Pike Place Market Iconic Vendor Closes

The Pike Place Market is the largest farm market maintained in North America. It was announced that the oldest newspaper stands located at this market have shut down after four decades. December 31st marked the date that First & Pike News shut down their doors. This comes after the stand’s owner, Lee Lockhart, determined it was the right moment to shutdown. Declining sales in magazines and newspapers resulted in the store experiencing significantly fewer profits every year. When you do the math, the decision becomes pretty simple.

The First & Pike Newsstand used to sell 180 newspapers from around the world, with more than 2000 magazines on the shelves. Before the closing date, that number dropped to 55 papers and 300 magazines. Subsequently, this means sales declined by more than 100% over the last two decades. One item that continually remained popular was the $2.00 pack of Hubba Bubba Bubble Gum, which individuals would consume until reaching the corner wall adjacent to the stand. The Gum Wall has become an essential asset of First & Pike, with Lee Lockhart always finding that to be rather disturbing. Another asset of this vendor was the $1 postcards, which provided directions throughout the Pike Place Market.

Lee contested that there were better products available for sale at the newsstand. This included American novels from Hollywood actors like Adam Driver and Cate Blanchett. Lockhart also maintained classic books from Alfred Hitchcock to Maire Claire. Additional products included small paintings art and historical non-fiction regarding the Pagan culture. The First & Pike newsstand was one of the oddest locations at the market, which made it one of the most fascinating to traverse.

The Amazing Boss

Mr Lockhart was an incredible individual who hasn’t maintained a salary with his business for thirteen years. This man managed his life off of Social Security, while he paid employees working at the store $15.00 per hour. This payment was provided long before it was required with legislation. Additional benefits with working for Lockhart included top of the line health benefits, even with a part-time employee. The humble nature of this environment prompted no cash register, with clerks using pockets on aprons to collect change or cash from consumers. The only kiosk was minimal, located in the back corner with a credit card reader.

This business began after Lockhart got divorced from his first wife, where he moved to Seattle. Weeks after the move, he opened his newspaper stand. His daughter would create makeshift jewellery for a low cost, which quickly made them a famous location at Pike Place Market.