Small Business of the Month: Flowers Just 4 U

When I was working, younger, I kept a pad by my nightstand.” Flowers Just 4 U owner Mary Wesley pauses to adjust a newspaper on her shop counter, miming writing in a notebook. “What would I like to do after retirement? And so I’d write down, ‘I want to have a boutique shop.’ I thought for a time I wanted to be a photographer, I wrote that down…I had a whole list of things that I thought I wanted to do. And way down the list, it said ‘flowers.’”

She continues, “I wanted to know, ‘Why would I really want to sell flowers?’ Well, number one, I love it, I’m creative. And the main thing is because the community needs a black florist. There is none! I go, ‘Hey, I’m going to be that flower shop.’ And so I did.”

“And so I did” is a refrain of Mary’s as she discusses her 37 years of running Flowers Just 4 U in the Central District. She worked as a manager at Boeing in the early 80’s and at the same time wanted to go to school to learn new skills, like photography, so she did. She decided she wanted to open her own flower shop, so she went back to school again. “I took small business, flower design. Because I’ve always been creative, but I wanted to be a professional at it. I wanted to prepare myself, to be good at it. So I did. So here I am,” she gestures from behind her shop counter.

While some things have changed at Flowers Just 4 U over its nearly four decades in business—the location, for one thing, as the shop recently moved to a new home at 701 23rd Avenue—the business still feels refreshingly old school in the middle of a rapidly-growing Seattle. Mary can name customers that have been buying flowers from her for over 20 years, including the Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church, Seattle Unity Church and a customer Mary identifies as “Mrs. Flowers” who has been visiting the shop since it opened.

Flowers Just 4 U had to move from its previous location on 23rd and Jackson when the land was bought by a neighboring non-profit. While moving was difficult, Mary is a fan of the new location. “It’s a very good corner. It’s a very alive corner, there’s a lot of traffic…[and] foot traffic is good. They come in, buy their little bouquets of flowers, and the kids come and get their little single flowers for mom, or what have you.”

The business has just three employees in addition to Mary, plus two delivery drivers. While they’re a small operation, they provide flowers for big events like graduation ceremonies and same-day delivery services. Mary says a good portion of her business comes from the three wire services she belongs to.

Mary started her business because she “saw there was a need in the community,” and she attributes her long-term success to the support she’s gotten from that community. “I have weekly people, that want flowers for their homes for the weekend, when company’s coming, or a birthday, or they just want some beautiful flowers for their homes.” Mary smiles as she talks about her regulars. “I like those kind. They gotta educate the other ones that just come once a month.”

Asked for advice for aspiring small business owners, Mary says to have patience and to prepare yourself for the challenge: “You have to have the knowledge of how to run a business.” If you’re wondering where to get that knowledge of how to run a business: the Office of Economic Development can help connect entrepreneurs with business education, free consulting and more.

“My dad always said don’t set little goals, they too easy to reach. Set high ones and work toward it,” Mary says. “I did that. So here I am, 30 years later running my own flower shop.”

Become one of Flowers Just 4 U’s new regulars by visiting their website, or give them a call at (206) 324-1440. You can get connected with OED’s services for small businesses by emailing us at

City Light Continues Utility Pole Upgrades for Advanced Metering

In January 2017, Seattle City Light will continue supporting Advanced Metering services throughout the utility’s service territory by replacing existing utility poles with taller poles, which will host wireless utility data collection equipment. The new poles will be 70 feet tall, which is about 20 feet taller than the existing poles.

Rendering of wireless utility data equipment on a utility pole.

This project is part of the communications network to support Advanced Metering, which will automate meter reading and enable enhanced services.

Throughout the month of January 2017, City Light crews will be replacing poles in the following areas:

  • Beacon Hill / Rainier Vista (S Columbian Way)
  • West Seattle / Delridge  (16th Ave SW)
  • West Seattle / High Point (26th Ave SW)
  • West Seattle / North Admiral (45th Ave SW)
  • Central District (24th Ave)

View the January 2017 Utility Pole Upgrade maps for approximate construction work areas. More maps will be added on the Utility Pole Upgrade website as the project progresses into other areas within City Light’s service territory.

There are no maintenance power outages planned for this work. Some traffic and parking impacts are expected in the immediate work areas. Crews will be careful to maintain access to driveways.

Daily work hours are from Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. In most instances, the work to transfer existing equipment and install the data collection equipment can be completed in one day.

Customers can contact JoAnna Perley, Advanced Metering Deployment Manager at (206) 733-9648 or

Visit the following websites for more information:

Seattle City Light’s “At Work in Your Neighborhood” website

Seattle City Light’s Advanced Metering Program website

12th Avenue Square Park Opens

Seattle Parks and Recreation and the 12th Avenue Stewards are excited to announce the opening of 12th Avenue Square Park located at E. James Court and 12th Avenue between Ba Bar and Cherry Street Coffee House in the Squire Park neighborhood.  Hewitt Architects and artist Ellen Sollod collaborated with the community on the woonerf designed park which provides pedestrians and cyclists priority on the street. This technique of shared spaces, traffic calming, and low speed limits contribute to improved pedestrian, bicycle, and automobile safety.

Situated between the Central Area and Capitol Hill, the 7,332 square-foot park is considered part of both communities. The park space will be used to strengthen community ties through programming local events and offering a great gathering place.

The artistic sculptural canopy structure called “Cloud Veil” that hovers over a rounded “pillow” and the wavy concrete paving design grew out of the Hewitt and Sollod collaboration. Several other smaller pillows for seating are sprinkled through the space. The park’s unique design also includes rain gardens to extend the feeling of open space for the entire block on E. James Court, a single east-bound lane.

This project is community-initiated with both the purchase of the parcel and the development of the park receiving different park levy Opportunity Fund awards. The 12th Avenue Stewards saw an opportunity, in this quickly developing area, to create a park for the community. “The park is the result of a decade of advocacy by 12th Avenue Stewards a neighborhood group, including residents, business owners and institutions, formed in the 1990s to champion the redevelopment of 12th Avenue.  Twenty years later, 12th Avenue Stewards continues to be an active neighborhood partner working with the City, local businesses and nonprofits, to advance the 12th Avenue Urban Village as a neighborhood corridor of vibrant businesses, restaurants, arts organizations, and institutions,” said long time neighborhood advocate Bill Zosel.

The creation of this new public space was made possible with funding from the Seattle Parks and Green Space Levy Opportunity Fund, the Pro Parks Levy Opportunity Fund, Seattle Parks Foundation Stim Bullitt Parks Excellence Fund, and Seattle Department of Transportation.

A grand opening celebration will be held on Thursday, April 14, 2016, from 5-7:30 p.m. in conjunction with the monthly Capitol Hill Art Walk. Headlining the event is Naomi Wachira, Winner of Seattle Weekly’s 2013 “Best Folk Singer” award. The ribbon-cutting event will kick-off with a trio from the Garfield High Jazz Band.  The opening event is sponsored in part by Swedish Medical Center Foundation and will include refreshments provided by local businesses.

For more information about the park or to get updates on the upcoming event please visit or contact Karen O’Connor, Seattle Parks and Recreation at karen.o’ or 206-233-7929.

Seattle Firefighters respond to six full-response fires in approximately 6 hour period

Thursday July 30th was a busy day for Seattle Firefighters.  Beginning shortly after 1 p.m. fire crews were dispatched to six full-response fires. Each full-response involves:

Deputy Chief
2 Battalion Chiefs
Safety Chief
Staffing Office
4 Fire Engines
2 Ladder Trucks
Aid Car
Medic unit
Air Unit

Phinney Ridge  Fire

Photo Courtesy Mike Heaton

Photo Courtesy Mike Heaton

Photo Courtesy Mike Heaton



The first fire came in at 1:05 p.m. to a home located in the 100 block of NW 83rd Street.  The occupant was home with his dog when workers laying insulation in the attic noticed smoke and everyone evacuated the home.  When firefighters arrived they found smoke pouring from both sides of the 2-story home.  The firefighters entering the home experienced high heat.  Crews fought the fire from both the interior and exterior while ladder companies cut holes in the roof to vent the charged smoke from the structure. It took 40 minutes to completely extinguish the flames.

The cause was accidental, mechanical damage of electrical wiring system during the installation of insulation.  The damage estimate is $70,000. There were no injuries.

The Red Cross was called to provide assistance to one adult male, one adult female and one child.

Due to temperatures reaching 90 degrees, misting fans were deployed in the firefighter rehabilitation area to cool fire crews off.

Boat Fire

At 1:30 firefighters were called to the 7300 block of 4th Avenue South to a 75 foot tug boat with a fire in the bow. Workers welding below deck ignited insulation in the boat. It took crews about 30 minutes to control the fire.

There were no injuries.

Capitol Hill Fire

At 4:15 p.m. firefighters were called to an apartment complex in the 1800 block of Broadway East. When crews arrive they found everyone had evacuated the 3-story apartment complex. Crews were able to extinguish an exterior deck fire on the second floor. The flames extended to an adjacent wall but did not make their way into the building. The cause of the fire was combustible oil left on the deck which ignited.

There were no injuries.


Central District Fire


















At 4:40 p.m. multiple 911 calls came into Firefighter /Dispatchers at the Fire Alarm Center reporting flames and smoke coming from a 2-story apartment building with basement in the 5090 block of 27th Avenue in the Central District. When firefighters arrived, they found a wall of flames coming from the front of the complex. Several residents had to evacuate the complex and run through flames coming from the front porch. Several animals were trapped inside the burning structure.

The incident commander called for a second alarm bringing in nearly 80 firefighters to the scene. The extra resources were needed to rotate crews in and out of the burning building due to the hot weather.

Firefighters were able to save a Chihuahua and two cats. A third cat was missing.  Fire crews found the dog and one cat in a first floor apartment. The fire investigator found the second cat hiding in the basement laundry room.  Medics evaluated and treated the pets for smoke inhalation. The pets were transported to a nearby pet hospital to be checked out by veterinarians.

It took 20 minutes for fire crews to control the flames.

A fire investigator determined the cause to be accidental, the result of improperly discarded smoking materials placed in a plastic pot on the front porch of the home. The damage estimate is $255,000.

There were no injuries.

University District Fire

Photo courtesy of John Odegard

Photo courtesy of John Odegard


At 6:12 p.m. firefighters were dispatched to the 5200 block of 11th Avenue NE for a back porch fire that was extending into a house. When firefighters arrived they found an enclosed back porch full involved with flames extending to their home, to their neighbor’s shed and exposing to a townhome to the south. The fire extended into the attic of the home.

All of the occupants safely evacuated.

It took fire crews 25 minutes to control the flames and 35 minutes to completely extinguish the fire.

The fire investigator determined the cause was accidental, the result of improperly discarded smoking materials in a planter pot on a wooden deck. The damage estimate is $70,000.

There were no injuries.

 Ravenna Fire

Photo courtesy of John Odegard


At 7:13 p.m. firefighters were dispatched to the 6500 block of Ravenna Avenue NE for reporting of black smoke coming from the roof of a 2-story building. Firefighters extinguished the flames within two minutes of arriving on scene.

There were no injuries.

The fire was caused by roofers spilling a heated bucket of tar.

Neighborhood Matching Fund Supported – Fortune’s Bones, Sunday, February 22

Plan to attend this FREE musical presentation at the Paramount Theater.  The Neighborhood Matching Fund supported the production with a $25,000 award.  Click here for more information.