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The Crypt moves to new Capitol Hill location
The Crypt moves to new Capitol Hill location
by Nick Ardizzone - SGN Staff Writer

The Seattle Gay News visited The Crypt's new location (1516 11th Ave.) and spoke with Zach Saber, who has been The Crypt's manager "off and on" for the last 13 years. Personable and helpful, he was confidently knowledgeable without being overbearing and stood in sharp contrast to the store's shy, skittish employees, who shrunk from my camera like leprechauns.

We stood at the glass-topped counter in The Crypt's long, bright main room, hung with racks and racks of clothes. As the clothing moved toward the back of the store, the sweatshirts and risqué T-shirts ("It Ain't Gonna Suck Itself") gave way to vinyl and leatherwear, guarded by a mannequin torso clad in a chainmail tunic with matching Speedo. Between helping customers, Saber answered my questions about The Crypt's move to its new digs.

"They're tearing down the old building, so we had to move," he explained. "We looked for a year, and it came down to looking at the fact that right here," he gestured out the windows at the bustling afternoon sidewalk, "this area is the core & it's the heart of where everything is happening for a very diverse community, which is what we cater to." After 23 years in Seattle, The Crypt is now nestled in Capital Hill's Pike-Pine corridor.

Saber couldn't have hoped for a nicer location. With Purr on one side of his shop and Grey opening on the other, The Crypt is primed for heavy foot traffic. It's open late - until midnight on weeknights and 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday - and Saber hopes it will serve as a quick pit stop for clubhoppers who know what they need before they head home for the night. "If the gals are going out and run their nylons, we've got the nice ones here," he said with a laugh. "We've got the quick fixes, we're ready to go. They need their condoms, their lubes, whatever, come on in!"

While the new location is paramount, on the inside, the space is no dive. The Crypt is long, with plenty of room for specialty sections like a wall of crops, whips and lashes. Another perk is the high ceiling. "I love the fact it's very tall," said Saber. "With a 16-foot ceiling, we can do displays all the way up. In the back room I have a swing stand up on top of my video cases. We could never have done that in either of the two previous locations."

Contrary to its name, The Crypt's "back room" is as clean and bright as the rest of the store. The walls are packed densely with a huge array of merchandise, from flirty novelties to marital aids with intriguing names like "Goliath," "Mighty Brute" and "Size Queen." We were lucky enough to receive a full explanation (without a demonstration) of the "Fleshlight" - one of The Crypt's hottest sellers - which must be felt to be believed. Huge shelves of the store's 9000 DVDs are highlighted by the swing Saber has set up along the top - and festively decorated with red and gold holiday tinsel. "This store has gone through a lot of transformation in the last 13 years," Saber recalled, shaking his head. "Thirteen years ago it was very definitely a hole in the wall & it was a man store. A lot of Lesbians thought they weren't welcome."

But times have changed, and so has The Crypt's image. "A lot of women come in now. We have a lot more women coming in, but I would say probably more on the straight side. It would be nice if maybe the Lesbians would realize they're welcome here, too. It's totally OK. We're a safe place to come for everybody."

For a guy with a menacing mannequin in a leather facemask standing behind him, Saber seemed pretty nonthreatening. When asked if he had any words for potential customers, he smiled. "Just come in," he shrugged. "We don't care if you're straight or Gay, male or female. We don't give a damn, we really don't. We don't care what your fetish is, we don't care what you're into & come ask questions. We've got people who come in and never buy anything; they just have a lot of questions. Come ask questions!"
 

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