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Broadway OfficeMax is closing in February

IMG_9040Ripple effects from a multi-national corporate acquisition are once again making an impact on Capitol Hill. This time, it’s not a local brewery takeover, but the closure of an office supply chain store.

CHS has learned that the Broadway OfficeMax will be closing its doors in late February, just one year after it opened in the mixed-use Lyric building. Around 400 other OfficeMax locations were slated to close last year as part of Office Depot’s 2013 takeover of the company.

UPDATE (1/28): An OfficeDepot corporate spokesperson said the Broadway store would close on February 21st.


An employee at the Broadway store told CHS that staff were notified of the closing a few weeks ago. Pillar Properties owns the Lyric apartments, but the company does not control the OfficeMax commercial space. A Pillar spokesperson said they’ve reached out to the individual who owns the space for more details on what may come next. We’ll update here if we hear anything.

The Broadway OfficeMax was one of six nationwide “vector” stores — a smaller-format concept meant to target urban neighborhoods. CHS broke the news of the company’s move on to Broadway in August 2013 and was there in January just before the store’s grand opening. At the time, store employees said the companies strategy was to offer a range of businesses services to the neighborhood’s independent shop owners. The Broadway location also includes around 90% of office supplies found in OfficeMax’s regular sized stores.

An OfficeMax corporate spokesperson did not return CHS’s request for comment on the Broadway closure.

It’s unclear what the future holds for the atypically large Broadway space that sits between Thomas and E Olive Way. With nearly one square mile more than 5,000 square feet of retail area, the space is small by box store standards but probably too large for many independent retailers. It’s possible the store could be divided in half with two separate entrances.

Broadway recently lost two longtime retailers when Redlight and Aprie fashion stores shuttered in November. Lifelong Thrift is preparing to take Redlight’s place, but is seeking some extra funds to help pay for the move from 10th and E Union.

Down the block, Metro Clothing is holding a liquidation sale to make way for of major changes in inventory. Metro owners assured customers on Facebook the sale was not a signal the store was closing.

Meanwhile, Broadway’s Castle Megastore sex shop is making plans to move to E Pike.

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54 thoughts on “Broadway OfficeMax is closing in February

  1. Hopefully we don’t end up with a huge vacant space for years to come. If OfficeMax had a five year lease on the space, the owner may have no incentive to get the space rented out. (Also, one quibble: a retail space with 5280 sq ft is not a “square mile”.)

  2. Damnit. I know there’s the virulent hatred of national chains in this neighborhood for some reason, but that store was actually useful; it offered many useful items that you can’t buy anywhere else on the Hill. This sucks.

    • I know! One of a kind store. I was thinking the other day, “damn. Where can I get reams of paper and a $200 fountain pen?” and then I realized, “Oh right. This is the 21st century. Never mind.”

      • reams of paper and a $200 pen? In the recent past, I’ve bought 1 ream of paper, a long-enough USB cable (not available at Walgreen’s on 15th, Fred Meyer on BW, a few other places), some other non-amazing things. Often the reason the box stores do well (IMO) is the variety of stuff that is offered RIGHT NOW. When my printer is out of paper, I’m not waiting on Amazon to fill the need. Biggest expenditure there – a label maker. Woo-hoo.

      • I just got back from a week in the soul-less suburban sprawl of metro Atlanta. Miles upon miles of strip malls with nothing but national chains. If that’s your idea of awesomeness, knock yourself out. The rent’s a lot cheaper there, I’ll grant them that. But for this 40-something with excellent credit, I’ll take Cap Hill, warts and all.

      • keep Broadway inconvenienced you mean. I went there fairly regularly, but I had noticed I was usually the only person in there.

      • That was the advantage of this store…you didn’t have to go all the way to 4th & Pike to Office Depot. It was great to have an office supply store on Capitol Hill.

  3. Since OM had a 5 year lease perhaps the property owners will be more generous with the next tenants, thus allowing it to fill more quickly. I like the point of dividing the space so it may be more attractive to a broader set of potential tenants.

    I expect these stores are on their way out anyway (thanks, Amazon). I find myself shopping mega retailers less and less these days, myself. Yes, convenient for the last minute need of toner or paper – we just have to be more plan full otherwise.

    • “‘The report of my death was an exaggeration”.
      ~Mark Twain

      Amazon isn’t going to kill off every big retail store. Not everyone wants to wait days for something, be there to sign for it,, or hope it’s there waiting for you with your mail.

      • You take posts so literally. Of course Amazon won’t kill off every big retail store, sheesh. However their impact on the demise of these types of brick and mortar stores is significant.

        I do use Amazon frequently. I’ve never had to wait days, never had to be there to sign for it or hope its waiting with my mail.

      • Who knew that people would complain about amazon running big business chain stores out of town. In Capitol hill of all places. Congratulations universe, you win.

      • Have you seen any of the coffee shops in Capitol Hill?

        Everyone is using a Mac, checking their iPhone, instagramming their late.

      • I’m not sure how much it will service Apple products, but there looks to be a new computer repair shop opening up on Broadway between Harrison and Republican next to the Emerald City Smoothie.

      • Apple stores always bring huge crowds who also then shop/eat at neighboring businesses. And there are a ton of apple products in use on the hill.

        They can also afford the rent that would presumably be charged for the space. Don’t tgink a bike shop could swing that financial burden and be affordable

      • @Tobin – Good to know. Computer Love is still around on 12th, I think.

        @Gordon – A bike shop is a neighborhood amenity, and this side of the hill could really use one. Along the bikeway, no less.

        And while Apple could afford the lease and bring in business, I don’t see the Lyric being a good fit for them anyway.

      • @saha. I agree that bike store is desperately needed & would be great for the community. My point was that I don’t think a bike store could shoulder the (probably very high) rent.

        An Apple Store was just something that came to mind that I would find useful and that isn’t another bank

      • Fair enough. This development hasn’t shown itself to be particularly local/small business friendly, with the exception of Solstice. But I’d hope that the scarcity of bike shops on the hill would lead to one in this location doing well.

        And they can’t put a bank there. It would mess up the 1:1 bank to block ratio that’s already established.

    • An Apple Store would really help keep the rents in check, and service all of the low-income people in the area. Fantastic idea!

  4. The “center” of Capitol Hill commerce moved to Pike/Pine some years ago, but the opening of the Link light rail station should help shift that back north. The future of Broadway retailing should be brighter with light rail service in place, so probably few long-term vacancies on Broadway.

    • Maybe in the future, but the eastern side of Broadway between Denny and Harrison is almost a wasteland right now. Hopefully it will pick back up again soon, and businesses like Tea Republik and Einstein can hold on in the meantime.

  5. That’s too bad. There aren’t enough shops for grownups on the Hill. Looking forward to the next tattoo parlor/theme bar/sex shop that shows up in the space.

  6. Although stemming from a corporate decision made somewhere else, I frankly am not surprised this place is closing. I stopped in on a walk to look for needed items at this store on two separate occasions, a few weeks apart. The first time, a staff member was rude (which turned me off and away), and the second time, they were completely uninterested in the fact that there was a customer in the store.

    I know, it’s Capitol Hill, we’re all post-modern and hip and everything. But still, in retail, if the customer is ignored, the store will fail. I am happy to continue to get supplies when needed from Office Depot by U Village. They always seem to value the business.

    • I didn’t have that experience; they were were always pleasant to me. But I did notice I was always the only person in the store.

  7. Split the space into an internal mini mall… and include a stationary shop! The hill needs more small stores not more big box stores.

  8. two of the 4 times i went to the store they did not have the thing i was looking for, and they weren’t obscure items. Broadway was no place for an office supply store. We’d need to have a few more, i dunno, offices on capitol hill for it to make much sense.

    The space is too large. For anything but national chain stores. The only one that would be a welcome addition to the city, IMO, is another Apple store. Having to trek to U Village for Apple products is absurd. An apple store would draw more shoppers to the neighborhood that would benefit other neighborhood retailers, restaurants and cafes. And with the Link Light Rail and the street car due to start running soon, it would be easily accessible from other parts of the city.

    Short of that, sub-divide the space to make it more affordable to retailers like Bootyland.

    • You don’t necessarily need more offices on Capitol Hill for this store to make sense. Tons of the tech workers that everyone here is so fond of vilifying, work at least sometimes from home. People that do that have some level of home office. These are the same people everyone curses who are paying for those $1600 studios in brand-new buildings.

  9. I never really found anything I was looking for there, personally. Usually if I need printer paper in a hurry I’d just get it from QFC or Bartell’s.

    It’ll be interesting to see what ends up in that space. I like the “mini-mall” idea.

  10. I hope Wendy’s moves into this space, much better than Dick’s and…YUM chili and Frosties!! If the space is too large for them, it should be split with Wendy’s in half and Taco Bell in the other half. I miss the Taco Bell on Broadway from years ago.

  11. What about a space like Melrose Market? I’d love a butcher, bakery, flower shop by day that converts to restaurants and bars at night.

    Or can we replace the loss of Harvard Exit with a theater like the Big Picture?

  12. I’ve said this more than a dozen times, Broadway is a HAS BEEN! Rents are super inflated and unattractive to small businesses. If you want to keep Broadway ‘weird’ then we need to have affordable retail rents allowing small businesses to survive. A portion of retail space should be saved for businesses doing $(insert amount here) or less per month in sales, if the business does more than set amount then a percentage of the surplus is added to the rent. It’s pretty simple and small business friendly.

  13. I can always tell the people who are not from here
    They always say we need this or that “In Capitol Hill” Or … I live “In Capitol Hill”
    Sorry folks you dont live “IN” Capitol Hill… You live ON Capitol Hill.
    Its a geographical hill … just like you don’t live IN Queen Anne you live ON Queen Anne.
    Unless you are a mutate mole person!

    As a recent article in the Seattle Times noted ..if you weren’t born here …you’ll never be one of us! You just don’t get the Seattle way of life …period!

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