Suite F at Pike Place Market
As you may or may not know, there was a large expansion to PPM built within the last few years. It's known as The MarketFront and offers a viewing pavilion over Elliot Bay, and will eventually connect to the planned waterfront park once the Alaskan Way Viaduct demolition is complete and the park is built. It currently houses Indi Chocolate, Honest Biscuits, and Old Stove Brewing. There is still one space within the MarketFront that has gone un-leased for various reasons, and now it is finally ready to be filled!
Our dream here at MarninSaylor has always been to have a brick-and-mortar retail store within the market. We've had our booth there for over five years now, and we're really feeling the pressure of what's possible within the confines of the day stall program. We are ready to expand, but we've had to wait very patiently as storefronts don't come available often.
The space that is now open in the MarketFront isn't exactly perfect for us. Yes, it's an amazing location within the market and the building itself is beautiful, with so much potential. However ... it's over 3000 square feet! As a small handmade toy company, there's no way we can create enough stock to fill a space that large. But then we remembered an idea we had a few years back - a mini mall of tiny storefronts, each serving as the flagship retail location for dedicated, modern, well-branded small businesses creating quality handmade products. This wouldn't be a co-op store like The Handmade Showroom or the Seattle Made airport store. We would divide the space up into standalone mini-storefronts, so that each business would be able to truly create the retail environment of their dreams. We would also like to add a beverage area with lounge seating.
This possibility is VERY up in the air. We have toured the space and begun talks with the commercial property managers at the market, and they have shown initial interest in this idea. What we need to move forward is daunting: a list of potential sub-letters, detailed business, financial, and site plans. If we are chosen after the application process, that's when things will begin firming up for real as far as sub-leasing goes.
The applications are due at the end of August, and it's highly likely that we'll have stiff competition from bigger, wealthier businesses. However, we truly believe that this idea could be a game-changer for not only the group of small businesses involved, but also a way to elevate craft at Pike Place.
Who, in general, are you looking for to fill these spaces?
Businesses offering non-food (unless pre-packaged / shelf-stable) items made in Seattle (with businesses allowed to sell items they themselves do not make as long as they complement the core offering of items and are under the business’s brand umbrella).
Businesses which do not have any other brick and mortar retail spaces (a pop-up shop doesn’t count), as the market does not allow existing brick and mortars to open subsequent locations within the market.
One specialty beverage business to fill the cafe / lounge area.
In terms of the daily operations would we each personally work in our individual spaces? And, if run as individual spaces, would we be able to lock up our personal shop? Or would this be an open concept space with shared employees/responsibilities?
The spaces would be individually staffed and controlled by each business. You would be paying to sub-lease from us, but it would be up to you to run your own space. Each space will be able to be locked with roll-down security doors when the individual business is closed.
How will we run the sales portion of the shop? Each mini business runs their own check out? Shared costs for shared staff? Something else?
Each business would be in charge of stocking and staffing their own area. No one will be running transactions, or doing anything really, for any business other than their own. There may be some common area maintenance / cleaning that everyone has to pitch in on, but that will be about the extent of it.
Would we able to build out the design of our own space, such as bringing in, or building out, some custom counter tops?
Yes, each space would only be bare walls and windows and each business is completely in charge of building out their own fixtures. With full aesthetic control, each space will be a beautiful reflection of the individual businesses. We do plan to enforce some standards as far as build-outs go (nothing temporary like what we use in the daystalls - no clip lights, clamps, or grid walls allowed).
How long would the lease commitment be? Could we transfer our lease to another approved business if we needed to give up our space?
We're not completely sure about that yet, but we will have more info as things move forward.
Would multiple businesses be able to share one of the mini storefront spaces?
We probably wouldn't be up for that idea, as we want each little shop to truly embody the soul of one particular business. And with the smallest size we'd be offering on the main floor at just 100 square feet, and with the planned addition of 50 square foot spaces on the mezzanine level, we figure it wouldn't be hard for most makers to fill their own space.
I currently sell in the market daystalls. Could I keep my daystall booth and have one of these spaces, too?
We have talked with David Dickinson about this on and off over the years that we've been searching for a brick and mortar. It sounds like it would be possible for daystall vendors transitioning into this space (or any other market brick and mortar) to continue selling in the daystalls for a little while (maybe six months or so), just to have some cushion and stability while the new space gets its legs. You would not be able to permanently keep your booth on the craft line, nor would we want you to. These spaces are for businesses ready to take things to the next level.
Would I as the owner have to run the space daily? How many days a week would I have to be open?
You can hire as many people as you’d like to help run the shop. You, as the owner, don’t have to ever be there if you don’t want to be (though we’d like to see everyone once in a while, to create a feeling of community). The market requires that all brick and mortars are open at least six days a week, and we plan to have the space as a whole open every day. We would ask our sub-tenants to be open a minimum of five days per week (you can pick which days) so that the space would be well activated on any given day.
How many businesses will there be and how much is the rent per vendor? Are there other associated costs (down payments and such) with sub-leasing?
In our current plan, we have room for 17 small businesses. Assuming we don’t have to make changes to how we’ve envisioned dividing the space, we will have:
Five approx. 50 square foot spaces (on the mezzanine level), renting for ~$400 per month
Eight approx. 100 square foot spaces, renting for ~$700 per month
Two approx. 200 square foot spaces, renting for ~$900 per month
One approx. 250 square foot space, not available (it's the space we plan on using)
One approx. 350 square foot cafe / lounge area, renting for ~$1000 per month
We feel that these prices are very reasonable for base rent, given that we pay about $500 per month for our market daystall booth. There will most likely be charges for utilities / internet on top of this. As far as down payments, etc., go, we can't say for sure right now. We expect that we will ask for at least the first month's rent and a security deposit upon signing a lease with us. And of course, factor in any costs to build out your space to your specifications.
How much traffic can I expect?
For now we can only offer our best guesses, as we don't have any numbers on this from the commercial department at the moment. We do think that we would be able to draw many people down because of the concept of the space, and because there isn't a lot of high-end retail in the market now. What we can tell just from walking around and talking to other businesses is that this location is leagues better than anything else we've considered at the market (the Down Under levels and Western Ave.). The Honest Biscuits / Indi / Old Stove area is always busy, people love to come down for the view over the Sound, and traffic will only improve once the waterfront park and promenade is completed and attached to the MarketFront.
Will there be any storage or restroom facilities?
Yes, there is a storage room which we intend to divide into lockers for everyone. There won’t be a ton of storage there, so we would encourage each business to add cabinets or shelves for additional storage into their individual build-outs. There will be a small restroom for tenant, not customer, use. There is a customer-accessible restroom nearby in the Old Stove Brewing / Indi Chocolate / Honest Biscuits space.
Will this space be worth the cost?
In our opinion, yes. Storefronts in general do not come open within Pike Place very often, especially not ones that are in highly visible locations with great traffic, and ESPECIALLY not highly visible ones with great traffic that are also small and affordable enough for micro businesses with a focus on locally made products. With each mini storefront in this space planned to rent for less than $1000, with many far below that, we think we can provide an affordable and lucrative opportunity for a diverse group of Seattle small businesses. We anticipate the space to be a popular draw for both tourists and locals, both because of the location within the market and the concept.
If I’m interested, what’s the next step?
Please continue to watch this page for updates. We will also post updates through the channels we used to contact you before (email or the Seattle Made message boards). We are working on an info session to be held at Pike Place within the next few weeks and will share more information on that as it comes together.