Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Help Keep the Seattle Mystery Bookshop Open

       Marjorie May Campbell has graciously agreed to postpone the rest of her story to allow a pressing matter to be posted a day early, in the hope it will help publicize a serious problem for a terrific local independent mystery bookshop.
      The Seattle Mystery Bookshop, on Cherry Street between First and Second Avenues, has long been the city's major resource for readers of crime literature, and the major support for crime-literature writers. Located just off Seattle's historic Pioneer Square, the shop depends heavily upon the tourist trade, and to this end, places a sandwich-board sign at the corner of First and Cherry, to direct tourists the half-block to the store. I've walked past that sign (and others like it, belonging to other area small businesses) for at least a decade, and have never had to swerve to avoid tripping over them.
      About a month ago, a city inspector cited an ordinance, and directed Seattle Mystery to remove the sign, under threat of fine. Shop owner J.B. Dickey reports that since this occurrence, sales have declined significantly. J.B. is concerned that, with tourist season just beginning in Seattle, poor sales through the summer might compel him to close the store. This would be a disaster for local mystery readers and writers.
      Seattle radio host and supporter of the arts, Dave Ross, will interview J.B. tomorrow, Wed. April 14, just after 11am PDT, on KIRO, 97.3FM. Seattle-area residents, please tune in if you can, and consider sending a request to Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, www.Mike.McGinn@seattle.gov, asking him to rescind this ordinance which threatens to close a small-business Seattle arts landmark - which in the process, will deny the city a nice little chunk of sales tax.

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