skip to main content
caption: Elliott Bay Bookstore on Capitol Hill, which will celebrate 50 years in operation in 2023
Enlarge Icon
Elliott Bay Bookstore on Capitol Hill, which will celebrate 50 years in operation in 2023
Credit: Brooke Fitts

New owners, same local feel: Elliott Bay Book Co. changes hands

Seattle's beloved Elliott Bay Book Company is changing ownership for only the second time in its 49-year history.

Peter Aaron owned the store for 23 years. When it came time to retire, he turned to three familiar faces to take over.

As of June 1, the new owners are Tracy Taylor, the bookstore's former general manager, and Murf Hall and Joey Burgess, who together as a couple own Queer/Bar and the bar Cuff. The three also have another business together already, Big Little News, which they opened in 2021.

Taylor said the trio understands that Elliott Bay has significant importance to its customers, and they don't plan to make any immediate changes.

"We are stewards of this institution," Taylor said. "It is a very special place."

caption: Elliott Bay Book Company's new owners Murf Hall, Tracy Taylor and Joey Burgess. They took over the bookstore as of June 1, 2022
Enlarge Icon
Elliott Bay Book Company's new owners Murf Hall, Tracy Taylor and Joey Burgess. They took over the bookstore as of June 1, 2022
Credit: Tanner Mclaughlin

Taylor pointed to Elliott Bay's extraordinary customer service, quality book selection and great employees as keys to the bookstore's longevity.

"That has helped us really weather a lot of storms, some recessions, the rise of Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Borders stores," Taylor said. She also credited the store's longtime business model.

Out the gate, Burgess has a message to customers.

"I just want to reassure everyone that it's going to stay status quo and that a ton of our energy is going to be just about creating and maintaining a great culture with our book sellers and team and genuinely we feel really honored to be the stewards of the shop," he said.

The new owners say they do have plans for a new paint job and maintenance on the Capitol Hill building, in addition to some possible design changes. Hall is a former store design director at Nordstrom.

Burgess said eventually they'll explore more retail and event opportunities in the store.

But he said the staff, supply of books, and the mission are staying the same.

Elliott Bay Book Co. opened in 1973 in Pioneer Square.

It eventually moved to its current, expansive, two-floor bookshop on Capitol Hill (a former Ford truck repair shop), under Peter Aaron's leadership.