The Seattle Office of Economic Development (OED) and Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) are excited to launch #ShoptheSqueeze: a campaign to encourage locals to visit small businesses Downtown during the Seattle Squeeze—the period of transition Seattle faces over the next five years as public and private construction projects continue to change how we get around Downtown.
Driven primarily by weekly social media photo contests, the campaign encourages participants to visit their favorite Downtown small businesses via alternative transportation and share their stories. Alternative transportation includes walking, or traveling by bike, bus, ferry, Link light rail, Streetcar, or carpool – anything that helps ease traffic Downtown. Each month will feature a different small business sector, such as restaurants or art galleries, as a theme. Participants are entered to win prizes including $100 pre-loaded ORCA cards and Visa gift cards. Full contest details here.
Shop the Squeeze will focus primarily on Belltown, Pioneer Square, the Chinatown-International District , and the downtown retail core as the neighborhoods most impacted by upcoming transportation changes. The campaign mascots, Simon the Sasquatch and Pearl the Squirrel, will deliver family-friendly campaign messaging about important transit milestones, ideas for creative commuting, and photo contest details via social media, transit advertising, and our website: seattle.gov/shopthesqueeze.
While the new State Route 99 tunnel is now open, the Squeeze is long from over. Major changes to our transportation system are still on the horizon—our next big impact will hit on March 23, when the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel becomes Link light rail-only and hundreds of buses will move up to our surface streets. The Shop the Squeeze campaign is intended to keep people shopping and exploring Downtown neighborhoods in order to minimize the impacts of the remaining years of the #SeattleSqueeze on small businesses.
#ShoptheSqueeze rolled out Friday, March 15th, 2019 and will continue at least for the remainder of 2019. To participate, follow @SeattleEconomy on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and visit our website: seattle.gov/shopthesqueeze.
Meet Simon the Sasquatch and Pearl the Squirrel
There will be two friendly faces to guide you every step of the way throughout Shop the Squeeze: we’d like to introduce you to Simon the Sasquatch and Pearl the Squirrel!
Simon the Sasquatch is an endearing curmudgeon who can be a bit anxious and slow to adapt in the face of change – but he loves his home in the Pacific Northwest. Simon is from a long line of guardians who serve the PNW forests and is used to traveling along the same route as all of the Sasquatches before him, so the Seattle Squeeze is a big change for him. He highly reveres routines and typically enjoys doing things alone—but this all changes when Simon meets his new commuter buddy, Pearl the Squirrel!
Pearl the Squirrel is no ordinary critter. She is a time-traveling squirrel who hails from the future, when Seattle is enjoying its new and improved transportation system and beautiful waterfront. Pearl travels back in time to our present day so she can help guide confused commuters like Simon. She is a savvy Seattleite who takes pride in her city and can usually be found perusing small businesses or effortlessly changing from one mode of transit to the next.
Pearl and Simon come from completely different worlds, but that doesn’t put a stop to their commuter camaraderie! We hope you enjoy tuning in to Pearl and Simon’s adventures throughout your Shop the Squeeze journey.
To stay in the loop with Simon, Pearl, and opportunities to win prizes throughout 2019, follow @SeattleEconomy on social media and check out seattle.gov/ShoptheSqueeze.