Stadium Flowers transplanted

  • Mike Benbow / Herald Writer
  • Wednesday, November 7, 2001 9:00pm
  • Business

Old Broadway landmark now a parking lot for new location

By Mike Benbow

Herald Writer

It was the end of an era Wednesday for Stadium Flowers, a landmark family business that got its start in 1947 as a grocery store that delivered — even to fishing vessels on Everett’s waterfront.

The old building at Broadway and 37th Street that always had beautiful plants and flowers out front was demolished Wednesday. It will become a parking lot for a new Stadium Flowers outlet roughly three times the size of its predecessor.

The new building, located just behind the old location, is everything the old one wasn’t. It’s brick exterior is both modern and substantial. Inside, its open ceiling and big windows give a light and airy feel.

Its roughly 5,600 square feet, divided into several motifs, allowing customers to visualize their purchases in a variety of settings, including on the mantel of the gas fireplace.

But Cheryl Van Winkle, who owns the business with her husband, Spark, said one thing won’t change: The building’s entrance will still be awash with flowers and plants.

"We wanted to keep that farmer’s market feel," she said.

Van Winkle’s parents, Elaine and Dorrie Ransick, purchased the old building in 1947, naming their new grocery store Stadium Market because of its proximity to Everett Stadium.

The previous owner had gone bankrupt, and Van Winkle said everyone told her parents they were crazy to open a business there "because they were too far away from downtown."

Van Winkle said her parents persevered, even after Safeway opened a supermarket a half-block away. Over the years, the business was gradually transformed from a market that sold flowers into a flower shop.

Today, the Safeway is gone and Stadium Flowers is one of the first businesses northbound visitors see when they take the Broadway exit off I-5 and head for downtown.

Wednesday was one of mixed emotions for Cheryl Van Winkle, who remembered joining her sister every Saturday in cleaning the onion bins and doing other chores at the market. "There’s an awful lot of history there," she said as the building was torn down. "A lot of people have said they’re very sad to see the building going."

But it was time for the demolition, since the concrete blocks were starting to crumble, Van Winkle said.

The new Broadway building is one of three outlets for the business, which has grown substantially over the years. Other retail shops are in Lynnwood and on Evergreen Way in Everett.

The company also has a design center and a central distribution center in Everett that processes about 100 boxes of flowers each weekend.

Van Winkle said she has tried to continue the personal service begun by her parents, who delivered groceries throughout the city, even to commercial fishermen on the waterfront.

Today, she said, computers have made it possible for her to look up "Aunt Mildred’s" address faster than you can, and to make sure a birthday bouquet gets to right place at the right time.

And Spark Van Winkle said people shouldn’t be too upset at the demolition of the old landmark.

"It’s the new icon," he said of the new building.

You can call Herald Writer Mike Benbow at 425-339-3459

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