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Retail vet Retrofit Home celebrates construction-free bump in Pike/Pine shopping

A new Retrofit sofa takes a rest on the mostly construction-free E Pike (Image: Retrofit Home)

A new Retrofit sofa takes a rest on the mostly construction-free E Pike (Image: Retrofit Home)

As Seattleites make a mad dash to finish their holiday shopping, the owners of Retrofit Home are enjoying what they say is heavy foot traffic in Pike/Pine and high sales.

“We’re having an incredible season,” said co-owner Jon Milazzo.

Milazzo’s business partner Lori Pomeranz said they started to see traffic increase for holiday shopping around mid October, which is earlier than ever before. The CHS advertiser has been in business at 1103 E Pike since 2005.

Milazzo and Pomeranz attribute their higher sales and success this holiday season to multiple factors. The first: a lack of construction in their part of the neighborhood. They said it’s the first in many years that there isn’t a lot of construction going on around their location on the corner of 11th and E Pike.

“Pike/Pine has really become a walking neighborhood again,” Milazzo said, adding that there is more parking available and no loud construction noise.

The owners also said they’ve seen a sense of connection in their community since the election. With a sticker reading “Not my president” on their front door, some might find a sense of comfort in similar beliefs. Milazzo said people are out connecting with each other more than ever before. And, for some that means more thoughtful gift giving.

Retrofit’s team also acknowledges that they have been in business for more than 11 years and have been able to establish themselves as a hub for holiday shopping. Frequent shoppers to their store know about all the fun novelty gift items and the annual Hundred and Under art show.

The store had sold through nearly all of its holiday candles and ornaments by the second week of December. Now, Milazzo and Pomeranz have stocked oversized plaid and patterned scarves, which have been a huge hit with the lower than usual temperatures, Milazzo said.

With the increasing popularity of air plants and small succulents, Retrofit Home’s garden department has also gained interest.

“You can put air plants in anything and they’ll sell,” Pomeranz said. “We’ve had a lot of fun with it.”

Aside from gifts, the retailer also sells a lot of furniture and art this time of year as customers prepare their homes for hosting holiday festivities.

Starting every December, Milazzo and Pomeranz cover the store walls with local art all priced under $100 for the Hundred and Under art show. This year, they have 13 local artists participating. Milazzo said the first year they hosted the show, a customer bought four or five pieces of art as gifts. The next year, several followed suit. Now, it seems to be a growing tradition with many customers purchasing multiple art pieces to gift.

The show will continue through the end of January. Then, Milazzo and Pomeranz will head to Vegas for the big furnishings market, where they’ll see all the new trends and decide what to introduce to Seattle in 2017. They don’t expect to see foot traffic and sales slow down until mid February.

For those still in need of last minute gifts, Milazzo and Pomeranz said they’ll give a discount to anyone who comes into the store dressed as an ornament. They’re leaving the interpretation up to the customers, but if they’re not sold on the costume, they might request a song in addition. You might also tell them you enjoyed your walk around the construction-free neighborhood.

You can learn more about Retrofit Home at retrofithome.com.

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