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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.

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35 thoughts on “Pike/Pine kink shop The Crypt gets the boot” -- All CHS Comments are held for moderation before publishing

    • Yes, added. I think I’ve left them out of the kink parade before. From a brand POV, they should be happy — I think of them in another business altogether :)

  1. Got the boot for not paying it’s rent? Seems reasonable and rational. If you can’t afford the rent don’t sign the contract?

    I’m guessing this is a destination business, so maybe move to a cheaper location?

  2. The original location of the Crypt – was 13th & UNION – not – Broadway, between 13th & 14th. The building actually is no longer there – now it’s fancy condos.

  3. LOL @ Harvey- profanity isn’t going to hurt you, especially when there are loads of sexual puns in this artlce about a hardcore and extreme BDSM shop. Stop clutching your pearls.

  4. No mention of the decades of service The Crypt provided to the community here in Seattle just a shitty article exposing the nail in the coffin. I can’t tell how many customers have come in expressing their sadness at the loss of such a staple of the Seattle gay/leather/fetish community. You couldn’t even come in to talk to me about what happened. Instead you post an interview from last year with the shitty manager that was here then that ran lots of customers off.
    Here’s an idea, do an article on how The Crypt served the community for over 30 years and what it meant to people. Now that you aired the dirty laundry talk about the history and how the community is losing an iconic part of gay Seattle. So many customer’s have been coming in expressing their sadness and fond memories

    • Porn stores are as relevant as Ye Olde Anvil Emporium. People get porn online…usually for free now. They buy toys/fetish gear at better stores with better prices/selections/service or online.

      Blaming the previous manager is really assholey.

      Also, stupid as he’s been gone…what? Two years?

      Also/also: if customers left, they probably left when he did because they liked Shane and can’t stand you or your obvious stupidity.

      • Actually hes been gone a year and the mess I found in the store was from years of neglect. The stories I got about his shenanigans were from the crew that worked with him in the end and from the regular customers. I’ve worked for the company for 3 years and made a lot of money for them at my store in denver turning it around and shattering the monthly goals. Upper management chose me to come here and clean up the mess shane left (their exact words not mine) when he walked out :)

    • If we’re lucky we’ll end up with someplace to buy mil-spec kevlar laptop backpacks in a range of exciting colors, from black to grey.

    • Don’t you mean artisanal provisions? With $11 appetizers? BTW, the venerable bead store on Broadway is now closed (not sure when that happened). So not sure what’s left of Capitol Hill now.

  5. I don’t really think the comment of Shane being a shitty manager was fair,actually while he was manager our customers at the time were very happy and nothing but praise was given to him and his crew,in fact some of us spent many extra hours and days trying to keep the business going,I myself work there for 6 or more years to the crypt,so before you blame the manager or the previous crew for business decline you should really know how hard we worked to keep that stores customer base going.infact there was nothing for pride celebration until shane implemented ideas and brought them to check your facts before blaming anyone for the decline of this store buisness.

    • The mess I found was from years of neglect, the stories I’ve heard we’re from his own crew, regular customers and upper management. I’m not blaming him for the store closing he had nothing to do with that neither did I, it was upper management. I’m just tired of hearing shit hes said. No one knows what was really going on here like I do from what I found here in the store

  6. Sad, I remember going to the Crypt for the first time when it was on Union. Back then they rented porn on VHS too. LOL But it sounds like bad management or ownership and with online sales of lube and toys I doubt they are raking in enough to cover expenses each month.