Seattle residents have rightfully been reeling since Wednesday's announcement that Bauhaus would be closing its doors, but the news hit John Watkins particularly hard. He's the owner of Twice Sold Tales in Ballard, and he subleases his space from Bauhaus' owner and shares a wall with the cafe. Bauhaus' closure means he's spending the last few weeks of the year in a state of constant uncertainty.
He wants you to know that right now the store is open for business in the same spot. There's no display window, but finding the joint isn't too hard. Watkins has placed signs pointing the way to a side door, which will serve as the main entrance for the time being. When I called him this afternoon, he said a few people had come by just to see what all the hubbub was about, but mentioned he was worried that sort of interest wouldn't last for long.
The bookshop greatly benefited from Bauhaus' foot traffic, which makes a lot of sense. Getting zapped on coffee and pawing through the stacks at the used bookstore is one of the better things you can do with an afternoon in Ballard.
Watkins prefers to stay put, if he can. "It takes an act of god to move a bookstore," he said when I called this afternoon. "Books are really heavy, and it's in the nature of bookstores to have a lot of them."
The landlord is amenable to having a bookstore at the location, Watkins said, but, now that he's no longer subleasing from Bauhaus, he doesn't know if he'll be able to afford the rent if it increases. The best-case scenario, of course, is that another coffee shop replaces Bauhaus soon and continues the relationship with Twice Sold Tales.
But right now, Watkins doesn't even know when he'll know more about whether he'll have to move by the end of the year.
There is some good news, though. Between 6-7 p.m. the store is featuring a bookish happy hour: 25 percent off the already pretty cheap used books. "People don't get in fights or puke here," Watkins said, "so it's much more pleasant than an actual happy hour." The deal runs seven days a week, which is about as often as Watkins is there. If you don't see him during the next few weeks, chances are he's out wandering around Ballard looking for a new space.