Updated! Greenwood Supports Businesses Destroyed in Explosion

March 10, 2016 • 10 min read
Ahmad El-Najjar

Ahmad El-Najjar


Update 5/2/16   As of the last week in April, over $260,000 has been raised to help residents, the 53 businesses and the employees who were affected by the Greenwood explosion. Over 100 businesses have donated and/or held fundraisers. Almost 90 percent of the raised funds have been distributed, about half of which has gone directly to displaced residents and employees who lost work hours.

More contributions are expected from various sources, including the proceeds from the Bureau of Fearless Ideas’ book Encyclopedia Greenwoodia and from the auction of the Greenwood plywood murals, which Urban Hands has organized. The auction will take place on Friday, May 13,during the BIG One Art Walk, at Greenwood Square/Upper Crust Catering (8420 Greenwood Ave N), starting at 6 pm. There will be a social hour at 5pm with appetizers and a bar.

Funds are still very much needed, as the damage from the Greenwood explosion is estimated in the millions. Thirty of the 53 affected businesses have requested funds for uninsured loss thus far. The Phinney Neighborhood Association (PNA) continues to welcome donations to the fund, which they will keep open through the fall. You can still donate online, via mail, or in-person at 6532 Phinney Ave N., Seattle, WA 98103. PNA will also continue to promote any fundraisers or benefits organized by businesses or groups.

Updated 3/11/16   At approximately 1:40 am, Wednesday, March 9th, 2016, a gas explosion ripped through Seattle’s iconic Greenwood neighborhood, causing numerous injuries and leveling three beloved local businesses—Neptune Coffee, Mr. Gyro, and Quick Mart. Thirty-six other businesses were heavily damaged and nine of Seattle’s brave and dedicated firefighters have been hospitalized for minor injuries as a result of the Greenwood explosion. Thanks to the early hour and the Seattle Fire Department’s quick response, no casualties have been reported.  

According to the Seattle Times, the fire department had responded to “a report of a natural-gas leak near Greenwood Avenue North and North 85th Street,” at about 1 am. The explosion occurred “as firefighters were trying to pinpoint the source of the leak.” Thus far, there’s no word on the exact cause of the leak or how it might have been avoided. In the fallout of the Greenwood explosion, the neighborhood wants to know how to ensure the community’s future safety.

What we do know is that the Seattle local business community’s response has been tremendous.

Helping Businesses and Employees Hurt by Greenwood Explosion

Immediately following the explosion that destroyed Neptune Coffee, Mr. Gyro, and Quick Mart, residential and business neighbors in Phinney and Greenwood established a support network for those affected.

Phinney Neighborhood Association PNA

So far, damages are estimated at over $3 million. The Phinney Neighborhood Association (PNA) has taken the lead on creating a relief fund for anyone wishing to offer financial support. Meanwhile, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has committed City resources stating, “Greenwood is a close knit neighborhood and an incident like this is felt by the entire community. The City will also be there to do what we can to help those affected with the clean-up and help local business owners as they work to get back on their feet and re-open their doors.”

It’s not only local non-profits and government agencies supporting relief efforts, residents and small businesses across Seattle have come together to offer support for those affected by the Greenwood explosion. While we expect this list of relief efforts to grow, following is a list of residents and businesses currently participating: 

Ongoing Donations


Friday, March 11

  • ArtUp Fundraiser at Flying Bike Co-op Brewery: Donations from beer proceeds from 3-10 pm. ArtUp portion of the evening begins at 6 pm. Several artists, lead by Kyle Krauskopf, will be donating all proceeds from Friday’s sales to Greenwood Relief. Kyle himself will be a performance piece, producing $1for1min LIVE PORTRAITS throughout the night!! Fifty percent of all BEER proceeds will also be donated to Greenwood Relief. Details »
  • ArtUp at Urban Light Studios, part of Greenwood Collective, at 8537 Greenwood, will have donation stations and contribute a portion of art sales for the night, from 6-10 pm. Details »
  • “Show Greenwood Some Love” t-shirt sales: Stop by Ridge Pizza or Makeda & Mingus during Friday night art walk (see details above).
  • Makeda & Mingus is also hosting “Words with Wine” from 5-9 p.m., where you can play Scrabble, Boggle or Bananagrams, with all proceeds from wine and sangria sales going to the relief fund.
  • Bill’s on Greenwood is teaming with Naked City Brewery and Taphouse & Taproot Theater to help our neighbors who experienced devastating damage as a result of Wednesday’s explosion. All are donating 100 percent of the proceeds from the sale of Naked City’s Crossfire IPA to neighborhood businesses.
  • Reuben’s Brews will be donating $1 for every pint, growler, or set of three tasters to the relief effort. They are open from noon until 9 pm, and will be donating on all beers throughout the day. Furthermore, they will be collecting donations on behalf of the fund. Neptune Coffee was one of Adam’s and Grace’s favorite coffee shops in the city, and they want to support our friends and neighbors.
  • The Heavy Restaurant Group is collecting donations at all their locations Friday and Saturday: Barrio Restaurant, Purple Café & Wine Bar, Lot No. 3, The Commons, Meet the Moon, and Cast Iron Studios.

Saturday, March 12

  • Naked City Brewery is teaming up with Derek Sheen to present a Stand Up Comedy Benefit Show, also featuring Elicia Sanchez, Drew Barth, and Xung Lam, for businesses and employees affected by the explosion. Tickets are $10 at the door, with all proceeds going to the relief fund.
  • Jeff McBride Family-friendly magic event: Angel Productions, Inc., and Evan Reynolds will donate 100 percent of all popcorn sales, as well as collecting any size donation you would like to make. One hundred percent of the donated monies will go directly to the fund. Phinney Center Brick Building, 1pm. Download flier»
    Get tickets »
  • Yoga at 8 Limbs: 8 Limbs Phinney Ridge studio is hosting a 75-minute benefit class on at 6:15 pm. This All Levels class will provide an opportunity to come together and share a practice in support of the community. The class is by donation and 100 percent of the proceeds will be donated to the Greenwood Relief Fund.
  • Taproot Theatre’s Stage Door Cafe will be hosting the band IvyLane on Saturday, March 12 from 6-8 pm. A portion of the proceeds from this event will be going to help their neighbors.
  • The Heavy Restaurant Group is collecting donations at all their locations: Barrio Restaurant, Purple Café & Wine Bar, Lot No. 3, The Commons, Meet the Moon, and Cast Iron Studios.

Sunday, March 13

  • Magnolia <3’s Greenwood-Neighbors Helping Neighbors at Mulleady’s Irish Pub in Magnolia (3055 21st Ave W) will have live music, raffle items (cash only), beer and wine, with all proceeds os select items going to relief, and “Pass the Boot” for collections. 5-10 pm
  • Fundraiser and art auction at Naked City Brewery. 5-9 pm. Originally the fundraiser was for The Taproot Theatre. But after witnessing the state of the neighborhood yesterday in person, the Taproot Theatre and event organizers felt there was a more immediate need to help the other local businesses affected by the explosion. There will still be an opportunity to support Taproot Theatre.

Monday, March 14

Tuesday, March 15

Friday, March 18

  • Phinney Books will be donating all proceeds of their sales (beyond what it costs them to buy the books) on Friday, March 18, to the PNA fund. They will also be setting up a silent auction to sell some of Mark O’Malley’s storefront paintings, regularly priced at $120. Everything over $50 will go to the fund.

Saturday, March 19

  • InsideOut Yoga, 5623 University Way NE, is offering an all-levels benefit yoga class. All proceeds to will go to the Greenwood Relief fund. Suggested donation is $20. The studio is also accepting donations in the form of checks payable to Phinney Neighborhood Association. Please note “Greenwood relief” in the memo.

Sunday, March 20


In good times and bad, small businesses count on one another, whether it’s to refer a customer, offer advice, or lead a relief effort when tragedy strikes. Nowhere is this more true than among Seattle’s small businesses.

Seeing the immediate response of our Phinney and Greenwood members, and the larger Seattle community as whole, inspires all of us at Townsquared. Members like Heather Sketch-Sander of Frock Boutique—just blocks away from the explosion—who share information with all of Townsquared Seattle and directs members to up-to-date information and relief efforts, inspire us. We are honored to support the Greenwood business community. Knowing our small business members are the hardest working, most compassionate, most dedicated individuals…that never ceases to inspire us.

To stay up-to-date on relief and rebuilding efforts, you can follow #greenwoodexplosion on Twitter or coordinate with other Seattle Townsquared members in the #askseattle channel.

image courtesy of Seattle Fire Department

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