Seattle’s popular Elliott Bay Book Company is changing hands for the second time in its 49-year history.
Peter Aaron owned the shop for 23 years. When it came time to retire, he turned to three familiar faces to take over.
As of June 1st, the new owners are Tracy Taylor, the former bookstore manager, and Murf Hall and Joey Burgess, who together own Queer/Bar and the Cuff bar as a couple. The three also already have another business together, Big Little News, which they opened in 2021.
Taylor said the trio understands that Elliott Bay is important to its clients and they don’t intend to make any immediate changes.
“We are stewards of this institution,” Taylor said. “It’s a very special place.”
Taylor cited Elliott Bay’s exceptional customer service, quality book selection, and amazing staff as key to the bookstore’s longevity.
“That’s helped us really weather a lot of storms, some recessions, the rise of Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Borders stores,” Taylor said. She also paid tribute to the store’s longstanding business model.
Outside the gate, Burgess has a message for the customers.
“I just want to reassure everyone that the status quo will remain and that a lot of our energies will be put into just creating and maintaining a great culture with our booksellers and our team and we are truly honored to be the stewards of to be the store,” he said.
The new owners say they have plans for a repaint and maintenance of the Capitol Hill building, in addition to some potential design changes. Hall is a former store design director at Nordstrom.
Burgess said they will eventually explore more retail and event options in-store.
But he said the staff, book supply, and mission remained the same.
Elliott Bay Book Co. opened in Pioneer Square in 1973.
Eventually, under the direction of Peter Aaron, it moved to its current expansive, two-story bookstore on Capitol Hill (a former Ford truck repair shop).