Hello, my name is Gwendolyn Green.
I’ve lived in Lynnwood for about five years now, and when my friend and previous employer Nick Coelho announced that he would be running for local office, I was thrilled to hear it! I also felt that if I didn’t write a letter to you to hopefully spread some awareness about what kind of person Nick is, I’d be doing the community a disservice, so here’s the letter of recommendation that no one asked for!
I believe that I was lucky enough to get to know Nick at what was a pretty interesting point in both of our lives. My partner and I had just moved to Washington, and we were eager to explore a new state, find new jobs, and begin to pursue our education. I was looking for a local place to hopefully call my own when I found Around the Table, a tucked away, brand new board game pub in Lynnwood. This was a small, lovely, welcoming place where we found that we could lose evening after evening playing board games and drinking weird, local beers that we had previously never heard of. Nick Coelho and Tim Morgan, the owners, were roaming around the tables, addressing their occupants by their first names and checking in to see what they were playing and how they were doing. It was the first time I experienced a place where the staff was so familiar with their customers, and it very quickly became our favorite local place.
After spending entirely too much time and money at ATT, they eventually took pity on my wallet and hired me so that I could cut out the middle man and just give them my paycheck directly. I was so excited to begin working at a place that had so completely stolen my heart, and while I was certain it’d be an enjoyable place to work, I genuinely didn’t anticipate how incredible the environment that I was joining was going to be.
I began to attend college when I was working at Around the Table, and Nick was willing to bend over backwards to work with my constantly changing schedule. He worked around quarterly changing classes, exams, homework, and even the occasional mental breakdowns associated with the aforementioned workload. I was only able to obtain my degree and explore my career options because of the support of Tim and Nick – they’d actively encourage me to apply for jobs and internships while working for them, fully aware that they’d have to train someone new if I was accepted to any of them. I started my dream job last month, and I credit them entirely. Whenever any of the staff members were sick, Nick insisted we stay home and take care of ourselves, no explanation necessary. When local government or Washington state passed new labor laws, he’d go out of his way to make sure we understood what they meant and how they’d affect us. As soon as the business had benefit options, he signed all of us up, and assured us that if we ever couldn’t afford them, that the business would spot us.
When the crazy heatwave hit this year, he texted all of us to let us know that we were more than welcome to bring our bedding to the pub to sleep in a cool environment, and extended that to our families/pets as well. He used the pub’s freezers to store food belonging to local community members who had lost power, and blasted the AC around the clock. Last winter, when the roads were freezing over and the surrounding area lost power, he made sure that the lights were on, the hot drinks were free to anyone passing by, and that everyone nearby knew that they had a place to ride out the storm.
In early 2020, when COVID was still something that wasn’t quite making headlines, we would all meet before the pub opened to discuss what measures should be taken to protect the community. I was hearing horror stories about companies who weren’t properly acknowledging the pandemic while it began to spread, while these guys were already arguing about which fancy filters, masks, and social distancing measures would be best. They were on top of it well before any sort of local mandates were in place, despite being a business that relied on a large majority of their profit being made while people were settled in for the evening in their store. By the time things were beginning to shut down, they were setting up one on one meetings to walk us through the unemployment application process, giving any employees who needed them rides to stock up on supplies, dropping off what they could, and even hand dropping off envelopes of cash to our front doors to help us all float until the unemployment benefits kicked in. When we were no longer employees, these guys were still regularly checking in and making sure that we were okay. I still can’t get over it.
Nick has also backed any initiative taken to support local community members – whether it’s a local shelter, a regular customer who happens to be down on their luck, Seattle Children’s Hospital, the Lynnwood Foodbank, you name it – this dude is first in line to make sure that something is happening to benefit the community, and this has been going on well before he decided to run for office. He was always eager to suggest that we host events such as Silent Game night (a board game night that primarily focused on bringing together deaf and hard of hearing community members), Family Friendly Gayme Night (LGBTQ+ game nights), and similar customer created endeavors. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I feel that Nick is an open ally for LGBTQ+ rights for what is, in my personal opinion, the absolute best reason – he doesn’t give a crap what anyone’s preference is, and just wants to make sure that everyone is supported equally. He won’t bat an eyelash at anyone’s identity or preferences, will happily string pride flags up the pub walls to ensure that others feel comfortable, and will politely and calmly tell someone to escort themselves out of the pub immediately if they are being intentionally disrespectful of others. Nick is the type of guy that you can call when you need help moving, but also someone that you respect and trust enough to bring your personal struggles to, because you know that he’ll be there to help.
I know that this entire letter has just been an excessive amount of praise, but I assure you, it’s warranted. I feel like we can all easily look up a couple of bullet points that highlight whatever it is that our local representatives are focusing on, but I genuinely hope that this insight to who Nick is as a person reaches someone who may not be certain on who they’d like to support in the upcoming election.
Thanks for your time. Gwendolyn Green