Pike Place newsstand closing after 40 years

First & Pike newsstand

Recently we’ve had a number of discussions here at QZVX noting the demise of the daily newspaper as the prevalence of digital news access has increased & the daily paper has waned in importance & relevancy.  The days of buying or having delivery of the daily local newspaper in cities, or weekly community newspaper in rural areas has diminished in recent times.  There’s no question that like radio & television, this is a media in transition.  But there is another spin-off business that is also disappearing with the daily newspaper – the once-familiar newsstand, where local, national & international newspapers & magazines have provided us with news, sports, information, entertainment & hobbies in the printed form.  It’s been reported in our local media, including the Seattle Times that First & Pike News, which has been the Pike Place Market’s newsstand the past 40 years is closing, due to diminished business.  Owner Lee Lauckhart, 78 says the returns just don’t justify remaining open as fewer & fewer buyers remain for the large selection of newspapers & magazines carried at the newsstand for 4 decades.  The Times Nicola Brodeur quoted Lauckhart as saying: “It looks like an unbelievable success story,” Lauckhart, 78, said Friday morning. “But the majority of our customers look like me. They’re old. And people under 30 don’t read printed material. They read it on screens. It’s been a digital onslaught.” Lauckhart used to carry 180 different newspapers, but has let that number drop to 55. He once carried 2,000 magazines, but has cut that by about 300.  For 13 years now Lee Lauckhart has not been drawing a salary, instead collecting his Social Security benefits while paying others in his employ $15/hour.  First & Pike News isn’t the owner’s first time running a newsstand.  He first ran one in New York City belonging to his then father-in-law & loved the job.  After returning to Seattle he partnered up with Seby Nahmias, who owned the newspaper-vending rights for the corner of First and Pike.  Steve Dunnington joined them in the business venture.  Immediately, sale of newspapers from throughout the country plus our local Pacific Northwest dailies became popular with local paper buyers.  Nicola Brodeur notes that when First & Pike News opened in 1979, ‘Pike Place Market was closed on Sunday — the biggest day for newspapers, Lauckhart realized. So, in the spring of 1980, First and Pike News became the first Market business to open on Sunday. Other businesses followed.’  The closing of the once noteworthy newsstand on Dec 31 marks yet another aspect signifying the demise of the newspaper industry.

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Author: Mike Cherry

retired broadcaster: on-air, MD, PD, asst PD, Prod Mgr, IT, station technician/engineer, pioneer Internet webcaster, station installation/maintenance; 12 years in commercial radio, 17 years volunteer in campus/community radio in B.C., Alberta & Wash. Amateur radio operator & "DXer" specializing in AM night-time DX, short-wave DX/listening & remote SDR DXing/listening

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