Capitol Hill’s latest grocery indignity: The Madison Trader Joe’s no longer sells booze

There are five Trader Joe’s stores across Seattle including the U District, Queen Anne, West Seattle, Ballard, and Capitol Hill — but only the Madison store no longer has whiskey, gin, and vodka for sale.

A decade after the grocery added hard liquor to its aisles after the end of Washington’s prohibition on grocery sales, Trader Joe’s Store #130 has removed spirits from its shelves.

A call to the store Wednesday afternoon confirmed the change. We have not yet heard back from the company’s Southern California headquarters about what led to the decision. A CHS reader said that employees have told shoppers that theft has been an issue but safety issues for employees were also part of the decision.

The change comes as the latest minor inconvenience and change in the day to day for shoppers and customers on Capitol Hill and in Seattle spurred by concerns about crime and safety. Continue reading

City People’s announces final growing season as one of Seattle’s longest running land use battles will end with 2024 start on Madison Valley PCC redevelopment

City People’s Garden Store, October 1988 (Image: City People’s)

This is really it. The final growing season at E Madison’s City People’s. The popular Madison Valley garden and supply store announced it will permanently close at the end of 2022 to make way for a long-planned redevelopment of its acre of Central Seattle land. The Madison Valley PCC and a new six-story, 82-unit apartment building above a 140-vehicle parking lot is coming.

“With a heavy, heavy heart we announce that we will close our doors on Madison at the end of the year,” Wednesday’s announcement sent to the plant and gardening store’s customers reads. “We have reached the end of our lease extensions on this property, and City People’s Garden Store will lose its home of 34 years.”

F. Geza de Gall of developer Velmeir Companies confirmed demolition planning is underway and said construction work could begin late in the first quarter of 2024. Continue reading

Nook and Cranny Books: What if you read about a Capitol Hill bookstore for sale — and bought it?

(Image: Nook and Cranny Books)

A chef hoping to someday mix her worlds of food and books is starting with the book end of things on Capitol Hill.

“I joke that it was, ‘I guess I’ll just go buy this book store,'” Maren Comendant tells CHS.

It kind of was.

Comendant is the proud new owner of Nook and Cranny Books, a tiny shop along 15th Ave E. CHS reported on the decision in March by Kari Ferguson to find a new owner to take over Oh Hello Again after just over a year of business at the little bookstore where she introduced the idea of retail bibliotherapy to Seattle with a shop organized by topics — “mental health, everyday problems, bettering yourself, relationships, travel, and many more.”

Comendant bought the business including Ferguson’s stock and set about shaping her own shop. She has stuck with the the bibliotherapeutic organization saying she and Ferguson share “a very similar literary aesthetic.” Continue reading

‘A labor of love,’ Capitol Hill’s European Vine Selections marks 50 years of bringing fine wines to Seattle — and tasting every single one

The wine world of the 1970’s was a wild time. The rising cost of imported wine was affecting American consumers and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms import laws around specific labeling for French and Spanish wine was cost prohibitive for small vintners. In 1972, to help counter these frustrations, four Seattle friends decided to open their own wine business, lessening the damage done to their own bank accounts, and in return starting a legacy of knowledge, passion, and decades of experience tasting wine that continues to this day on Capitol Hill.

European Vine Selections opened for four hours a week during the first two years at its original Fremont location, and in 1974, expanded hours and according to part-owner Tarik Burney, “they started expanding their hours and running it like a proper business”. On Valentine’s Day 1987 they opened the Capitol Hill shop in the same location it is now.

What Seattle benefits from a tiny shop along 15th Ave E on Capitol Hill is 50 years of a carefully crafted selection of wines from around the globe. Continue reading

QFC welcoming Capitol Hill shoppers with new plexiglass grocery maze, its latest Broadway retail innovation — UPDATE

Thanks to CHS reader Tammy for sharing pictures of the new barriers

QFC, an innovator in unleashing new fresh hells of modern grocery shopping experiences on its Capitol Hill customers, has added yet another indignity to its Broadway retail experience.

CHS reader Tammy posted pictures of new plexiglass barriers installed inside across the front entrance area of the Broadway Market store that show a new maze-like structure for shoppers to channel through when entering or leaving the store. Unlike the installation of plexiglass around many counters during the pandemic to help protect employees and customers from the spread of COVID-19, the new QFC barriers appear to be a security upgrade at the store.

The company has not said publicly what the new barriers are intended to accomplish. Retail theft remains a hot button issue in Seattle and reports of shoplifting at both Broadway QFCs is a multiple times a day occurrence.

The poster’s comments about reporting the situation to the Seattle Fire Department caught the attention of QFC’s parent company’s social media team: Continue reading

Signs of Capitol Hill normalcy: Little Oddfellows set to reopen inside Elliott Bay Book Company

A sign of normalcy — and a sign of the times — Little Oddfellows, one of Linda Derschang’s remaining Capitol Hill joints, is making tentative plans to reopen Friday inside 10th Ave’s Elliott Bay Book Company.

Even one of the city’s longest running food and drink entrepreneurs is being challenged by the pandemic’s ongoing impact on the labor force. Derschang says Friday’s opening is pending last minute hiring including an assistant manager and a line cook.

While the cafe has remained dark, the Elliott Bay store has continued to serve customers through the pandemic and is now a union shop. Retail on 10th Ave has also gone through some changes. Macklemore’s golf fashion play Bogey Boys stopped through for a temporary stay before teeing off again in University Village. New era furniture retailer Joybird is lined up to take over the former Everyday Music space across 10th Ave. Last summer, Glossier restarted its global beauty retail ambitions with a new store on the street. Continue reading

Capitol Hill ‘goth shop’ legend The Cramp back from the dead on Broadway

From Olivia in the CHS Facebook Group: “”

KEXP is celebrating World Goth Day, Bauhaus is playing the Paramount.

And The Cramp is ready to haunt Broadway again — and bring traffic to a standstill once more — with its mix of gothic fashion, loud music, and, maybe, live window shows.

Backed by original ownership, the infamous 1988-born Broadway shop has slowly re-materialized — from online presence, to street pop-up at sister store The New York Xchange, and earlier this year into its current incarnation upstairs inside the Broadway Alley building.

Now it is preparing for a full return from the dark fashion grave, braving the daylight of a sidewalk-fronting space in the building and a return to Broadway’s streetlife. Continue reading

Capitol Hill’s boutique consignment shops were some of its first small biz pandemic victims — Now, Creature ready to open on 15th Ave E


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Creature, coming soon to 15th Ave E (Image: CHS)

By Hannah Saunders

After meeting in Portland while working for a consignment shop six years ago, Cybele Phillips and Emily Schikora moved back to Seattle where they reconnected and began discussing the possibility of opening their own shop.

By last December, the pair laid out sturdy plans for a new Capitol Hill consignment shop — Creature — which will open its 15th Ave E doors to the public on June 1.

“We were ready to jump because we thought about it hypothetically for so long,” Schikora said.

Schikora and Phillips found the perfect space at 415 15th Ave E where Superb Cleaners had gone out of business during the pandemic and pounced at the opportunity.

“The space was kind of a blank canvas, which was really exciting,” said Phillips. “It was literally just a concrete box the first time we saw it, and there were so many possibilities in terms of what to do with the actual space.”

Phillips said the large space allowed Creature to expand into menswear and to create a fluid experience for movement, rather than having shoppers feeling confined to a men’s or women’s section.

Phillips said that the Capitol Hill neighborhood was where they wanted Creature to be. Phillips moved to Seattle from the east coast in 2001, was in Portland for a short time, then moved back to Seattle; during her time living in Seattle, she has been on Capitol Hill.

“I just thought the business would fit really well here, and I feel like this kind of shopping experience is really lacking in Capitol Hill right now, too,” said Phillips. Continue reading

With piñatas and Mexican grocery dreams, Fogón adding ‘bodega bar’ El Lugar to E Pine

The future home of El Lugar in early April (Image: El Lugar)

Capitol Hill’s Fogón food and drink family is expanding with a neighboring new El Lugar Bodega Bar project that will mix the paleta flavors of a cocktail bar with a small Mexican grocery in the middle of Pike/Pine.

“We wanted something a little different from Fogón and La Josie’s from the get-go,” Nina Maldonado tells CHS. “A (very) mini version of a Mexican market to include Mexican arts/goods, groceries, a bar and some small bites.”

Maldonado is bringing her experience in retail to the project currently under construction in the former Oasis bubble tea shop space next door to E Pine’s Fogon. There was hope that Fogon customers could enter the new bodega and bar through the restaurant but the space is currently being planned as a separate entrance along the block between Belmont and Boylston. Continue reading

We know why one Capitol Hill 7-Eleven is closed — but not both of them — UPDATE: Reopening

Thanks to a reader for checking in on the 15th Ave E 7-Eleven

Capitol Hill just got its H Mart M2M grocery store. It is not losing both of its 7-Elevens but one of the ubiquitous convenience stores has shuttered.

A few concerned readers reached out to CHS about construction and plywood up at the neighborhood’s two 7-Eleven stores. The scene was especially busy at the 15th and Denny store where fencing went up and the parking lot swarmed with contractors last week.

Both of the Capitol Hill 7-Eleven stores are in the middle of construction.

UPDATE: A spokesperson for the company confirmed both stores are planned to reopen — and it sounds like work at the 15th and Denny bodega is already complete. Along E Madison, the store has been temporarily closed during the intense street construction in the area. According to CHS readers who spoke with people at the store as it was being boarded up, the location will reopen under company, non-franchise ownership. The spokesperson did not confirm those details and did not provide a timeline for reopening.

Original report: At 15th and Denny, the convenience store in the 1974-built commercial building is undergoing a thorough overhaul with permits for new refrigeration and cold case work underway. Last summer it got a full reworking of its telecom and alarm system. The construction was continuing Monday but shouldn’t require a long term closure. Continue reading