(This article was originally published by Real Change and has been reprinted under an agreement.)
The line to enter the Columbia City Farmers Market stretched down 35th Avenue South, curving down South Ferdinand Street, shoppers standing the designated six feet apart in the shade of the trees of the shuttered Interagency Academy. Vendors stacked fresh vegetables and prepared food on tables that lined each side of South Edmunds Street, tokens of normalcy in abnormal times.
Just a block away, Monika Mathews had a small table of her own set up in front of QueenCare, the natural skincare company that she launched in December 2018. Colorful face masks and dangling earrings next to Black Lives Matter shirts and a handful of her handmade products lay out to tempt customers, as a person filled bottles with handmade products inside the small storefront.
(This article was originally published on The C is for Crank and has been reprinted with permission.)
The Small Business Administration has published a list of the companies that received Paycheck Protection Act loans (PPP loans) of more than $150,000, including thousands of Seattle-based for-profit companies, nonprofits, and religious institutions. (The low-interest loans convert into grants if they are used primarily to retain staff who might otherwise be laid off). The local list, which I’ve compiled into a Google spreadsheet, includes a wide range of companies, from large law firms to newspapers to Catholic schools to nonprofits.
It is a gratefully busy afternoon at Dim Sum King in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District (ID). After months of being closed, a steady flow of customers comes in for takeout, following tape arrows on the floor to maintain six feet of distance. Michelle Cai is explaining how she drew reopening plans for her parent’s restaurant, which included directing foot traffic. Cai’s extroverted mother, Amy, is happily serving food and chimes in to emphasize how helpful her children have been during the pandemic. “My son and my daughter is very good!” Amy beams. “They give me a lot of idea. They very smart too.”
Michelle Cai’s parents immigrated to the U.S. from Guangzhou, China, over two decades ago. Cai was a 7th grader when they opened Dim Sum King and she would help out after school, filling soy sauce bottles or cleaning floors. After graduating college, Cai moved to Southern California. But this spring Cai flew home when her parents temporarily closed their restaurant so she could be with family and eventually support her parents in reopening.