Alex Kostelnik is getting out of the e-bike biz
One of the more future-looking retail ventures in the area is calling it quits. Here is why Electric Lady, the Central District e-bike shop in a building part of the wave of new development at 23rd and Union, is going out of business.
“(T)he business is doing well financially, but he is not enjoying the work needed to navigate what he sees as an unreliable industry where companies start up, go under, fire staff and get bought constantly,” the Seattle Bike Blog writes aboutowner Alex Kostelnik’s decision.
But Kostelnik tells SBB he was also having trouble connecting with his customers:
“They’re first time riders, but they’re not first time riders that are stepping up to the plate to hear about the community or join the community. They’re sort of strange outsider, know-it-all lonely people who aren’t really part of our community, and I don’t know where to begin with them.”
It’s not all sour grapes. Kostelnik will continue to run 20/20 Cycles just up the E Union hill and plans to include some electric bike models in his inventory. Continue reading
With Thanksgiving out of the way, it’s time to Shop the Hill. E Pike’s newest retailer is ready for your business. Meanwhile, two other Hill fashion shops are marking the start of the holiday shopping season celebrating important milestones.
Ritual, a new independent fashion shop from two industry veterans, is now open on the Comet block and ready for your very Black Friday visit.
“When we’re feeling feel sassy, we might have some charcoal,” Sarah Randall Williams tells CHS about Ritual’s monochromatic approach with an emphasis on texture and shape.
“I worship at the altar of Yohji Yamamoto.” Continue reading
With its first incarnation shadowed by a controversy over interpretation of its longtime brand, Katie Largent is hoping for a better start for Arden Home.
“The change was really bigger than all of the controversy,” Largent said of the backlash that formed when Plantation Design — a Los Angeles-born provider of the botanical motifs, woven surfaces, and shutters of the plantation style of interior design — expanded to San Francisco and Seattle. Continue reading
Two industry veterans are coming together to create a new fashion shopping experience on E Pike they hope moves beyond faceless, soulless big box retailers.
“We both became a little more disillusioned with faceless, fast profit, fashion companies,” William Rheinhardt tells CHS about Ritual, the new store he and business partner Sarah Randall Williams are creating in the 900 block of E Pike in the middle of the neighborhood’s nightlife and club scene.
After meeting in the trenches working on West Coast efforts for Swedish retailer H&M, Rheinhardt says he and Williams are breaking out after a combined 40 years in the industry to create their own fashion shop featuring clothing as well as household and lifestyle goods.
“We’ve been looking to partner with brands that have a social conscience,” Rheinhardt said. “We see that as the greatest need in fashion.” Continue reading
Inside Anne and Valentin’s Nolita U.S. flagship (Image: Anne and Valentin)
Young but aging tech workers and luxury are, apparently, booming Pike/Pine retail markets. French luxury eyewear concern Anne and Valentin — or Anne et Valentin, if you prefer — is sizing up a space in the neighborhood’s Odd Fellows building.
CHS has confirmed the project with the Toulouse-founded global fashion brand with plans for Pike/Pine to join the exclusive ranks of locations with A&V shops — the southern French capital, Paris, and three New York City locations: Madison, the Upper West Side, and the Nolita flagship.
Marc Oliver, who will manage the Capitol Hill store for the company, tells CHS the Seattle expansion is part of Anne and Valentin “dipping a toe” into creating more stores “out west.” Continue reading
Left to right: Jo Wellington, Raine Walker, Jeff Henness (Image: Tom Heuser. June, 2018)
Over the summer, CHS reported on an amazing move for a longtime Capitol Hill business. Doghouse’s Leather’s leather and kink retail project is making plans to bring life back to a 107-year-old Pike/Pine building with a (probably) racy past. As part of his plan to restore the 1911-built 715 E Pike Neal Apartments building into the new home of Doghouse Leathers, owner Jeff Henness invited the Capitol Hill Historical Society in to see the structure’s old bones and dig into its colorful past.
By Jo Wellington and the Capitol Hill Historical Society
Doghouse Leathers is a business native to Capitol Hill. It has provided fetish gear and custom leather pieces to the queer male community for many years. However, Doghouse is more than a sex shop. It has provided a community center for many groups over the years, as magazines, activism groups, and others met in the private back room. Jeff Henness, who opened the business in 2006, clearly makes an effort to support that community. He has been in Seattle since the 1980s and has an extensive knowledge of the local people and history.
All of this makes Henness an exciting person to renovate 715 E Pike St. He has a vision of a building that fits in on the block aesthetically, and maintains as much of the original material as possible. Continue reading
Company executives were on Capitol Hill Friday for the telecommunication giant’s unveiling of its glossy new retail experiment, The Lounge by AT&T.
Morgan Collins, vice president for AT&T’s Pacific Northwest, Alaska, and Hawaii markets, tells CHS the company took the risk of trying to launch the new retail concept in an area like Capitol Hill because the neighborhood is home to “creative innovators.”
“I want us to be part of the community,” she said.
Another AT&T rep on hand put it more succinctly. “We are meeting people where they are.” Continue reading
For most of us, getting an email out of the blue from AT&T probably means that our bill is due. For Danielle Hulton of Capitol Hill’s Ada’s Technical Books, an email from the telecommunications giant this spring was an invitation to talk about a life and business changing opportunity.
“They’re evolving and want to be considered more of a tech company,” Hulton said of the conversations that started with that email. “In order to reach customers in places like Capitol Hill, a traditional retail store isn’t going to work.”
So, in the rare case of a corporate giant making a mutually beneficial pact with a locally focused neighborhood merchant, Hulton, her husband and business partner David Hulton, and the growing crew at Ada’s joined up with AT&T and a champion barista for a coffee-focused adventure in small business that pretty much only could play out here on Capitol Hill. Continue reading
Bud, oils and pre-rolled joints were everywhere as The Reef, Capitol Hill’s newest cannabis retailer, opened the doors to its new location for a preview Thursday night.
With its first shop opened in Bremerton three years ago, The Reef’s new storefront takes full advantage of its perch on Capitol Hill at a busy intersection where its predecessor pizza joint and its notorious flashing sign served as a de facto western gate to the neighborhood. With generous amounts of light coming in through windows spanning the width of the storefront, the new location will give Capitol Hill residents a convenient option for their cannabis-related needs.
John Ueding, general manager of The Reef’s Capitol Hill location, explained that the company wants to invest in the community and explore options to work with and support local charity organizations.
“The owners are intent on giving back as much as we can,” Ueding said. “Being local Seattle guys, we really want to be involved in the community.” Continue reading
Signage coming soon to E Olive Way
The Reef, E Olive Way’s first legal pot shop and Capitol Hill’s third marijuana retail outlet, is preparing to make a Hempfest debut giving it a smokey head start on nearby rival Uncle Ike’s.
The annual celebration of cannabis takes place starting Friday along the waters of Elliott Bay in Myrtle Edwards Park just as the wildfire haze is forecasted to be clearing out of the city.
Joining its Bremerton-born sister location, the new Reef is positioned as taking “a tech-forward but high touch approach” at the intersection of John, Denny, and E Olive Way “on Capitol Hill’s ‘Amazon Slope'” — please direct all “Amazon Slope” hate mail to The Reef, thanks. Continue reading