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Ann Peterson, Dorothy Reeck

Featured Article

Here Comes the Sun

As we drove to the Roanoke Inn, the sun broke out. It was an omen for what was coming.

Laurie Raisys of Island Books and Dorothy Reeck of the Roanoke Inn arranged a photoshoot including 12 female business owners to be profiled in Mercer Island City Lifestyle.

As each woman strolled in, there was a buzz in the "Rowie" that something was brewing. Charlie is a regular and he pulled us aside to ask what was going on and it was obvious that the community was rallying around something fun, interesting, and important.

The Roanoke Inn was the setting for the 2023 Women of Influence photoshoot.

Laura and Ed Reeck bought the Roanoke Inn in 1940. They had one son, Hal, who married Dorothy. 

Laura worked at the Inn until she turned 88 and said that if she died, don't shut down, keep it open. Hal said the same thing. When Hal passed, people left his funeral and went straight to the Roanoke to drink. Dorothy knew then, she had to stay open for the community and it's been going ever since.

“It is unlikely that I would have purchased a restaurant or pub on my own. In the beginning, there was just beer, smoking, and old refrigeration. I had to learn and adapt quickly to keep things running. Fix the roof, upgrade equipment, revive the street sign, etc. Try to keep it the same yet evolve and stay current with the times. Now we have a full menu, beer, cocktails, wine, indoor and outdoor seating, the list can go on.” – Dorothy Reeck

Dorothy was won over. “It's been a lot of work and I'm happy to do it. We have the best customers and a hard-working staff that does their best to provide a great atmosphere and service.”

What was intended to be a celebration of the female business owner on Mercer Island became a reunion of friends that persevered through the pandemic because they knew the community needed them. Judging by the way they affectionately interacted with each other throughout the afternoon, they needed the community. Above all, they needed each other. It was amazing to observe how the women came together to celebrate their successes and support one another.

As the group gathered in the backyard of the picturesque Roanoke Inn, there was an air of excitement and anticipation. The women, who represented a diverse range of industries, were dressed in their normal business attire, i.e., fashionable yet suited for their typical workday. 

The photographers, Flora Latifi and Lisi Wolfe, captured each woman's unique personality and style, while also showcasing the beauty of the Rowie’s outdoor space. Dorothy was the perfect hostess, displaying a warm and charming personality and doing her best to make everyone feel comfortable.

Throughout the shoot, the women laughed and shared stories about their families on the island, their businesses, the challenges they had overcome and everything under the sun. Each excited for the article that would soon be published. The highly supportive and collaborative environment of the shoot was a testament to the strength of Mercer Island’s female-led business community and the power of women supporting women.

The photoshoot was a great experience and showcased how special the article would be with photos showing the love and support they give to each other. It not only provided the opportunity for them to showcase their businesses, but also allowed them to come together in celebration of the community they helped build.

These ladies are the “sun in the sky” of Mercer Island.

"Employing members of our community, serving members of our community, and supporting causes that help our community is incredibly rewarding." (Barb Hovsepian)

"I appreciate more than anything the daily positive gratitude and feedback I get from the community, my customers." (Kerry Donner)

"This is my home and community; opening my dream grocery store on Mercer Island was always a goal." (Stephanie King)

"We are all about Community, Clients, and Care." (Ginny Pietila)

Flora Latifi is a Mercer Island photographer. Her company, Flora Art Life, is a product of her passion for photography and the way it captures the personality of her clients against the backdrops of mutual choice.

"Providing a great service and building relationships is so important to our company that we obsess to make sure our client is completely satisfied with their final images and services."

  • Laurie Raisys, Dorothy
  • Ann Peterson, Dorothy Reeck
  • Flora Latifi