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Congratulations on your Spirit of the Hill award, Tracy Taylor — now tell us about about Elliott Bay Book Company’s coming Sea-Tac store

Mayor Durkan congratulates 2018 Spirit of the Hill winner Tracy Taylor

Last week, “work” came up a lot as the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce recognized Elliott Bay Book Company’s general manger Tracy Taylor with its 2018 Spirit of the Hill award. Taylor will soon have even more work to do as she helps the Pioneer Square-born, 10th Ave resident bookstore expand with a new presence at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

“This is an award that recognizes not only hard work and dedication but love and passion,” Jeffrey Pelletier, principal at 15th Ave architecture and design firm Board and Vellum and chair of the chamber’s board said at the organization’s State of the Hill event held last Wednesday night at Queer/Bar. Pelletier said the State of the Hill winner is usually “someone who works hard and cares and oftentimes does it without thanks.” He called Taylor a “tireless advocate” and “a voice for small business.”

“I look around this room and I see how much work everyone in this neighborhood does to make sure that our neighborhood is a wonderful place to live, to work, to run a business,” Taylor said upon receiving the award in the seventh year it has been handed out.

Taylor tells CHS that the new Elliott Bay venture at Sea-Tac is a partnership with the Hudson Book Group to operate an EBBC satellite for travelers at the busy airport.

“They run many of the airport stores you see throughout the country and have the expertise and knowledge about the traveling customer,” Taylor tells CHS.

The new store slated to open in 2019 will have the Elliott Bay name and will “resemble our store design and selection,” Taylor said, including staff recommendations, EBBC bestsellers, local author selections, and more.

Operating at an international airport is a complicated affair with new regulations for Taylor to deal with. One example of the challenges: “All of the staff reviews and comments on our shelf talkers are hand written and the airport has a rule that you may not have handwritten signage,” Taylor said.

Elliott Bay employees won’t be shuttling to Sea-Tac to staff the store but there might be some training involvement, Taylor said.

“It’s been exciting to watch the airport stores shift over time,” Taylor said. “There’s a bit of excitement when you see Beecher’s and Sub Pop and our local favorites when you walk through Sea-Tac. Elliott Bay Book Company seems a natural fit there.”

In addition to her work at Elliott Bay, Taylor’s selection for the award by chamber members was also inspired by her effort as co-chair on Mayor Jenny Durkan’s newly formed, Capitol Hill-heavy Small Business Advisory Council.

“All the small businesses through our advisory council really have a seat at the table. So we hear before we do things what the impact will be,” Durkan said to kick off last week’s State of the Hill event to a crowd filled with business and nonprofit owners and representatives from around the neighborhood. “We know in this city it always gets done by people like you,” Durkan said. “It’s not coming from City Hall. It’s you that’s doing it.”

The chamber, meanwhile, also has a big year ahead as it settles into work to create the new Capitol Hill Alliance organization that is planned to be formed and powered by an estimated $1.6 million in assessments from an expanded Business Improvement Area.

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