitious and expensive project — the centerpiece of Pike/Pine’s preservation-friendly Chophouse Row development, Chop Shop.

State corporation documents indicate the company behind the Canal Market has ceased operations. The companies behind Chop Shop and Volunteer Park Cafe, meanwhile, remain active.

UPDATE 2/8/2016: A spokesperson for Burke has responded to our inquiries with a short, simple reply. “It was a business decision.  Ericka wants to focus on VPC and Chop, and spend time with her young son.” There you go.

By the bottle or by the glass, Revolution Wine now open on E Pike

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Revolution owners Mark and Carmen Brown. (Image: CHS)

With so much beer and coffee news over the past year, Capitol Hill wine lovers may have been feeling a little left out. Demand, it seems, remains strong as the owners of Revolution Wine discovered during their packed opening over the weekend at Belmont and Pike.

Opening Capitol Hill’s newest wine shop and wine bar was a decade in the making for owner Mark Brown, who first drew up the business plan in 2005. Several years working for Xbox’s marketing team put the dream on hold until last year when Brown and his wife, Carmen, secured the former home of The Feed Bag pet shop. Continue reading

Labor groups oppose New Seasons Market as candidate for Capitol Hill Station tenant

Screen-Shot-2015-04-21-at-1.49.04-PM1-600x366Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 6.31.18 PMA Portland-based grocery chain believed to be the frontrunner to a large retail space on Broadway is already facing opposition from labor organizations that say the company is anti-union.

New Seasons Market has not been publicly identified as the anchor tenant for the four-site retail and housing development to surround the U-Link light rail Capitol Hill Station, but labor and advocacy groups believe it tops the list.

Last year developer (and fellow Portlander) Gerding Edlen said they were in talks with a northwest-based grocer interested in expanding to Seattle to become the anchor tenant to the “transit orientated development” project. New Seasons does fit the bill, though neither Gerding nor New Seasons have publicly confirmed a deal.

In a letter to the Sound Transit Board, eight Seattle unions and advocacy organizations said they are concerned with “an anti-union climate” at the stores and cite Seattle’s Metropolitan Markets or PCC Markets as better choices.

UPDATE: Gerding partner Jill Sherman confirmed New Seasons was the grocer the company had been in discussions with through the bid process, but said no final decision has been made on a tenant. Sherman has also met with the group Puget Sound Sage, one of the letter’s signatories.

“We have been made aware of the concerns,” Sherman said.  “New Seasons is very well respected in our market for their businesses practices.”

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A Capitol Hill bookseller’s list: best books of 2015

By Hilary Lawlor / Special to CHS

As a bookseller at one of the most famous bookstores in the country, the Elliott Bay Book Company, I see a lot of books come and go. It gets to the point where it seems overwhelming. How could anyone ever read all of these? What’s the point of writing anything, if the market is flooded with so many great choices? Well, the point of writing, and encouraging authors to continue to write, is that once in a while, a book appears that is so fantastic, so memorable, so great that it eclipses all the others, if only for a moment. This is my list of the books that came out in 2015 that I think accomplished that difficult feat.51npiQtVa-L._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_

  • 15) Too High and Too Steep by David B. Williams

In the late 19th and early 20th century, the entire topography of downtown Seattle was reshaped. As hilly as Seattle-ites may think the city is now, the landscape was once much more varied, particularly in the downtown area. In Too High and Too Steep, WIlliams describes the processes that leveled Denny Hill and erased cliffs and tide flats from Seattle’s waterfront. He evokes the setting the way it used to be, and you won’t believe it now, but you might wish you could have seen a hillier Seattle.

  • 14) Stories in the Stars by Susanna Hislop

In this beautiful volume, Hislop combines beautifully designed illustrations of constellations with page-long histories concerning the legends behind them. Or sometimes, when they’re not interesting enough, she makes up new ones, and her prose is warm, funny, and engaging. After laying out Hercules’s to-do list (including items like “Snatch Hippolyte’s snazzily-decorated girdle” and “Go to Crete and deal with a white bull”), for instance, she includes a note-to-self at the bottom: “Urgent: Buy Life Insurance.”

  • 13) Seattle City of Literature: Reflections from a Community of Writers

In this awesome book from local publisher Sasquatch Books, several of Seattle’s best-known writers combined their powers to create Captain Planet a work that embodies the history of literature and growth in this great city. Advertised as a “bookish history of Seattle,” the little red paper-over-board volume boasts essays and stories from the likes of Tom Robbins, Sonora Jha, Garth Stein, Frances McCue, and Karen Finneyfrock, among many others. Pick this one up if you want to feel a little bit more connected to the ground beneath your feet, or at least to the history behind it. Continue reading

Home of the Baby Doll Tree, No Parking on Pike offers more than ‘junk boutique’

Some mysteries should remain unexplained (Image: Kate Clark Via Flickr)

The No Parking Christmas Tree. Some mysteries should remain unexplained. (Image: Kate Clark Via Flickr)

Acquiring a dozen mid-Century Brook’s Brothers suitcases from their recently deceased owner can be a great find for a vintage shop owner. But for Billy Hutchinson, owner of No Parking on Pike, what really made that particular acquisition worthwhile was opening each suitcase to find it brimming with unopened white dress shirts. A time capsule of one mans life on the road.

“A lot of times people are buying the story more than the item,” Hutchinson said. “The stories enhance it.”

For such a small space, the 8-year-old Capitol Hill “boutique junk” shop packs in a lot of stories. And if you’re looking for some last minute gift ideas, giving a taxidermy duckling, goat skull, or Krampus playing cards could certainly spark some new ones.

Gathering oddities and collectibles has always been a passion for Hutchinson. Even before plans for a shop surfaced, he said he always had a notion that he was collecting for inventory.

“I’ve always been kind of a hoarder,” he said. “I turned a corner at some point.”

That corner appeared in 2008, when the space on E Pine became vacant and Hutchinson opened the shop, who he co-owns with his wife. Hutchison first arrived at the 11th and E Pike building eight years earlier as a resident, occupying an “illegal” unit in the building’s basement.

In case you were’t around at the time, the shop’s name will clue you in that Pike/Pine retailers have long struggled with customer parking. When asked to describe his shops inventory, Hutchinson said the items are simply a reflection of things that strike his fancy.

“It just has to pass my personal coolness test,” he said. “Within that 240 square feet, I am the arbiter of all things cool.”

Hutchison moved from Tacoma to Seattle in 1982 and has had a deep connection to Capitol Hill ever since. Twenty years ago he was stocking shelves ahead of the grand opening of the Harvard Market QFC, a company he has worked for for 35 years.

No Parking’s unusual hours (1-7 PM Wednesday-Saturday, 12-5 PM Sunday) reflect Hutchinson’s busy schedule holding down a full time job at QFC and running his own shop. Most of his days start at 4 AM, stocking QFC produce. Hutchinson gets off around noon, grabs lunch, and heads to No Parking.

Shop the Hill Find more local gift ideas at capitolhillseattle.com/shopthehill

Shop the Hill
Find more local gift ideas at capitolhillseattle.com/shopthehill

The hours don’t seem to have negatively impacted the shop all that much. Hutchinson said he’s even started thinking about opening up another shop to focus on selling his ever-expanding mid-Century furniture collection.

When dealing in the odd and obscure possessions of the departed, thoughts of one’s own demise must inevitably arise. Hutchinson’s funeral plans are hardcore Capitol Hill. After he dies, Hutchinson said he has instructed friends to stuff his ashes into hole-punched Hamm’s beer cans to be dragged through the streets of his beloved neighborhood.

“I don’t no what the legality is of that … but I won’t care,” he said.

In the meantime, Hutchinson is refreshingly optimistic when it comes to the transformation happening around Capitol Hill.

“The dust still hasn’t settled,” he said. “The jury is still out with what will happen.”

Central Co-op members vote on Tacoma merger, reshaping ownership model — UPDATE

Members of Capitol Hill’s cooperative grocery store, Central Co-op, will have their final chance Monday night to vote on a proposed merger with Tacoma Food Co-op and changes to the co-op’s ownership structure.

The Seattle co-op board announced the proposed merger last month, which would keep both stores open in their current locations, along with a plan to shift the ownership model to give workers a greater stake in the company. Currently, consumer-members own 100% of the 16th and E Madison co-op. Under the “solidarity co-op” model, consumer-members would own half of the co-op and worker-members would own the other half.

UPDATE: Voting members passed both proposals by overwhelming majorities following Monday night’s final vote, according to Central Co-op marketing director Susanna Schultz. 93.2% voted in favor of the merger and 89.5% voted in favor of the ownership structure change. The board still has to adopt the changes.

“People really understand that worker ownership is a very powerful way to combat some of the problems we see manifest in our economy,” said Central Co-op general manager, Dan Arnett. “This is the kind of move that presents a longterm solution.”

According to Central Co-op’s voter’s guide, shoppers and owners would not notice any substantial changes at the Capitol Hill store under the merger, which would require no layoffs. Board members say the plan will strengthen both stores financially and expand the co-op economy in the region.

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Seattle could get 21 more pot shops as zoning code reforms advance

Yellow areas on the right show where pot shops may be allowed under new rules.

Seattle could add up to 21 more pot shops as part of 222 new retail licenses the state Liquor and Cannabis board plans to issue next year. The board, which will vote on the plan January 6th, announced the increase along with findings of a much anticipated study commissioned to determine the size of the state’s marijuana marketplace.

Increasing the number of marijuana retailers paves the way for the state’s largely unregulated medical marijuana system to fold into the highly regulated and taxed retail system.

“Our goal was clear; to ensure medical patients have access to the products they need,” said WSLCB director Rick Garza in a statement. “There will be more storefronts for patients going forward than are available today. In addition, qualified patients can grow their own or join a four-member cooperative.”

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

How many more shops will open around Capitol Hill could largely depend on what happens with proposed zoning changes currently making their way through City Council. On Wednesday, the Council’s planning committee advanced a measure proposed by Mayor Ed Murray to reduce the distance new I-502 retailers must keep from places where children typically gather, like parks and arcades. Continue reading

Ruckus ‘defiantly’ opens as Capitol Hill’s first pot shop

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Sam Burke (Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

Sam Burke (Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

A fortuitous spelling error on the front door of Capitol Hill’s first marijuana shop could not have been more fitting. After more than a year of twists and turns, Ruckus opened for business last Friday with a sign that boasts, “Yes we are defiantly open.”

Owner Sam Burke said the name of the 15th and E Republican shop was similarly inspired by the long road it took for Capitol Hill to get its first I-502 shop after the legalization measure was approved by voters in 2012. “It seemed to fit the vibe more than Tok,” he said. Continue reading

Standard Goods clothing boutique opens in former Edge of the Circle space

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(Image: CHS)

Ditching the corporate fashion world to open a boutique clothing shop on Capitol Hill may not seem like the obvious move for the father of a young family. But after spending years traveling in the clothing and shoe business, Jeffery Gardner said it was time to settle down with a clothing vision of his own.

Carrying the Big Lebowski sweater also has to be an edge.

After 15 years at Nordstrom and several years purchasing for major shoe companies, Gardner has set out on his own with his first store located in the former Edge of Circle Bookshop at E Pike and Boylston. Standard Goods quietly opened its doors last Friday — Gardner said he decided to worry about getting the word out afterwards.

Standard’s focus, as the name might imply, is casual and affordable fashion from American-made brands. “I really want to focus on sustainable brands, brands with a conscience,” Gardner said.

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