Most of us only know Everett from the view on the highway: the site of an old smelting plant, industrial areas, and other less than pleasant views. Our staff was able to get off I-5 to experience Everett from within, and it challenged all of our assumptions about the city.
In actuality, Everett is framed by waterfronts and mountains, with beautiful historic buildings, charming cafes, and art centers — all of the things we love about Pacific Northwest towns.
Locals refer to the city as a “diamond just waiting to be polished,” as it goes through a rebranding campaign and experiences a great deal of growth. The spilling over of Seattleites and the development of the Everett airport, Paine Field, put this city in a promising position to really blossom over the next few years.
“We’ve long talked about how [Everett] is going to reach its potential, and I feel like it’s there,” said Mayor Cassie Franklin.
Other than its already established outstanding school system, plans for widely accessible public transportation, and affordable cost of living, the city is attempting to be intentional in how it faces changes in the coming years.
“We’re being thoughtful about it now to make sure we can benefit current residents and create something future residents can really enjoy,” Franklin said. “We have the capacity and infrastructure in place to grow, and the opportunity to get it right.”
Even though there is much to look forward to, there are already plenty of gems within Everett. Dan Eernissee, director of economic development, gave the staff of 425 Business an insider tour of all the wonderful things this city currently has to offer.
Our first stop was Narrative Coffee on Wetmore Avenue. This coffee shop was named the Best New Café by Sprudge, an online coffee publication, among nominations from all over the world. If the complex, full-bodied coffee wasn’t enough, the café itself has exposed brick, large street view windows, and locally crafted wooden tables. The owner and head barista, Maxwell Mooney, explained that his coffee shop aspires not only to be the best in Everett, but the best it possibly can be.
“You’ve heard the expression, ‘Oh, it’s good for this,’ or ‘good for that.’ We didn’t want to be ‘good for Everett.’ We wanted to strive for better than that,” Mooney said. “That pursuit of excellence is central to everything we do.”
After the staff was well-caffeinated, it was time to jaunt across the street to City Hall to view the city from 10 floors up in the mayor’s office.
Mayor Cassie Franklin came into office in January 2018 and is putting Everett on the map in a big way.
“She’s injecting energy and experience (into) the city,” said Senior Communications Officer Julio Cortes. “We’re working on changing the perspective of current residents as well as our visitors.”
Franklin spoke highly of how Everett is able to maintain a small town feel with the amenities of an urban environment. She said she’s looking forward to new businesses and residents that can contribute to that atmosphere.
Ready to see the city for ourselves, we hit the streets for a walking tour of downtown.
Our last stop in downtown was Funko Headquarters, where they make Pop! sculptures of your favorite pop culture icons. You may have seen these figurines at your neighborhood Target or WalMart.
The philosophy of Funko is, “Everyone is a fan of something.” And nearly everyone will find something to fangirl about at Funko’s flagship store, whether in the Harry Potter world, the DC or Marvel world, the Anime world, the Disney world with its own Star Wars section, or on the blank canvas of the Pop! Yourself section. Each area is adorned with life size Pop! sculptures (including a 14-foot-tall Godzilla), constructed cityscapes (or bat caves), and props from the movies or series being referenced. It’s truly a nerd’s paradise.
After exploring the endlessly entertaining retail space, we visited the staff lounge, complete with private gym, full bar, arcade, ping pong room, and bowling alley.
Next, it was time for lunch. We went down to the Port of Everett — one of the city’s most promising areas in terms of development — for some soup, sandwiches, and signature cocktails at Bluewater Organic Distilling: Bar and Bistro.
Bluewater has its own distillery, committed to exquisite flavors and sustainable practices.
“We focus hugely on redefining what it means to produce spirits,” said owner John Lundin. “We’re merging hardcore artisanal with the best of sustainable methods.”
Lundin went on to say that the same philosophy applies to the company’s food. Everything is from scratch, bar plastics are prohibited, and a dedicated composting program is in place. So you can feel good about enjoying the delicate cocktails complementing your delectable entrees, all from your seat overlooking the largest marina in the Northwest.
We shared lunch with representatives from the city, school district, and port; the Live in Everett blog founders; and others.
Our guides still had loads to show us, but we were running out of time. We managed to briefly visit the Boeing Company where more than 30,000 people in Everett work, a new entrepreneurial coworking space called The Lab@everett, Washington State University’s Everett campus, and the soon-to-be waterfront mixed-use space at the port before the tour came to a close.
On the ride home, we couldn’t believe all that we had packed into our city tour, especially considering that we had simply imagined it as a continuation of the view from the freeway prior to our exploration. Keep an eye out for future stories about Everett as the city continues to develop and grow.
If you’re interested in showing off your city to the magazine, don’t hesitate to reach out. We love seeing all that the 425 has to offer.