One of our favorite annual traditions in Pike Place Market is to honor Market Moms and Dads who influence and inspire our community. For Mother’s Day this year we spoke with Lina Constantino-Fronda and Kathi Allen, who are both business owners in the Market and who have been responsible for keeping our community healthy and strong for decades. You may have even purchased produce from Lina or handmade art from Kathi! Read more about these two Pike Place Market Moms and see how their kids are honoring these women for Mother’s Day this year with the ultimate gift for Mom: Pike Place Market Charms. Photos by Lance Wagner Photography.
Pike Place Market Mom: Lina Constantino-Fronda
When Lina Constantino-Fronda arrived in Seattle from the Philippines, she started working at Pike Place Market the very next day. “I had to learn quickly,” Lina says. That was in 1963, and Lina has worked at her “highstall” (the Market’s term for the permanent produce stands) called Lina’s Fruit & Produce nearly every day since. “Working in the Market is a lot of fun,” says Lina. “I can hardly wait to get up in the morning, open my stand, and begin helping people.”
“My mom is 74 years-old, and she still comes to the Market every day, seven days a week,” says Lina’s son, Donnie.
“She doesn’t miss a day.” If you ask Lina why she never misses a day in the Market, she’ll exclaim: “it’s my customers! I have known many customers for 20 or 30 years. Some have moved away from Seattle but, when they return to visit, they always make a point to stop by my stand and visit. They say, ‘Hey, Lina, it’s good to see you!’”
Ever since he was an infant, Donnie has joined his mother in the Market. “I grew up in the Market,” says Donnie. “My mom would bring me to work every day and my crib was a banana box. I loved growing up in the Market and meeting people from all over the world.”
This Mother’s Day, Donnie is honoring his mother by donating to the Pike Up! campaign and giving her a Market Charm. Funds from the Charm will help complete the new Pike Place MarketFront and create more opportunities for family farmers like Lina and Donnie.
“It is an honor to have my name on a Market Charm and to know I will be a part of the Market,” says Lina. “I love the Market. It is a family, a big family.”
Pike Place Market Mom: Kathi Allen
When Kathi Allen and her husband, Jeff, began selling their art in Pike Place Market 12 years ago they felt immediately at home. “Jeff and I have been creating art together for the last 20 years, and during the first eight of those years we sold our work at arts fairs and farmer’s markets up and down the I-5 corridor. When the Market accepted our application to sell here, they gave us a home, a place where we could come to every day and begin to build a community.”
Kathi and Jeff hand-make decorative art tiles using religious symbols and images under their business, Silken Path. The tiles are inspired by Christian, Judaic, Buddhist, Islamic, and Hindu traditions.
When she joined the Pike Place Market community, Kathi rapidly became an active member and she is particularly proud of her role in the planning of the MarketFront expansion. “I appreciate very much that the craft community, and members of the greater Market community were asked for input into the design of the MarketFront,” says Kathi. “When the structure is completed, we will all be able to look at it and know we were a part of it. They listened to us; that is the important thing.”
Kathi’s daughter, Mia, is now also a part of the Market’s artist community. Mia owns Blackwood Fiber and is an expert knitter, selling hats, scarves and other accessories made on vintage knitting machines. “Mia was a teenager when we started here at Pike Place Market,” says Kathi. “When I see Mia has now chosen to carry on the tradition of making a living through her craft, and selling in the Market, I feel a deep sense of satisfaction and joy.”
To honor her mother this Mother’s Day, Mia will donating to the Pike Up! Campaign by giving her mom a Market Charm. Funds from Market Charms will help complete the new MarketFront and create more opportunities for local artists like Kathi and Mia. “My mom deserves it. She has worked very hard for the Market,” says Mia. “I love seeing her so happy here. The Charm is going to be one more Market memory for her to cherish.”
“I cannot express how deeply I love knowing I will have a Charm in the new MarketFront,” says Kathi. “Having a Charm is truly another way for me to feel a sense of being ‘forever’ a part of this Market. It will face out to the view of the Puget Sound that I see every day I work here.”