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Sketched Aug. 21 and 23, 2018

A business that landed in the Denny Triangle just a few years ago plans to open a new HQ2.

No, I’m not talking about Amazon. It’s the little Black Market skate shop in the shadow of the Elephant Car Wash!

Black Market and Amazon face a similar issue. “We are running out of space to grow,” said owner Kyle Minahan, as he stood behind the counter of his 200-square-foot shop overflowing with skateboards, T-shirts, Vans and old vinyl records. The two-story building is too small for all the custom-built skateboards and apparel they sell, said the West Seattle resident.


Seattle Times news artist Gabriel Campanario has been capturing Seattle's places and people in hand-drawn sketches for more than a decade. To see past columns, visit the Seattle Sketcher home page. Prints, notecards and a book of Campanario’s sketches are available for sale through The Seattle Times store. You may also fill out an illustration request to order a specific image.

But that’s where similarities with the neighboring retail giant probably end. Black Market represents a quintessential funky Seattle struggling to survive in the neighborhood, while Amazon represents the corporate power leading the change.

Minahan, 35, remembers when the corner next to the Elephant Car Wash was no man’s land. The legendary Dog House restaurant and bar was across the street, he told me earlier this week between customers. He also showed me historical photos of the odd building, when it housed a gas station and a Dodge dealership decades ago.

Now that more parcels near Black Market are slated for development, Minahan worries how much longer he will be able to hold on to this prime downtown location.

The funky octagonal structure will be gone one day, he said, but the community of skateboarders he has nurtured here will have another place to hang out soon, north of 80th Street on Aurora Avenue, at the shop’s second location.

“The community is what it’s all about,” he said.