PHOENIX — A longtime South Phoenix flower shop has to make significant repairs while mourning the damage to a new mural after two speeding cars crashed into the building Thursday.
Phoenix police say all four people who were in the two cars are OK. Investigators suspect speeding was a factor, and Kathy Nakagawa said drag racing is common in the area.
Because of the crash, Baseline Flowers has potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage to its storage area.
The cost of repairs though is the least of Nakagawa's concerns.
"Having that [mural] destroyed, I didn't even want to tell her," said Nakagawa.
The dread came from having to tell Ariana Enriquez, the 28-year-old artist who painted the beautiful flower mural.
"It took about two months in total," said Enriquez. "Definitely no less than 80 hours."
The mural was no small task.
"It was definitely a really special project, because of all of the challenges that that came with it...It was the tallest wall I've done...and the first on corrugated steel," said the Arizona State University graduate.
The hours of hard work, all on weekends, were ruined in an instant.
"You get that awful feeling in your gut," said Enriquez. "My heart definitely sank, but it was more so for Kathy, and the people who work in her shop."
Nakagawa, who is a full-time professor at ASU, now spends her other time running her late parents' business.
"Baseline Flowers has been here over 70 years. There were seven Japanese American families that grew along here, on both sides of the road...We are the only flower shop left from that era. So we lose that history if we don’t stay," said Nakagawa.
Instead of beautiful flower fields now, the area is full of apartment complexes, shopping plazas, and six lanes of speeding traffic.
"We regularly see accidents out here," said Nakagawa. "It feels like the city should do more traffic calming, to make it safer for everybody."
Fortunately, she and her staff had left the shop hours before the cars careened into her storage facility.
"It really looks like a hurricane tore through here," she said, motioning to the bent steel beams and shattered vases. "It's a lot to juggle before Mother's Day."
Her mind, though, immediately went to Ariana and her mural.
"I would say that's the most heartbreaking part," said Nakagawa. "The inventory, we can replace that. But the mural, everybody loved the mural."
Both ladies tell ABC15 though, it is just a matter of time before it is repainted.
"I told her, as soon as you're ready, let me know, and I'll be there," said Enriquez.
You can see more of Ariana's art, or commission her for a mural, on her website.
Baseline Flowers told ABC15 they will still be keeping up with customers' requests for Mother's Day and plan to rebuild just like generations before.