Popular Seattle bookshop closing
The Michaels are leaving downtown. Michael Brasky and Michael Coy — known to many by their collective first names — are closing...
Seattle Times book critic
The Michaels are leaving downtown.
Michael Brasky and Michael Coy — known to many by their collective first names — are closing the doors of M Coy Books & Espresso after nearly two decades in business.
The shop has been a lively hangout for locals, as well as a place for tourists to sample the bookish character of Seattle. It will stay open at least through January but has lost its lease and has to vacate its premises by the end of February.
In an open letter to friends and customers ("most of whom are one and the same"), Brasky and Coy wrote: "The economic struggle of keeping a small independent bookstore afloat in today's retail environment has become virtually impossible."
The store, on Pine Street, between First and Second avenues, opened 18 years ago.
"For the first sixteen years of our business," they noted, "we were blessed with an exceptional landlord, who made it possible for us to weather some incredibly tough times. Times change and our new landlord has different priorities."
"This is a business of musical chairs — and they just keep pulling them away," Coy said of the book trade in a phone interview yesterday. "There are just fewer jobs [in the publishing industry] every time you turn around."
Brasky, who also deals in antiques, will continue to work at Antiques at Pike Place and at Pacific Galleries.
Coy is "looking forward to the next chapter in what I hope will continue to be a rewarding work life. (Suggestions welcome.)"
Brasky has been in the book business for 46 years, Coy for 33. Both worked for Pacific Pipeline book wholesaler. Coy was also co-owner of Bailey/Coy Books on Capitol Hill between 1982 and 1989 and managed a B. Dalton bookstore in Portland before that.
Patrick Angus, creative director at downtown clothing retailer Mario's and a regular customer at M Coy Books since the mid-1990s, commented yesterday that the Michaels dependably carried any popular title he was after.
"But what I most appreciated was their ability to find books, especially those on art and design that I never seemed to see anywhere else," he said. "They are both passionate about books and their combined knowledge has been a tremendous asset to our city."
Kitty Harmon, the founding director of Northwest Bookfest and book editor/producer of Tributary Books, was another store regular.
"There has been a perfection to the store," she said. "The space is a perfect square with the books wrapping around you and the Michaels at the heart of it, one greeting you as you come in, the other serving up lattes in the back. They always have interesting news about the book world or ideas to discuss, and they draw a great group of regulars to join in — the store has always felt like one great conversation. ... I will really miss being able to stop by a place that so many of us have considered a comfortable downtown living room."
Michael Upchurch: email@example.com
When vice president of Sub Pop Records Megan Jasper isn't running things at the office, she's working in her garden at her West Seattle home where she and her husband Brian spend time relaxing.