Pioneer Square has long struggled to maintain itself as a retail destination, but with a few recent additions to the scene, this historic neighborhood’s star is on the rise. Joining old favorites, like Fireworks, Laguna Vintage Pottery (seriously one of the most underrated and coolest stores in town) and Seattle Lighting— shops who have held on tight to their allegiance despite the challenges the neighborhood faces—new spots are popping up left and right, much to my personal delight. Read on for a few of my favorites:
E. Smith Mercantile
Jessie Kaye Poole & her mom Kate run this awesome new spot on First Ave. about a block from the old Elliott Bay Book Company location (at Main St.). A mercantile in the true sense of the word, E. Smith is stocked with a variety of items ranging from artisan foodstuff like Oregon’s Jacobsen sea salt, Mast Brothers chocolate bars and private label specialty coffee beans from local micro-roaster Bio Willy’s Beans to amazing jewelry, denim from Imogene + Willie and old-timey looking ceramic “tinware” from Canvas Home. Other heritage-esque treasures include great candles from Sydney Hale Co., makeup from Ilia and a range of body care made by Kate for her line, Essential Apothecary Alchemist. Trust me when I say that there’s something for everyone here, and that you should make a trip in to see it for yourself. You won’t be disappointed. Be on the lookout later this summer for the opening of the E. Smith Mercantile’s Back Bar that will feature prohibition-style cocktails, “fine fresh eats,” and even more enticements to draw you in.
Bon Voyage Vintage
Back in the day, Seattle, specifically Fremont and what is now the Pike/Pine Corridor, was filled with funky vintage shops, and while their numbers are climbing, I still lament the dearth of them. Which is part of the reason why I’m in love with Bon Voyage Vintage and its filled-to-the-rafters sense of treasure hunting. The selection is great, the prices are even better and the owners, Megan Conners and Keith Jefferson Wilson, have a great eye and are super friendly and welcoming. They carry a nice selection of clothing, accessories and home goods, and will buy your vintage for cash or store credit if it’s cool.
Located right next to Salumi, The Belfry opened last April, filling a niche in town for oddities and other ephemera. Run by Christian and Jessica Harding, this shop features a nicely curated selection of natural history curiosities, Victorian funeral items, well-preserved taxidermy, antique medical and dental devices and fraternal order paraphernalia. This shop is not for everyone, but it’s a dream home true for those who like to punctuate their homes with eerie and spooky things.
Not too far from The Belfry is this cavernous antiques space, filled with eclectic furnishings, including an impressive collection of primitive art, fine antiques, sturdy heirloom-quality furniture and midcentury and industrial vintage. You’re likely to get lost in here and find yourself in love with something totally unique, just perfect and completely meant to be yours.