Sub Pop Records, the longtime independent Seattle record label, is setting up shop in the base of an Amazon headquarters tower.
Sup Pop on 7th is selling merchandise including clothing, knick knacks and trinkets emblazoned with the iconic Sub Pop logo as well as “actual” vinyl LP copies of records currently in print, the label said in a blog post on Monday.
The brick-and-mortar retail location is the second for Sub Pop, which operates a similar store at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Unlike that “practically world-famous” location, Sub Pop says “you don’t risk a cavity search to get in” at the Denny Triangle shop.
“This is Sub Pop’s flagship store,” Sub Pop co-founder and president Jonathan Poneman said. “It’s long on goodies and short on hours, so beat the rush.”
By opening a physical store now, Sub Pop is seemingly bucking the economic hardship felt by many retailers during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s especially ironic that its shop sits beneath the offices of an e-commerce giant that is expecting upcoming fourth-quarter revenue to be between $112 and $121 billion. Amazon sales have skyrocketed over the past year as the pandemic turned many shoppers to online purchases.
Amazon reshaped a city which in many ways was put on the map by Sub Pop and the grunge music movement fueled by bands on the label such as Nirvana, Soundgarden, Mudhoney and others. The label was founded in 1988 by Poneman and Bruce Pavitt, six years before Jeff Bezos started an online bookseller in a Bellevue, Wash., garage.
The area around South Lake Union and the Denny Triangle north of downtown Seattle has boomed over the past decade as Amazon has grown its urban headquarters and regional employment to 75,000 workers. But like many other tech companies, Amazon has extended its remote work policy during COVID-19 and last fall said employees can work from home through June 30.
Retail and restaurant business throughout downtown has suffered without the steady drumbeat of lunchtime and after-work crowds. Sub Pop joked in its blog post that it was “striking while the iron is ice cold.”
Sub Pop on 7th, at 2130 7th Ave., is located at the base of the 37-story re:Invent tower, which opened in 2019 across from Amazon’s Day 1 and Doppler towers, the Spheres and an Amazon Go convenience store. Store hours are Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.