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Umbrella store closure opens up age-old Seattle debate

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Seattle’s umbrella hostility contributed to Bella Umbrella closing

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Despite only having an average of 38 inches of rain per year, Seattle’s long rainy season has given us a reputation for being especially rainy. Despite that—or perhaps because of that—it’s a point of pride among many Seattleites to never, ever carry an umbrella.

It’s part of the reason Seattle’s only brick-and-mortar umbrella shop, Bella Umbrella, announced it’d be closing this week after three years in business. Owner Jodell Engelbert told the Seattle Times that while part of the reason is online sales and part of it is relocating to New Orleans, Seattle’s stubborn, anti-umbrella attitude left a bad taste in her mouth.

“Every day somebody would come in and tell me it was stupid to have an umbrella store in Seattle because Seattleites don’t use umbrellas,” Egbert told the Times. “It made me feel bad.”

While umbrellas are always a hot topic of discussion in the Seattle area, the store’s closure has brought umbrella sympathizers out of the woodwork. Some, in a rapidly changing city, remain umbrella-skeptical—but hold high standards for when an umbrella must be used.

The incoming rainy season inspired Seattle Magazine’s staff to write an umbrella-use guide: “OK Seattle, If You Must Use an Umbrella Let's Set a Few Ground Rules.” Among their guidelines: Don’t use an umbrella under an awning. Don’t use a huge one. Don’t call it a bumbershoot.

So, Curbed Seattle readers, where do you fall on the umbrella spectrum? Are you anti-umbrella, pro-umbrella, or umbrella-skeptical?


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