Reopening: Capitol Hill salons old and new return, adjusting to ‘new norm’ of masked haircutting

New colors at 19th Ave Salon by Brandon Madsen (Image: 19th Ave Salon)

Capitol Hill beauty businesses are adjusting to cutting and styling hair under state-mandated changes, including wearing PPE, issuing temperature checks and maintaining six feet of distance when possible.

For 19th Avenue Salon owner Jamie De Maria, implementing these safety requirements has been an important part of opening the new business. The salon had only been open for a week when COVID-19 restrictions shut the business down.

To his surprise, De Maria said the shop has not struggled with customers since reopening.

“We’ve been so beyond busy and turning clients away and working 12 hour days — it’s been insane,” De Maria said. “I would say 80-90% of our new customers are neighbors and residents of the community that have been walking by the salon seeing the construction happening and waiting for it to open and reading our reviews online.”

Salons got the go-ahead to reopen at 25% capacity under Phase 1.5 restrictions in early June and now have the option to expand to 50% capacity as part of Phase 2. Continue reading

Founders have deal to rescue Rudy’s Barbershop from bankruptcy

Inside the E Pine Rudy's

Rudy’s in busier days

The economic upheaval created by the COVID-19 crisis will put one of Capitol Hill’s signature companies back in the hands of the group of friends who created it on E Pine nearly 30 years ago.

According to federal court filings in a $3.5 million deal that closed Friday, Rudy’s Reloaded, a company involving founders Wade Weigel and David Petersen has successfully won a bid to purchase the Rudy’s Barbershop chain out of bankruptcy.

“After several rounds of bidding between the Stalking Horse and Rudy’s Reloaded during the Auction, the Debtors determined, in consultation with counsel to the Committee, that: (i) Rudy’s Reloaded was the Successful Bidder and its final bid was the Successful Bid; and (ii) that the Stalking Horse was the Back-Up Bidder and its final bid was the Back-Up Bid under the Bidding Procedures Order,” an analysis used in determining the winning bid reads. Continue reading

In fight to survive pandemic crisis and save 600 jobs, Capitol Hill-headquartered Rudy’s Barbershops declares bankruptcy

Rudy’s in sunnier times

In a bid to save the company and the jobs of its 600 employees, Capitol Hill-born Rudy’s Barbershops has filed for bankruptcy and is seeking permission for a quick sale to raise cash it needs to continue after its business was wiped away by the COVID-19 crisis.

“Because the company was forced to shutter all of its operations, the company’s main source of revenue, the services it provides to its customers, has completely and unexpectedly evaporated overnight,” CEO Kathleen Trent writes in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy documents filed in Delaware last week.

Born on E Pine and an exporter of Capitol Hill style for nearly 30 years, Rudy’s is now in the fight of its financial life and is asking the court for a quick “Stalking Horse” sale to a private equity firm offering a $1.525 million lifeline and a to be determined bid for the company. Continue reading

Third time’s the charm for Aria as the salon hopes its new home at 15th and John will be permanent after its latest and ‘final’ Capitol Hill move

(Image: Aria Salon)

In 1998, Bianca Brookman opened Aria Salon at 11th and E Pike. Today, the salon has moved three times in twenty years. Aria has re-opened after its third move, and Brookman hopes the salon’s new home on 15th and John is permanent, proving small businesses and the gayborhood can thrive on the Hill today.

“It’s not the Pike and Pine corridor, but we’re in our 20th year, we have amazing staff, and I’m super excited,” Brookman said. “There’s a lot of good energy up here, and we’re ready for another 20 years.”

Prior to the salon’s move to 15th and John behind Bakery Nouveau, Aria resided on E Pine adjacent to Dingfelder’s Delicatessen. Brookman believed Aria would remain in its home since 2008 for years to come, and she sought to make changes to the salon’s layout. While renegotiating Aria’s lease on the space to ensure the salon’s longevity, Brookman learned she could not extend her lease beyond the duration of a development project set to wrap around the building.

She was also concerned with how the new development’s layout would impact the old building’s appearance and structural integrity, even if Aria could afford to remain in the space once construction was completed. Brookman viewed the situation as an opportunity to find Aria its latest permanent home. Continue reading

CHS Pics | Earl’s Cuts and Styles making temporary move before new life in Liberty Bank Building

It’s almost moving day for Earl Lancaster

After nearly 30 years of business, Earl’s Cuts and Styles won’t be cutting hair in the Midtown Center at 23rd and Union after this weekend. But its new home across the way in the Liberty Bank Building isn’t ready for the legendary barbershop just yet.

After Saturday’s final day of business in its original home, Earl’s is moving across the street to a temporary shop in The Central building. Earl Lancaster said he hopes the stay will be short and that he should be in his new shop in the Liberty Bank Building by the end of March. Continue reading

CHS Pics | Squirrel Chops adds another layer to E Union coffee scene

Shirley Henderson and Sharon Blyth-Moss (Images: CHS)

Shirley Henderson and Sharon Blyth-Moss (Images: CHS)

Change can begin with a good haircut. A good cup of coffee can also help. You can now get both at the latest cafe to open along E Union, Squirrel Chops.

CHS spoke with owners Shirley Henderson and Sharon Blyth-Moss about their plans for the hybrid cafe+salon earlier this year just as construction was getting underway on their space at 22nd and Union inside The Central building, the first of what will be a wave of four-story-plus apartment buildings set to rise around 23rd and Union. Squirrel Chops debuted Sunday after they typical “longer than expected” buildout. Continue reading

Rudy’s E Pine to add beer

Rudy's

If you want to unwind after a long day and get your hair trimmed at the same time, never fear: Rudy’s Barbershop is looking to join the beer and haircut bandwagon.

Rudy’s has applied for a license that would allow the chain to serve beer at its Capitol Hill shop on E Pine, according to a Rudy’s spokesperson. If approved, the Rudy’s at 614 E Pine will be able to serve beer in addition to its current offerings, Stumptown coffee and Jones Soda.

The E Pine shop will not be the only barber on Capitol Hill planning to offer beer in addition to haircuts. Portland based Bishops said it will offer complimentary beer with haircuts when it announced its plans to join the neighborhood, and the Rudy’s that opened in Pioneer Square this summer has been selling beer from the get-go.

“Pioneer Square was our pilot, and so far it’s gone super well,” said the spokesperson. Rudy’s says its decision to add some harder stuff to the menu has nothing to do with keeping up with the competition. “It’s something we’ve always wanted to do,” the spokesperson said.

CHS reported on Monday’s opening of MRoom, yet another hair concept targeting the lucrative male grooming market on Capitol Hill.

If the license is approved, Rudy’s plans to offer a few types of New Belgium beer, plus some local favorites like Rainier and PBR, for around $3.50 per bottle.

MRoom brings Finnish roots, ‘precise’ cuts to Capitol Hill barbershop scene

The Finns have arrived on Capitol Hill. They want to cut your hair.

“We like growing areas. There is nowhere in Seattle that isn’t growing right now. This is one of the places where it is centered,” MRoom brand director Gary Moore told CHS this spring as the global chain’s latest North American beachhead began its buildout on E Pike.

MRoom Capitol Hill opened Monday morning with four chairs, a week of free haircutting, and a crisp approach to hair, one of the few industries that has mostly defied the transition to a digital economy. Capitol Hill’s hair game continues to be strong with the latest openings trending toward the more masculine barbershop end of the spectrum. The Scotch Pine — “modern barbershop your granddad would be proud of” — opened this year in Chophouse Row while 12th and Pike is destined to sport a new Bishops as it brings its “free beer,” um, concept from Portland to entice Pike/Pine dudes — and ladies who appreciate a good razor cut. Continue reading

The Scotch Pine to add ‘cuts to Chophouse Row

FullSizeRenderWhen Capitol Hill developer Liz Dunn set out to create the final piece of her puzzle on the block of Pike/Pine between 12th and 11th, Pike and Union, she decided to create a project that would take a different position in the neighborhood’s many mixed-use creations. The floors above Chophouse Row are filled with office space, not apartments. Her commercial space is also a mix — a recipe that will be boosted with the addition of popular Seattle barbershop The Scotch Pine.

“I remember sitting back in that area while Josh was playing Capitol Hill Block Party and thinking this would be a great place,” Emily Rawlings tells CHS of the preservation-friendly development her “modern barbershop your granddad would be proud of” will call home with the New Year.

Rawlings and her husband, pianist Josh Rawlings, are familiar parts of the city’s music scene and have their Capitol Hill connections but it was the available space and Central Seattle proximity as much as anything that drew the stylist to Chophouse Row.

“We have a really great following,” she said. “We get people that come from all over Seattle.”

The Scotch Pine is cut from old school barbershop cloth with a focus on quality and style — and a hot towel and a neck shave at the end. Cuts start around $35 — $15 for a buzz. Continue reading