CEO of The Postman follows her dreams relocating store within Seattle's Central District

New beginnings are ahead for a beloved Seattle business that continues striving for success, despite tragedy.

On Wednesday, KeAnna Rose Pickett, CEO and co-founder of The Postman, announced the store is relocating within the Central District.

"I’m looking forward to the exciting feeling I used to feel coming to my business and proudness," said Pickett. "I’m excited to have a different image in my mind."

The Postman will continue operating at its current location, located at 1143 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, as this is the busiest time of year for the store. It will be the sixth holiday season providing mail and delivery services since The Postman opened in 2018. However, Pickett said just a month ago she wasn’t sure if she would ever open the doors again.

The Postman was shot up on Oct. 20. The gun violence happened just hours after loved ones gathered for a candlelight vigil honoring D’Vonne Pickett Jr., co-founder of the business, who was shot and killed at the store one year prior, on Oct. 19, 2022.

"I struggle with PTSD. I was there. I seen D’Vonne murdered, shot and killed, in front of me, in front of The Postman. And that’s been a very challenging thing to roll up to my business, it’s the same emotion that I experienced that evening," said Pickett.

D’Vonne’s family said Ashton Lefall, the suspect charged in his death, was his former friend. During a King County Jail Court hearing in Oct. 2022, D’Vonne’s family said they filed police reports against Lefall for issues including harassment and stalking.

Bullet holes at the entrance of The Postman still mark the gun violence from the latest October shooting. Pickett said at one point she was planning to shut down the business for good and move to California with her children.

"When you ask me what changed my mind, it’s my family, my dreams, my community," wept Pickett as D’Vonne’s mother kissed her cheek. "I talked to my mother-in-law. And the legacy that we’ve planted here in the Central District is more important than my fear."

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Pickett is conquering fear to continue the legacy she and her husband started on Martin Luther King Jr. Way. Soon their dreams will be relocating to a new address, just around the corner on East Union Street.

"It’s really hard for me to be here, but with my family back in the store and getting back to what it means to be a family-run business, I’ve had some peace with it," said Pickett.

It’s peace at the new location that will soon help Pickett and her family put the storefront’s constant reminders of tragedy behind them. Though the new store will only be steps away from the current location, it’s a step towards the bright future Pickett and D’Vonne always dreamed of.

"I felt like it’s my responsibility to choose to stand up and be brave and continue the dreams that my husband and I have for the community, for my children," said Pickett.

The new location will open in early 2024. It will also provide space for small businesses to host pop-up events. Pickett said she has already hired at least eight staff members.

"That’s a huge part of The Postman, is creating jobs, creating a pipeline of growing from entry level positions into becoming an executive," said Pickett.

The CEO said she is also opening another The Postman store in South Seattle near South Willow Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way. Construction at that site is scheduled to finish Dec. 19.

"We have a dream to have The Postman in every neighborhood. It’s a very needed hub, it’s a very needed business that all communities can benefit from," said Pickett.

The Postman is where D’Vonne and Pickett started their dreams together as entrepreneurs. They founded the mail and delivery service store in 2018, honoring D’Vonne’s late great-grandfather who was a mail carrier for nearly 40 years. Pickett said both of their legacies will live on through community and family.

"Through my children, I always see D’Vonne. I’m always reminded of his voice, of his insight, of his bright-eyed ‘I can do it’ mentality," said D’Vonne. "So, I think he’s shining down and just proud."