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Sip & Ship packed for Green Bean reopening

Hundreds of people packed into the Greenwood Sip & Ship this morning for the reopening of the Green Bean Coffee House. The original Green Bean was destroyed in the Oct. 23 arson, but Sip & Ship, at 8560 Greenwood Ave. N., is allowing the Bean to temporarily take over its coffee operations.

“It’s crazy, it’s absolutely crazy,” Green Bean Manager Summer Mohrlang said of the turnout, as five people worked frantically behind the counter, filling coffee mugs and making breakfast sandwiches. Customers were generously packing the tip jar.

Green Bean even hung their old sign – virtually undamaged from the fire – outside.

There was a continuous long line of customers for the two hours we were there. Most everyone brought their own mug for their morning coffee, then left it for the Green Bean to restock their mug collection.

KIRO, KING and KOMO news crews were on hand as the administrators of the Greenwood Fire Relief Fund presented checks of $1,000 each to two of the four businesses destroyed in the Oct. 23 fire (the other two businesses couldn’t make it and will receive their checks later).

Below is Phung Hoang, one of the owners of Szechuan Bistro, on the right, next to Summer Mohrlang, manager of the Green Bean. Presenting the checks are Greenwood-Phinney Chamber of Commerce President Steve Giliberto, and Cindy Potter of GAIN (Greenwood Aurora Involved Neighbors).

Neighbors and business have donated more than $5,000 to the Greenwood Fire Relief Fund, and the fund is still accepting donations. The Fund’s administrators plan to make another disbursement to the affected businesses in mid-December and another in late January.

“It’s just really good to see the tenants know that they were cared about,” Taproot Theatre’s Producing Artistic Director Scott Nolte told me after the check presentation. “The fact that the community is giving back – not enough to rebuild – but enough to say ‘We care about you. You are vital members of the community.’ Between this and hopefully the capture of the right guy yesterday, hopefully this is the end of a sad process.”

Taproot owned the Eleanor Roosevelt Building where the four destroyed businesses were located, and Taproot sustained major smoke and water damage. Nolte said the Eleanor Roosevelt Building will be demolished early next week. A wooden safety wall will be painted by local muralists before being erected in front of the site.

Hoang said her family owned Szechuan Bistro since late 2002. They did not have insurance, so while the $1,000 check they received today will help, they have a long way to go before being able to open in a new location, hopefully in Greenwood.

“Thanks for the Greenwood neighborhood,” Hoang said. “For right now it helps a lot because I have a lot of final bills.”

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