A plan in COVID-19 limbo: Pike/Pine’s big Glossier Seattle showroom

A rendering of Glossier’s steamy pop-up on Broadway in 2019

While we’re uncertain how many neighborhood bars, restaurants, and shops we’ll find permanently closed as the COVID-19 crisis lifts, there are a few things to keep your fingers crossed for and to look forward to on the post-pandemic Capitol Hill — provided there is a post-pandemic Capitol Hill.

One center of this limbo of potential joy are plans for a new 7,000-square-foot Glossier showroom in the core of Pike/Pine on 10th Ave. But the hope hinges on a change of direction and overall recovery for the makeup and skincare company that shuttered its few stores around the globe this summer and furloughed employees to wait out the COVID-19 crisis.

It is possible the project could end up, instead, the center of things that could have been. Continue reading

2020’s year of pandemic saw record-breaking weed sales across state but a changing Capitol Hill and Central District market

502Data’s record of monthly state excise tax shows the 2020 boom

By Ben Adlin

Washington’s legal cannabis industry kept on booming even as “puff, puff, pass” was put on hold during the pandemic, breaking monthly sales records multiple times in 2020 and raking in hundreds of millions of dollars in state taxes. Growth was more modest in the city of Seattle, however, and slower still around Capitol Hill—a sign that many who once commuted into the city may be buying weed closer to home.

While the six shops that serve the Capitol Hill neighborhood—The Reef, Ruckus, Ponder and three Uncle Ike’s locations—together did more combined business in 2020 than the year before, according to state sales numbers through November, only The Reef kept pace with regional growth. Ponder and Ruckus each had smaller increases, while two of three Uncle Ike’s locations actually saw sales drop.

“This really does look like an outmigration,” said Jim MacRae, a data scientist who monitors the state’s cannabis market at Straight Line Analytics. “That suggests to me that business overall is shifting to different parts of the state.” Continue reading

Everyday Music’s planned closure will leave CD-sized hole in Capitol Hill’s record shop scene

A Record Store Day past at Everyday

Scott Kuzma stayed in business for the great vinyl revival but he’s not so sure he wants to stick around until CDs make a comeback. He has thousands of them, if you are in the market and think you might want to open a music shop on Capitol Hill.

“If someone wants to do it they’re more than welcome to do it,” Kuzma said.

There is an opportunity. Come June, Capitol Hill’s Everyday Music will be gone from 10th Ave. The offshoot of Kuzma’s Portland record shops officially announced its closing plans over the weekend as employees began spreading the word to customers last week. Continue reading

Checking in: Light Sleeper and Wide Eyed Wines

Capitol Hill has a new wine bar but you can’t yet sit at it and it’s only open for lunch.

That’s how things go during the strange times of COVID-19.

For now, Light Sleeper and its sibling shop Wide Eyed Wines are open for daytime takeout and your bottle shopping needs inside Pike/Pine’s Chophouse Row.

Eventually you can sit at that bar and enjoy a glass of natural and biodynamic wine or a cocktail while eating a pizza from the wood-fired oven and some bar snacks while you toast the researchers and front-line medical workers who got us through all of this.

The bar and oven might feel familiar. CHS reported here on the Bar Ferdinand employees taking over the restaurant as chef Matt Dillon cut his last ties with the neighborhood in early 2020.

Sommelier Ezra Wick and chef Eli Dahlin got the keys just as the pandemic first hit. But by the end of 2020, Light Sleeper was born and ready to roll with the pandemic’s punches. Continue reading

By the way, the Capitol Hill GameStop has closed

Shares in gaming retail giant GameStop have soared in the most 2021 of Wall Street rallies:

The swings have largely been organized by amateur investors on forums such as Reddit and have forced a halt to trading multiple times, sparking confusion from traditional investors and short-sellers who are betting on the stock falling.

Analysts say the struggling brick and mortar retailer’s stock should actually be priced about 95% lower based on its weak sales and outlook.

And, analysts and traders, take note: Any future GameStop revenue potential won’t include sales here on Capitol Hill. Continue reading

Seattle adds required COVID-19 hazard pay for grocery workers

The Seattle City Council Monday approved legislation requiring hazard pay for some of the city’s most at-risk workers during the ongoing pandemic: grocery workers.

“Hazard pay for grocery workers is the least we can do to recognize the dangers they face when going to work, including unmasked customers, customers who are coughing and not respecting social distancing rules, and cleaning of commonly used surfaces,” citywide councilmember Teresa Mosqueda said about the passage of her bill. “Many grocery stores were paying their workers hazard pay early on in the pandemic, but that recognition quickly went away last summer, despite grocery store workers still facing serious risk of contracting COVID-19 at their workplace.” Continue reading

Capitol Hill vintage shop Throwbacks making fresh start in new spot in Pike/Pine

In a time for new beginnings, a longtime neighborhood retailer is bringing change to a Pike/Pine store space in need of a fresh start.

Throwbacks Northwest, the E Pike vintage shop that has kept the neighborhood in vintage fashion and sports gear for more than a decade, is moving into the Pike/Pine core taking over an empty retail space on 11th Ave at E Pike.

Rialto “Rio” Estolas tells CHS the move gives Throwbacks a larger space more solidly in the middle of the Pike/Pine scene that will put the vintage shop just across the street from legendary Capitol Hill skateshop 35th North.

Meanwhile, just around the corner the former No Parking shop is lined up to become a Big Little News, a new era newsstand with a bottleshop and newspapers and periodicals.

The move and the new space on 11th Ave gives Throwbacks the platform it needs for some changes in its brand and an expansion of offerings including vintage goods like denim and tees.

The move is also a much needed new chapter for the retail space that has stood empty since fashion shop Rove was busted into and trashed during the summer’s unrest and protests.

Now Rove’s ownership has left the Hill and Throwbacks is moving in. Continue reading

Pot in Seattle is too white: Social Equity in Cannabis Task Force shaping plan to create new opportunities in state’s retail marijuana industry

Owner Ian Eisenberg watches a 2016 protest targeting his Uncle Ike’s pot shop at 23rd and Union

By Melissa Santos / Crosscut.com

A plan to bring social equity to the state’s mostly white marijuana industry was delayed by COVID-19. Now, things are inching forward.

Even before this year’s Black Lives Matter protests, Washington state’s legal cannabis industry had a well-known problem with race.

About 4% of the state’s population is Black. But Black people have a majority stake in only 1% of Washington businesses that grow and process marijuana, according to the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board, while roughly 3% of retail cannabis shops are majority Black owned. Some remain skeptical of those figures and say the picture is actually worse.

So, when former basketball star Shawn Kemp opened a shop that was initially billed as Seattle’s first Black-owned cannabis dispensary, headlines followed.

Except Kemp’s store didn’t do anything to budge those statewide numbers. In fact, he owns only 5% of the store that bears his name — and the business is actually majority white owned. The communications firm that originally promoted the store as Seattle’s first Black-owned cannabis dispensary later said it shouldn’t have done so.

For many, the dustup once again highlighted the lack of diversity in the state’s legal pot industry and the need to fix it. Continue reading

Return of the Capitol Hill newsstand: Big Little News planned for Pike/Pine

It’s been a decade since Capitol Hill last had a newsstand. The news? Well, it’s changed a bit in the meantime but the appetite for newspapers and magazines has somehow survived the explosive growth of online information and smartphones.

CHS has learned a new project coming to Pike/Pine from some familiar faces in the neighborhood will celebrate that appetite for the printed page — and the bottleshop. Continue reading

Now hiring: the soon to open Central District Amazon Fresh grocery store — UPDATE

(Image: Amazon Fresh)

Company officials have confirmed to CHS the Central District store in the new mixed-use development at 23rd and Jackson will be part of the company’s first Amazon Fresh groceries to open in its home state of Washington.

We are proud to be bringing hundreds of good jobs with benefits to the Seattle area as we prepare to open the first Amazon Fresh grocery stores in our home state of Washington,” Roetta Greene Elton, district manager of Amazon Fresh grocery stores, said in a company statement on the openings. “We’re excited to provide customers with new, low-priced grocery stores in their neighborhoods and look forward to contributing positively to the community.”

Amazon’s big message about the big new store that has risen where the neighborhood’s Red Apple grocery used to stand focused on one important component: jobs. Continue reading