Central Co-op to expand south with proposed Tacoma merger

Capitol Hill’s cooperative grocery store, Central Co-op, has announced a proposed plan to merge with Tacoma Food Co-op, according to a statement from the organizations released Monday.

If you’re a shopper at the 16th and Madison or Tacoma markets, don’t freak out. This doesn’t appear to be a deal cut from the same cloth as KUOW’s takeover of KPLU.

“As a community-owned business, we believe that people are stronger when they act together,” Central Co-op board president Dean Decrease said in the statement. “Central Co-op and Tacoma Food Co-op share the same values and the same vision for a sustainable food system and a cooperative economy. The world of natural foods is increasingly competitive and if we combine our efforts together both stores will be much better positioned to thrive going forward. This will mean more good jobs, community ownership and local-control.”

According to the announcement, Tacoma Food Co-op opened four years ago and has struggled with costs. “Together the two stores will be able to share a depth of administrative resources, spread out the costs of doing business, enjoy greater buying power, put collective strength into growing the cooperative movement, and contribute to the local economy by offering jobs with exemplary pay and benefits while supporting regional producers,” the announcement reads. Continue reading

BadWill kicks off Capitol Hill pop-up shopping season with ‘tailgate’ edition

Get your holiday shopping and your tailgating started early this Sunday. BadWill Market returns to the Rhino Room with a special Seahawks-themed edition of the grandmama of Capitol Hill’s all-star squad of pop-ups markets.

With a rash of retail pop-ups having appeared on the Hill, especially over the holiday season, BadWill is one of the oldest, weighing in at five years. It’s a one-stop shop for crafts, clothing, and miscellany from local vendors.

It’s also a chance to do a little day drinking.

“Five years ago there really wasn’t a market on Capitol Hill that took place inside a bar,” Osiris Navarro, owner of BadWill Market said. “Add drinking to any shopping event, and the results are awesome for the vendors. My friend Phil helped me start BadWill and we approached our good friend Marcus Lalario if we could use his bar The War Room to host a market.”

Though they only post up about once a month, due to limited space and event coordination with bars, Navarro said the scene has been extremely welcoming.

“The reception has been so good, to the point where it’s hard for me to keep up,” she said. “My inbox is full of interested vendors, and I feel bad because I don’t have a market every Sunday to accommodate all of them.” Continue reading

CHS Pics | Goodbye to the Capitol Hill Value Village


The crew at Capitol Hill’s Value Village rang up its final sales Saturday night before turning off the lights, locking the front doors, and walking across the street for some beer and some dusty 11th Ave nostalgia.

Closing time on a Saturday would usually have come at 9 PM. But with many shelves bare and more racks empty, management made the decision to bring things to an early close. That just meant a community party organized by a Pike/Pine neighbor at nearby Vermillion could start earlier.

There was beer. There was a slideshow. There were some Value Village fashions on display. Continue reading

Sad about Value Village? Here are 12 other Capitol Hill vintage and thrift shops

(Images: Lifelong Thrift)

When Capitol Hill’s Value Village succumbs to “certain business conditions” and closes its doors Saturday after 20 years on 11th Ave, you can be sad for a little bit. Then go shopping — thrifting is, indeed, part of your Capitol Hill heritage.

Below, you’ll find 10 12 thrift and vintage shops across Capitol Hill. All were still open and had not lost their leases as of this posting! (Added two more: Everyday Music and Twice Sold!)

We almost certainly left something worthy off the list — let us know.

Meanwhile, nearly 40 employees will either move to work at other local Value Village locations or are looking for new jobs. Stop by and buy them a beer when the store closes for good at 6 PM Saturday night.

  • Lifelong Thrift, 312 Broadway E (CHS)
  • Out of the Close Thrift, 1016 E Pike (CHS)
  • Goodwill, 115 Belmont Ave E (CHS)
  • Take 2, 430 15th Ave E
  • Pretty Parlor, 119 Summit Ave E (CHS)
  • Revival, 233 Broadway E (CHS)
  • Crossroads Trading Co., 325 Broadway E (CHS)
  • Le Frock, 613 E Pike (CHS)
  • No Parking, 1102 E Pike (We need to write about these folks, no?)
  • Spin Cycle, 321 Broadway E (CHS)
  • Everyday Music, 1520 10th Ave (CHS)
  • Twice Sold Tales, 1833 Harvard Ave (CHS)

Also, in the Central District, you can check out Two Big Blondes at 2501 S Jackson.

First on Capitol Hill, Tok granted pot retailer license for 15th and E Republican shop

The license for the first recreational pot shop on Capitol Hill has been approved. After a year of waiting in limbo, the state Liquor and Cannabis Board has approved the I-502 retail license for Tok to open at 15th Ave E and E Republican, according to the agency’s list of recently approved licenses. The approved location, nestled between El Farol and Postal Plus on E Republican, was the former home of Angel’s Shoe Repair.

Tok’s opening did not appear to be imminent late Monday as the shop’s windows remained papered-over. Tok owner Sam Burke and his spokesperson Ben Livingston did not return CHS’s messages Monday afternoon.

With a license in hand, Tok’s opening will close a chapter in one of the most closely watched small business dramas that’s played out on Capitol Hill. Earlier this year, Burke was well on his way to opening a pot shop inside the now-shuttered Capitol Hill Veterinary Clinic when Uncle Ike’s owner and CHS advertiser Ian Eisenberg bought the property in a $1.5 million deal. Burke, an original I-502 lottery winner, had hoped Eisenberg would still extend him a lease, but Eisenberg later told CHS he would remodel the space in hopes of finding another I-502 permit holder to partner with.

With his heart — and business plan — set on opening a shop on Capitol Hill, Burke scrambled and eventually secured a deal with the landlord across the street to open in Ray Angel’s longtime cobbler shop.

While Burke waited for Angel to make his exit, Eisenberg opened the Capitol Hill Family Arcade in the former veterinary clinic. Eisenberg said it was a convenient placeholder while he waited for the next window to submit an I-502 applications. The business seemingly had another advantage: complicating Burke’s mission to open Tok. Continue reading

Capitol Hill Value Village to close after one last Halloween — UPDATE

(Image: REI)

(Image: REI)

This is the last time you’ll be able to rummage through 11th Ave’s Value Village for a Halloween costume — or a dookie brown leather jacket or some moccasins someone else has been walking in or a broken keyboard or a kneeboard.

The Capitol Hill thrift shop grandaddy is slated to close after the holiday, customers of the store are being told this weekend. A Value Village manager confirmed the closure plans with CHS.

The store’s last day of business is planned for November 7th.

UPDATE 10/25/2015: A spokesperson for the Value Village/Savers company has provided some additional information about the closure, telling CHS that the store has been renting the space on a “month-to-month basis” for years. So, why close now?

“Though unfortunate, certain business conditions have made it necessary to close our Value Village thrift store in the Capitol Hill neighborhood after a number of years of leasing the space on a month-to-month basis,” the spokesperson said. Continue reading

High Voltage shuttering on E Pike, Higher Voltager Guitar And Amp Repair opening on E Pine

Capitol Hill’s only dedicated music gear and guitar shop is closing.

The folks at E Pike’s High Voltage announced the store’s closing Friday morning. Not all is lost — Higher Voltager Guitar And Amp Repair will live on in a new home inside E Pine’s Capitol Loans:

“As a result, soon the guitars and amps at Capitol Loans will be AWESOME,” the announcement reads. There is also a “cash only” gear sale at the E Pike location today and Saturday.

Chris Lomba and his partners opened High Voltage in the summer of 2012. “If it has strings, we can fix it,” Lomba told CHS. In 2014, we talked to High Voltage about the challenges of keeping a store catering to rockers and musicians open as Pike/Pine’s entertainment economy shifted toward food and drink. With three years left on its lease, the shop was diversifying its offerings adding a workshop area for Tanner Brewer to work on guitars and amps while Lomba and Pam Stermin worked to build community around the business by bringing in bands for live music events.

But last spring, a “for lease” sign went up as the partners began looking for somebody to take the space off their hands. Despite the massive presence of Capitol Hill Block Party right outside its front door and Neumos across the street, High Voltage has now decided to shut the shop and focus the business on the more successful repair side of things.

Lomba tells CHS he is excited to move forward with Brewer on the repair venture at Capitol Loans and that the exit from E Pike will be made more smooth for the original partnership thanks to a new tenant picking up their lease. 910 E Pike doesn’t seem likely to rock in the future, however. The next business to call the shop home will be an upscale clothing retailer.

Chromeo... and High Voltage (Image: Jim Bennett/CHBP with permission to CHS)

Chromeo… and High Voltage (Image: Jim Bennett/CHBP with permission to CHS)

Revolution Wine shop planning to uncork on E Pike in 2016

Screen Shot 2015-09-18 at 6.59.18 AMMark Brown is taking a different approach to wine shops with his new store planned to open on E Pike, Revolution Wine.

“I think nobody’s really nailed the wine store right,” he said. “It’s an anti-wine store, wine store.”

Brown and his wife are striving for a different sort of atmosphere than a typical wine shop. He said they’re looking at more of a coffee shop vibe, where people will want to come and hang out.

“We’re really trying to create a really cool wine experience that we would want to go to ourselves,” he said.

Revolution will replace The Feed Bag pet store in the Pike at Belmont building as Angela Pfeil’s pet supply business goes mobile after 21 years of business on the Hill. “We’re not going anywhere, we’re going everywhere,” Pfeil told CHS. “I’m changing the business to fit the needs of the community.” Continue reading

More fashion retail in Pike/Pine as ‘sophisticated’ Killion moves in next to Bill’s

(Images: Killion)

Bill’s Off Broadway is back with the same cheap beer after a two-year timeout but the neighbors have changed. Menswear fashion boutique Killion — with stores also in NYC’s Orchard Estate and in Melrose in LA — has opened on Harvard Ave in the new Cue building where Bill’s overhauled new home holds down the corner at Pine.

(Image: Killion)

(Image: Killion)

The upscale-ish retailer is described as “offering a sophisticated selection of essential garments at highly desirable price-points” in this Tiger Beat-style heavy-breather on the Jonas bros going shopping in LA. We didn’t find out much more on the store’s “About Us” page:

Killion is a modern menswear line offering a sophisticated selection of essential garments at highly desirable price-points. The customer is our strongest consideration in establishing a collection with a deep appreciation for quality, refined fits, and timeless yet progressive design.
At Killion, we neglect the traditional wholesale-to-retail model essentially by cutting out the middle-men to provide premium quality products at a fair cost directly to the end-consumer. This simply means that there won’t be any added mark-ups in our prices allowing you to purchase high-end value without overpaying.

“Our products will never be mass-produced or distributed to retailers and items will never be restocked once they are sold out, nor will it go on sale,” the retailer promises.

We’re hoping to make contact with the seemingly elusive people behind the company to try to find out more about Killion’s founders and plans.

The sparsely decorated store is open for business on Harvard but there’s not any signage out front. Prices run from the high $20s to $30s for shirts with pants in the $50 and up. Judging by the number of items listed as “sold out” online, it appears that the uncertainty of inventory is part of the fun.

Another space neighboring Bill’s is also lined up for a new tenant as the longtime auto repair business that also called the corner home before redevelopment will not be returning to Harvard and Pine.

Killion’s debut follows the opening of “technical luxury” clothier Kit and Ace on E Pike earlier this summer. Buoyed by the arrival of Totokaelo on 10th Ave in 2012, luxury and upper-scale clothing retail has joined vintage and thrifting as a growing component of Pike/Pine retail. “Hippie-chic” boutique Haute Hibou made the move from Ballard into the neighborhood this summer while men’s footwear and sneaker boutique Likelihood opened in the spring.

Meanwhile, CHS reported last week on the impending closure of longtime purveyor of Pike/Pine kink, The Crypt.

You can learn more at killionest.com.

(Image: Killion)

(Image: Killion)

Pike/Pine kink shop The Crypt gets the boot

If you’ve experienced spotty service and inconsistent business hours at Capitol Hill’s “harder, more extreme” sex shop, be gentle. These are rough times at The Crypt.

A sign has gone up announcing a “50% off,” going out of business sale at the 11th Ave purveyor of kink. “We’ll miss you Seattle.” We’re checking to find out the final day of business. Let us know if you’ve heard.

Behind the scenes, the store is getting kicked out. Earlier this week, the court sided with the sex shop’s landlord with a $11,706.22 judgement on unpaid rent against the company that operated the Pike/Pine store as part of a chain of six stores in Washington, California, and Colorado. Attempts to reach parent company Crypto Technology or its other stores have not been successful — every phone number we have found has been disconnected and the ecommerce website is gone.

CHS visited 11th Ave’s The Crypt last summer for a peek inside the Hill’s kink shop:

“We’re definitely harder, more extreme than other stores,” said manager Shawn Allen Hall, not far from the gagged mannequin hanging from a sex swing that greets customers at the front door. On the other hand, the seen-it-all staff are anything but hard and extreme. “We just want to make sure you feel as comfortable as possible,” Hall said.

The history we were told at the time went something like this: The first Crypt opened in San Diego in 1977 to meet the needs of the city’s BDSM community, but the Seattle shop became the flagship store after opening in the 1980s. Originally on Union and then Broadway, The Crypt made its move to 11th and Pine in 2007, replacing The Vogue nightclub.

The shop’s legend spread wider than its front doors and is part of a kinkier time in Pike/Pine before Basic Plumbing became a 24-hour diner. One story related to CHS — and wholly unconfirmed — claims crews preparing the Sunset Electric site for development found a sex room with kinky torture gear in the empty auto row-era building. Whether the gear was Crypt-branded or not, we’ll leave to your imagination.

It’s also not the first time CHS has covered a dispute between landlord Matt Basta and one of his Pike/Pine tenants. In 2010, Grey Gallery got the boot but its owner said he was happy to go.

So, how much, exactly does a sex shop pay for rent in Pike/Pine? According to court documents, The Crypt was on the hook for more than $7,000 a month:

Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 9.23.19 AM

It must have been a good enough deal — according to the affidavit, the company signed a five-year extension in 2012.

The impending Crypt closure won’t leave Pike/Pine without a dedicated sex shop. Earlier this year, Castle Megastore made the move from its expansive Broadway location to a tighter fit beneath the Wildrose. Meanwhile, Doghouse Leathers got bigger on E Pike. UPDATE: While it operates in a different spectrum of sex, Babeland’s 20 years of business should also be noted here, of course.

Many will point at The Crypt’s departure as another sign in the realm of retail that Capitol Hill is fucked. With the exit of longtimers like Edge of the Circle and the incoming of big new players, there is plenty of opportunities for the little guy or gal to get screwed. But in the case of The Crypt, at least, a look behind the counter and the reality of a chain company like Crypto Technology reveals that size isn’t all that matters.