Sander Kallshian became interested in gardening and the environment as a kid.
His family had a garden, and he started an environmentalist club with a neighborhood friend. With some humidifiers and forest wallpaper, he transformed his room into a rainforest.
“I was kind of the environmentalist of the family,” Kallshian told CHS.
That interest has now grown into an online and in store wholesale and retail seed and garden business that recently relocated to the retail space below a new microhousing development at 12th and Yesler.
It took a few years and a couple moves to get there. Kallshian founded Seattle Seed Company and organic, heirloom and non-GMO seed business in 2010, selling wholesale seeds in his basement.
Eventually, Kallshian moved into a storefront in Madrona, but it wasn’t a great layout for the shop and didn’t get much traffic. Late in 2016, Kallshian relocated to the new building.
“I can see a lot of changes on the way here,” Kallshian said. “So I thought we might as well just get in while the pricing is good.”
Today, Kallshian is planning Seattle Seed Company’s annual spring open house.
You can look at Seattle Seed Company as a kind of micro-City People’s — that Madison Valley favorite will be sticking around in its longtime home through 2017 — albeit gardening at a smaller, more micro level. With the aPodment-brand Firenze apartments above it, it’s an appropriate new home.
So far it has been a good move. The store has been busy and classes have been full, Kallshian said. He wasn’t sure if many students from the nearby Seattle University would become customers, but they have, and two are interns.
“Even if they don’t have space now a lot of them have (said), ‘Well, I hope to have space someday,’” Kallshian told CHS. Many of the buildings in the area also have rooftop gardens, so residents are planning what to plant in those.
Along with its retail store selling seeds, houseplants, and local gifts such as honey, candles, and soap, Seattle Seed Company is still a wholesale seed seller and puts on classes at the shop.
The terrarium classes have been particularly popular, with the last two selling out. Other classes include seed starting, pollinator gardens and seasonal wreath-making and floral design workshops.
Seattle Seed Company is also busy with other related endeavors outside of retail and wholesale.
Last year Kallshian started a fundraising program with local schools for kids to sell seeds and other items.
“It’s so easy for the teachers to integrate our fundraising into curriculum about food safety or sustainable growing,” Kallshian said.
Kallshian also operates PlowBox, which sends subscribers seeds, tips, gifts and products from partners. He’s since started PlowBox Green a microgreens version of the subscription box, which immediately got many subscribers.
If business at the new location continues to go well, Kallshian said maybe in a few years Seattle Seed Company will expand to a bigger spot or have more locations to meet needs.
“People like independent garden centers and there are not that many of them, and we want to be the organic one,” Kallshian said.
Seattle Seed Company is located at 151 12th Ave and is open from 10 AM to 5 PM Monday through Friday and from 11 AM to 5 PM on Saturdays. The shop will be open additional hours in the spring. Learn more at seattleseed.com.