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  • Haley Keller

Dumpster Fire 8th Year

Updated: Mar 15


At Peddler, our 7th year was filled with an average of 3 events a week, large crowds, laughter during pun slams, applause at the best scenes of our favorite movies, dog parties, educational panels and presentations, fundraisers, and laid-back beer garden cornhole games. Our 8th year has been an absolute contrast, best described by what kept us from being open. Here's a walk down memory lane of our 8th year and the many terrible and varied things that closed our doors or restricted our operations:


I’m a numbers person, so let’s look at some numbers. We are typically closed Monday/Tuesday and 3 days for the holidays. Meaning in a normal year we would be open 257 days with regular hours, open seating, and numerous events. Let's start the clock on Saturday 3/7/20, our scheduled 7th Anniversary party:

  • Restrictions began just days before, forcing us to cancel all events. We also had a significant drop in customers overall because of concerns of this unknown virus.

8 days open with restrictions

  • The announcement of lockdown came on Sunday 3/15/20, allowing to-go only for “at least two weeks.”

2 days closed to reorganize, 53 days to-go only

  • Early June, we were finally allowed to reopen for customers on-site with significant restrictions including outdoor-only seating, tables spaced 6 feet apart, and table size limited to 5 customers from the same party.

2 days closed to reorganize

  • Just one week later, we closed on Friday 6/12/20 in solidarity with the Black Live Matter Seattle-King County statewide general strike and silent march.

1 day closed

  • After an un-event-ful summer, September brought wildfire smoke that settled on the Pacific Northwest and caused us to be closed due to poor air quality.

4 days closed

  • We celebrated the end of 2020, but not the end of the year of hell.

  • During the February snowstorm, our giant beer garden tent structure collapsed under the significant overnight snowfall and had to be rebuilt.

2 days closed, 7 days to-go only

  • From when we could reopen in June until now, we have been restricted to spread-out tables, with group size limits jumping from 5 to 6 to 5 to 6.

178 days open with restrictions


In total, of the 257 days we would have been open normally and over half filled with events in our 8th year, we instead were closed 11 days, to-go 60 days, and open with significant restrictions 186 days. Closures were caused by a virus, wildfires, snow, and to support a social justice movement. In percentages, we were either closed or to-go for over 25% of the year, and open with significant restrictions the other 75%, with 100% of the year affected in some way. This 8th year has also brought increased property damage and struggles to find cans during the current nation-wide aluminum can shortage. And that’s just the flames that happened to scorch our small business during this dumpster fire of a year.


So what is there to celebrate on this 8th anniversary? I don't know. But we are still open, and at this point that alone seems worth celebrating.


All in all, was it a good year? Definitely not. But was it a terrible year? Not necessarily. There have been many moments of joy in our personal lives. Dave brewed significantly less beer, but it meant he was able to be home with our family more. We had no childcare, but between the two of us we got to experience every moment of Ryan’s first year. If I measured a day based on whether I cried, more than half of the days were bad. But if I measured a day based on whether I was filled with joy from Ryan’s smiles and giggles, Colin’s sporadic dancing sessions, or an evening beer with Dave, they all were good. I felt isolated and overwhelmed, and yet I feel more connected to and supported by the other Ballard brewery owners, other local business owners, and the Ballard community.


In just a few short weeks my parents will be fully vaccinated and able to hug and kiss their grandkids. Colin will turn two and a half and start preschool. The weather will continue getting warmer and the days longer. It feels like life may get just a little bit better soon. Do you remember how to feel hopeful? I’m trying to remember too.


To celebrate our 8th anniversary, we created a commemorative glass (artwork by Malolo Design). Cheers us from afar with this ride down Peddler’s 2020 memory lane - glasses available thru our online store!


Haley Keller

Co-Owner, Finance and Retail Ops


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