Elliott Bay Book Co. will move out of Pioneer Square

The floors will still be creaky — that much, the owner of the Elliott Bay Book Company promises.

The Northwest icon is pulling up stakes, retreating under pressure from Amazon.com, Barnes and Nobel and the lingering effects of recession.

Elliott Bay, long a street-corner staple in Seattle’s Pioneer Square, is moving across the city to a spot where the rent is cheaper. The bookstore announced last night that it’s moving to a former Ford service center on Capitol Hill.

Fans of the bookstore seem divided on the move. They say they’ll miss the creaky wooden floors and the hustle and bustle of Pioneer Square. And they wonder just how much trouble the 36-year-old store is experiencing, and if high crime rates near the current location factored into the decision.

Creative Commons, Wikimedia

Owner Peter Aaron put a positive spin on the move, touting the beauty of the new location — and assuring customers the new floor sounds a lot like the old one.

In a statement, Aaron wrote: “We will be moving into a beautiful vintage building on 10th Avenue between Pike and Pine. The building dates from 1918 — and was the original Ford truck service center for Seattle. The space will be comparable to the current store (in fact a bit larger), and will incorporate a café and a room dedicated to author appearances. It has the fir floor — complete with creaks — we’re used to treading, and gorgeous high wood ceiling — including massive wood beams — and skylights. While no space could exactly duplicate the charm of the original store, I can promise that the new building will offer a warm, comfortable and cozy environment that will be true to the beautiful place Walter Carr founded on Main Street.”

The new location for the Elliott Bay Book Company. (Courtesy photo.)

But Aaron admitted the decision wasn’t easy.

He wrote: “The past two years have been a difficult, painful period of exploring and evaluating possibilities in an attempt to determine what would be best—and necessary—to ensure the long-term health and vitality of the store. And while the thought, and the practicalities, of moving from the site and the locale which have been home for the past 36 years are daunting to say the least, I am convinced that this upcoming relocation will afford us the best opportunity to remain, and further develop as a thriving enterprise.”

He added: Moving the store is the second-to-last thing I would want to see happen. Seeing the store close would be the only thing worse.”

The move will take place this spring. Read more in the Seattle Times or at seattlepi.com.

Know a small business we should write about? Email Herald writer Amy Rolph at arolph@herladnet.com.

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