Often our dreams do not take a direct route to fruition. For instance, if we came across our younger selves, we might need to tell a story about how we got to where we are. For Christine Geronimo, owner of Midnight Supply Company, a Filipina woman-owned print shop in South Park, the road to becoming a merch maven started with music.
This Juneteenth, on the cusp of Seattle’s record-breaking heatwave, Nicole Camp and her husband and daughter opened the doors to Lashelle Wines.
Located in Woodinville, this Black- and female-owned winery is only the second of its kind in Washington State. The winery features private tastings of a wide array of wines, from Marsannes to Cabernet Sauvignon.
Although the winery has only been open since the beginning of summer, Camp has been interested in winemaking for years. In the early 2000s, while raising her children, Camp began to experiment with mead-making by turning to the fruit in her yard.
“I did a version of winemaking with mead because we had apples and pears in our backyard. And my very first trial was actually more along the moonshine aspect, very high, very kind of bitter. And then just going along, practicing, looking, and trial and error,” Camp said. “When I realized that Whole Foods and Metropolitan Market actually sold wine grapes just for people to eat, then that’s when I realized, ‘Yes, I want to actually do this,’ because I had that opportunity to play with real grapes on a much smaller scale.”
As of last week, the Port of Seattle is encouraging business owners, particularly women and entrepreneurs of color and business owners in South King County, to apply to the PortGen Accelerator, a business development program aimed at helping small businesses work toward future contracting opportunities.
“Freshly brewed green tea with cardamom that was poured in everyone’s cups while waiting for the call to prayer or the call to break fast — smelling cardamom is always soothing to me,” said Nasrin Noori, the founder and owner of Jazze’s, which serves organic and locally sourced Afghani cuisine, when asked what reminded her of Ramadan back home.
Noori, originally from Kabul, arrived in the Seattle area in the 1990s after having lived in Pakistan for six years. She has stayed ever since, raising her family in Kent where she now lives.
“Fresh seafood … fried fish and a porridge, there are certain items that you break fast with, something heating your tummy … you have it to open [you] up,” said Adama Jammeh, co-founder of Afella Jollof Catering. Jammeh grew up in Bakau, The Gambia, which sits near the confluence of the River Gambie and the Atlantic Ocean on the West African coast.
“Finger-licking good!” Gail Thompson laughed as she described the first time she got a taste of Hallelu-jah! Sauce. She was eating hot and crispy chicken wings with the sauce drizzled on it.
“It was so delicious,” she said. She rubbed the wings into the sauce. “I just could not get enough of it.”
It was the mid-1990s in the Central District of Seattle. Her husband, Carl Thompson Jr., the owner of the now-closed southern Creole restaurant, Thompson’s Point of View, wanted to “distinguish [their] hot wings from everyone else’s in the community.”
Winter is here. The long, dark days. The cold wind. The wet and freezing rain. And since this is 2020, we can probably add quite a bit of snow to that list. But just beneath the blanket of gray is a golden thread of sunshine — a Seattle cook, born and bred right in this city, hopes to bring a little warmth to the hearts and hearths of this beleaguered town. Veronica Very, the owner of Black’Butta Co., has always cooked but not in any official capacity before the pandemic. She was (and still is) a writer, the wife and business partner of visual artist Hiawatha D., and the founder of Women of Wonder, “a sacred space for Black women and girls.” But the pandemic forced her to get creative about her next business move.
As the days grow increasingly colder and winter rains are set to wash away the leaf-covered sidewalks, stores and businesses are preparing for a unique year of holiday shopping amid the pandemic. While many corporations have turned to e-commerce, small businesses are left to fight for visibility.
In an effort to support local businesses through the pandemic and the holiday season, the City of Seattle and various partners launched the “Shop Your Block” retail map last month to make it easier to locate small businesses and shops owned by women, BIPOC, and LGBTQ+ individuals.
The map, which lets users search for retailers in their area or via address and neighborhood, is a part of a larger campaign, created through a partnership between the City, Comcast, small businesses, and business district organizations, to help small business owners, who have been particularly affected by the economic repercussions of the pandemic.