Sub Pop Opens Sea-Tac Store

Sub Pop Retail Store Grand Opening

Thursday, May 1

You can’t miss the tunes at Sea-Tac. Because of the recently launched Sea-Tac Airport Music Initiative—a collaboration by the Port of Seattle, the Office of Film and Music, the Seattle Music Commission, and PlayNetwork, a local provider of in-store entertainment—Northwest artists like Brandi Carlile and Macklemore deliver public-service announcements while bands like the Winterlings, Fly Moon Royalty, and Naomi Wachira perform live throughout the terminals. Sea-Tac will soon enjoy more Northwest rock flavor with the addition of the Sub Pop Records retail store. Because of TSA regulations, however, you’ll have to wait for your next trip out of town to check it out—the 1,768-square-foot store is located in the central terminal, accessible only to travelers.

Nonetheless, there will be an official ribbon-cutting ceremony, with label co-founder Jonathan Poneman on hand plus a performance from a Sub Pop band TBA. The store will offer music from Sub Pop and Northwest artists, apparel, books, and items from KEXP and the Vera Project. Other products include Sub Pop coffee and Sub Pop–branded travel items. Former Sonic Boom general manager Julie Butterfield will manage the store, and veteran rocker Mark Pickerel, a former Sub Pop employee, will act as senior assistant manager.

The shop began to take shape last year, when SP Vice President Megan Jasper, who sits on the Seattle Music Commission, reached out to Tami Kuiken, Sea-Tac’s music program manager. “There were discussions about bringing in a kiosk,” Kuiken says. “But their concept was so fabulous; we wanted to get them into an in-line store.”

The store was both an exciting and daunting task for the label, which has opened a second warehouse for airport inventory, implemented a new point-of-sale system, and hired designers to bring the Sub Pop spirit to Sea-Tac.

Deanna Zachrisson, the airport’s dining and retail business manager, says the store is leased for an 18-month trial period. “This is an opportunity to try the airport environment, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., 365 days a year, and see how that works for them and how it resonates with passengers,” she says.

Despite the unique retail environment Sea-Tac offers, everyone involved has high hopes. “We knew if we did it right, it could be a very exciting undertaking,” Jasper says. “We decided that whatever the challenges, we were going to fucking go for it.” Sea-Tac International Airport, 17801 International Blvd., 787-5388, 10 a.m.

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