Growth benefits both business and university
Great food, scenic walks and an inviting community drew Aaron and Faith Stevens to Garfield Street so often they decided to move in.
They had been frequenting the local restaurants and bringing their 2-year-old son, Atticus, on walks around PLU when they noticed an available business space. Aaron opened a fair trade import store there in April, selling antiques, gifts and imports from all over the world at a shop called The Urge.
“I love change. I think it’s wonderful that PLU bought that lot at the end of the road…it’s very important,” said Elisa Marzano, owner of Marzano’s restaurant.
Marzano, who has been in the area for 17 years, has watched the community grow. “When I first started the restaurant (the street) only had a few businesses,” she said. “Over the past few years it has definitely come along.”
Patterson is a new business owner, having taken over Mi Piace last year. Since taking ownership she has been involved with the Garfield Street Business Association, which aims to keep businesses informed and working together for a better community.
She said she looks forward to improved sidewalks and parking, and all the owners look forward to an increase in customers that will result from the PLU redevelopment plan.
As Garfield Street develops, not only are the businesses sharing customers, they also serve each other. For instance, customers at Extreme Gaming or Tsunami Tattoo often order food from nearby restaurants to eat during their visits to the stores.
“It’s a neighborhood where everybody knows everybody and people are always popping in to say hi,” said Harry Blaisure, owner of Disc Connection.
“ We joke and we call it the Garfield Nation because it is such a tight community.”
Tsunami Tattoo is another new business on the block. Owner Tim McCarthy was eating lunch one day on Garfield Street, saw a vacancy and opened up shop.
“I like the street. It’s an excellent place where people actually get out of their cars and walk around,” McCarthy said.
Taking over NPCC was Liz’s project, with her husband continuing to work as an electrician. Over the year, however, they have grown attached to and involved with the business, and Liz says she can barely tear Mike away from his work there.
Across the street from NPCC is Hobby Town, housed in one of Garfield Street’s oldest buildings, once home to Parkland Light and Water and the Parkland Library. Now people come to check out model airplanes and oil painting classes.
Longtime manager Jon Packer admits that most PLU students don’t have time to pursue hobbies on top of their schoolwork, so he finds his customer base in the greater community. However, Packer says he still benefits from PLU’s proximity. He is excited about PLU’s plans for development on Garfield Street and thinks it will help draw more people to the area.
Having new and different businesses in the area creates a more vibrant community. Marzano said her favorite part of owning her restaurant is getting to know the people and being a part of their lives. She remembers when Kevin Roy, owner of From the Bayou, was one of her employees, and she has enjoyed watching him succeed, recently opening a second From the Bayou in Puyallup.
Felix Guzman, owner of Reyna’s Mexican Restaurant, also looks forward to change. He hopes to someday get more space for his restaurant and be able to cater more to the PLU community with a bar and entertainment. His wife, Reyna, recently gave birth to their third child, a girl named Ruby.
“We have the best students in this area. They are respectable. I am very proud of the students around here,” he said. “I want my kids to go to PLU. That is what I am working for. We are working to create a plan.”