Pike Place Market turns 100
03:31 PM PDT on Friday, May 11, 2007
By ALLEN SCHAUFFLER / KING 5 News
Nobody has been in business at the market longer than Sol Amon.
"In this location 51 years," says Amon. "I bought this market in 1956 with my dad."
The man behind Pure Food Fish has so much fun he can barely call this work and has more than half a century here.
"This is the best the market's ever been right now," said Amon.
We all know the things that make Pike Place Pike Place Market: the sidewalk musicians, the flying salmon, the flowers, the produce, the original Starbucks, that iconic sign and the superstar bronze pig named Rachel, the hustle and bustle of commerce and community that has been a fixture downtown since onion prices soared out of sight in 1907 and civic leaders invited farmers to the corner of First and Pike to sell produce direct to city folk.
OK, we all know about the fish toss, but there is more to market. You might not know it includes one of the biggest food banks in King County, giving out 50,000 bags of groceries a year. There's a low-cost medical clinic and an assisted living community, a senior center helping people with jobs, homes and activities. There are hundreds of low income apartments and a pre-school and day care center for parents who work downtown.
Sol Amon's Pure Food Fish has been at the Pike Place Market for over 50 years.
Market foundation director Marlys Erickson says the social service component makes Pike Place Market different.
"A thousand times better than Quincy Market or Fulton Street Fish Market because it has a lot of people living in it and it spends a lot of time thinking about the low income folks," said Erickson.
Expect to see a hundred painted pigs on the streets of Seattle this summer, one pig for every year of market operation. And as always you can expect to see Sollie Amon.
"No, no. I wouldn't go anywhere else," said Amon. "I've never been anywhere else."
The success of the place, the booming bustling future of all he sees around him, leaves him with just one regret.
"I wish my dad could see it," said Amon. "That would be the frosting on the cake 'cause we had hard times when we first started. It was a tough go."
Amon also credits his staying power in the market to his associates, the people working with him. Some of them have been on the job at Pure Food Fish for more than 30 years.
You'll have to wait until next weekend to get a look at the Pike Place Pigs. They'll be on display at the Western Bridge Gallery, then they will parade through the market on June 2nd. The actual Pike Place Market Centennial Day is August 17.