With modern furniture design at an affordable price and a hip location to boot, Area 51 has found its niche. Its market consists of those who have moved on from IKEA and want products that are a little more distinctive, but who aren't willing to pay high-end prices. One can find new and used products here, ranging from Dwell bedding to the occasional Eero Aarnio Ball Chair as well as modern sofas, tables and rugs.
However, where Area 51 provides in product selection, it takes away in service. This change has happened recently because when it first opened, the service was outstanding. Two years ago, I purchased a chair from this store and got a great deal on it, as the owner knocked the price down significantly because the product had a negligible defect. Naturally, this kind of situation promotes repeat business.
Yet, subsequent trips to Area 51 have proved its service completely inadequate. Last time I visited the store, which was about a month ago, I was looking for a specific type of bookcase. The employee was extremely unhelpful and would not even come up with alternative ideas on where I could find something similar; he just said, "We don't carry anything like that", and turned around. That's deplorable and it's why I'll be taking my business elsewhere.
Unfortunately, the lack of options in this market make Area 51 just about the only place to go for affordable, non-mass produced design in Seattle. If anyone wants a money making idea, open a store similar to Area 51 and provide better service, which isn't hard to do.