Find Posts By Topic

Tenant Improvement Fund Recipients and Projects 2022-23 

The Office of Economic Development’s Tenant Improvement Program invests in a business’ infrastructure to support their growth and sustainability. The program makes initial tenancy costs more affordable for small businesses or lowers the cost to renovate and/or upgrade their commercial space. The program provides professional services such as space planning and design, lease support, and access to expedited permitting, in addition to funding for the build-out or renovation new or existing commercial spaces. 

List of Awardees and Project description

Adam Tailor (Columbia City) – $100,000 
Family-owned and operated business that has provided alteration and tailoring for the South Seattle community since 2003. The business is run by husband and wife who came to Seattle as refugees fleeing war in Saigon in 1990. They now work with their daughters and granddaughter to run the business. Adam Tailor believes in providing reliable, high-quality, and timely alternations at affordable prices because of their belief in equity and access to their services. Renovations include roof replacement,  electrical system update, new flooring and HVAC system upgrades for a 100+ year old building. 

Boon Boona Coffee (University District) – $100,000 
Eritrean-owned coffee shop and roaster that sources direct green coffee beans from Ethiopia. This business started to become a bridge between African specialty coffee and local community, and the owner wanted to develop and highlight a more intentional black and brown supply chain.  This business has a coffee shop across from Seattle University and is expanding to its second Seattle location in the University District. Renovations include the installation of espresso bar, plumbing, and electric work upgrades. 

Café on the Ave (University District) – $100,000 
Korean-owned Café on 42nd & University is on a highly visible corner storefront operating 18 hours a day to create a space for students to gather day and night. Renovations include a new awning and exterior façade improvements, painting, expansion of kitchen and addition of a bar for new nightlife concept, and installation of AC unit. 

Chebogz Beacon Hill (Beacon Hill) – $100,000 
Family-owned and operated Kusina Filipina, a Filipino restaurant on Beacon Hill that was displaced in 2017 and is now returning to Beacon Hill. The business operated as a food truck after displacement and is transitioning to a Filipino fast-casual concept now run by the family’s youngest daughter. Renovations include a full build-out from and purchase of new kitchen equipment in the new West Colina Apartments next to Beacon Hill light rail station. 

Drag & Drop (Little Saigon) – $100,000 
Filipino/Vietnamese-owned creative studio which has operated out of an office space in Japantown and is now relocating to the Little Saigon Creative Space to build out a new maker and event space.  Business owners actively support local businesses and nonprofit organizations and offer services at a sliding scale to ensure design and multimedia projects are affordable to the community. Renovations include a full build out from a cold shell. 

Edugether Child Care (Delridge) – $100,000 
Edugether (“Educating Together”) is an all-day Spanish Bilingual Immersion Child Care Center. A family-owned and operated business, Mariann and Yoan started Edugether out of a need for high quality childcare and long wait lists for their own children after immigrating to the US. They quickly saw the need for many other families, in addition to other family resources for other immigrant families. Edugether started off in their home taking care of two other children. The business now has grown and is relocating to a commercial licensed facility in Delridge. The project includes a change of use and full renovation to meet all childcare facility building requirements. 

Fano’s International Cuisine / Chicken Express (Rainier Valley) – $100,000 
Seattle Chicken Express opened in 2007 serving Ethiopian, Mediterranean and Mexican foods, but has evolved into serving American breakfast and soul food after inheriting customers from Silver Fork restaurant, which closed in 2012. The business has worked to build a reputation as a welcoming restaurant with affordable prices, and as a and gathering place where “everyone knows your name.” Renovations include electrical upgrades, floor repair, installation of kitchen sinks, and bakery equipment to help expand their business with baked goods and future wholesale. 

Frank’s Barber + Beauty Salon (Madison Valley) -$100,000 
Since 1995, local businessman Frank Taylor has provided high-quality barber and beauty salon services in the City of Seattle. His inspiration to open a barber shop began in his youth, and after receiving his Master Barber’s license, he later opened and built two successful barber and salon shops in the Central District. However, after being displaced by redevelopment on 23rd and Jackson, Frank moved his primary barbershop in 2017 to 1026 Madison Street in Seattle’s First Hill Area. Even with city construction due to the street improvements in Madison and First Hill, Frank has still managed to hold on to his devoted clientele, and with these improvements to the salon, Frank will be able to lease out six additional barber and cosmetology stations. Renovations include new flooring, electrical, ceiling fans, paint, safety gate and salon equipment. 

In the Comfort of LLC (Chinatown-ID) – $100,000 
Current high-end vintage furniture store pop-up has secured a lease in the Thai Binh building in the Chinatown-International District. Business owner is a second-generation Asian American who grew up in a family-owned business operated in the C-ID. Renovations will include a full build out from a warm shell. 

Jalisco Mexican Restaurant (Lake City) – $50,000 
Jalisco Mexican Restaurant Lake City opened in 1983. Owner’s first job in Seattle was working at a Mexican restaurant as a dishwasher and worked his way up in the kitchen until he eventually opened his first restaurant in 1977. Jalisco’s supports local schools and organizations by hosting fundraisers and donates catering to local organizations. Renovations include repairing/replacing refrigerators for the restaurant and bar and replacing carpet and HVAC. 

Jet City Labs (West Seattle) – $70,000 
A Black-owned community and cultural event space born out of the pandemic moved into a brick-and-mortar storefront on California Ave in West Seattle. The concept has expanded into a dual business concept to include a speak easy bar alongside a retail gallery featuring local BIPOC creators and regional musicians, locally made apparel, music, and other goods. Improvements include renovation of bar area, equipment upgrades, lighting, and redesign of retail space to accommodate new concept. 

Jose’s Taqueria (Lake City) – $58,500 
Jose’s Taqueria is a father and son owned Lake City staple offering Peruvian-Mexican fusion. Business owner, Alberto Morales is known to provides meals for those experiencing homelessness. Renovations include updating HVAC, plumbing fixtures and bathroom lighting, new kitchen equipment: fridge, grease trap, flooring, electricity, and sink. 

Kaffa Coffee & Wine Bar (Rainier Beach) – $100,000 
Family owned and operated coffee and wine bar. Husband grew up in Rainier Beach and family lives and works in the neighborhood. This beloved establishment hosts many neighborhood events and acts as a community hub. Renovations include expansion of kitchen to make layout more efficient for bringing food from back to front of house. New permit for change of use is required, and hood installation to meet city code in order to make kitchen area workable for full-service restaurant. 

King Donuts (Rainier Beach) – $100,000 
King Donuts has been a part of Rainier Beach for more than 30 years as a gathering spot for neighbors. Current ownership is a family that has been in the donut business since arriving in the US in mid-80s after fleeing Khmer Rouge as refugees. Business has relocated within Rainer Beach to the Kenyon Center due to former building being sold. Renovations include  equipment upgrades, and front counter improvements. 

Kingway Hair Salon LLC (Othello/Graham) – $37,000 
Hair salon operating for over 20 years. Owner worked as a hairdresser in Vietnam and wanted to start a business with skills she was familiar with to bring a piece of who she was in Vietnam to America and to create generational wealth for her children. Renovations include installing AC and heating. 

KOBO at Higo (Chinatown-ID) – $100,000 
The Higo Variety Store was a landmark in Seattle’s Nihonmachi or Japantown. It first opened in 1907 and survived the Japanese American internment of its original owners. Higo operated until 2003 and sold to current owners who see themselves as stewards of Higo’s 75-year legacy. Kobo at Higo was repurposed to create a gallery and gift shop and brings local Wing Luke Museum tours through the store to highlight its history. Renovations include leveling of flooring, updating lighting, adding walls to create a back room for staff and ecommerce photography area and an updated display system. 

Le’s Bakery & Deli (Othello/Graham) – $32,400 
Vietnamese family owned and operated Bakery & Deli on the corner of Othello & MLK. Le’s Bakery & Deli is known as a community gathering and meeting space in the neighborhood. Renovations include external signage and kitchen equipment upgrades. 

MLK Commissary LLC (Rainier Valley) – $100,000 
Commissary kitchen in South Seattle will support at least 20 food businesses including caterers, bakers, and food trucks in an affordable commissary kitchen in South Seattle. Business owner is a seasoned entrepreneur, owning her own food truck and operating a commissary kitchen for over a decade. Michaya Pollard not only seeks to provide commissary kitchen space but also will be providing coaching and mentoring to up and coming Chefs, their employees, and create economic growth in the community through diverse and affordable food options. Renovations include a full build out of a commissary kitchen and installing kitchen equipment.  

Moga Mini Market (Othello/Graham) – $55,000 
Moga Mini Market is a Somali, woman-owned market specializing in East African foods, clothing and products essential to the Othello community, and operating since 2009. The owner would like to expand her revenue stream by serving coffee and expanding her freezer area to hold more inventory. Renovations include equipment upgrades, adding more visible signage and an accessible entryway to draw in customers.  

Nirmals (Pioneer Square) – $100,000 
“Best Seattle Indian Restaurant for Special Occasions, 2023” by Seattle Eater. Located in a historic building in Pioneer Square, Nirmals continued to be open during the pandemic serving as a community kitchen and serving meals to front line. Renovations include replacing a dysfunctional air-conditioning unit, replacing an electrical panel that is providing insufficient amperage, refinishing some of the flooring and replacing a water heater. 

Platinum Plush Fashions LLC (Othello/Graham) – $100,000 
Fashion apparel, footwear, and accessory boutique retail shopping destination for over 20 years in Southeast Seattle. Business owner is the Chair of the Martin Luther King Business Association and has been a board member since 2010 and utilizes her knowledge of the retail and fashion business to teach, mentor, and train young aspiring entrepreneurs of color. Renovations include interior remodel – drywall, flooring, update electrical, plumbing, install AC unit and update lighting. 

Quick Pack Food Mart (Central District) – $100,000 
A staple in the Central District for 26 years. The current owner has owned and operated Quick Pack for 16 years and has built a reputation for their chicken and is called the chicken man by many of his customers. As an Eritrean and Ethiopian owned business, Quick Pack offers food and household items for the East African community at affordable prices alongside other mini mart stapes. Renovations include heating and air conditioning, and covered, heated outdoor seating area. 

Salon Excellence (Greenlake/Wallingford) – $60,000 
Vietnamese owned salon offering affordable prices for services to local students and growing elderly population in Greenlake. Renovations include updating electricity, painting, and building out a separate room for facial treatments to expand business services and revenue. 

Senait Store Market (Lake City) – $25,000 
Grocery store specializing in East African products, makes in-house injera, and offers onsite butchering. Business offers vital services and goods to the East African community in North Seattle and donates time and food to local neighborhood community building events. Business is seeking to expand their business to serve food in the location next door which required a change of use permit. Renovations include installation of a hood and plumbing. 

Tai Tung Restaurant (Chinatown-ID) – $100,000 
Oldest Chinese restaurant in Seattle since 1935, now ran by 4th and 5th generations of the family. Restaurant has a reputation for keeping Bruce Lee’s legacy alive where they have table and memorabilia in the area he used to sit which draws many locals and out of town guests to visit and honor his legacy. Renovations include replacing heating/cooling unit in dining room and fresh air intake system in kitchen, repair plumbing, bathroom renovation, repair dumbwaiter and other fixtures. 

Tasty’s LLC (South Park) – $100,000 
Opened in 2017, this Bar and Grill is a South Park staple. Owner is connected to the South Park community, often supporting other small business owners that have a passion to start their own food/catering businesses by letting them use their kitchen as a commissary kitchen. Tasty’s recently experienced a fire during the application review and selection process.  Renovations include build-out of the fire-damaged space including new bathrooms, kitchen area, dining room and bar. 

The Re-Sole 206 (Central District) – $100,000 
Re-Sole is a new service/retail concept that seeks to fill a void in the footwear industry by educating consumers on maintaining, altering and upcycling used footwear. Nothing like this exists in Seattle and will be a place for taste makers, sneaker enthusiasts, future entrepreneurs and cultural influencers alike. Business has signed a lease at Midtown Plaza in the Central District. Renovations include lighting, equipment, signage and general carpentry. 

The Beacon Studio (Little Saigon) – $100,000 
The Massive Monkees Studio “The Beacon” was launched in 2013 in Chinatown-ID and offered hip hop dance classes particularly for youth as well as a community event rental space. Massive Monkees has been recognized as a cornerstone of Seattle’s artist culture centered around BIPOC communities and awarded “Massive Monkees Day” in Seattle for their extensive work in the community. After being displaced from the “The Beacon” in 2020 they have found a new home in Little Saigon. Improvements include signage, painting, flooring, ceiling repairs, electric and lighting upgrades, addition of a bathroom, and build out of a kitchenette. 

The Postman (Othello/Graham) – $100,000 
Mail service company providing copy, fax, notary, convenient shipping from all main postal carriers, and private mailboxes. This business is expanding from its first location in the Central District to its second in the Othello neighborhood. Business owners come from a legacy of postal service and want to build on that legacy for future generations. Renovations include general carpentry, painting, installation of walls, electrical, fire alarm, and sprinkler system. 

Tiloben Publishing Company, Inc. / Seattle Medium (Central District) – $100,000    
In January 1970, The Seattle Medium Newspaper was launched with a motto: “A message From the People to the People.” Over 53 years later, Seattle Medium is still serving the Central District community at 26th & Jackson by publishing narratives and community stories. Seattle Medium owns their building and are really excited about their (TI) updates and are rooted in staying in their neighborhood for years to come. Additionally, the space has served as a historic gathering space where conversation and information are shared within the African American community. Renovations include upgrading of siding on building, painting, and new roof installation.  

The Station (Columbia City) – $100,000 
The Station is a Beacon Hill neighborhood institution which has been in operation for many years, despite the changing landscape of Beacon Hill and South Seattle in general. Its owners Leona and Luis are opening a second location in Columbia City and are returning to Columbia City where they lived in the past. They are known for their support of community and advocacy. They are intentionally working with small businesses on their project, especially BIPOC-owned businesses. TI Funding supported equipment and design services as a part of a full build out for their second coffee shop. 

Two Big Blondes (Central District) – $100,000 
Two Big Blondes is a 25-year-old business anchored in the Central District. Owner Lisa grew up in the Central District, and after a career that spanned owning another business and working in social services and the legal field, she took over Two Big Blondes from her aunt in 2012. The business has a non-profit arm which provides free clothing to unhoused and low-income residents, hosts a small business spotlight for BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and women owned businesses, and supports many other neighborhood and city-wide community events and programs. Renovations include refinishing their basement to build their eCommerce presence, flooring, lighting upgrades, and general interior refresh. 

Washington State Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Center (Chinatown-ID) – $100,000 
Dr. Chan opened his clinic in 1990 as one of the earliest Acupuncturists who was issued a license of Acupuncture in Washington state. He later transferred the clinic to his mentee Dr. Bing Su in 2014 who has carried on the legacy of the clinic. Due to its 25 years in operation, the clinic has a high level of trust amongst its clients and community especially amongst seniors living in the neighborhood that frequent the clinic. Renovations include updating the HVAC system, and general interior refresh.