Armchair Sailor Charts & Books, a fixture on Seattle’s Lake Union for 25 years, is closing this weekend.
The store will be open through Sunday, owner Brindy Bundesmann said, and all merchandise has been marked down 50 to 75 percent. Remaining items include fiction and non-fiction books such as sea stories and maintenance books, clocks and barometers, jewelry and decor items.
“Customers can come in over the weekend and get a great deal,” she said.
Cruising guides and charts for the Northwest have been mostly picked over, Bundesmann said, but there are still guides for areas including the East Coast and Great Lakes. The store will be open Thursday and Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., on Saturday from 9:30 to 5 p.m. on from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Bundesmann put the well-known store up for sale earlier this year to spend more time with her husband and two children, and hoped someone in the boating community would buy it. She found a potential buyer, she said, but the sale has been stalled by lease negotiations with the property manager.
There’s a chance the purchase could go through and the store would reopen under new owners, Bundesmann said, but at this point the business is closing. Focusing on closing the store while hoping the purchase would go through has made the situation challenging, she said.
“Things were progressing with the buyer who is interested in the story, but I never walked away from the process of closing the store,” she said. “So I’ve been going through both processes over the last two months. That’s been really hard.”
The original Armchair Sailor store opened in 1979 in Newport, Rhode Island. Additional stores followed in Florida, Maryland, California and Seattle. But the franchise operation was dissolved in the 1990s, leaving the Seattle store, which opened in 1987, the only one remaining.
Bundesmann started working at the store in 2001 and bought it in 2006, growing its online business and developing a reputation for her knowledge of maritime books. Last year, she decided she needed to spend more time with her son and daughter and decided to put the business up for sale. The response when she announced the closure in July took her aback, she said.
“I’ve realized how supportive so many business associates, vendors and customers have been over my duration at the store,” she said. “It’s been hard to say goodbye to those people.”
But Bundesmann said she’s looking forward to the next chapter of her life: getting more involved in her kids’ school, pursuing personal interests and spending time on the Ranger 21 tugboat she and her husband bought in May.
“We want to explore a little further than we did this summer,” she said. “It was a lot of fun.”