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.
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.
Q&A with Diane Haugen, former director of the Lake City Community Center and the Chamber of Commerce
Moving on to New Things
Enjoy Lake City (ELC) recently visited Diane Haugen at a local restaurant to talk about a changing Lake City, the meaning of community, and the joy of Alpacas. The former Executive Director of the Lake City/North Seattle Chamber of Commerce and manager of the Lake City Community Center has moved on to new work in a different neighborhood, but says she feels she will always be part of the Lake City community.
ELC: How long did you work at the Chamber and the Community Center?
Ten years for the Chamber and five at the Community Center.
Do you miss Lake City?
I do miss the community. I drive through it every day though, and I’m not too far away, just in Meadowbrook. I go to restaurants in Lake City all the time so I really feel like I haven’t left.
ELC: What did you like best about the work?
I’ve met a lot of people and I have a lot of connections. I open windows for people. I like to put people together if they can help each other. At Chamber after hours, I’d find out what people needed — a caregiver, a salesman, etc.- and make introductions face to face. That is the part of the work that feeds me. Continue reading “Q & A with Diane Haugen, Community Connector”→
Q&A with Mohamed Abdel-Aziz, Owner of Gyro on Lake City
A Little Taste of Egypt in Lake City
Enjoy Lake City (ELC) recently visited Mohamed Abdel-Aziz at his Lake City Way restaurant to talk about delicious Mediterranean food, growing up in Egypt and life in Lake City. The restaurant recently moved a few doors down from its old location and now has a bigger seating area and a larger kitchen. And don’t miss our Mystery Diner’s “Rapid Restaurant Review” following the interview!
ELC: How long have you been in the restaurant business?
It’s been 25 years since I came to the States from Egypt.
ELC: How did you decide to start your own restaurant?
That was the job I found months after I came to the States, first as a cook, then a lead cook, then a manager. But I found myself going nowhere and I just wanted to have my own thing and not have a boss anymore; to be my own boss.
ELC: Did you learn to cook when you came to the States or in Egypt?
I knew a little bit from back home in Egypt, but when I came here I learned from the different restaurants I worked in. Red Robin, Salty’s , Applebee’s. I managed Applebee’s so I learned everything about the business at Applebee’s and I trained everyone else. Meetings with the cooks about the new commercials, how to cook the new items, everything.
Q&A with Roy Ovenell, Owner of Roy A. Ovenell Insurance Agency, Inc.
Covering Risks and Taking Risks
Enjoy Lake City (ELC) recently visited Roy Ovenell at his agency on Lake City Way to talk about the upcoming Car Show, the insurance business and a few fun adventures.
ELC: Can you talk a little about the Lake City Car Show and how you got involved in it?
This year, the Car Show is on Sunday, August 6 in the Bank of America parking lot during the Salmonfest street fair. We have a lot of regular attendees who have come for years. I helped out 10 to 15 years with a series of people who ran it. Eventually they all moved on and so I was kind of the last guy standing, so now I do the Car Show! I like to serve the community and this is one thing I do. Last year we had about 40 cars, but we could accommodate 70.
We have room for all kinds of cars, vintage all the way up to the present – trucks, military vehicles, commercial type vehicles and special interests. So if somebody buys a brand new fancy car, bring it in!
ELC: Have there been any rare vehicles in the show?