by Courtney Crockett
During my many visits and conversations with Clementines proprietor Linda Walsh, I find myself asking what are her future plans for the downstairs space? And now I know, it’s a fabulous Underground Holiday Market!
Open until January, the Underground Holiday Market offers a warm and inviting environment to pick up holiday gifts and finds from local textile maker, The Oula Company and home decor by local artisans, Kri Kri Studio. The goods include banquet napkins, tablecloths, table runners, ceramics and more.
The women’s wear and accessories offered upstairs in the primary retail space of Clementines is nothing short of finely curated, an often over-used descriptor in today’s precious times but here it is so fitting. Clementines strikes me as well sculpted by the eagle eye of an artist.
Specializing in great shoes, Ms Walsh believes in some measure that the life we lead is inspired by the shoes wear and walk in.
After operating successfully in West Seattle for 8 years, Clementines opened its doors to Pioneer Square in October 2014, recently surpassing the one year mark in the neighborhood.
Why wait until the New Year to get a jump start on your fitness goals? If you want to get fit for the Holidays and impress your relatives back home, you should check out The Exercise Space:
“I specialize in functional fitness and I train clients of all ages and abilities, from the unfit to the professional athlete. I am a certified Sports Nutrition Specialist and a certified NASM Personal Trainer. When developing your workouts, I take a realistic approach to inspire and motivate my clients to find their balance in living a fit lifestyle. What we feed our body reflects in how our body behaves. Movement is the best diet. ‘Moderation, not deprivation’ is my motto and I am known for constantly mixing up my clients workouts so they never get bored!
As your personal trainer I will provide you with functional fitness and nutritional guidance which will inspire and motivate you to find balance and health. I will teach you different exercises every session, and by making key changes within your life, we’ll reach and stay within your goals. Training is available at my space in Pioneer Square, your home or office, or outside.”
– Dawn Brent
For more info / updates, check her out at the following:
And if you go to Facebook, and “like” their page, you can receive $20 off a block of 5 thirty minute lunch “micro classes.”
After featuring a lot of retail and ground level shops, I thought it was about time to feature one of our above-ground companies: Zulily
Zulily is an online store that offers crazy discounts (up to 70% off of retail) on items for moms, kids, and babies. Their buyers work hard to find local, organic, non-toxic items and feature 4 items at a time. Like other online sites, however, these sales are limited to 3 business days before they expire and new items are featured.
Zulily recently launched their website and opened their Pioneer Square office in late January of this year. Founded by two veterans of Blue Nile, they started with only 6 employees and have already expanded to a team of over 30. Because of their rapid growth, they just moved offices from 1st & Jackson to 3rd & Jackson.
Apparently on their 1st street location, they had caused a commotion by removing a huge stuffed animal giraffe from their window that people often took photos of. The building across the street missed it so much, they put signs up in their own windows requesting that the giraffe come back! (and as you can see, he is now joined by a dog at their new location).
When we talked about why they chose to open in Pioneer Square, they said that the neighborhood had a history of great start-ups and now that they’ve been around for a few months, there is definitely an energy that encourages them to get out of the office and explore food options during the day. What’s more exciting for them, however, is that they’re a self-described “transit-riding, bicycle-loving kind of a group” which is the perfect fit for Pioneer Square, one of the easiest neighborhoods to get to with transit.
To show their love for the rest of the neighborhood, they are offering a deal to the New Pioneer Square blog readers by offering a coupon code good for $10 off any purchase of $30 or more. Try it out this week before it expires! PSQ10 (code expires 5/7 and is only good for one per customer).
I had the great opportunity this week to sit down with Zephyr, the manager of Elliott Bay Cafe, to talk about their store and what their future is looking like with the departure of Elliott Bay Book Co.
To reach the store, you have to go underground, where you enter a Pioneer Square-esque brick-walled interior that was the inspiration for Café Nervosa in the TV sitcom “Frasier” (apparently Norman Mailer, Barbara Kingsolver and George Saunders have all stopped by to check it out).
Visitors to the cafe still have a funny reaction when they’re visiting specifically to compare it to the Frasier Cafe and don’t think it’s the perfect match. Just talking with Zephyr, you can see the passion that she has for EBC, for the staff that work there, and for the menu.
“I think we probably have the best vegetarian selection in this neighborhood and probably some better vegetarian selections than a lot of places around,” she said. “Our ‘beans and greens’ is ridiculously outstanding. The breakfast risotto, which is a vegan dish, will totally get you going in the day. It’s amazing.”
With a customer mix of office employees and residents, the best news is that EBC is sticking around the neighborhood and we need to help support that decision! With the departure of EBBC, they are temporarily closing at 3pm until another business opens up in that space. They’ve noticed a slight drop in evening customers, and think that part of it may be that people don’t know they’re still around (perhaps due to the papered up windows in EBBC’s old space).
I emailed with owner Tamara Murphy (who also owns the fabulous Brasa) to find out why she chose Pioneer Square and why she’s sticking around.
What made you decide to open a cafe in Pioneer Square?
Tamara: I have had a relationship with the book store for 25 years. I witnessed the cafe’s various incarnations over the years, and always thought that it was a magical historical space that needed constant nurturing and definitely a face lift. Peter Aaron was looking for an operator as he was not a restaurant guy, and he was given my name and we hit it off instantly. The cafe and the book store had great synergy and we were successful together from day one. Such great synergy that we decided to do it again in the new location. Although the bookstore has gone, I still believe in the space and we have different opportunities now.
Is there anything about EBC that people don’t know?
Tamara: It’s a great venue for music, and fine dining. Some of our dinners include linen, candle light and jazz or other music. It is an awesome space for parties, and events. I am now taking over the “reading room” and am going to transform the space into a speakeasy type atmosphere, where chefs dinners, dancing, receptions, wine tastings are on the agenda.
Guest Post by Don Blakeney
Billed as a contemporary lifestyle clothing boutique, Deli comes to Pioneer Square amongst a wave of new extraordinary retailers. Located on Yesler at the southern end of Western, Deli sneaks under the radar for travelers taking in the sites or visitors catching the Underground Tour.
Embracing the historic “more than meets the eye” nature of the neighborhood, Deli is a cutting edge men’s clothing store that has been set up to look like a historic deli; along the lines of something one might have seen 60 years ago in the neighborhood. Drawing on his interest in fashion and his experience with his family’s deli business in Sea-Tac, owner Max Heigh has set up what looks like a functional deli–using refrigerator cases and baking racks to display everything in his store from sweaters, to bow ties.
A long time fan of the neighborhood, when asked why he chose this location for his business, Max said “I wanted to be in a place that is Seattle–and that’s Pioneer Square. I wanted to attract people to the area and wanted to offer them something different.”
Deli has been doing just that–since they opened in May, they have thrown a number of launch events to celebrate the introduction of new lines and partnerships with local artists who have designed a line of t-shirts called the DELI Artists Series. Most recently, they have taken this concept to the next level and have opened a pop-up shop in what they are calling the “Freezer“–a hidden space in the back of their store, separated by a plastic curtain and adorned with meat hooks (to hang merchandise of course) and beef/pork wallpaper.
This week they launched a new line for B:Son designer Brandon Scott, exclusively in the “Freezer” (click here to see pictures). In the rest of Deli, you can find local designers, as well as fashions from LA and New York.
Deli and the Freezer are not the only double takes that have come into the neighborhood recently.
Gems is a stylish shoe store on Western that recently decided to try something similar. Last fall the store tucked itself away behind a brightly-colored pop-up candy shop. Newcomers are initially lured in by the confectionery-inspired red w/ white walls and large bins of colorful candy, and for returning customers, it continues to be a fun quirk.
However, it is not until they spend a few moments inside, that they realize there is more to the store than just sweets. A large portion of the back wall moves to reveal the hidden shoe store. Owner John Mooney says he wanted to try something new and engage people’s imagination. He says some people come in and enjoy the experience without ever realizing there is a shoe store component. Now the store has new neighborhood regulars that stop by for only the candy and to chat with John.
Finally, there is Tether Design Gallery, a branding/creative/advertising firm in Pioneer Square that has recently decided to get into the retail game by taking over the gallery space below their offices on Occidental at Jackson.
Part vintage items, part locally designed products, part artwork, the Tether Gallery is a fun retail lab for the creative thinkers upstairs, and a great addition to the neighborhood. They are also a growing staple of the First Thursday Art Walk and continue to act as a growing showcase for local artists.
With the addition of these ‘more than meets the eye’ retailers, we are left to ponder what else is going on in the neighborhood that we might be missing!
For more information:
Location: 615 Western Avenue, just north of Yesler
Store Hours: 11a-6p Tuesday – Saturday. John says Sundays and Mondays are for “chillin”
Phone: (206) 624-4367
After attending a lecture on “Understanding Addiction,” many of us left Town Hall wishing that there had been more discussion on what’s happening in Seattle right now regarding “street addiction” and how to face it as a community.
Bill Hobson has been the Executive Director of DESC (which prefers to be known as its acronym over it’s name… just like KFC) for 25 years now, and has been involved in Pioneer Square for over 30 years. He was the founding board member of a few different neighborhood boards and associations and has a real passion for the downtown core of Seattle.
In his experience, Pioneer Square and Belltown have the largest numbers of homeless — Hobson says that his organization is “committed to getting people out of Pioneer Square.” DESC is now located in 6 different Seattle neighborhoods from South Seattle to Belltown, with a new building planned for South Lake Union. “Neighborhoods for the most part are understanding and willing to listen when our clients do something that’s injurious to the neighborhood,” he said. “They just want to hear how DESC is going to fix it when it does happen.”
The favorite child of the “harm reduction approach” in Seattle is 1811 Eastlake, a project that has received extreme positives and negatives in the news (all archived on DESC’s site). Before 1811, drunks would pass out on the street, be taken by ambulance to an ER, treated, and kicked out on the street, only to repeat the cycle again and again. After 1811, the cost to the public was drastically cut, and 1811 has experienced major successes.
Myth: The only way to approach an addiction is abstinence
Hobson gave me a statistic that makes the above statement very difficult. If you take an individual over the age of 45 who has a history 15 years of chronic “street alcoholism” and who has had 6 or more failed attempts of conventional treatment, they have a less than 5% chance of achieving sobriety. It’s important to not lose sight that there’s a small subset that conventional treatment simply does not work for.
Myth: Alcoholics wouldn’t accept housing even if it was offered to them
When this idea began back in 1998, DESC asked the city for a list of 200 names of the most expensive individuals that frequented Harborview Medical Center. They had 75 spots to fill, and only needed to ask 79 to fill the need. Two of the individuals who turned them down simply didn’t believe that they would be able to drink onsite. After vacancies opened up, they changed their minds and moved in. Even social workers who feel that this is a population that doesn’t want to be housed, DESC has proved that you can house anyone, given the right circumstances. Other centers/housing projects will ask an addict to move in, on the condition that they stop drinking or using – and their automatic response to “no” because it’s not something they’re willing or able to do. 1811 allows them to drink in a safe environment, and works to help them reduce and potentially to quit.
DESC’s approach and how they measure “success”
DESC’s approach to drugs and alcohol is as follows: “If you’re using in the privacy of your own room and that’s all you’re doing – we want to treat that as a clinical issue instead of a property management criminal justice issue.” Hobson feels that drug laws are a little over the top and that it should be a public health problem instead of a criminal justice problem, even if it would increase the levels of addiction – at least it was being dealt with in a different manner than criminalizing the addiction.
They also don’t track a “success rate” as far as how many people they get off of the streets – he says that it’s meaningless to do that. Instead, they just continue to provide services and wait for more affordable housing to show up so that they can place people.
1811’s real success
Hobson gave an example of their approach – say someone comes in who is used to drinking a certain amount of hard liquor – they try to take them from hard liquor to 6 beers – then to 6 light beers – then to 4 light beers, and so on. He said he didn’t want to go all mushy on me, but they “let them start to feel life and to think about what life was like when they were healthier.”
The goal for this project was never to save the taxpayers money – but they have. By $4 million. But that’s not the most surprising outcome – Hobson was even surprised that some of the 1811 residents are getting better. In a study of 95 residents over a 24 month period, alcohol consumption was reduced by 30% and even 11% achieved sobriety. Hobson says this says a lot about conventional drug/alcohol treatment and that it challenges the opinion that abstinence is the only way to get over addiction.
Creating more responsible neighbors
One of the items that is included in the lease of any DESC resident is the stipulation that they don’t panhandle in the neighborhood or “piss in a planter box.” (although probably not in that exact language). Hobson says they are strongly encouraged to recognize the fact that it is their neighborhood now and they should take care of it. He is not an advocate of excusing crimes just because they are homeless, an alcoholic, or on drugs. “They should still be held accountable for their behavior, under the influence in particular.”
New project coming to SLU
Hobson is working with the SLU neighborhood to build an 84-unit complex that will target the mentally ill (50-55% will have co-occurring substance abuse problems). He says that South Lake Union has been wonderful to work with – to the point that they have even written letters of support for capital financing options for the new project.
Typically neighborhoods cause major problems when they announce locating a complex in the area. 1811 took 7 years from start to finish because of all of the obstacles they faced. When looking for where to locate a new project, they look for a place that will help stabilize people’s lives – and the best place to do that is a stable neighborhood (aka not Pioneer Square or Belltown).
What can members of the community do?
- Hobson was very adamant that one of the most important things is to vote for politicians that promise to increase taxes and use a portion of that to create permanent, “supportive” houses. Because the reality is, and Hobson is willing to admit this – having them on the streets degrades the livability of the neighborhood. “Human service advocates don’t want to admit that, and I find it sad that they won’t.
- They can help by insisting that the community develop proven, responsible responses to this issue.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m sold on the idea and I definitely support more of these centers being built (just not in Pioneer Square. And you can’t get mad at me because Hobson agrees – it’s too concentrated and not stable enough). In the meantime, remember that “once you understand the what, you will figure out the why.”
In the meantime, there are incredible people out there who have already figured out the “how.”
Tina, the founder of clothing store Synapse 206 graciously took some time out of her day to tell me about her store. Open for seven years now, Synapse has a great atmosphere and a great philosophy and they have prices that fit any budget.
For a little bit of history, Tina has lived in the neighborhood since 1988 and has been involved in a few different businesses. She started Neds restaurant, which was ruined in the 2001 earthquake, and Java Diner (now known as Planet Java), which she sold to the current owners.
Instead of doing my own write up, I thought I would post this as a Q&A so that you can get a better sense of the store in the enigmatic owner’s own words.
Q: What made you want to start a clothing store?
A couple of things – the first thing is – I really like interesting clothes, and I found that in Seattle, many of them are priced way beyond what I thought was reasonable.
The second thing was that I had run across various people that wanted to express themselves by making “wearable art” (in the design sense) and there really wasn’t a platform for those folks. And so I said “well, screw it, I’ll just give it a shot.” So I have a mix of ready to wear and original work, and it’s trying to give a platform to artists from Berlin, Pioneer Square, and every place in between.
Q: How do you choose what clothing to put in your store?
I’ll look at any artists’ work, I may or may not elect to put it in the shop. It has to speak to me in a way that I feel good about it. There’s a lot of work out there that I think is great that is not appropriate for this shop. I try not to be trendy. I try not to be young – it’s not aimed at an age group, it’s aimed at an attitude.
Q: And what’s the attitude?
A little more confident, maybe. A little more experimental – not out there, out there, it’s just not mainstream – it’s the edge of mainstream.
Q: Is every piece here unique?
Not every piece, but I’d say about half of the inventory is unique. The rest of it is pretty much limited production work.
Q: What about the name? Where did it come from?
The street address and the area code is 206. It’s about creativity, it’s about the synaptic connections in the brain. This is the city loan building and the history of this building is that it has always been filled with creativity: dancers, modern dancers, graphic designers, artists, culinary artists. Now it’s filled with a bunch of techie companies, but it’s just a building whose energy is creative. And I do believe places have energy. Because of the relationship to neural firing and the synaptic connection, in searching for a name, Synapse just fit. It just fit.
Q: How has the business been?
It’s great – it suffers from the economy just like every other business, but it’s an amazing business. It’s amazing to help someone find their voice in a way that is a little more personal than you might normally expect. And to be able to do it in a fairly economically approachable manner.
Q: Do you ever do fashion shows?
I used to, but my experience in Seattle is that they don’t really help you sell clothing. It would be different if it were really a way to move product, but it’s not. It’s a way to get exposure, so you have to balance it. Maybe if I did more ready-to-wear, I might be more inclined to showcase stuff, but with this stuff, it’s either such limited custom production, or comes from Berlin – it just doesn’t work for me.
Q: How do you think your location in Pioneer Square affects your business? Or do you?
I think that I would have more volume if I were closer to downtown, but it wouldn’t be the same business. This business fits Pioneer Square – it’s ambitious, it’s entrepreneurial, it’s showcasing originality, it’s not fancy in the sense of energy or environment. I can’t imagine replicating this in a neighborhood that had a different energy.
Q: What are your prices like?
All over the map — you can spend a couple thousand dollars on an item here or you can spend 50 bucks an item. Or you can buy the world’s best tank tops for $17.50.
Q: What else should people know about your store?
There’s 28 different artists represented here. Of those artists, probably 26 of them, every piece is original. 2 of them is artists — one is from Lithuania, one is from berlin — do custom work. So, they don’t make it unless they order it — it’s very limited production. There’s something here for pretty much any age group — we even carry little kid’s squeaker shoes.
To see more, visit their website at www.Synapse206.com or stop by their store at 206 1st Avenue South.
They do, and they even have a slogan: “Where the food is authentic and you are always at home.”
We went and tried one of the Little Italy restaurants last week: Al Boccalino. Located at 1 Yesler (right next to the viaduct), this restaurant will eventually have a great connection to the waterfront. We found the restaurant address, but because their entryway is so dark (and no blinking neon “OPEN” sign), we weren’t sure if they were open. But sure enough, there were a few other people in the restaurant and we were quickly seated.
The atmosphere in the restaurant is cozy –decorated masks and canvas paintings hang on brick walls, the lighting is dim, with candles on every table. And contrary to many restaurants in the city – even when there are a lot of people seated, it’s still relatively quiet. We had to laugh at first, because of the odd music playing in the restaurant — I think it started with a little rap, and then some Frank Sinatra, and then another oldies. Not sure what Sirius radio station that is, but they should definitely find an Italian one.
As we waited for our food, we tried some “parmesan crackers”, which I personally didn’t like; they were crumbly and had no real taste. Angela, one of owners, stopped by our table to chat a little bit about the restaurant’s history and about Little Italy. Al Boccalino has been open since 1989, and she and Luigi own 3 other Italian restaurants in the city. She hopes that more Italian stores will come down to the area to help it grow larger; perhaps a nice Italian bakery. She said that one of their struggles in the neighborhood is getting the other retailers to work together; she said that they couldn’t all agree on setting holiday hours for the neighborhood.
And now to the most important part: the food. As appetizers, our table started with bruschetta, a pear and gorgonzola salad, and a tomato and mozzarella dish, which were all just the right sizes and the right mix of flavors. For the main course, both the husband and I decided to try the Italian spaghetti and meatballs. We couldn’t pass it up after she described them as “delicious Sicilian meatballs, mixed with raisins and pine nuts.” And believe me, the meatballs were perfect – just a little bit of sweetness from the raisins, mixed with the texture of the pine nuts. Some online reviews of the restaurant suggest the portion sizes are too small, but I think that they are just right.
Other suggestions of what to try: the seafood risotto, the lasagna, and the cheesecake
A suggestion of what not to try: the crab ravioli; one guest tried it, but felt that it tasted more canned than fresh. Then again, she’s from Seattle – and when it comes to seafood, Seattleites can be rather picky.
Prices run from $8 for lunch size to $12 and $15 plates for the dinner size. Although a little pricey, the atmosphere was great and we received great service. According to an online food site, “diners in the know come Sunday-Thursday to indulge in the five-course dinner-for-two offerings.”
Lunch: Monday – Friday 11:30am to 2:30pm
Dinner: Monday – Saturday 5pm to 10pm
1 Yesler Way
Seattle, WA 98104
[Friday Feature is new– I plan on doing a feature of a business every week (retail, food, etc). We don’t let the business know we are reviewing them until we’re leaving. If you have any suggestions of a place to try, let me know]