Steve Shulman, the beloved co-owner of neighborhood grocery store Leschi Market, died at the age of 67 late Wednesday from the effects of the novel coronavirus. The announcement was made on the official Leschi Market Facebook page.
Shulman started working for the family-owned 72-year-old grocer at the age of 9, became a butcher at the shop more than 30 years ago, and eventually took over the business with his nephew, Yousef. He was praised for his dedication to community organizations, including being a founding member of the Seattle Police Foundation. He was also instrumental in expanding the market’s wine program two decades ago, and organized tastings to help charitable causes in the area. The Seattle Times called him “The heartbeat of Leschi.”
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan expressed her condolences Thursday on Twitter.
The loss of Steve today is heartbreaking. Always ready with a good story, wise advice or neighborhood news. He served our community and was the heartbeat of Leschi - he knew everyone, what wine they loved & how they were doing in their lives. https://t.co/PmKPQOM3bl— Mayor Jenny Durkan (@MayorJenny) March 19, 2020
Per the most recent update from local officials, there are 562 confirmed COVID-19 cases in King County, and 56 deaths from the illness (there are currently 1,187 confirmed cases and 67 related deaths in Washington state). This month, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Seattle officials have instituted statewide measures to try to slow the spread, which included closing down restaurants and bar dining rooms, while allowing grocery stores, pharmacies, and other essential retail services to stay open.
According to the Seattle Times, Shulman tested positive for COVID-19 last Friday after falling at his Seward Park home, and was subsequently kept under quarantine on a ventilator at Harborview Medical Center. The store closed and underwent a deep clean, posting an announcement on Facebook that someone who worked at the store had tested positive for the coronavirus. When Leschi Market reopened Sunday, many longtime customers showed support by coming to the grocery and offering their well wishes, said co-owner Yousef Shulman.
“We all mourn the passing of this generous man who has been a pillar of the Leschi Community and beyond for many years,” reads a message on the Leschi Market Facebook page. “There will be a celebration of Steve’s life when it becomes safe to gather.”