In unfathomably awful news, Jake Carter, who opened Howdy Bagel, Tacoma’s most delicious all-ages queer space, in May of last year along with husband Daniel Blagovich, was killed on January 5 while traveling in New Orleans. According to local NOLA news reports, the couple were the victims of a mugging on Bourbon and Kerlerec Streets in the Marigny. Jake was shot and died on site.

I only met Jake Carter a few times, but boy, did he leave an impact. Originally from Texas and a longtime Seattle resident and fixture of Puget Sound farmer’s markets before the shop opened, Jake was a goddamn delight and very seriously the nicest dude anybody had ever met. Remember-him-for-the-rest-of-your-life nice. An uncannily sunny soul. This was an act of pure evil and a tremendous loss for not only Tacoma but the whole world, honestly. 

Last year, when I interviewed the couple shortly after Howdy Bagel’s opening, Jake beamed when he spoke about the community that was quickly growing at the space: “We just have some of the sweetest customers I’ve ever known. Sweet to us and to each other! Just, like, I overhear people chatting in line who have never met each other, and they have the cutest conversations. This might sound naive or idealistic, but it’s given me new hope in humanity! I see friendships being made all day!”

Our collective hearts are broken for Jake’s family, friends, and the whole Howdy Bagel crew. On Sunday, coworkers announced on Instagram that the shop will be temporarily closed and asked the community to give Daniel space to grieve. “In this difficult time,” the post read, “we ask that you do not reach out to Daniel or the family but find comfort with one another.” 

Friends have organized a GoFundMe campaign to help Daniel stay afloat and “cover the cost of shop rent and other operating expenses, as well as employee wages.” Please, please donate. The horror… it just takes your breath away. 

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