Marilyn Rosenberg moved to Everett from Seattle 14 years ago. Missing the feeling of community she was accustom to after working at Pike Place Market for years, coupled with the idea of creating a safe space for youth to express themselves, the idea of Café Zippy was born shortly after her move.
The concept she had dreamed up was unparalleled. With a focus on healthy food featuring a fully organic and raw vegetarian and vegan menu, specifically, her concept was considered revolutionary at the time.
“My parents told me I was completely crazy,” Rosenberg reminisced. “That’s usually the reason that I do things."
Rosenberg’s vision originally began as Zippy’s Java Lounge in a small location on Rockefeller and Hewitt in the Hodges building. As the business grew, she changed the name to Zippy’s Café and has since moved to its current location on Rucker Avenue, filling the vacant space that was once the neighborhood’s iconic grocery store C. Vans.
The display cases, which now house Rosenberg’s selection of raw vegetarian and vegan treats, were once used to display the meat market featured inside C. Vans. Paying tribute to the building’s history, Café Zippy gave a nod to C. Vans by naming the its small wine bar, C. Vines. Jeff Wicklund, an Everett born-and-raised local, created C. Vines and currently manages it.
Over the last 13 years, Café Zippy has bloomed into a community hub for activities and continues to grow. Though many cafes have popped up in the city since, Rosenberg’s commitment to organic food has flourished into featuring a menu which is fully raw, vegetarian and vegan-focused. Additionally, Café Zippy hosts spoken word poetry and art displays. Rosenberg notes that far more is taking place including club meetings and social justice and activism events.
“Let our voices be heard, and let’s do it over coffee and great ideas,” said Rosenberg.
For the young artists who come into Café Zippy, Rosenberg has words of advice and encouragement to offer. She encourages individual artists to work on their personal brand. She says since they’re selling a piece of themselves, artists should let the community know about that piece of them.
Rosenberg’s time spent working at Pike Place Market taught her about connecting with community members, and building bridges between the community and farmers and artists. Café Zippy creates an energy and community that both customers and the community benefit from. It offers comfort, unity and a place to connect.
People are encouraged to come in, meet their neighbors, and be a part of the fabric of the community Café Zippy hosts and serves. Rosenberg notes, “this is what it used to be like...everyone used to be able to walk to a little corner store.” She wants Café Zippy to be a part of rebuilding that foundation.