Capitol Hill vintage and consignment shop Le Frock survived the redevelopment of its original E Pine block but it won’t make it through the COVID-19 economic crisis.
Longtime manager and current owner Paula Lucas tells CHS she is closing the store for good after some 29 years of business on Capitol Hill.
“After this virus goes away the face of Seattle is going to be very different,” Lucas said.
Uprooted and in business in the 600 block of E Pike since 2013, Lucas says she is now busy at Le Frock preparing to return consignment shoes and clothing to their owners. She said she tried applying to grant programs like Seattle’s Small Business Stabilization Fund but Le Frock ended up part of the 8,750 or so businesses that didn’t get funding. Besides, she says, the money would have only been a band-aid.
“The money that the government is handing out — Seattle’s $10,000 thing — that’s maybe two month’s rent,” she said. Still, it would have helped. Lucas said she applied for other programs but nothing has come through.
While concern is running high for Seattle’s small businesses and the many shops, restaurants, bars, and cafes that have been forced to temporarily close, closure announcements have been relatively few so far around Capitol Hill and the Central District. If infection rates don’t continue to drop and the economic hardships drag on, this will undoubtedly change. For now, Le Frock is one of the few sad goodbyes for the neighborhood.
For Lucas, she says her plan had been to hand over the store like how she became owner following the retirement of Diane Stone who retired at the age of 75 in 2013 as the store was preparing to move off E Pine to make way for a massive redevelopment of the Bauhaus block.
“I had hopes that when I retired I could just leave it to my longest standing employees,” Lucas said. “But that didn’t pan out.”
If you want to leave a note and say goodbye, stop by the Le Frock Facebook page.
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