Elliott Bay Book Co. sold to longtime manager, Capitol Hill bar owners and business

The historic book company Elliott Bay on Capitol Hill, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year, has been sold to the company’s manager and two married bar and business owners on Capitol Hill.

Tracy Taylor, the company’s general manager for the past 32 years, is buying the famous bookstore along with husband and husband duo Murph Hall and Joey Burgess, who own several LGBTQ + bars and other businesses in the Capital Hill area, including Queer / Bar, The Cuff Complex and The Woods.

Burgess and Hall, who met Taylor at a bookstore a few years ago, have been visiting the store for years. When their daughter was born in 2019, Hall came and bought more than 30 books to read to her, including “Where the Sidewalk Ends” and “The Tree That Gives”.

“It’s our favorite place to shop,” Burgess said. “And it’s just a very special, magical place. We could not imagine how it would go, and the opportunity to study at Tracy, who has run the store for 30 years, is very great.

This will be the fourth time the Elliott Bay Book Company changed hands since opening in 1973. Peter Aaron, who has owned the bookstore since 2001, oversaw its bold move to Capitol Hill from the original location of the Elliott Bay Book Company in Pioneer Square. The Ford building where the company is now located was sold in 2017 to a subsidiary of Keeler Investments Group, based in Mercer Island.

Aaron did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Aaron was the CEO of Third Place Books when it was founded, and came to the Elliott Bay Book Company when Third Place bought it from its founders Walter and Maggie Carr in 1999. Aaron then bought a store at Third Place the following year.

The new owners will take Seattle’s favorite establishment, which hosted people like Raymond Carver, Hillary Clinton, Carl Uwe Knausgard, Anne Lamot, Amy Tan and last month’s Neil Gaiman.

“If you can name them, they were here,” Taylor said.

“Like Dublin’s Abbey Theater for Drama in Ireland, as Fenway Park is for baseball in Boston, Elliott Bay is for fans of the written word in Seattle,” Seattle author Timothy Egan wrote for Photograph of the Seattle Times to the 40th anniversary of the bookstore in 2013. “That’s why on a gloomy dark night on Tuesday in January, a hundred or more people crowded Elliott Bay to hear the author, who may have thought he or she never had fans.”

This story will be updated.

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