Story & Photos by Sterling Paris
Intern, Big Picture High School
Rewind with me back to 1971 (long long before I was born)…

The Beatles broke up, we had soldiers in Vietnam (and protests in the streets), Richard M. Nixon was President, gas was .36 cents a gallon, and you could always hear the Bee Gees, Paul McCartney, Rolling Stones and Three Dog Night playing on the radio in your Ford Mustangs and Chevy Impalas.
Also that year, in the 200 block of SW 152nd Street in Burien a man named Tom Gehl first opened his doors to Gehl Flowers & Gifts.

There was Watergate, disco music, Jimmy Carter, Iran hostages, punk rock, Ronald Reagan, in 1993 Burien became an actual city, SW 152nd was redesigned, old businesses went away, new businesses came, Bush Sr., Nirvana, Pearl Jam, grunge music, cell phones, the Internet, smart cars, and now gas is around $2.20 a gallon.
After 44 years in business – and moving only once in 1990 – Gehl Flowers & Gifts can be found at 441 SW 152nd Street. But sadly, owner Tom Gehl wants to retire. It is uncertain whether the doors are closing or it is being taken under new ownership.
“I’m sure the name will stay the same,” Tom told me on Tuesday, Feb. 10.
So their doors will be open until the end of the month, and even though things are closing, everyone is in the Valentine’s Day swing with about 2,000 stems of roses (all different kinds) in the store, ready to go.
And Tom is sure he will be making more than a hundred deliveries for Valentines Day!
These are really beautiful arrangements. Walking up to the place it has that old building look and right when you walk in there are all sorts of different vases of all different sizes and colors – you should just go see for yourself! You have until February is over.
Oh, and please tell him Sterling sent you!

Gehl Flowers & Gifts
441 SW 152nd Street
Burien WA 98166
(206) 242-3205

EDITOR’S NOTE: “Intern’s View” is a special feature that spotlights the talents of Sterling Paris, our Big Picture High School Intern. If you have a story idea for Sterling, you can contact her at the office from 11 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays at (206) 248- 2565, or email sterling@southkingmedia.com.]]>

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5 replies on “INTERN'S VIEW: After 44 years, Gehl Flowers & Gifts' Owner is retiring”

  1. Tom will be missed! the world of Burien changed around his store, but he remained the same, and fit into the changing face of Burien!

  2. Tom is going to be missed. I have known him since 1972 when he did the flowers for my wedding. He has always done beautiful work and I consider him a friend.Take some well deserved time off and know you have left a legacy in Burien.

  3. A vital institution which has supplied many fond memories for my family and friends. Here’s a question about that location that would help solve a recent inquiry. Did that building use to house a dry cleaning business that had a drive up window in the West alley ?
    I remember it that way, way back and need some confirmation.

  4. My wife has been in the floral business for more than 40 years. In all that time she has seen many florists come and go. When Tom’s name comes up she never fails to say what a caring man he is. Florists see people in the best and in the worst of times and Tom always cared about his customers. We will all miss Tom and the successful business that he has run.
    Good luck, my friend, on your retirement.

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