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South Phoenix flower shop, mural damaged after speeding cars crash into business

The drivers only sustained minor injuries, but the mural for the late owner was destroyed.

PHOENIX — Two speeding cars crashed into a south Phoenix flower shop and not only destroyed the business, but a mural honoring the late owner.

For 70 years, Baseline Flowers served the community with Nick Nakagawa as the main operator, until two years ago when his daughter, Kathy, took the reins of the business.

In January 2021, Nick passed away at 97 years old.

“Since my father died, we refreshed the building and had the outside painted and put a mural,” Kathy said.

The mural was completed in March. Ariana Enriquez Verduzco painted a colorful display of flowers on two exterior walls of the flower shop in three months.

But on April 21, the mural was destroyed in a matter of seconds.

“From witnesses and the detectives, two cars were driving very fast, probably over 80 miles per hour and they swerved to miss a bus and lost control,” Kathy said.

The cars were heading east on Baseline Road. Police said both drivers were speeding, and although the investigation is ongoing, they believe impairment was a factor in the crash.

“It looked like a hurricane happened there,” Kathy said as she described the damage done inside her store. “One of the cars came through the west side of the business, it landed on its side as it came in. The other car scraped along with the building and peeled off the metal wall.”

Broken vases, twisted metal beams, and a flower refrigerator that was pushed back were among the damages.

“But the mural, that was probably the hardest part to see,” Kathy said. “We will rebuild and redo the mural.”

The accident is not the first time the flower shop has faced hardship. In the 1990s the building survived a large fire at the store’s tower that Nick had built years before.

Baseline Road was a two-way street when the shop began operating.

“So, in the spring, from 48th Street to 32nd Street, there would be flowers on both sides of the road,” Kathy remembered. “People would pull over and they stop at the stands and buy flowers and vegetables from my family.”

Throughout the years, the City of Phoenix expanded the road, to now six lanes—three in each direction. As part of that process, the flower shop lost its front parking space. Kathy believes that has contributed to the number of cars that have crashed into the store.

“There’s nothing to calm traffic from 32nd to 48th Street, we see accident’s all the time. The city needs to do something about it,” Kathy exclaimed.

For now, she and her team are getting ready for the flood of orders for Mother’s Day. The business did not have to stop operation, as only the storage part of the business was damaged.

“This hasn’t stopped us and we hope to keep going for 70 more years,” Kathy said.

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