Seattle-area businesses reopen after beloved boss killed there

A little over a month ago, beloved Seattle business owner D’Vonne Pickett Jr. was shot dead in his shop. Now, his business doors are open again.

Pickett and his wife, Keanna Rose Pickett, opened The Postman in Central in 2018. This is a mail service company in honor of D’Vonne’s great-grandfather, who delivered the mail for nearly 40 years.

Running a business comes naturally to Keanna. She and her husband share an entrepreneurial spirit. Here, their dream of owning a business came true. Sadly, it was in this place that she lost a lot.

On October 19, D’vonne was shot dead inside the store, which Keanna witnessed firsthand. Since the store reopened, she said reminiscing about the past is how she spends her workday without him.

“At the end of the night, we were able to have a meeting and really just talk about all of this that we’re going on. So the biggest difference is I don’t have him at the end of the night to really [say] How is this going. So, that’s the hardest thing for me, is not having my first choice,” Kiana said.

The Picketts are interested in opening a store in the Central District. It was this community that raised D’Vonne, and he gave a lot to this community. Now, the community is stepping up to give back.

“It felt good, but also scary. There was nothing wrong with it, I didn’t feel like I shouldn’t be here. I feel like when you plant a seed, you finally see the tree,” Kiana said. “D’Vonne’s life, my life, our legacy is really an orchard. That’s how we see it. It will continue to feed our generation, the generations of our community.”

Honoring the legacy of African-American entrepreneurship in Seattle’s historically black neighborhood Midtown. Photo courtesy of Africatown Community Land Trust.

It will also inspire future generations of Black businesses in Seattle’s historically Black neighborhoods. This is the mission of the Africatown Community Land Trust. The organization’s entire staff is dedicated to helping Black communities thrive through land titles. Their work includes resourcing and empowering Black entrepreneurship.

“D’Vonne and Keanna and The Postman were on the front lines of a revival that Africatown helped catalyze in the Midlands, where the black community was once written off. But now we see our Africatown President and CEO K.Wyking Garrett said:

D’Vonne is not only a successful businessman, but also a devoted father of three, husband, youth coach and star athlete at Seattle University. He is also a student in the Garrett Youth Mentorship Program.

“While he has left us, his spirit continues to inspire us now and for generations to come,” Garrett said. “Learn from his legacy and example and really let nothing stop him from rising to his strength and greatness and creating the life he wants to see for his family. And being a role model and giving back to other young people and beyond Community. We all have the opportunity to walk in the same footsteps.”

Garrett encourages the public to continue supporting black businesses in the Central District, including The Postman, so Keanna and D’Vonne’s dream can live on.

“More than business, what he stood for as a person will outlive me and my children and will only continue. He was a pillar of the community and he left his mark on history,” Kiana said.

Community honors legacy of beloved business owner killed in Seattle district

More than a successful businessman, Pickett was a dedicated father, husband, youth sports coach, student-athlete at Seattle University, and played professional basketball internationally. His mother’s cries echoed through the streets Thursday as she stood in front of the memorial, disbelieving her son and all his accomplishments would be a memory.

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