It’s taken years of work, but the Rainier Beach Food Innovation District is finally on the horizon.
After the Rainier Beach Action Coalition (RBAC) received funding over the summer from the City of Seattle’s Equitable Development Initiative (EDI), RBAC has ramped up work on its planned Food Innovation District, a network of food-related businesses and activities aimed at creating living-wage jobs and preventing displacement. Once complete, the food-centric district could be a natural hub for retail and restaurant development; farmers markets, festivals and other attractions; and public health outreach and services, such as cooking and nutrition classes or harvest gleaning programs that move farm surpluses to families in need. With assistance from Forterra, RBAC acquired ownership of a property at the end of October with a central location in the Rainier Beach neighborhood. The $3 million purchase is the result of a decade-long effort and will help RBAC implement a primary aspect of their neighborhood plan.
Intentionalist is built on one simple idea: where we spend our money matters. We make it easy to find, learn about, and support small businesses and the diverse people behind them through everyday decisions about where we eat, drink, and shop. #SpendLikeItMatters
‘Tis the season to #SpendLikeitMatters. It’s important we do our part — no matter how small it may seem — to help our South Seattle eateries stay afloat as they continue to navigate the loss in foot traffic due to lockdown restrictions. Gift certificates are the perfect, easy solution to get something thoughtful for everyone on your list. Whether it’s to their favorite restaurant or a new dessert place you know they’ll love, buying your loved ones a gift card to a small business is a win for everyone.
When Isolynn “Ice” Dean, the owner of the Central District’s Cortona Cafe, made the decision to close her coffee shop, she wanted the space to continue to be a hub for the community even after she locks the doors for the final time on November 29.
Starting at noon today, the City of Seattle will accept a new round of applicants for small business stabilization grants, meant to assist small Seattle businesses and economic opportunity nonprofits that have suffered financially as a consequence of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Though a comprehensive report detailing the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Seattle economy has yet to be published, preliminary data shows that 2020 has been nothing short of horrific for the local travel and tourism industry.
According to a Visit Seattle Annual Report from February, the tourism industry generated $11.7 billion in total economic impact and 80,317 jobs in 2019. But this year, practically every event that usually brought tourists into the area was cancelled — and cancellations at the Washington State Convention Center alone account for a $379 million loss to the local economy.
As more South Seattle small businesses reopen amid the ongoing pandemic, a new program led by a local chamber of commerce wants to ensure that customers and employees feel as safe as possible.
The Seattle Southside Chamber of Commerce last week announced the launch of the “Southside Promise” campaign, an effort to equip local businesses with information and guidance to safely reopen. The program, a partnership with the City of Tukwila, provides face masks and other personal protective equipment and offers a reopening toolkit — essentially an in-depth slideshow presentation — aimed at helping businesses navigate the sometimes dizzying process of reopening.
Coffee professional Geetu Vailoor had never thought about owning a café, but in February the idea was pitched to her by the owner of Union Coffee, who was looking to pass the business on to someone else. After some rigorous soul-searching, Vailoor said yes. Previous owner Zach Reinig closed the shop on March 15, and on March 19 Vailoor reopened the Central District café as her own. The turnkey operation happened right as Washintgon imposed a stay-at-home mandate. Seated service was put to a halt by March 22. For some cafés, COVID-19 has meant temporary or even permanent closures — but Geetu has remained open for takeout coffee and pastries throughout the pandemic.
“I never expected anything like what is happening right now,” Vailoor remembered. “I think I wanted to be super optimistic. I reached out to SBA to get a small business mentor, and all of them were like, ‘Don’t do this. This is crazy. You should not be taking over a small business right now, especially one that’s a commodity product.’ I just believed it would work out. I just had a feeling.”
It was back in February — what now seems a lifetime ago — when Bill Tashima first heard people were avoiding Seattle’s Chinatown-International District (ID) because of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China. It was still winter, COVID-19 was not yet a pandemic, and only one known U.S. case existed in nearby Snohomish County (in a man who had visited Wuhan). But because Seattle’s Chinatown, a historically Asian immigrant community, was being perceived as directly connected to China where the outbreak began in December, businesses in the ID had been experiencing decline as early as January. Restaurants were getting hit especially hard.
Rainier Valley community members raised more than $5,000 last week, which they distributed to six local businesses and one community project to show solidarity with local businesses suffering due to restrictions caused by the novel coronavirus.
March 15 was one of the hardest days of my professional life. That was the day Governor Jay Inslee announced expanded limitations on large gatherings and closures of certain small businesses to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Immediately after his order came down, my email inbox and social media channels were flooded with messages from terrified King County residents. I heard from restaurant owners saying the restaurants they had operated for generations were in jeopardy; barber shop and beauty salon owners wondering how they could continue paying their commercial rent; Uber drivers facing imminent financial demise.