Small Business Saturday Kicks Off Holiday Shopping in Seattle’s Business Districts



Seattle’s neighborhood business districts are gearing up for the holiday season to support small businesses, and promote shopping and dining locally. Most business districts will launch their holiday shopping activities on Small Business Saturday (November 28). Created by American Express in 2010, Small Business Saturday serves as the ceremonial kickoff to the holiday shopping season for small businesses across the United States, and the Shop Small campaign continues until December 24. A variety of events will help you to explore new businesses and find unique gifts for your friends and family. Choose one of the events below or drop into stores you’ve never visited before. Not only is this a good way to keep local dollars in your community, but it will give you time to digest that extra Thanksgiving serving.

Love_160x600_V4_BannerIn the Chinatown/International District, Wing Luke Museum’s Shop-O-Rama is hosting events each weekend including an art and jewelry trunk show. In the Central Area, check out Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute for a popup marketplace and a concert to follow, and just a few blocks away, Pratt Fine Arts’ annual Holiday Sale offers one of a kind, locally-made products. Stop by Capitol Hill and check out the Shop the Hill promotion, and don’t forget about Beacon Hill’s Bar del Corso Holiday Gift Popup. For special deals at business in all these neighborhoods, visit Ethnic Seattle (#ethnicseattle) where you will find everything for the food and wine lover to the trendsetter at Seattle’s ethnic businesses.

Head down to Rainier Beach for the Light up the Beach challenge where you’ll be able to vote on the best business decoration, and on your way, swing by the shops in Hillman City and enjoy the holiday craft bazaar at Tin Umbrella Coffee. If you looking for that special gift, Georgetown has you covered with unique items during Funderdome: Georgetown’s second annual holiday market located in the Trailer Park Mall.

Nothing says holiday shopping like Hometown for the Holidays in the West Seattle Junction, and be prepared for Ballard’s Holiday Festival with a visit from Santa Clause. For the dog lovers, round out your holiday shopping during Pioneer Square’s Howlidays for a costume contest with your pup, and for the music lovers, check out a free concert celebrating Record Store Day at Silver Platters in SODO.

Can’t get enough Shop Small activities throughout the holiday season? Follow #ShopSmall and #SmallBizSat on Twitter and Facebook, @onlyseattlegems on Twitter, Only in Seattle on Facebook, and check out the Shop Small Neighborhood Champions in Seattle. Get out and explore your local businesses this holiday season!

Mayor Announces $2 Million Investment in Neighborhood Business Districts

Today Mayor Ed Murray joined neighborhood business district leaders and local business owners at in Seattle’s Ballard business district to announce a $2 million investment in 18 neighborhood business districts as part of the Only in Seattle Initiative.

“This investment in neighborhood business districts is critical to our city,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “Healthy business districts equate to thriving businesses, stable jobs and overall success for our city.”

Mayor Murray's announcment at Bastille Café & Bar in Ballard. April 1, 2014

Mayor Murray’s announcement at Bastille Café & Bar in Ballard. April 1, 2014

Small businesses employ 72 percent of Seattle’s workforce and contribute 35 percent of the city’s business tax revenues, totaling $55.4 million. Our local neighborhood business districts serve as the location and incubators for many of the city’s small businesses.

“The Only in Seattle Initiative is a great complement to the city’s neighborhood planning efforts that have happened throughout the years,” said Seattle City Councilmember Sally J. Clark, chair of the Committee on Housing Affordability, Human Services, and Economic Resiliency. “These investments help the major players in neighborhood business districts execute concrete steps towards a common vision.”

The Office of Economic Development (OED)’s Only in Seattle Initiative (OIS) supports investments in neighborhood business districts, and focuses on the following strategies to create healthy business districts:

  • Business and retail development (supporting businesses, enhancing business mix);
  • Marketing and promotion (events, social media, district advertising);
  • Clean and safe (graffiti removal, dumpster free alleys, lighting);
  • Streetscape and appearance (catalytic development projects, façade, public art); and
  • Business organization development to sustain the effort, including participation of an existing Business Improvement Area (BIA) or exploration to form one.

The local business communities in these seven neighborhoods have developed comprehensive, multi-year strategies, in which the city is investing a total of over $1.2 million in 2014.

  • Ballard                                                 $   85,000
  • Beacon Hill                                          $   60,000
  • Capitol Hill                                          $ 150,000
  • Chinatown / International District        $ 580,000
  • MLK (Rainier Valley)                          $ 115,000
  • Rainier Beach                                      $   85,000
  • University District                                $  150,000

“In Pioneer Square, the recruitment strategy developed in 2012 with the help of community stakeholders and funding from Only in Seattle suggested guidelines for a particular mix of restaurants, retail, and services, and recommended leading the recruitment effort with food,” said Karen True, director of business development, Alliance for Pioneer Square. “We’re very excited about our success in finding those quality, intriguing, and relevant retail businesses that help make Pioneer Square an even better place to live, work, and visit. 26 new storefront businesses opened in Pioneer Square in 2013, 15 of them restaurants, and more are scheduled to open in this summer.”

OIS is also investing $164,000 to help business districts organize and develop action plans in Belltown, Central District, First Hill, Georgetown, Lake City and South Park,

OIS is providing $60,000 to support focused investments in: Columbia City, Fremont and Pioneer Square.

This year, $500,000 was also granted to neighborhoods for capital improvement projects that enhance the commercial district experience.  In 2014, those neighborhoods are:

  • University District
  • Pioneer Square
  • Chinatown/International District
  • Roosevelt
  • Pike/Pine Corridor – Downtown
  • First Hill
  • Ballard

“My family owns Tony’s Bakery and Deli near Othello and has been a part of this community for three decades,” said Susanna Tran, retail broker with West Coast Commercial Realty and committee member of On Board Othello and the Martin Luther King Business Association. “We are eager to work with other community and business partners on a shared vision for economic development that will support the cultural and economic diversity of these neighborhoods. On Board Othello, with funding support from Only in Seattle, brings together these various partners and provides an organizing structure to work together and achieve our goals.”

Over the past three years, Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) in our business districts generated another $34.5 million in revenues to fund services and projects from regular sidewalk cleaning to beautification and marketing.

Other Program Highlights – The Only in Seattle funding will also invest approximately $119,000 to:

  • Help neighborhood business districts explore or enhance Business Improvement Areas (BIA) in the following neighborhoods: Ballard, Belltown, Capitol Hill, Chinatown/International District, First Hill, Lake City, and University District.
  • Support façade improvements for eight businesses near the Othello Light Rail Station in the MLK Othello district.


To see the news release on the Mayor’s blog, click here.

Seattle Invests in Startups, Naming Rebecca Lovell as Startup Liaison




The city of Seattle’s new startup liaison is a face you’ll likely recognize. The Office of Economic Development announced Thursday that Rebecca Lovell has taken on the newly created role overseeing the Startup Seattle program. “My big initiative this year will be the talent pipeline,” Lovell said. “When I meet with startups, finding talent seems to be one of the biggest throttles to their own growth.” Another important initiative for Startup Seattle, Lovell said, is to reach out to communities that are underrepresented in the startup sector, such as women, people of color and diverse socioeconomic backgrounds.

Rebecca Lovell, Startup Liaison,
City of Seattle’s Office of Economic Development

“I love Seattle and the startup community, and couldn’t be more excited to be an advocate for our city. We have so many key ingredients for success, and I look forward to working with community organizations, schools and universities, and future and current startuppers to ensure Seattle is on the international map of innovation where it belongs,” said Lovell. “I’m excited to carry on the great work began by Red Russak, supported by the community.”

“As one of dozens of community volunteers working alongside the city, I’m incredibly excited we’re launching this initiative to ensure competitiveness, benchmark our progress against that of other leading cities, and expand opportunities in technology entrepreneurship,” said Chris DeVore, Startup Seattle advisory committee member and chair of the city’s Economic Development Commission. “Rebecca brings passion, industry experience, and an incredible network to this position, and I very much look forward to working with her in this new role.”

Read the full news release here.

Read more of the coverage here on GeekWire.

OED Launches New On Board Othello Webpage

A new website highlighting the Othello neighborhood has been launched by Seattle’s Office of Economic Development.

On Board Othello


On Board Othello is focused specifically on fostering strong and vibrant commercial growth in the Othello/Graham MLK corridor. Current organizations involved include: Artspace, HomeSight, MLK Business Association, Othello Park Alliance (OPA), Othello Station Community Advisory Team (OSCAT), Rainier Chamber of Commerce, Rainier Valley Community Development Fund (RVCDF), SouthEast Effective Development (SEED), City of Seattle Office of Economic Development, and City of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, and the list continues to grow.


The webpage includes links to an Othello-Graham Retail Real Estate Market Analysis and an Othello Retail Analysis. Both analyses can help inform local business owners as they START, GROW, and GREEN their business.

See the webpage here.

Seattle to Hold Symposium For Local Businesses and Business Districts

On Friday, September 20, The Seattle City Council will be hosting the first ever Seattle Business Organizations Symposium. This event will provide businesses with a variety of resources and advice on how to help your business grow and be more successful.

Council President Sally J. Clark invites all Seattle businesses to a morning of information, networking and inspiration.  The event will include:

  • A panel discussion with reporters and public relations experts on how to get more and better media coverage
  • A lightening round of keynote presentations on how business organizations can grow while helping their business districts
  • A case study on how Pioneer Square became Seattle’s newest trendy neighborhood
  • A resource fair of services for neighborhood chambers and business organizations

Admission is free and breakfast snacks and coffee will be provided.

This event will be held on Friday, September 20 at the Seattle City Hall, in the Bertha Knight Landes Room and first floor lobby from 8 a.m. to noon. Enter from Fifth Avenue between Cherry and James Street.

To RSVP or for additional information, contact David Yeaworth at (206) 684-5328, email at or visit the Seattle City Council Page.

Potential Economic Aid for Businesses Affected by Skagit Bridge Collapse

Has your business been impacted by the recent Skagit Bridge on May 23rd?  The Governor, recognizing that the economic effects may be felt well beyond Skagit County, has announced that the State will be collecting business impact information in the hopes of qualifying for Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL).  A minimum of five businesses statewide must demonstrate substantial economic injury. Businesses that suffered uninsured economic losses and are encouraged fill out an EIDL form and return it to their local emergency management office.

If you have any questions about this process, please contact the State Emergency Management Division’s Human Services Manager, Hank Cramer,, 253-512-7028. Seattle businesses can submit forms through Erika Lund, Seattle Office of Emergency Management,, 206-233-5089.

For the full press release and link to the form, please see

Seattle Discloses Energy Use of City-Owned Buildings

The City of Seattle is providing the public a closer look at the energy use of City-owned buildings in a new report, “Seattle Municipal Buildings 2011 – 2012 Energy Use Performance Report.” The report describes City efforts to evaluate the energy efficiency of 6.2 million square feet of City-owned and operated building space, a process that the City is also requiring owners of mid-sized and large privately owned buildings to do every year. The report also details actions the City is taking to improve the energy efficiency of its facilities.

“We hope that sharing the City’s results from evaluating our buildings’ energy use encourages other owners to do the same,” said Jill Simmons, Director of the Office of Sustainability & Environment. “Taking a close look at the energy performance of our facilities helps identify cost-effective opportunities to save energy and free up taxpayer resources for other important City services.”

To lead by example, City departments were directed to go beyond the minimum requirements of the energy benchmarking program and publicly disclose the City’s benchmarking results. Private owners in Seattle are required to disclose their building’s energy use with tenants, buyers, lenders and other qualified parties upon request. The City building report includes office buildings, libraries, fire and police stations, community buildings and more.

The assessment found that City-owned downtown buildings (City Hall, Justice Center, Seattle Municipal Tower, Central Library) are more energy efficient than the national average. The Seattle Municipal Tower has an EPA ENERGY STAR score of 93 out of 100 (50 is average), meaning it is more energy efficient than 92 percent of similar buildings nationwide. More than 3,000 people work at this 62-story high rise that uses about 40 percent less energy than a typical building of its size. Regularly monitoring and quick action to address in energy use helps the City keep the building performing at the top of its class. For example, continuous energy tracking led managers to reduce weekend heating and lighting when fewer people use the building.

On the whole, the City’s extensive public library system uses about 42 percent less energy than other U.S. libraries. Seattle’s libraries use about 61 kBtus (thousand British thermal units) of energy for each square foot of space, whereas U.S. libraries on average use about 104­ kBtu per square foot.

City building energy use was compared to that of similar buildings throughout the nation – information provided by the U.S. EPA’s ENERGY STAR program and the Energy Information Agency’s Commercial Building Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS). Private building owners can also use ENERGY STAR and CBECS data to see how their buildings stack up to others nationally.

“We applaud the City for taking a detailed assessment of the energy performance of its buildings and sharing this information with the public. Seattle 2030 District members share building energy performance within our organization allowing participants to compare results, share best practices and make our buildings perform at higher levels of efficiency. The City’s disclosure of its data is a welcome step in providing useful information from which the market can learn,” said Brian Geller, Executive Director of the Seattle 2030 District. The Seattle 2030 District is a collaboration of leading building owners and managers, including the City of Seattle, in downtown Seattle committed to significantly reducing environmental impacts within the built environment.

While this is the first time City building energy use has been made public, the City has a long history of monitoring and improving the energy efficiency of its facilities, including recent energy efficiency upgrades at 17 City facilities. One upgrade—a chiller at Seattle Center’s central plant that cools more than one million square feet of space—is projected to cut electricity use by 13 percent. This and other energy conservation efforts have saved the City and taxpayers $1.25 million since 2008.

The City is currently developing a comprehensive Resource Conservation Management Plan to build on its energy efficiency track record. The Plan will outline strategies to improve the energy efficiency of City’s building portfolio by 20 percent by 2020 (from a 2008 baseline).

As of April 1, owners of all commercial and multifamily residential buildings 20,000 square feet or larger are required to annually benchmark and report energy use to the City. Already, more than 90 percent of large building owners (50,000 square feet and above) have reported their building’s energy use. For more information on Seattle’s Energy Benchmarking and Reporting Program and free benchmarking support, visit: or call (206) 727-8484.

Free ‘Launch Your Business’ Seminars With Score and SBA

On May 20, Small Business Administration offers two free ‘Launch Your Business’ workshops. The early morning  seminar covers planning and preparation steps to starting a business, followed by a more in-depth look at the funds needed to open a business, contingency and reserves, working capital, major start-up expenses, expense estimates, and break-even analysis. The seminars will run consecutively from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Each requires a separate registration. Click here for more information.

President Obama, Mayor McGinn Urge Private Sector to Employ Youth This Summer

The Mayor has joined with the Seattle-King County Workforce Development Council (WDC) to increase the percentage of private sector involvement in hiring youth interns over the summer through the Youth @ Work campaign. Both the City and the WDC have agreed to help employers facilitate the process of increasing the number of these opportunities.

WDC’s Youth @ Work Campaign seeks to:

  • double the number of youth internships regionally;
  • build a scalable talent pipeline of young city residents for local businesses;
  • increase the amount of private sector support for youth internships; and
  • bolster existing communication capacity to measure and track campaign outcomes.

The Mayor’s Office posted on their blog about the Youth @ Work campaign:

A young person’s first job is an important step on their path to adulthood and independence. Unfortunately, many of today’s young people don’t have the same employment opportunities that previous generations did.  Due to the Great Recession, drop in federal support for youth employment programs, and increasing competition for fewer spots, today’s youth unemployment rates are the highest since before World War II. Nationwide, youth unemployment is over 16%. In Washington State, unemployment is 17.3% for ages 20-24 and 34.1% for youth ages 16-19. At the same time, many local industries say their greatest hindrance to growth is lack of a skilled workforce.

This situation is unacceptable. In response, President Obama launched the Summer Jobs Plus program, to work with the private sector to step up and fill the youth employment gap. Locally, we are launching our own program, called Youth @ Work, partnering with the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County and the private sector. The goal is to increase the number of summer jobs, internships, and job shadow opportunities available for our young people.

Today my office participated in a conference call with President Obama, other mayors, and local government staff from around the country to discuss this situation and our response.  President Obama rightly identified that early experiences shape the trajectory of a person’s life. They can give a sense of opportunity and possibility, and combat the corrosive effect that despair and lack of hope have on individuals and communities. In addition, work experiences help keep kids in school, teach them about the world of work, and help them make better decisions about the careers they want to have and the training they need to get there.  Summer youth employment also give our region’s employers talent for the long term: today’s youth are our region’s future workforce.

Business Breakfast: April 23

The Mayor and partner Bank of America are hosting an informational breakfast on April 23, 2013, 7:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. in the Bertha Knight Landes Room in City Hall, where businesses can join this sustained effort to give Seattle youth the work experience they need to become the workforce of tomorrow.

To RSVP please contact Aaron Fishbone at or 206-684-8556 by Thursday, April 18.

How Can I Get My Business Involved in Youth at Work?

Youth at Work needs enhanced business interest and financial support for Summer Jobs 2013.

  • Businesses can offer internship opportunities, job shadows, and worksite tours and overviews of jobs in their sector to youth.
  • Businesses that can’t offer internships and other awareness opportunities for youth can directly donate financial contributions to support youth in the program. Y
  • You can get involved through the Youth @ Work website or by contacting Peter Cavanaugh at the WDC directly at 206-448-0474, ext. 3026 or

Ballard Partnership for Smart Growth Hosts Successful Kickoff Meeting

The Ballard Partnership for Smart Growth (Partnership) officially launched its year-long initiative last week at the Ballard Library with a “Joint Kickoff” meeting that packed the meeting room with Ballard community and business leaders.

“As I look around this room, I can’t recall a time in recent memory when such a broad cross-section of our Ballard community has come together in such a unified way to jointly create a commercial revitalization plan that will help guide Ballard in the years ahead,” said Scott Ingham, Co-President of the Ballard Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

The Ballard Chamber of Commerce was recently awarded an Only in Seattle grant through the City of Seattle Office of Economic Development to will help lead an effort – dubbed the Ballard Partnership for Smart Growth – that will create a framework for a commercial revitalization plan for Ballard.

“There was an impressive 50 people at the kickoff event representing the residential community, commercial, nightlife, manufacturing and other key sectors,” said Steve Johnson, Director of the City of Seattle Office of Economic Development.

“It was very inspiring to see all of those different elements – which are really assets of Ballard that make it as unique as any neighborhood in this country in terms of traditional maritime, single family, emerging multi-family, still strong retail, and nightlife – come together and figure out how they themselves want to organize and ask the City for assistance,” said Steve.

The Partnership engages stakeholders from throughout the Ballard community to participate in designing a commercial revitalization plan that represents a consensus approach to future growth and development. A Leadership Group has been formed and will guide the overall effort.

Members of the Leadership Group represent primary stakeholder sectors in the core Ballard community. Those sectors include the following: retail merchants, residents, maritime/industrial businesses, restaurant/nightlife, major property owners, social services and Swedish Ballard Medical Center. The Ballard Chamber of Commerce will coordinate the Leadership Group and the overall process.

The Leadership Group will collaborate closely with the four Working Groups that have been established to explore and ultimately prepare specific proposals to be included in the framework for the commercial revitalization plan. The Working Groups will focus on issues in the following areas:

– Business Retention and Development

– Clean/Healthy/Safe

– Urban Design and Transportation

– Marketing and Promotions

In addition, the Partnership will receive ongoing facilitation support and engagement from critical City of Seattle departments and Sound Transit. Participating City departments include: the Department of Planning and Development, the Office of Economic Development, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Neighborhoods, and the Seattle Police Department.

Periodic updates outlining the Partnership’s progress will be available on the Chamber website and information will be shared during upcoming Chamber luncheons, Ballard District Council meetings and other community events throughout the year.

This article was taken from the Ballard BriefBallard Brief newsletter, published by the Ballard Chamber of Commerce