New leader, renewed small business focus for Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce

Orion rallying the troops before a neighborhood clean-up a few years back in Cal Anderson Park

It is the kind of story parents trot out to destroy a child with purely sweet and terrible awkwardness: This is where you were conceived. For Egan Orion, the new executive director of the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce, his mother’s point of conception in an apartment above Broadway is part of his life’s connection and love for the street and the neighborhood.

“My family would come to Capitol Hill during the ’80s to shop at the REI store just across the street from here, and I personally become a Capitol Hill regular in the early ’90s when I was young and newly out and the Hill was the center of gay life in Seattle,” Orion said Friday night during the announcement of his hiring at the chamber’s annual State of the Hill event.

But times change, “And in times of drastic change—the kind we’ve been through these past few years — it’s not always straight-forward for business-owners, residents, and community leaders to get a good grasp on what’s happening, and even harder to figure out what comes next,” Orion said Friday night.

Some of what comes next is already in motion. Continue reading

CHS Pics | Earl’s Cuts and Styles making temporary move before new life in Liberty Bank Building

It’s almost moving day for Earl Lancaster

After nearly 30 years of business, Earl’s Cuts and Styles won’t be cutting hair in the Midtown Center at 23rd and Union after this weekend. But its new home across the way in the Liberty Bank Building isn’t ready for the legendary barbershop just yet.

After Saturday’s final day of business in its original home, Earl’s is moving across the street to a temporary shop in The Central building. Earl Lancaster said he hopes the stay will be short and that he should be in his new shop in the Liberty Bank Building by the end of March. Continue reading

Chamber’s ‘State of the Hill’ to honor meal provider Community Lunch on Capitol Hill, art walk leaders

Community Lunch on Capitol Hill executive director Don Jensen, seen here with supply coordinator, River, will be honored at Friday night’s State of the Hill (Image: Community Lunch on Capitol Hill)

The Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual State of the Hill event Friday night in the Loft/Bar above 11th Ave’s Queer/Bar. A big part of the night will be honoring this year’s Spirit of the Hill award winners — meal provider Community Lunch on Capitol Hill, and Laurie Kearney of Ghost Gallery and Jeanine Anderson, coordinators of the monthly Capitol Hill Art Walk.

“We look forward to this event each year, and invite chamber members, local businesses, public officials and other hill-folk to gather to hear the State of the Hill address and celebrate all things Capitol Hill over local fare and cocktails,” the chamber’s 2019 event invite reads. Continue reading

‘Neighborhood activist’ Murakami, pot entrepreneur Bowers join race for District 3

There are now three challengers for the Seattle City Council District 3 seat held by Kshama Sawant.

And none of them are Kshama Sawant.

Pat Murakami, defeated in her 2017 run against Lorena González for the council’s Position 9 citywide seat, and pot entrepreneur Logan Bowers have joined nonprofit director and entrepreneur Beto Yarce in the race to lead District 3 representing neighborhoods including Capitol Hill, the Central District, First Hill, and, yes, Beacon Hill. Continue reading

Seattle mayor executive order: Help small businesses get relief from city taxes, bureaucracy

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan’s week of activity marking the end of her first year in office included a Friday executive order she says was shaped by her Small Business Advisory Council to help small businesses get relief from city taxes and fees and efforts to make it easier for entrepreneurs to navigate the city’s bureaucracy.

The executive order includes three elements:

  • Direct the City Budget Office to study ways to reduce the impact of taxes and fees on small businesses, explore a possible holiday from the B&O tax, and look for others ways to support small business employees; and, Continue reading

Capitol Hill small business owners, City Hall wants to hear from you ASAP

If you run a small business in Seattle, the Office of Economic Development wants to hear from you. Kind of.

Thanks to a weekly newsletter from the office of West Seattle’s City Council rep Lisa Herbold, we just heard about this OED small business survey that will help the department “prioritize their programs and services, as well as to inform pilot projects, such as the Legacy Business Program.” It closes Sunday, July 14th so use your “small business Saturday” to add your voice. Continue reading

Businesses getting their turn to help shape Seattle’s head tax

With reporting by SCC Insight

Tuesday afternoon, Poquitos co-owner Rich Fox was slated to be part of the Seattle City Council’s attempt to get more business voices at the table as it moves toward a planned May vote on a new employee-hours tax to help fund homelessness services and affordability efforts.

Tuesday’s “business roundtable” organized by Sally Bagshaw was part of an attempt to make up for the relatively meager participation by businesses in the Seattle Progressive Revenue Task Force organized by Council members Lorena Gonzalez and Lisa Herbold. Continue reading

Here are the Capitol Hill and Central District owners joining ‘301 small businesses’ speaking out against Seattle ’employment tax’ recommendations

Dani Cone of Cone and Steiner — and Fuel — made the list… twice (Image: CHS)

With a task force recommending a $75 million a year Seattle business tax for housing and homelessness services, a collection of “301 small businesses from every part of the city and every sector of the economy” has sent a letter to the City Council asking them not to move forward with the recommendation.

Several Capitol Hill and Central District businesses, highlighted in bold by CHS below, appear on the roster in the effort touted as “a purely organic grass roots effort and not organized by any one business association or advocacy group.”

“Small businesses across the city are writing to you today to urge you to reconsider the recommendations from the Progressive Revenue Taskforce on the Employee Hours Tax and any consideration of a proposed Employee Hours Tax legislation on Seattle businesses,” the letter begins. “We are disappointed that once again small business leaders were never consulted for input, facts or information about the real challenges we face.” Continue reading

Seattle’s new small business council has big Capitol Hill presence

Durkan and Taylor on a neighborhood small business tour in November (Image: CHS)

After Amazon announced it was going to open a second headquarters, the Seattle City Council decided it needed to start meeting with the behemoth corporation, carefully orchestrating  who would attend so they didn’t run afoul of open meetings laws.

Small businesses around town haven’t yet gotten the same sort of attention.

“I feel like small business has lost its voice in this city over the last few years,” said Tracy Taylor of Capitol Hill’s Elliott Bay Book Company.

That will change in the coming months. Mayor Jenny Durkan has convened a Small Business Advisory Council and the group plans to have its first meeting this week on Wednesday, February 21st. Taylor is one of the council’s four co-chairs.

Taylor’s comments about the loss of a voice were echoed by others with strong Capitol Hill connections on the council. Continue reading

Two Central District cafes facing closure point finger at Seattle City Hall

They both have become familiar faces whenever Central District small businesses are being discussed — usually in the context of the next big development or the next big infrastructure project promised to bring change to the neighborhoods their cafes have called home. Neighbors are now saying their goodbyes to Felix Ngoussou’s Jackson St. Lake Chad Cafe and Sara Mae’s 701 Coffee.

The 23rd and Cherry cafe owner Mae said she takes personal responsibility for 701’s closure but said she also lays blame with Seattle City Hall and District 3 representative Kshama Sawant for what she predicts will be a wave of Central District closures:

701 is just one in a line of real small businesses in the Central District that have been forced to close. We aren’t the first, and certainly won’t be the last. I firmly believe this trend will continue. There’s certainly no elected official—Kshama—that is going to give two shits about the plight of Central District Small Businesses. We have an elected official in the Central District who isn’t willing to devote some of her time and political capital to assuring that there is prosperity on the horizon for Central District small businesses. Instead she has created a movement that is based on resentment, and divisive political rhetoric that serves no purpose but to hold power, and keep people who are struggling trapped in a cycle of spinning their wheels, waiting for her precious cake. Frankly, all we have received in the aggregate from Kshama in all of this is Central District small business circumstances that has worsened under her reign.

Continue reading