Photo courtesy of the family

Owner of Ballard Smoke Shop passes away

The owner of the Ballard Smoke Shop (5439 Ballard Ave NW), Anastasios "Tommy" Economou, passed away recently. His daughter said he had been "healthy as a horse" when he came down with the flu, which eventually turned into pneumonia.

As for the Smoke Shop -- a long-time establishment with a loyal following of locals -- it will continue on under the reigns of daughter Angela Economou, who had already entered a partnership with her father about two and a half years ago, letting her father enter semi-retirement.

When asked how long she planned to run it, she answered flatly, "Forever. There's no plan to change anything. Literally the last thing my father talked to us about is, 'I want this to last.'"

Tommy had owned the Ballard Smoke Shop for 42 years (which was at one time an actual smoke shop, but that was even before Tommy) and he is thought to have owned a single business for the longest consecutive amount of time in all of Seattle. Considering how every other restaurant along Ballard Ave is constantly changing names and exchanging owners, it's not hard to believe.

"This was his legacy, this was his baby," Angela said. "He wanted to make sure it stayed in his family."

In any case, it's clear that Tommy was well known and well liked. While sitting in the restaurant, regulars could be seen coming in just to give condolences.

"The outpouring of support has been overwhelming this week. Just absolutely overwhelming," Angela said. "My father was incredibly loved by this community."

Tommy's funeral service will be open to the public. It will take place at Tuesday, Jan. 8, 11 a.m. at the St. Demetrious Greek Orthodox Church (2100 Boyer Avenue E).

A wake will be held at the Ballard Smoke Shop that night (Jan. 8) at 8 p.m.

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