Elliott Bay Book Co. sold to longtime manager, Capitol Hill bar and business owners


The historic Elliott Bay E book Organization on Capitol Hill, which will rejoice its 50th anniversary next yr, has been bought to the bookstore’s longtime manager and two married Capitol Hill bar and company owners.

Tracy Taylor, the company’s general manager for the earlier 32 years, is purchasing the well-known Seattle bookstore along with spouse-and-husband duo Murf Hall and Joey Burgess, who very own a number of LGBTQ+ bars and other enterprises in the community, including Queer/Bar, The Cuff Complicated and The Woods. The sale was finalized June 1.

The new owners will be getting on a beloved Seattle establishment which has hosted the likes of Raymond Carver, Hillary Clinton, Karl Ove Knausgaard, Anne Lamott, Amy Tan and, very last month, Neil Gaiman. David Sedaris will come every calendar year.

“If you can identify them, they’ve been listed here,” Taylor explained, sitting in the area where a number of of those people authors have held occasions.

The trio didn’t disclose how a lot they paid for the bookstore. The firm has weathered the pandemic nicely and its spending plan is in the black, Hall stated, with “healthy” profits numbers returning to what they were before the pandemic.

They also reached a collective bargaining settlement past 12 months with their employees’ recently shaped union. A spokesperson for the E-book Employees Union declined to remark on the sale.

The former proprietor, Peter Aaron, didn’t reply to a ask for for comment on why he was offering, but mentioned in a information launch that passing the bookstore on to these new homeowners felt like a effective exit.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to provide as steward of this exclusive and excellent haven of literature and civility for the past 23 several years,” Aaron mentioned in the assertion, including that the new owners’ “experience, vitality, and skills make them preferably suited to ensure that the bookstore will proceed to prosper and to maintain the standards and traditions which have been hallmarks of the enterprise all over the years.”

There are no fast changes prepared, whilst the 3 new proprietors have talked about incorporating the enterprise they began in 2021 alongside one another, the “Big Small News” newsstand and curated membership box services, a block down the road.

“We could also just keep it the way it is, right now, without end,” Corridor explained.

The customers have an intimate relationship to the bookstore. Taylor, who came from doing work at the famous Denver bookstore Tattered Protect in 1990, has been doing work at the keep extended than Aaron, who became sole proprietor in 2009. She knew and labored with the bookstore’s original founders, Walter and Maggie Carr.

It was the Carrs who picked the company’s distinct logo of a tri-mast ship with a waterfront lumber mill and Alki Place in the background. 

“It’s thrilling and it is a small little bit daunting” to be at the helm of that vessel now, Taylor mentioned. “It’s a large, major ship.”

Burgess has been browsing Elliott Bay E book Enterprise due to the fact 2006 when he initially moved to Seattle he achieved Taylor in the bookstore decades in the past and he and his spouse bought to know her through neighborhood business enterprise connections like the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce. 

“It’s our favourite put to shop,” Burgess claimed. “And it’s just a very exclusive, magical spot. We couldn’t picture it leaving, and acquiring the possibility to master from Tracy, who’s been operating the retail store for 30 years, is substantial.”

Taylor agrees about the magic.

“You can be on your own and appear in in this article and not really feel alone,” Taylor said.

When Burgess and Hall had their daughter in 2019, Corridor arrived in and purchased a lot more than 30 books to go through to her, such as “Where the Sidewalk Ends” and “The Supplying Tree.”

The team will be the fourth house owners the Elliott Bay E-book Firm has had due to the fact its opening in 1973. Aaron was CEO of Third Place Textbooks when it was established, and arrived to Elliott Bay Ebook Company as a partial owner when Third Place’s operator Ron Sher bought it from its founders Walter and Maggie Carr in 1999. Aaron then bought the retailer from Sher 10 a long time later on and oversaw its daring move to Capitol Hill from Elliott Bay Reserve Company’s authentic location in Pioneer Sq..

The Ford Creating that now homes the bookstore was offered in 2017 to an affiliate of Mercer Island-primarily based Keeler Investments Team. The lease is superior right until 2029, and the new owners have had discussions with the Keeler family members — who own the building — about keeping extended than that.

The guide enterprise and its most senior staff, head purchaser Rick Simonson (who’s been there 13 several years lengthier than Taylor), have been a essential portion of making Seattle a place for creator visits. That was not normally the scenario: In the ‘70s, most publishers regarded the Pacific Northwest as “the hinterlands” and seldom sent authors right here, Taylor stated.

Now, Seattle is effectively recognized as a well-browse metropolis, and several would phone Elliott Bay Guide Firm its direct middle.

“As Dublin’s Abbey Theatre is to drama in Eire, as Fenway Park is to baseball in Boston, Elliott Bay is to enthusiasts of the created phrase in Seattle,” wrote Seattle creator Timothy Egan for a Seattle Periods piece on the bookstore’s 40th anniversary in 2013. “That’s why, on a gloomy, darkish Tuesday night in January, a hundred or much more people will crowd Elliott Bay to listen to an author who could have considered he or she never ever had a pursuing.”

Thanks to incorrect facts supplied to The Seattle Instances, a preceding version of this story misstated when Peter Aaron bought complete ownership of Elliott Bay Book Firm. He turned sole operator in 2009.



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