It’s coming—the long drizzly doldrums of Seattle winter that send Northwesterns scurrying to curl up with a warm caffeinated beverage and a good book. Luckily, Greenwood residents will soon have another refuge in which to hibernate. Come mid-November, the re-imagined Couth Buzzard Books will open in its new location: 8310 Greenwood Ave.
Greenwood is familiar territory to Couth Buzzard—their previous site was just ten blocks south on the same street. They lost their lease in that building, however, when the next-door Ken’s Market grocery store expanded. The old Couth Buzzard Books closed its doors in September 2008.
Now, after a yearlong closure, Couth Buzzard is rising like a phoenix. And this time, there will be pastries.
“We’re going to have a café, a sitting area in the front, and a performance space in the back,” Theo Dzielak, the previous manager of Couth Buzzard explains, gesturing around the open space. Dzielak is one of three owners of the new space, together with Gerry Lovchik, Couth Buzzard’s previous owner, and Penny Wright, owner of the Lynnwood Espresso Buono.
“Penny has the café expertise,” Lovchik says, pointing out the future site of the espresso bar. “But right now we’re just waiting on the government.” Lovchik sighs and smiles, shaking his head. “Health department.”
The treats will be one addition to the new store, as will the entertainment. The previous Couth Buzzard Books hosted events intermittently, but this time they’re hoping to have a more consistent performance schedule. Dzielak’s experience in this realm will be helpful. From 1996 to 2004, he coordinated an independent cabaret theater in the home of an ex-Microsoft employee who’d struck it rich on stock options when the company went public.
“After she made all that money, she decided she wanted to do something different, and have this home performance space. So I found the acts and managed a cabaret space in her home. There was room for about 65 people or so.” The performance space in the back of the new Couth Buzzard is cozier, but Dzielak’s background makes him open to an eclectic range of performance styles—music, skits, author readings, open mics—all are possibilities.
The new Couth Buzzard will also host writing groups, bridge and chess clubs, and may offer space for local AA meetings. Clearly, the owners envision it as much as a community center as a bookstore.
In the mean time, a dozen rows of recently installed naked bookshelves sit waiting patiently to be filled. “Fiction” “Financing/Investing” “Oversized Women’s Issues” read small signs on the front door advertising a smattering of the genres that will be available (hopefully the latter is a typo representing two distinct categories). Nathan Heath, the owner of the now closed Epilogue Books in Ballard will be helping in the initial stocking effort. To start, the core of Couth Buzzard’s offerings will come from Epilogue Books’ old collection. “But we’re always open to donations—of books and time!” Dzielak says enthusiastically. Neighborhood residents can reach Dzielak at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about contributing classic novels, or construction expertise.
So stay tuned, and keep a soggy Seattle eye peeled for Couth Buzzard’s impending arrival.
By: Alicia Craven