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!

Only in Seattle RFA Public Meeting Presentation

Did you miss the Only in Seattle Initiative Request for Application Information Sessions? Please review the PowerPoint presentation below that provides a brief overview of the program.

To learn more about the initiative and to apply, please visit our Bottom line blog post with more information.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Only in Seattle Team:

Theresa Barreras at or 206-684-4505

Heidi Hall at or 206.733.9967

Mikel Davila at or 206.386.9748

Learn about new financing options at February’s Peer Network Gathering

Join the financing staff of OED’s Business Retention and Expansion team and its partners on Friday, February 27 for a lunchtime workshop, and get to know get to know about financing options for local businesses needing access to capital. In addition to OED’s financing services, the following financing partners will be presenting: Community Capital Development, Craft3, Grow America Fund, Mercy Corps Northwest, and the Rainier Valley Community Development Fund. Make sure you register today!

OED business resources can help you START|GROW|GREEN your business. Whether you are a start-up restaurant, a business impacted by construction or in need of financing, OED’s Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) team can help. Learn how to access the team and resources by attending the upcoming workshops. Upcoming workshop topics include: Greening your Business, Construction Mitigation Resources, Restaurant Success Services, Workforce Development, the City-wide Business Advocacy Team, Film and Special Events, and Inclusive Outreach and Public Engagement.

ONLY IN SEATTLEThe Office of Economic Development’s (OED) Only in Seattle Initiative hosts monthly Peer Network gatherings to bring together leaders from business district organizations, chambers of commerce, and business associations to problem solve, learn best practices and new models, and nurture relationships. Peer Network gatherings can be workshops, trainings, presentations by community experts, or simply a lunchtime gathering to build relationships and discuss neighborhood priorities.

GROW SEATTLEThis year, OED’s Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) team will lead a series of Peer Network workshops focused on OED’s direct business services. These workshops are meant to provide neighborhood business district organizations with tools and resources to provide direct technical assistance to their neighborhood businesses. The Grow Seattle Partnership is a formal relationship with OED’s BRE team and local chambers, merchant associations, and business groups with the purpose of better serving local businesses in the neighborhood. Please contact Lance Randall, Business Retention and Expansion Manager, to become a partner (contact information below).

Visit the OIS Calendar for upcoming events and Peer Network gatherings.
Register for the February 27 Peer Network gathering today!

Contact Lance Randall for more information about OED’s Business Retention and Expansion Services:
Lance Randall
(206) 733.9743

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.

Enjoy Plate of Nations March 21-April 5



DD 3-20 plate of nations



Plate of Nations is the signature event of the MLK Business Association (MLKBA) formed in 2008 to promote the independently owned businesses in the MLK community. MLK Jr. Way South is home to some of Seattle’s best, independently owned ethnic eateries. MLKBA invites Seattleites to taste the rich flavors these local restaurants have to offer on March 21 to April 5. Participating restaurants include Bananas Grill (Mediterranean and Middle Eastern), Huarachitos Cocina Mexicana (Mexico City), and The Original Philly’s (American East Coast). Plate of Nations is funded by the City of Seattle’s Office of Economic Development’s Only in Seattle initiative.

Last year, over 1000 people enjoyed Plate of Nations special menus, representing diners from over 4 states, 19 cities in Washington State, and 35 Seattle neighborhoods. These folks bolstered Seattle’s local economy by spending tens of thousands of dollars, and got to enjoy cultural experiences with global menus at local venues on MLK in the Valley (some won prizes, too!).

Plate of Nations was launched in 2011 by the MLK Business Association to create a festive event where MLK restaurants can showcase some of their favorite dishes with special menus that invite customers to experience their cultural traditions.

The MLK Business Association (MLK BA) is a non-profit organization established in 2008 to serve the businesses along Martin Luther King Jr. Way South in Seattle. Its vision is to “build a strong, vibrant, and culturally diverse business community that is a destination second to none in the Pacific Northwest.”






Only In Seattle Initiative Launches On Board Othello

Only In Seattle Initiative is brewing something new! A coalition of SE Seattle community leaders and partners, called On Board Othello, is meeting to further the process of creating a shared vision of economic development in the neighborhood, and to coordinate all of the hard work in the community.

On Board Othello is focused specifically on fostering strong and vibrant commercial growth in the Othello/Graham MLK corridor. This coalition will build on past planning and work to develop a strategic Community Economic Development Action Plan to implement the changes desired by the community. An Oversight Committee and three work groups are being formed to identify priority actions within the following key areas:

1) Community Economic Development

2) Marketing and Promotion

3) Clean and Safe

Check out the On Board Othello page for more details.


Shop Small Pop-Up Store now open!

As a part of Shop Small and Small Business Saturday on November 30, a Small Pop-Up Store has opened and will remain open from November 26 – December 23, 2013 at 55 University Street in Downtown Seattle at the bottom of the Harbor Steps.

You will be able to find amazing Seattle shops in one place, with unique local merchants, free travel accessories, and complementary coffee. This is a unique shopping experience that changes week by week, for more great finds all through the holiday shopping season!

Week 1 (Nov 26 – Dec 2) features a “Home & Decor” Theme

Week 2 (Dec 4 – Dec 9) features a “Fashion & Beauty” Theme

Week 3 (Dec 11 – Dec 16) feature a “Man Cave” Theme

Week 4 (Dec 18 – Dec 23) features a “That Perfect Gift” Theme

Pop in to check out these great Seattle gems!









The City’s Office of Economic Development has been working with the Small Business Saturday Coalition, Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP), AMEX, Delta and other partners to promote Small Business Saturday and Shop Small through our Only in Seattle marketing campaign and with their neighborhood business district partners. We are excited to promote more shopping and dining in local neighborhoods.

Five Only In Seattle neighborhoods have Shop Small banners during this holiday season through the new year, including: Fremont, Georgetown, MLK/Rainer Valley, Wallingford, and West Seattle. Look for them!

Some of the retailers active in our Only in Seattle program are taking part in the Pop Up Store, such as Blackbird and  Fantagraphics.

Small Business Saturday is almost here, don’t miss out!

Small Business Saturday on November 30 completes the holiday trifecta. Large national retailers have Black Friday, online retailers have CyberMonday, and now small businesses finally have a day of their own during the critical holiday season. When consumers shop locally, they not only support local businesses, but also local communities.


If you are a small business wanting to participate in Shop Small, there is still time to join; businesses can download the complete Small Business SaturdayToolkit which includes logos, messaging, and website banners by clicking here.

It’s a great day to get out and shop at your favorite local small businesses. The Office of Economic Development is excited to be promoting Small Business Saturday and the idea of Shop Small with our Neighborhood Business Districts through our Only in Seattle campaign throughout this holiday season.

We hope you will join us! The more buzz we create together, the more potential shoppers and diners we attract to our local businesses!

Only in Seattle Request for Applications (RFA)

Only in Seattle Initiative Request for Applications (RFA)

The City of Seattle through the Office of Economic Development (OED) is partnering with Impact Capital, Seattle Investment Fund LLC and the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) to make approximately $1,600,000 available for the Only in Seattle Initiative. The Initiative provides grant funding and staff support to foster neighborhood business districts that allow small businesses to grow and flourish, making a positive contribution to the city’s economic health, reflect the unique character of the neighborhoods where they are located, contribute to their vitality and empower business owners to organize around a common vision and attract investment.

Applications are due 5:00 p.m. on Friday, November 1, 2013 to Beth Dufek at Impact Capital: Email: Late applications and paper copies will not be accepted.For the complete Program Description, and Request for Applications (RFA), click here.

Informational Sessions: Two informational sessions will be held to answer questions about the program and the RFA. All are encouraged to attend one of these sessions.

Thursday October 3rd at 1pm – 2 p.m.
Room 4070, 40th Floor of the Seattle Municipal Tower
700 5th Ave
Tuesday October 15th at 12 noon -1 p.m.
Room 4096, 40th Floor of the Seattle Municipal Tower
700 5th Ave


For more information, contact Beth Dufek (206) 658-2610 or or Theresa Barreras at 206-684-4505,

Only in Seattle Initiative Website Relaunched

Are you active in a neighborhood business district in Seattle? A small business owner in a local business district? The Office of Economic Development’s Only in Seattle Initiative works with businesses, property owners and other community leaders to organize around a common vision for a business district and attract investment. Check out OED’s Only in Seattle Initiative’s relaunched website, and find information about the upcoming Request for Applications for funding, tools and resources for business districts, a new interactive map and listing of neighborhood business district organizations, and more.

Check out the Only in Seattle Initiative here.