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Capitol Hill’s Flowers on 15th still managing to bloom with community support

Soto (Image: CHS)

The holiday season is typically a bustling one for Flowers on 15th — one centered around custom floral wreaths, festive centerpieces, and sprawling flower displays.

This year looks different for the flower boutique, as owner Alex Soto makes contactless deliveries and preps curbside pickup orders inside the shop’s small space, now filled to the brim with greenery.

“Christmas is our most joyous time that we offer our most crafty things,” Soto said. “This pandemic has cut everything down.”

Soto, who previously worked for over a decade as a wholesale flower broker, has run the shop for 30 years alongside life partner Caroline Morton. They officially named it Flowers on 15th in 2002, although it was a flower shop beforehand.


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(Image: CHS)

Since closing for in-store retail in line with pandemic guidelines, a steady customer base has kept the shop afloat — ordering for themselves as well as offering some assistance processing and delivering other orders.

“They’re so patient and so loyal and so understanding of what we have and what we don’t have,” he said. “The biggest response we get from our customers is ‘you do what you want to do.’ ”

Even so, Soto says sales are down by 70%, largely as a result of not being able to cater arrangements to large-scale events or gatherings or have walk-in customers. He also says the entire supply chain, from growers to wholesalers, has slowed down as a result of the pandemic, making it challenging to obtain the desired product.

Flowers on 15th is nestled in between a row of 15th Ave eateries and other shops adjusting to the pandemic era, including longtime framing shop Capitol Hill Museum Quality Framing. Manager Cheryl Swent sees the survival of businesses on the block as mutually beneficial for drawing customers into the area.

“I really love how they set up flowers and different things outside their shop, it just really makes our little block a lot happier,” she said.

For Soto, the effects of the pandemic and subsequent restrictions have made the neighborhood feel more destitute and less shopper-friendly, with temporary and permanent closures like the recent shuttering of the Take 2 consignment shop.

“We went from one of the most premiere neighborhoods,” he said, “to being one of the most boarded neighborhoods in the city.”

As owner of Flowers on 15th, Soto has also focused much of his attention on organizing twice a week meal deliveries to families in Nickelsville tiny house homeless shelters through a partnership with Beacon Hill Filipino restaurant Musang Seattle.

“We really feel as long as we support our customers or our society, we’ll be supported too,” he said.

Flowers on 15th is located at 515 15th Ave E. You can learn more at flowerson15th.com.


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Moving On
Moving On
2 months ago

I so highly recommend. I love this place so much. The owners are kind and thoughtful, the arrangements are interesting and beautiful. A wonderful example of how small businesses keep cities vibrant and fun.

Roberta O’Leary
Roberta O’Leary
2 months ago

Caroline and Alex are truly special, they have made my home happy many times. Caroline is an artist with a great sense of which flowers work best for whatever I want. I love to walk into the shop, it smells great and the ambiance reminds me of a Harry Potter wonderland. Lena, I appreciate the article, it is my hope that Flowers on 15th and all our small local businesses come back strong in 2021.
Roberta O’Leary

Michèl Schummer
2 months ago

I so much hope that they will survive because they, and a diminishing number of other small businesses, keep Capitol Hill’s spirit of the 90s and early 00s alive, which was the reason I moved there.

Ariel
2 months ago

Love this place so much. Their arrangements are glorious, and I love their wabi sabi vibe on the sidewalk out front… This is everything I want 15th to be ❤️💐❤️

Caphiller
Caphiller
2 months ago

I love this place! Great to stop by and pick up a few flowers to have at home

Bob
Bob
2 months ago

This is cool to see. Thanks for highlighting it!

Jane Mueller
Jane Mueller
2 months ago

Alex & Caroline are the Best! I’ve used them for over 30 years! Kind, caring, loving folks, am so blessed to know and love them🙏💚

RWK
RWK
2 months ago

This is a wonderful small business and a great part of 15th Ave E. Caroline is a very gracious and helpful shopkeeper and always has a kind word for passersby, let alone her customers!

LetsGo
LetsGo
2 months ago

Love this place – bought flowers for my mom here a few years back. Caroline still trusts a (free) rose into my hand whenever I wave hello on a walk-by.

For some reason the flowers bought here just seems to last so much longer.