Pelington, a made-up word comprising the last syllable of the last name of Sooz Appel, Bill Wiginton, and Pete Hanning (our son).
Bill purchased part of the property known as Pelington Village in 1976. He operated his recycling company (Rainbow Recycling) from the property until his “early” retirement in 1983. Bill and Sooz met and fell in love in 1983. Three years later, she proposed that she and her son Pete move into the warehouse and fix it up. Well, the fixing up took a lot longer, but the move happened, as did the decision to re-start a recycling business.
From 1986 to 2009, the property was home base of Nuts ‘n’ Bolts Recycling (NB), owned by Sooz and operated by Sooz and Bill. During its last decade of existence, NB provided recycling services to over 2200 apartment buildings for the City of Seattle.
Growing the Village
In 2000, with our recycling trucks and staff housed in the south end of Seattle, we started leasing out our property to small businesses. Half of the property (at 2501) was leased to a bridge building company in 2000 for a few years. In 2006, Exor Iron Works joined us in a newly created space. In 2010, an artist live-work space was created at 2533 and Seattle Electric took over part of 2501. Over the years, we created more small business spaces adding Conduit Coffee in 2013 and Eion’s Automotive in 2014. Since then, a shared wood shop started in 2014 has seen a number of hobby woodworkers come and go. Jump Ship Workshop along with Lost Commodity joined in 2018. Haskett Works along with Eirekwood joined in 2019. Vintage Technology’s shop should be ready for business this fall.
During the years of the recycling company, we knew the importance of having suppliers and repair people close by. As years went by, many of those vendors ended up moving far south or north seeking affordable rents. Sooz and Bill together had the vision of Pelington Village being a place where small blue collar businesses could remain inside the city limits. We made a promise to ourselves to keep the rents affordable.
Throughout this period, Bill continued to collect and organize his fabulous collection of steel, wood, tools, engine parts and a large variety of industrial salvage. Every time we wanted to create a new leasable space, the area available for Bill’s collections grew smaller. But un-deterred, Bill just became a better “densifier”. When Bill died suddenly in September of 2017, Sooz was faced with the question of what to do with these beautifully densified collections. With the aid of old friends and the full-time help of Dan Devine, we recycled over 220 tons of metal, garbaged 30 tons of plastic, old rubber and “junk” and sold thousands of dollars of old tools and unique items. As a result of all this “clean out”, two new spaces were created, now the homes to Jump Ship Workshop and Haskett Works. In addition, Bill’s treasures found new homes all around the city, county, state and even up in Canada.
Bill is dead but his vision is very much alive here at Pelington Village. You can still see the impact he made when you observe how some of the spaces were constructed (with Bill’s recycled materials) or how the wiring was installed (with used electrical boxes and outlets). From the gorgeous double doors at Exor Iron Works (now home to Vintage Technology) made out of the sides to one of our old garbage trucks to the overhead beams in Eion’s Automotive to the materials which make up the south end wall of Haskett Works’ office (odds and ends wood and glass) or the south wall of Jump Ship (old doors from the old Seattle Jail)—Bill Wiginton is still alive and well here on Westlake Avenue North.
Since Bill’s death, Sooz has taken over the full management of Pelington. She continues to have the support, good ideas, brainstorming, problem solving and hard work of tenants and maintenance workers. They say “it takes a village to…”. In Sooz’ case, the village helps her to run the village.
Pelington Village is vibrant and collaborative and successful.
Bill would be smiling.
Bill Wiginton, one of the grandfathers of recycling in Seattle, before the City and County provided curb-side. A renaissance man; he can wire, plumb or repair most everything; an engineer and problem solver; quick to offer materials and help to friends and neighbors; radical old hippie, junk collector with a solid business sense and a love of symmetry.
Sooz Appel keeps us organized, legal and business-like. She handles all the leases, contracts and sales. A former community organizer and city planner, she ran Nuts ‘n’ Bolts Recycling for 25 years, starting as a truck driver and sorter of aluminum cans, to providing service for more than 2200 buildings before the business closed in 2009. She’s the gardener, baker and lover of asymmetry.
C. Pelington, Esq gets blamed for everything that goes wrong and takes the credit for everything that works.
Fletcher and Otis are two robots built out of Bill’s treasures which were sold at the Estate Sale in October of 2018.