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In legal battle over stripped ‘Bettie Page’ branding, fashion chain shutters Broadway boutique — UPDATE: ‘It was the traffic’

Back in the Bettie days on Broadway (Image: CHS)

Back in the Bettie days on Broadway (Image: CHS)

(Image: Tatyana Boutique)

(Image: Tatyana Boutique)

Broadway’s old state liquor store location will again be empty. Tatyana Boutique, the Las Vegas-based women’s fashion chain stripped of its right to use the Bettie Page name this summer, has suddenly closed its Capitol Hill store.

A sign posted at 400 Broadway E inelegantly shared the news over the weekend. We have not yet heard back from company officials about the abrupt closure. Thanks to tipster Tim for bringing it to our attention.

UPDATE: The company’s co-founder Jan Glaser tells CHS that the closure is not part of a wider pullback by the company. “We just opened in Toronto,” Glaser said. Instead, Glaser said a lack of Broadway foot traffic was to blame. “From the beginning, traffic was an issue there. Even before the name change,” Glaser said. The entrepreneur said he may be looking for a new place in Seattle for a Tatyana store. CHS suggested E Pike below Broadway. Let us know if you have any ideas for Glaser.

The closure marks the second Broadway business to close retail operations on the street after issues with attracting customers. Last week, The Confectional announced it was closing its Broadway retail lobby as it works out a new lease to possibly continue running its kitchen from the space. The maker of mini-cheesecakes was also known for its anti-$15 minimum wage stance.

We’ve asked Glaser a follow-up about whether Seattle’s changing minimum wage had any bearing on the Tatyana decision.

The boutique opened as Bettie Page Clothing in the former home of Broadway’s state liquor store in spring 2013. The 3,400 square-foot space sat empty since for nearly a year when the winning bidder in the state’s auction of rights to operate the liquor store backed out of the deal.

“Since a majority of our current standing stores are located in high tourist areas, in speaking and interacting with our customers, we found that many were visiting from the Seattle area,” a company spokesperson told us about the plans for Broadway at the time.

By summer of 2014, however, the Mad Men and rockabilly-powered retailer was struggling with a significant legal setback — the loss of its name. Stripped of its right to invoke the spirit of the pin-up legend, the eight-year-old chain of just over a dozen stores changed its branding to honor founder Tatyana Khomyakova who started the company along with entrepreneur husband Jan Glaser. The new branding went up on Broadway in May 2014. The company was reportedly engaged in a countersuit for breach of contract and punitive damages.

Fashion on Broadway has been a mixed bag. The Gap survived for ages alongside the surviving Urban OutfittersHot Topic is dead and gone but UO and American Apparel continue to serve. In 2013, CHS reported that rising rents were forcing the closure of Broadway Boutique as owner Lisa Chang consolidated her club fashion at the surviving Trendy Wendy. Aprie continues to offer local fashion at its Capitol Hill location and fellow indie Mishu is in the middle of its fourth year on Broadway while vintage is still a big deal at Red Light and Crossroads Trading.

We’ve asked the Tatyana Boutique company for more information about the Broadway closure and whether it is part of a wider shutdown by the chain. City and county records don’t indicate any significant work planned for the building and there is no record of a sale by the longtime landowner.

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16 thoughts on “In legal battle over stripped ‘Bettie Page’ branding, fashion chain shutters Broadway boutique — UPDATE: ‘It was the traffic’

  1. I don’t think foot traffic is a legitimate problem on that corner. I think their product didn’t really fit the neighborhood. How many women on Capitol Hill do you know that go around dressing like 50’s pinup models? Maybe a couple of drag queens. Metro and Panache have been on Broadway for most of the 20 years I’ve lived here, they get plenty of foot traffic.

    • It seems a lot of stores open on Broadway pitching stuff they think would be fun to sell, but which hardly address the needs or at least the wants of the customers. They don’t last long.

  2. Yeah. The whole Bettie Page look thing is about 10 years too late to entice those who are not pretty dedicated to the look and fashion of that era. Great for rockabilly/goth/etc people who love the look, but it doesn’t seem to translate well into current fashion styles – like it was doing 10 or so years ago. I’ve been saying as much since that store opened.

  3. People bemoan the lack of retail options on the hill, when most retailers consider us a downtown neighborhood. I-5 is really a mental barrier for those of us who live on the hill, but for retailers with offices in some far away city, they look at a map and demographics, and they see a downtown neighborhood.

    As we add more apartments in the neighborhood that command higher rents, our demographic makeup of the neighborhood will become more attractive to the retailers, but the cost will be there will be a group of our neighbors who may not be able to afford to live here anymore.

    The Link light rail station opening in ~18 months is going to impact this neighborhood, probably moreso than any other infrastructure event since I-5 being built. Being able to hop on the train and being in the shopping core in less than 5 minutes will open up a lot of possibilities for us, while also shutting down some others, unfortunately.

  4. Capitol Hill is an ultra conservative yuppie neighborhood now. Unique and different is frowned upon on the Hill these days. You know what would thrive on Neo Capitol Hill? Walmart.

    So glad I’m moving.

    • That’s some nonsense. And there wasn’t anything all that unique or different about this store. Which is why it closed. Not because of a lack of foot traffic in the neighborhood.

      It’s funny how businesses always blame their neighborhoods instead of their own product. I’m looking at you – Confectional.

  5. I love the comments above….. I have to agree with Michael who said that it couldn’t have helped that the design of the store looked cheap and temporary. Its a large space to fill with pin up girl fashion – a smaller boutique for this niche market would have been a better idea…. And let’s not forget the invincible Metro store that has resided on Broadway for the ages. Its been interesting to watch how things have changed in the 25 years I’ve lived on the hill.

  6. It wasn’t the foot traffic, it was the fact that nothing in their store was practical for the average person, and it all cost at least $100. Seriously, i went in there once and could not find a single thing under $100. They also claimed to carry plus sizes, but apparently 12-14 is “plus” because that was the largest sizes I found in there too.

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