All in a Day’s Work – Change, Challenges and Giant Bunnies
Enjoy Lake City (ELC) recently visited Marie Spencer at Pony Express, a Lake City Shipping and Packaging store. Marie and her husband Rod have owned the store for over 22 years. Marie shared her thoughts on the changes, challenges and surprises that come with owning a business.
ELC: How did Pony Express get started?
It was 12 guys who got together one night in 1982 and thought it would be really cool if Grandma could send a gift to a grandson through UPS to make sure that it got there. But UPS wouldn’t work with anybody but businesses at that time, so these guys said, let’s open a business that ships for grandmas. So they all opened up around the Seattle, Everett, Lynnwood area just doing UPS and Fed Ex shipping. At that time, we co-opted together – the bookkeeper divvied out the bills so that each location paid their own bills. As we grew, we grew into our own entities and got our own account numbers, so now we’re an independent mail and parcel center.
Over the past week, 72 solar panels were installed on the roof of Hellbent Brewing Company (http://www.hellbentbrewingcompany.com/), the largest solar system on a brewery in our state, right here in Lake City! While installing the system, Edwin Wanji, owner of Sphere Solar Energy (http://spheresolarenergy.org/), and Jack Guinn, owner of Hellbent Brewery, invited local teens in Lake City to learn about the large solar project and to learn about careers in the solar industry. The teens were able to see and touch the solar panels while learning about how they produce clean energy!
In addition, the Lake City teens learned about the potential of solar energy to transform how our planet produces energy and learned about the humanitarian solar projects Edwin and his team have worked in countries like Haiti and Honduras.The Hellbent Brewery solar project is an example project for the ‘Solarize Lake City’ initiative started by local community leaders to address climate change. Thanks to community leaders like Edwin Wanji and Jack Guinn who are thinking local and acting global, we are empowering our youth in Lake City to be the next generation of leaders.
Kaffeeklatsch, the Coffee Shop & Bakery in the Hearts of Lake City
Enjoy Lake City (ELC) visited Annette Heide-Jessen at her Lake City Way bakery and coffee shop to talk about social gatherings around coffee, cake stung by a bee, and the power of working together for a better future. Annette was recently named to Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkans’ newly formed Small Business Advisory Council, which will provide policy recommendations and recommend resources to help small businesses thrive amid Seattle’s current growth and affordability crisis.
And don’t miss our Mystery Diner’s
“Rapid Restaurant Review”
following the interview!
ELC: How did you get into your own business?
I was born and raised in Berlin. I had two degrees as a registered nurse and a pediatric nurse.
When I got to the States, I was 27 and I had to refresh my degrees. I got an associate’s degree, then ran out of money, so I couldn’t do it. Then I volunteered at a local hospital and I did not like the system here at all! The way it’s run, the hierarchy, the 20 people that go through a room with one patient and I thought “I don’t want to do this”.
I tried a number of jobs and ended up at Columbia City Bakery as the retail manager. I was laid off in 2009, could not find a job for the life of me. My boyfriend Brian had also been laid off from his job in construction. We were thinking “what do we do now?” We started planning Kaffeeklatsch and opened the doors in 2011.