Gems is a column devoted to spotlighting the various denizens who contribute to the rich mosaic that is the South Seattle area.
Who: Maia Segura
Best Known Around South Seattle As: The Community Business Manager of the Rainier Beach Merchants Association and Owner of Penniless Projects
Special Trait: The ability to simultaneously appear at multiple meetings held in the South Seattle area
Motto: “Gooooooo TEAM”
If you could narrow your love for South Seattle/ Rainier Beach down to just one thing what would it be?
Neighbors. Rainier Beach is a collection of socially, racially, culturally, and financially diverse individuals that connect, watch out for, and support each other even without moving in the exact same circles. Plus, I’ve been blown away over and over again how kind the kids are to each other despite “obvious” differences.
You’re a marketer by trade. If you had to come up with a slogan that encapsulated what it was like to live in South Seattle how would it go?
Here are some slogans that have come out of our work and research here and from the neighborhood plan update process: “It’s safer in the Southend” (per major crime stats from 2010-2013); “Rainier Beach: A beautiful, safe place”.
As head of Rainier Beach Merchants Association what are the top three reasons those thinking about opening a business should heavily consider the Rainier Beach area?
1) There is a tremendous amount of demand that is currently unmet in the area. From a pack & ship store, to co-work space, to a gift shop featuring locally made items among many others – think of everything that all of us in the Rainier Valley drive to Renton, Tukwila, or downtown to do on a daily or weekly basis.
2) Rainier Beach is gaining a critical mass of fantastic businesses that are owned by passionate, local families. Some have been here for decades, but we have also had a blossoming of locally owned businesses that have opened (or are opening) within the last year that keep neighbors in the neighborhood, and are attracting folks from outside – including Nate’s, Redwing Café, & Jude’s. These businesses also indicate pride and confidence in the business climate and culture of Rainier Beach.
3) Rent is CHEAP! In 2013, average rents were as much as 60% less than downtown, and almost 30% less than Columbia City. That’s money that goes straight to the bottom line.
You’re helping to host Friday’s Light Up the Beach event. With Rainier Beach recently putting on several successful community related functions, including the Art Walk Rainier Beach, Back to School Bash and Halloween Boo Bashes, how do you think events like this help to change the narrative of the area?
Events like this cause us to stop and look at one another, appreciate what we have, and get boots on the pavement to encourage ownership of the streets and increase safety through positive activity. It’s easy to buy into the negative press that dramatically distorts the crime that occurs in Rainier Beach. These events draw the entire community together, help them connect, and give an opportunity to harness the spectacular assets that we have in our community (diversity, passion, physical beauty, amenities) that can be overlooked because of fear.
So, Friday rolls around and I find myself with several options as to what to do with my free hours, why must I absolutely not hesitate in choosing to go to Light Up The Beach?
In addition to supporting efforts to beautify the beach and foster community love, this is the FIRST time that the public will be invited in to check out the nearly completed Jude’s Old Town space at 9252 57th Ave S at Rainier Ave S. This is the newest venture from locals Beau & Courtney Hebert who have made Lottie’s in Columbia City one of the city’s favorite establishments.
Five years from now, what would you like the first thing that popped into someone’s head when Rainier Beach / South Seattle is mentioned to be?
“Rainier Beach is a model for community-driven growth that creates a place for EVERYONE to thrive.”
Light Up The Beach will take place this Friday between 5- 8pm at Rainier Beach Square. For more information you can visit: http://www.rainierbeachmerchants.com/2014/11/17/its-time-to-light–up–the–beach/