Fuel to join Ada’s family, adding books to blend of coffee, community

(Image: Fuel Coffee)

(Image: Fuel Coffee)

It’s a blend that should work out, mixing the 15-year-old creation of a Seattle coffee veteran  with the energy of two Capitol Hill entrepreneurs who have a vision for growing cafe communities and independent book retail.

Fuel Coffee and its three locations in the 19th Ave E Stevens neighborhood, Montlake, and Wallingford is becoming part of the Ada’s family of bookshops and cafes. The merger is the outgrowth of conversations that started well before the outbreak and is ready to move forward now that reopening plans are taking shape, both sides say. It’s now a vision that seems even more clear after weeks of COVID-19 restrictions with neighbors sticking mostly to their nearby streets.

“Community is even more important,” Danielle Hulton says.

The new Fuel will be a flip of how the original Ada’s was shaped on 15th Ave E. Ada’s is a community built around books — Fuel shops will be built around coffee. Continue reading

After nearly 30 years, the Broadway Urban Outfitters is closing

Urban Outfitters

The exit of Urban Outfitters will leave a hole at Broadway and Harrison (Image: CHS)

Youth-oriented fashion retailer Urban Outfitters is packing up and moving off of Capitol Hill and the Broadway corner it has called home for nearly three decades.

Workers were reported clearing out the relatively giant two-level store on the northern end of the Broadway Market shopping center Monday afternoon.

A store manager confirmed the end of the lease and the UO’s closing with CHS just as other neighborhood retailers are gearing up for curbside pick-up and relaxed outbreak restrictions.

While the COVID-19 crisis and financial impact still swirls, the Urban Outfitters exit has been in the works since last summer when the shopping center began marketing the lease for the space. Continue reading

With online orders, curbside pickup, and window shopping, how Capitol Hill retailers are facing ‘phased’ reopening

Doghouse Leathers is seeing business at about 25% of normal as its sales have moved to online and pick-up — “mostly local customers needing essential supplies” (Image: @creativitythatconnects)

By Lena Friedman, CHS Intern

Big releases are still happening at Likelihood

Since Gov. Jay Inslee’s announcement of a phased approach to reopening Washington’s economy, Capitol Hill retailers have been busily planning — and putting some of those new plans into motion. Many neighborhood retailers are now opening up for curbside pickup as part of Phase 1 and are making plans for what the “new normal” in-store shopping will look like when brick and mortar stores can reopen to the public.

Washington’s Phase 2, which will allow for in-store shopping with certain restrictions, is expected to go into effect early June although no date has been specified. This will mark the closest return to business as usual for Washington retailers since their announced closure as part of Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” mandate on March 23.

Fashion and shoe store Likelihood on 11th Ave and E Union is figuring out where it fits into Washington’s phased approach. The store has been busy coming up with a plan to reopen their storefront after moving business online about a week before non-essential businesses were ordered to shut down.

“We are a specialty retailer built on personal and individual partnerships with our customers, and a lot of our product is considered touch and feel, so the majority of our business before this was in-store” co-owner Daniel Carlson said. “We started Likelihood built around the experience of the store versus virtually online.” Continue reading

Hoping for the best, Capitol Hill small biz fundraisers boosted by anonymous $10K gifts


Who wouldn’t give $10,000 to help Hardy and Buster?

Two neighborhood shops in need are cautiously optimistic — Is there an anonymous neighbor helping to save Capitol Hill businesses one secret $10,000 gift at a time?

Harvard Ave’s Twice Sold Tales is one recipient. After launching its fundraising appeal to help save the used book shop and a post on CHS, an anonymous $10,000 donor joined more than 100 others to help owner Jamie Lutton leap beyond her goal of “one month’s rent.” Continue reading

No returns: Owner says Capitol Hill classic consignment shop Le Frock won’t reopen after COVID-19 closure

(Image: Le Frock)

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. Continue reading

After lockdown and burglary, Capitol Hill candy shop Rocket Fizz could use a lift

Rocket Fizz Broadwa’s GoFundMe is here

If you can’t have love for a Capitol Hill candy shop, move along. Here is a boost for Broadway’s Rocket Fizz:

Rocket Fizz will be celebrating its 4-year anniversary next month. We have worked hard to make it a welcoming and fun experience for adults and children alike. To this day, we enjoy seeing some of the same customers we met during our first summer. We’ve applied for all the grants, loans and assistance available but no funds have been secured yet. We reached out to the landlord for rental assistance during the shutdown but have not received a response. What we want more than anything is to reopen our doors to the neighborhood. One month’s rent/expenses would be help us bridge the gap until other funding can be secured. Any assistance would help us we be ready to open our doors when the time is right.

(Image: CHS)

Add the four-year-old retailer to the list of neighborhood businesses that might not make it through the crisis. It didn’t help, owner Theresa Sindelar tells CHS, that the shop suffered a damaging burglary last week that left shattered glass and ruined inventory.

CHS wrote about Sindelar’s move from Omaha as a candy shop franchisee here in 2016. “It was just so fun to have happy customers every day – i just kind of fell in love with concept and found out Seattle didn’t have one yet, so he kind of helped me get it off the ground,” Sindelar said at the time. “We figured Capitol Hill has a great vibe and a kinda fits in with our inventory.”

If you’re a fan, you can learn more and make a donation of support here. Know of other Capitol Hill and Central District area businesses that need a lift. Let us know how we can help. If you need your sugar fix, Sindelar says she can also take orders and requests via email at rocketfizzseattle@gmail.com.

HELP CHS COVER THE COVID-19 CRISIS -- SUBSCRIBE TODAY: Support local journalism dedicated to your neighborhood. SUBSCRIBE HERE. Join to become a subscriber at $1/$5/$10 a month to help CHS provide community news with NO PAYWALL. You can also sign up for a one-time annual payment.

More COVID-19 tweaks to Capitol Hill grocery shopping: lines to get in, one-way aisles, U-Scan bottlenecks, and $2/hour ‘hero’ pay

Officials continue to try to fine tune distancing restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19 and one of the core remaining public activities for Seattle residents is also undergoing some tweaks and new restrictions. You’ll see new lines outside Capitol Hill grocery stores and more changes inside including one-way aisles and, hopefully, more protections to keep workers safe and healthy.

Washington’s labor and industries department this week issued new guidelines for the industry:

The L&I guidance requires stores to have a social distancing plan, ensure frequent hand washing, and provide basic education to staff about how to prevent the spread of coronavirus. To protect workers, L&I strongly recommends steps like installing hand sanitizer dispensers for customers, ensuring people handling money and retrieving carts are wearing gloves, and marking on the floor and enforcing six-foot increments at checkout stands.

Area stores have implemented many of the recommendations. All three Capitol Hill QFCs now limit the number of customers allowed inside, for example. You will also find changes like one-way aisles to help shoppers maintain distancing.

Under union pressure, QFCs have also added a “hero bonus” temporary $2-an-hour hazard pay and are providing workers with disposable masks. Continue reading

From within Capitol Hill’s Chophouse Row, you can now have care packages full of delicious, local things sent to your favorite Seattle ‘stay home’ castaway

Dinah’s Cheese from Kurtwood Farms may save the day (Image: Good in Seattle)

A Capitol Hill business owner is helping lead the way on a new project hoped to help small shops and food and drink crafters from around the community stay connected to the city as “stay home” restrictions continue.

Good in Seattle is a local delivery box “that comes full of products made by small businesses in our community” — from fresh pasta from Lagana in Ballard to records from Broadway’s Spin Cycle.

Brandon Waterman announced the new project this week with lots of connections to the home of his Good Weather bike shop and cafe, 11th Ave’s Chophouse Row.

The new shopping and delivery service won’t depend on bikes, though. The packs are too heavy for cycling, with plans to fill the parcels for weekly delivery around Seattle:

Every week, you’ll have the opportunity to pre-order boxes, delivered directly to homes in Seattle, so it’s easier to support the companies you love. This is our way of celebrating the amazing things this city continues to offer each and every one of us. Your support helps to assure the future for all of the participating companies and, as a bonus, you’ll get some help filling those idle hours at home with delicious and fun stuff.

Lagana Foods – Fresh Pasta with Pesto Nettle Sauce

Seawolf Bakers –  Sourdough 1/2 Loaf

KurtWoodFarms – Dinah’s Cheese (1/2 round)

BellFlower – Single-Origin Chocolate

Sweet Alchemy – Ice Cream – “London Fog”

Nashi Ciders – 4 pack of deliciousness

Seattle Made Wine by Elsom Cellars

Stoup – Double Crowler

Beneficial Brewing Kombucha

Salt Blade – Salami

The Kitchen Imp – Spice Packets

Beneficial Brewing – Kombucha 2-16oz cans.

Herkimer Whole Bean Single Origin Coffee – 12oz bag

Westman’s Bagels – 2 pack with Schmear

Beast & Cleaver – Sausages

Ayako & Family – Jam – Plum Jam

“We’re starting off with a morning box and an evening box with products from more than 15 great companies and will figure things out from there,” Waterman said.

The boxes aren’t cheap, ranging in price from $85 to $160 depending on the mix you choose, but think of them as the ultimate self care reward or a proper COVID-19 relief package — pay attention, Congress — to send to a friend or loved one in the city.

The initial roster has some familiar names from around Chophouse plus a few new things to try. “Some things you may have never tried before, others are probably tried and true favorites,” Waterman said.

You can check out the options and sign up at goodinseattle.com.

HELP CHS COVER THE COVID-19 CRISIS -- SUBSCRIBE TODAY: Support local journalism dedicated to your neighborhood. SUBSCRIBE HERE. Join to become a subscriber at $1/$5/$10 a month to help CHS provide community news with NO PAYWALL. You can also sign up for a one-time annual payment.

‘A month’s rent’ — Purr-haps pitch in to help Twice Sold Tales

Elliott Bay Book Company is weathering the storm of the COVID-19 crisis with a shift to online sales and local delivery along with a healthy dose of positive labor relations. A smaller, simpler, Capitol Hill sister book retailer, Twice Sold Tales doesn’t get the nationwide love of Elliott Bay but it, too, is trying to hang on through the outbreak and the ripples of economic challenges. Continue reading

Love and labor rights in the time of COVID-19: The Book Workers Union forms at Capitol Hill’s Elliott Bay Book Company

A constantly shifting set of rules and regulations for small businesses in the midst of a global pandemic and an important step forward for its workers’ labor rights has made a very unique situation for one Capitol Hill business.

Elliott Bay Book Company, the most prominent shop in Capitol Hill’s independent retail scene, is closed to the public and moving its sales to phone and online only through March 31st to do its part to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. But it is also the center of what could be a big change for labor rights for Capitol Hill retail workers.

Friday, a small group of current and former Elliott Bay employees announced the formation of the Book Workers Union. And, unlike many other small, local efforts around unionization, they announced they were moving forward already recognized by management.

“Many of our customers treasure Elliott Bay because it represents an alternative to Amazon, a company that has posed an existential threat to our bookstore and bookstores across the country,” two-year employee Jacob Schear said. “But by recognizing our union, Elliott Bay has set itself up to be a true alternative to Amazon.”

Joined by Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant, Schear also made it clear the independent book retailer was ready to work with the newly formed effort.

“The management and owner, Peter Aaron, has formally recognized our union,” he said. “We are a union shop! We worked very closely with managers at Elliott Bay and we’re excited that they recognize what a thoughtful and talented staff they have who keep every aspect of the store running.”

Now the sides will need to set about bargaining “for a fair contract on behalf of the employees of the Elliott Bay Book Company,” the union said in a press release.

In its announcement, the Book Workers Union set out its objectives. “The union’s members believe a bookstore is much more than a retail space, and they will work to make sure Elliott Bay’s role in the community reflects the values and character of its staff,” it reads — Continue reading