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Cintli Latin Folklore to shutter after one year on Broadway

A colorful Broadway storefront will soon stand empty... for at least a little while (Images: CHS)

A colorful Broadway storefront will soon stand empty… for at least a little while (Images: CHS)

There will soon be another — very colorful — retail hole on Broadway. Just under a year since it opened, Cintli Latin Folklore will close its doors on Broadway later this month.

Owner Beto Yarce tells CHS his shop and cafe’s business just never took off on Capitol Hill but that he still believes Broadway’s revival is coming.

“It was a good fun period,” Yarce said. “We learned a lot. Broadway is such a vibrant street. It used to be different. I don’t know what happened in the last couple years. I had faith that Broadway will come back. We need more businesses like I tried to build.”

Yarce, right, at Cintli's 2013 grand opening

Yarce, right, at Cintli’s 2013 grand opening

In other Broadway closings from the other end of the business lifespan, over the weekend, CHS reported that Broadway Video would abruptly close its doors Monday after 30 years on the street. While two closings may make a trend, there has also been plenty of new investment on the street as food and drink entrepreneurs move to introduce more neighborhood-focused food and drink options among the occasional corporate giant and bank. Meanwhile, there are still some big opportunities sitting empty in the area. This chamber of commerce-sponsored study looked at the changing retail trends on the street.

Cintli was envisioned as a new take on Yarce’s successful art and jewelry business in Pike Place Market that would include shopping and a cafe with coffees, drinking chocolates and tamales, pupusas, arepas and empanadas. It opened with a flourish in March 2013. Previously, the space had stood empty after being the longtime home to Bleu Bistro before it moved around the block to E Olive Way.

Cintli’s final day of business is planned for Sunday, March 23rd.

“We have great customers and some big supporters,” Yarce said about the closing. “Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough.”

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50 thoughts on “Cintli Latin Folklore to shutter after one year on Broadway

  1. Sad to see Cintli go! I only recently discovered it served coffee and food and have been a few times since. I think a lot of people assume it is a boutique and I wonder if coffee business could increase with some sort of rebranding with focus on the cafe aspect. Here’s hoping a similarly charming place opens up in its spot.

  2. This is so disappointing. Yarce is correct, “We need more businesses like I tried to build.” However, seeing so many smaller businesses fail on Broadway will certainly not make new prospects come running. I too have faith that Broadway will have a renaissance but, it’s not looking good. The current influx of residents seem to favor the big box lifestyle and they will, of course, be pandered to in the name of the almighty dollar. Community be damned.

    • Besides Office Max, what other “big box” businesses have gone in on Broadway? Relatively speaking I don’t see that many chain establishments on Broadway at all. And why do you assume the (constantly demonized) new residents prefer the “big box lifestyle”?

      • Chain establishments: Mod Pizza, Blue Moon Burger, Zoom Care, Bank of America, Umpqua Bank, 1st Security Bank, Homestreet Bank, Yogurtland, Z Pizza, Gamestop, Walgreens, ad nauseum.

      • Half of those are actually useful and more convenient than alternative locations for capitol hill residents. Do you actually live on the hill or do you visit?

        I visit BofA and Chase every 2 weeks to make deposits. It would suck to have to go downtown or further to do my banking.

        Blue Moon is local is it not? So you only have room in your heart for one burger chain, Dick’s?

        Gamestop is useful since not many other places on Cap Hill sell PS3 controllers or any gaming accessories period.

        How dare there be retail services in our neighborhood, it really crowds out the places that sell prepackaged flan from costco.

      • What I find useful is not the issue. The issue is the above businesses are able to afford the rents in this neighborhood because they are made for them. Not for places like Cintli.

        Do you think I’m “Ryan on Summit” because I visit? I’m a hill resident of 8 years.

      • Ryan is too new to the hill to recall all the chains we used to have.

        Payless Shoes, GAP, Fred Meyer, not to mention practically every fast food chain possible.

        While there are a lot of banks, we have fewer chains on the hill then we’ve had in as long as I can remember. Tired of newer residents on their high horse over “chains overtaking the hill”.

        Back to the topic, too bad they couldn’t find their niche on the Hill. I wish them luck in their next endeavor.

      • Umpqua Bank is semi-local (regional)– and besides who wants a 1-location bank? Zoom Care is regional (Portland). Homestreet Bank is headquartered right here in Seattle….

      • Wait…two of the stores you mention are local chains: Mod and Blue Moon. And 4 are banks (a weird selection of banks, btw).

        3 of the stores are in the same block/building but we skipped over Panera.

        This is a very odd list for “big box lifestyle.”

    • I’m getting really tired of people complaining that Capitol Hill is being taken over by large chains….this has become a cliché and it is untrue. There are still many small, local, independent businesses if you just care to look around. Yes, there are some regional and local chains too, but so what? What exactly is wrong with a chain store if it offers useful products?

      • I agree. It seems like any business who tries to have a polished and professional appearance gets branded by histrionic Hill people as “Big Chain” no matter who owns it.

        “Hey! That place isn’t covered in graffiti and dog hair and the employees are wearing uniforms so it’s totes an evil corporate entity destroying my personal view of what I think the neighborhood should be.”
        *insert comment about moving back to the Eastside here*

  3. What a shame, another lovely shop closes at this end of Broadway….maybe we’ll get yet another bank, or fitness center.

    • Or if we are lucky a Target! I know everyone on this blog hates big business, but I’d kill for a Target on the hill.

  4. I always assumed this place was one of those ethnic folk art stores with a continual “going out of business sale.” Surprised to hear it was a cafe. Perhaps that was their problem.

      • Well, they *are* fairly stocked with ethnic kitsch. There are few places to sit, what with merchandise taking up most of the floor space; I developed the habit of ordering everything to go.

    • Exactly. One look at the storefront and I’d think it was some kind of a craft and antique store. Don’t put all those things by the windows if it is a cafe.

      • I’d *love* an antique store on Broadway. This place, Trendy Wendy, Africa Mama, and the various other little boutiques on this block don’t do much for me.

      • Oh! It’s a cafe first! I totally didn’t realize it either and I pass by it all the damn time. I too thought it was like the Mexican version of African Mama or Trendy Wendy.

        I wonder if the actual food is any good?

      • The food wasn’t that great. They didn’t make it there, either. It was pre-made and then heated at the site. It was a charming place and had a unique horchata that I liked.

    • Yes, I agree. The place did not have a clear identity. It was trying to do too many things at once….coffee shop, restaurant, boutique…and that approach just doesn’t stand a chance of being successful.

      • I think what doomed them is, they were trying to be a crafts shop FIRST with cafe taking a 2nd focus. A quick look around CapHill shows that the majority of businesses thriving are all “stuff-your-face-and-drink” businesses. If they’d focused on the stuff-your-face crowd, the crafts would’ve been collateral sales with the increased foot traffic of people eating and drinking.

      • Or maybe if they’d been kitchier. It’s hellishly ironic that a place that serves jamaica and horchata goes under, while across the street a “Mexican” place with frito pie and four kinds of margaritas opens and thrives ..

      • Apples and oranges, though. This was a place that sold kitch, drinks, and pre-made snacks. The place across the street sells on-site food and alcohol.

        That said, we’ll see if it thrives, it hasn’t been there that long.

  5. I am truly heartbroken over this one. There are few businesses that can pull me to Broadway anymore – Thanh Brothers, Vivace (sometimes), and lately, Cintli. Great coffee, fab happy hour, and interesting and fun live music. I hope they are willing to give the concept a try again – I would gladly travel to a different (read: cheaper) neighborhood for this cafe.


  6. Weak. I loved going into Cintli and grabbing a coffee, and a hunk of chocolate. Plus picked up a few cool little bits of art there. Vaya con Dios. :(

  7. That’s too bad, it was a nice little place…honestly Broadway has been a killer of businesses large and small for many businesses have left.

    Honestly Broadway could prolly use a space that is opened up that has some anchors in it to draw foot traffic up the street…semi open/enclosed mixed retail area with dining, bars, la Broadway market long time ago but more open air style that seems to be preferred these days.

    It also could use alot of street cleanup with the druggies, one wants to spend money like that…face it.

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  9. So many useful comments! Especially over the confusion of what Cintli offered to it’s customers. I’m one of the owners of The Confectional, on the North end of Broadway – We are a boutique locally owned cheesecake dessert shop. What can WE do to increase foot traffic??? We haven’t seen the foot traffic we thought we would. The Confectional loves being a part of the Broadway community!

    • I don’t know if you are doing some of these already..

      Maybe make the storefront brighter? Board signs on the pavement? Your Capitol Hill is mainly a kitchen anyway, right? It doesn’t look like there is much room for people to sit around, use wifi, and eat cheesecakes all day..

      Your website doesn’t showcase all your locations well. Dedicate a page to each of them, with pictures and a google map. Get a bi-weekly or monthly newsletter going. Ask people to show the email on the phone to get specials. Have discussions on facebook to see what new flavors people want.

      Do a weekly promotion, like half-price Wednesday. You guys are expensive. Tourists may be ok paying those prices down at Pike Place but regular residents walking pass your shop up here may not. Making less money on each sale is better than making no sale.

    • I think diversifying from just cheesecake to an all-around “dessert” place would be great. I know it is close to Dilettante but having different specialties could work (for example, cheesecake, ice cream, pie). I live close to your shop and I did go in once. I will honestly say that it wasn’t a very welcoming place- it feels like a “get your stuff and go” place instead of somewhere you want to stay, which may not be suitable for cheesecake. I would say that it needs to have a warmer, more inviting feel. Things I would like to see on this side of Capitol Hill: specialty ice cream like Molly Moon’s, loose leaf tea shop, a bakery with more gluten free options (cookies, cake, pie, muffins, waffles, etc).

  10. I’ve only been to Cintli a couple times, and not to eat/drink. Discovered it was 50/50 cafe and boutique late in the game. The colorful, unique shop will be missed! But the confusion can keep potential customers/browsers at bay. If you’re going to be a hybrid business on a retail-dense street like Broadway, market the aspect that will get the most customers in the door. A warm drink, a snack/food, or glass of wine are often enough. And make sure all of your websites/social media/review sites have that information (and accurate open/close times).

    @Destiny – I used to live on that end of the hill. Never went in your shop b/c I don’t really eat/buy confections. Have you thought of serving coffee/tea? Beans from a unique regional roaster or tea leaves along the same line? Something to complement what you already sell, but expand your customer base. As much as people complain about “too many” coffee shops on the hill, I find that you can’t have too many places that provide something as simple as a place to sit and drink a warm (or cold) beverage.

    • @Saha – Hi! Thank you for taking the time to reply! We do serve Stumptown drip, tea’s and ice cream bars as well. We would really (actually need) to be interested in getting more foot traffic on this end….

      • You are a great example of a small, locally-owned business….one of many on Capitol Hill, despite what all the whiners are saying about chain stores taking over.

        Maybe you should consider moving to the Cintli space?….would that provide more foot traffic compared to where you are now?

      • Nice idea! Unfortunately we still have over 2 years left on our current Broadway location so we have to make this one work for now…. Thank you for your compliments! ;)

  11. We started Cintli 10 years ago with $250.00 selling our Jewelry at Fremont Sunday Market, over the years we built a solid business and we have been successful with our other location at the Pike Place Market. We took the risk as entrepreneurs with a new concept but seems the message did not stick and we have decided to focus on our other businesses.

    All the food was provided by micro small businesses that sell their products at farmer markets around Seattle. We created that business model because we are very passionate about small business development and one of the biggest challenges for this business is access to markets.

    Here is the list of all the Cintli vendors:

    1-Tamales by el Chito Capitol Hill Farmers Market (Sundays)
    2-Lily Q Pupusas and Salvadorean Catering University Distric Farmers market, Fremont Sunday Market, Queen Ann Farmers Market
    3-FLAN by Delicias
    4–Empanadas By Rapanui

    Thank you everybody for you support and come and visit us at the market

    Beto Yarce

    • Beto – thank you for taking a chance on this area. I was fortunate to be able to get in one last time this weekend, for horchata lattes, tamales, empenadas and flan – all of which were fab, as usual. I’m still bummed beyond belief but wish you the best!

    • Really sorry to see your cafe shuttered, it was charming and affordable and I brought as many people there as I could. Thank you for enriching our neighborhood for a year!

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