Not all Capitol Hill art galleries are extinct: Dendroica opens on E Olive Way

11709674_836231833121732_370723725343431239_nMartha Dunham is a lifelong art lover. As a child, she wanted to become an artist but her parents said no. Artists didn’t make money. So she focused on school, earning advanced degrees in ecology and zoology, including a Ph.D from Brown University. Now, after building her career in the sciences, Dunham is returning to her first passion with force, opening a new gallery on Capitol Hill with her own savings.

“People are excited for me, and I’ve been told I am bold,” Dunham told CHS.

Dendroica Gallery is taking flight on E Olive Way in the same location as the former Blindfold Gallery which shuttered last December after just under three years in operation.

Dunham isn’t fazed by her predecessor’s demise and believes that she can make it work, signing a two year lease. “I got a two year lease because one year is not enough to get established. I’ve watched other galleries come and ago, so I know it takes more than a year to build up a clientele,” she said.

"Martha Dunham, Forge A Bridge For Peace, 2009, Bronze, w 48 x l 96 x h 31 inches" (Image: local-artists.org)

“Martha Dunham, Forge A Bridge For Peace, 2009, Bronze, w 48 x l 96 x h 31 inches” (Image: local-artists.org)

There were several other businesses interested in the space, including a bike shop, according to Dunham. She says the building owners were “very particular” about who they would rent to and believes they favored her gallery because it would be “low wear and tear” on the building. Meanwhile, E Olive Way’s food and drink growth continues. Dunham’s new neighbor, Andrew Friedman has created a new bar and coffee shop next door. Good Citizen opened for private events earlier this year but hasn’t officially opened for business.

Dunham is also a bit of a maverick. “I’ve been known to place artwork in museums and galleries where I shouldn’t,” she told City Arts recently.

Dunham said her gallery’s main mission will be to show art that can best be appreciated in person rather than digitally. This will include “sculpture, cartoons, collage art, projection art, paintings, and two-dimensional paintings.”

The gallery’s grand opening will be Thursday August 13th from 5-8 PM as part of the August Capitol Hill Art Walk.

You can learn more at dendroicagallery.com.

Central Co-op teams up to give shoppers AmazonFresh alternative

Downside: No samples :( (Image: Central Co-op)

Downside: No samples :( (Image: Central Co-op)

On Capitol Hill where Amazon code bros have “ruined our gayborhood,” the local co-operative grocery store will now give busy shoppers an alternative to the Seattle-based e-commerce giant’s popular AmazonFresh service.

“We are excited to be partnering with Instacart to offer delivery service to the Seattle area,” manager Wesley Barga of Central Co-op said in a press release from the app-driven shopping service. “We chose Instacart as a partner because its system is really user-friendly, and the company has a great team of people. We are thrilled that we can now make our unique product offering available to even more people every day.”

The service includes one-hour delivery from the Capitol Hill co-op to most of Seattle. Instacart costs $99 per year or non-member customers can pay $5.99 per order for one hour delivery (for orders of more than $35), or $3.99 for two hour delivery. Jeff Bezos charges shoppers $299 a year to use his grocery delivery service.

But before you kick Seattle’s favorite libertarian titan of industry to the curb, consider the Instacart “shopper.” Continue reading

Last of the Hill area collectives, Best Buds has one year to sort out new medical pot rules

With the tussle over who will become the first I-502 marijuana retailer to open on Capitol Hill continuing on 15th Ave E, the area’s last of the old school medical marijuana collectives Best Buds is trying to raise funds to stay in business at 23rd and Madison.

Friday, a roster of new laws regulating medial marijuana went into effect in Washington including the official new name for the state liquor board:

For medical pot, the big change doesn’t happen until July 1st, 2016 when the medical system is rolled into the new retail system and collectives and co-ops are shuttered.

While other groups have closed their doors on Capitol Hill, Best Buds continues to operate in its E Madison space. And owner Jiovani McKelvy is hoping Best Buds’ buds will step up to help “save our store”5165215_1435962542.991

Please support a gay-owned local business get back on its feet! A year ago, Ian Vogue opened Best Buds, an MMJ Dispensary in Seattle, Washington. His partner and two of his friends run this quaint, LGBT friendly shop of treasures and treats every day where each patient is consindered a Bud! Their small business unfortunately fell victim of two separate robberies and has had to make major cutbacks in addition to getting a loan in order to continue providing much needed medicine to their valued patients. Best Buds is now turning to the community. Even a dollar helps! Thank you for taking the time to read this and please share with your friends!

We’ve asked Best Buds for more information about the plans for the operation going forward but haven’t yet heard back.

In February, US Marshals assisted Seattle Police in nailing the suspect in an armed robbery at Best Buds that netted more than $10,000 in pot. We’ll have more information about that case soon.

With the number of I-502 permits remaining constricted, the business competition between two marijuana entrepreneurs vying to open at 15th and Republican took a surreal turn earlier this month with the opening of a “family arcade” on the corner. Last we checked, the arcade remained open as the project looks to obtain the necessary permits to make a new space for longtime 15th Ave E cobbler Ray Angel.

The (relatively) giant retailer coming to E Pike will be a… grocery store

As much as the return of the Capitol Hill Block Party has some remembering the “good old” days of Pike/Pine circa 1997, the changes underway on E Pike may eventually leave you pining for the CHBP days of yore — or, at least, remembering a day when there weren’t all those pesky large grocery stores on every block.

CHS reported this spring about the mysterious, relatively huge, 10,000 square-foot retailer making plans to join a new mixed-use development under construction on E Pike:

According to permits, the project’s plans for multiple retail units along the street have been pushed aside in favor of one combined “retail store” in the project. At just over 10,000 square feet, the store would be about half the size of Elliott Bay Book Company, for example, but twice the size of the still-empty OfficeMax that shuttered on Broadway earlier this year.

The developer wasn’t talking.

But CHS has learned that the project is being lined up as a grocery store involving an unknown company with plans to join what will be a wave of new market offerings joining the area in coming years. By 2017, a Whole Foods Market is destined to rise at Broadway and Madison as part of a 16-story apartment development. And developers say a “Portland-based grocer” is in talks to become the anchor retail tenant in the development surrounding Capitol Hill Station.

We’re not sure what that leaves as far as grocer possibilities to join E Pike where hundreds of new apartments will soon join the market in the blocks between Broadway and Summit. Maybe Samuel Pitts is getting back into the business.

UPDATE 7/24/2015 10:00 AM: Uh oh. In a letter dated July 20th, DPD says the plan for the mystery project to combine what was planned as multiple storefronts on E Pike doesn’t jibe with zoning. The developers have the opportunity to reply to the correction notice.Screen Shot 2015-07-24 at 10.10.44 AM Screen Shot 2015-07-24 at 10.10.55 AM

Vino Verite, vintage 2008 Capitol Hill wine shop, moving to Columbia City

Dave Egan, right, and Tom "Haj" Hajduk in a vintage photo (Image: CHS)

Dave Egan, right, and Tom “Haj” Hajduk in a vintage photo (Image: CHS)

It’s not often CHS gets scooped by Columbia City Source:

In an announcement on Facebook today, Capitol Hill wine shop Vino Verite confirmed that it is in fact moving to Columbia City. Further discussion on the post clarified/suggests that Baol African imports is closing (they’ve had “clearance” signs up for a few weeks now), Andaluz is moving next door to Baol’s spot (not yet confirmed by Andaluz), and Verite is moving in to the Andaluz space.

But Dave Egan and Tom “Haj” Hajduk say it’s true. Some of the most prolific users of the CHS Calendar… ever! are moving their wine shop from the Boylston Ave E shop where it opened in fall 2008 a few stops south on the light rail line.

In the end, the business partners say their shop just off E Olive Way just didn’t get enough walk-in customers:

We tried a number of changes but the walk-in traffic has not achieved a level that supports the business enough. Meanwhile, outside sales to non-profit and business accounts have increased, making our business successful in ways that allows us to move forward.

You can read a more complete explanation and what comes next from the Vino Verite guys here. The partners haven’t ruled out an eventual return to Capitol Hill. In the meantime, they last day of business on Boylston will be July 25th — there are a few more Thursday night tastings for you to stop by and say goodbye (for now?).

The planned shuttering leaves 15th Ave E’s EVS and its extended, one-of-a-kind partnership as the only dedicated wine shop on Capitol Hill in a neighborhood currently focused an entirely different kind of intoxication.

Capitol Hill Family Arcade — and a new home for Angel’s Shoe Repair — latest twists in quest to open first Capitol Hill pot shop

The next chapter in the Game of Thrones-like saga playing out around competing I-502 marijuana retailers on Capitol Hill’s 15th Ave E involves a possible cutthroat business maneuver mixed with compassion for a longtime neighborhood shopkeeper.

Uncle Ike’s owner Ian Eisenberg has confirmed to CHS that the video games he is moving into the former home of the Capitol Hill Animal Clinic at 15th and Republican are going to be put to good use — starting now.

The Capitol Hill Family Arcade will open Monday night, Eisenberg said, if all goes to plan as carpenters have split the former vet clinic in twain to make way for the arcade. Eisenberg said he is making room in the building for Angel’s Shoe Repair to make the move from across the street.

“When I went to the 15th Avenue merchant meeting,” Eisenberg tells CHS, “I said I wanted to be a good neighbor. I followed the trials and tribulations at Angel’s. I have the extra space.”

Cobbler Ray Angel should be open in his new space by the end of the week, Eisenberg said.

The moves come as Eisenberg is preparing the building to eventually be home to his second I-502 marijuana retailing operation. The Uncle Ike’s entrepreneur paid $1.5 million for the property earlier this year as another I-502 permit holder was gearing up to open in the former vet clinic. Uncle Ike’s is a CHS advertiser.

The resulting cascade of activity now has Samuel Burke and his Tok shop working to open in the longtime home of Angel’s while Ray Angel was turning to the community to raise money to fund a possible move after losing his longtime month-to-month lease.

Angel will now have a new lease on business life with a space inside Eisenberg’s building that is designed to remain should the address eventually be permitted next year when new legislation goes into effect allowing the state to hand out more I-502 permits. But the appearance of an arcade could complicate the permitting process for Tok as it pushes to open this summer.

“It’s curious that a pot shop owner is trying to disallow other pot shops from opening in this  manner,” Tok representative Ben Livingston tells CHS. Livingston also expressed his doubts about whether it is legal for an arcade to operate in the building. We are reaching out to DPD to ask about permitted uses at the address.

Eisenberg says his motives are simple.

“I had some games sitting around and they were taking up space,” Eisenberg said. “It’s an easy way to activate the space.”

Meanwhile, the City Council passed a measure Monday that would close many, if not all, of the city’s medical marijuana shops that opened after I-502 was passed in 2013. Businesses able to show that they opened before January 2013 will be able to continue operations, pending their adherence to new enforcement rules.

UPDATE 7/14/2015 11:50 AM: If you had any doubts, the arcade *must* be real — it has a Facebook page:

UPDATE 7/15/2015 8:40 AM: A complaint has been filed with DPD for the building. Eisenberg says he has been ordered to stop work so construction of the Angel’s Shoe Repair component of the building must be put on hold pending permits. “It shouldn’t take too long, but it will mean Angel won’t be able to make a smooth transition across the street and he’ll probably be down for a little while,” Eisenberg said.

We’ve asked DPD for details of the complaint.

UPDATEx2: The complaint is pretty straightforward — but goes beyond the cobbler portion of the project: “Electrical and construction work without permits to create video arcade in former vet clinic space.”

“Whatever business that goes in there will need to get a change of use permit to operate as something other than a vet clinic,” a DPD spokesperson said.

In the meantime, Eisenberg says the arcade remains open.

‘Hippie-chic’ boutique Haute Hibou makes Pike/Pine move from Ballard


574576_643542129006975_70971169_nA longtime design office on 11th and Pike next to Sam’s Tavern is being transformed into a new space for “hippie-chic” Seattle boutique Haute Hibou.

“It is a little nerve racking… and I am taking a pretty big risk because the rent is so expensive but it was one of those things where I either had to move forward and just do it or stay forever,” owner Rachel Brown said of her shop’s move from Ballard to Capitol Hill.

The new shop is expected to open by the coming weekend.

In addition to the high cost of a Pike/Pine lease, the move has come with other risks for Brown. As word of the new shop spread, Brown was taken to task for some of Haute Hibou’s social media including an image of a white woman wearing a Native American-style headdress. Brown said she’s open to criticism and interested in finding ways to connect better with the culture of her shop’s new home.

At Haute Hibou, Brown said she is really trying to go for a repurposed and recycled feel. Haute Hibou means the high owl in French, Brown says, and she wants to keep her materials natural and organic. Continue reading

Eye Eye clinic and eyewear shop opening on E Pine

Artist rendering of the shop design for Eye Eye (Image: Best Practice Architecture)

Artist rendering of the shop design for Eye Eye (Image: Best Practice Architecture)

A few months ago, Bootyland moved out of its store at 1317 E Pine citing a steep increase in rent. The children’s clothing store will be replaced by Eye Eye, a new optometry clinic and eyewear store. In addition to possibly providing you with a fashionable set of frames and better vision, the change provides some small amount of insight into the retail lease market around Capitol Hill and, specifically, in Pike/Pine.

“The rent is not cheap, but I still see it as a good opportunity,” says Will Pentecost, the man behind Eye Eye. Originally from Tennessee, Pentecost is an optometrist who moved to Seattle in 2008.  For the past several years he has been practicing out of an optical shop in Columbia City and is excited about starting his own practice on Capitol Hill where he has lived since 2009.

EE-LogoPentecost said his business will work to be socially responsible by making making eye care more affordable for those without insurance. Uninsured customers will  have the option of signing-up for a monthly low fee  membership plan that will give them a  “significant discount” on eyeglasses, Pentecost told CHS.  People enrolled in Washington’s Medicaid program will receive free membership.

When it opens, Eye Eye will sell items such as luxury vintage eye frames and eyewear from independent and green-friendly companies. Customers will also receive what Pentecost says will be quicker service thanks to an on-site finishing lab.

Currently Eye Eye’s space is undergoing a complete renovation by Best Practice Architecture and Design. It is scheduled to open by August. Bootyland has since reopened in Wallingford.

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 kitandace.com.

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