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Survey: What iconic Capitol Hill businesses need saving?

Screen Shot 2016-06-13 at 11.32.25 AMAffordability in Seattle isn’t just an issue for residents trying to afford the rent. The city’s small businesses need help, too. As Seattle looks at options like commercial rent control,  Lisa Herbold, chair of the City Council’s Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development & Arts committee, has a question for you:

Greetings, Businesses and Community Groups,

I’m writing to ask for your help as I develop a “Seattle Legacy Business Program” proposal, which is intended to help preserve the bars, restaurants, cafés, and shops that give Seattle its unique character and sense of community. With the recent pace of development, neighborhood gems like Silver Fork, Mama’s Kitchen, and Piecora’s  Pizza have been lost, and aren’t likely to return.

I’m working with partner organizations to:

  • Survey community members to identify our most important business establishments
  • Identify elements that contribute to the culture, character, and history of Seattle; and
  • Establish tools to protect them.

I hope you’ll take a moment to take this quick survey, so we can learn from you what businesses in your neighborhood you’ve loved and lost or fear may be in peril.  You can learn more about the proposal here. We want this effort to inform the Mayor’s Commercial Affordability Taskforce’s efforts moving forward in determining what policies/funding support may be necessary to preserve and protect Seattle’s iconic small businesses.

Thank you for your consideration, and please let me know if you have any questions.

As usual, we encourage you to “work out loud” and share a few thoughts in the CHS comments. Feel free to nominate CHS :)

One note on the announcement of the survey. While the loss of Piecora’s was certainly a marker of nostalgia-pulverizing change on Capitol Hill, it probably doesn’t make a very good poster child for Herbold’s cause. The family behind the much-loved pizza joint did just fine in the $10.3 million acquisition of the property.

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7 thoughts on “Survey: What iconic Capitol Hill businesses need saving?” -- All CHS Comments are held for moderation before publishing

  1. OK. A few thoughts…

    I am genuinely perplexed by this “program”. Do participating companies become public entities like the power company or metro?
    Will my tax dollars in any part go to funding a new “Man-Ray”?

    It looks like the program would apply to retail establishments only which is not my business model, but as a business owner I wouldn’t want whatever requirements or oversight that came with the public assistance.

  2. Piecora’s doesn’t make a good poster child for another reason: they served sh*tty pizza. And they layered on the NYC imagery to try to give themselves credibility, even though they wouldn’t have lasted a month in that city.

    ;What old-school small businesses actually make the neighborhood great? Maybe the Wildrose (where I’ve never been – I don’t want to take up space in the one place that Seattle queer girls have all to themselves) – or Pony – or Victrola – or Annapurna – or Ristorante Machiavelli – or Tacos Chukis – or the Vivace sidewalk bar – or Elliott Bay (not so small, but essential)- or the Lookout, etc etc.

    • PS I share the previous poster’s skepticism about what this program is actually meant to do, and how. I just was having fun opining about specific businesses.

    • I totally concur. The idea for this program is bullshit. First of all, it’s totally subjective, and very likely to heavily favor self-absorbed neighborhoods like Capitol Hill at the expense of other neighborhoods in the city, especially less affluent ones. Secondly, I don’t want my tax dollars spent by the city favoring businesses, no matter how aesthetically altruistic the reasons may be. Businesses should survive by having commercially viable business plans, and doing a good job of satisfying customers at prices the customers will pay. Not by expecting a continuous or even one time handout from tax monies. The whole idea for this is a bad, bad precedent.

  3. From what I understand small businesses cannot simply “survive by having commercially viable business plans, and doing a good job of satisfying customers at prices the customers will pay” when their payroll expenses are increasing 10% every year due to new minimum wage and their cost of goods have increased significantly due to their vendors raising prices due to *their* increase in payroll. The cost of doing business in Seattle is steadily increasing yet you need to satisfy customers at prices the customers will pay….how is that possible? Truly small mom & pops are going to start dropping like flies without any assistance. I don’t have the answers but if someone is willing to help keep what is remaining of old Seattle, I’m in!

    • Well, the minimum wage has been an issue since it was first implemented for many reasons. One of which is it makes things much more difficult for businesses to grow beyond family members in the Mom & Pop model. We’re about 60 years into having minimum wage and the impacts of it are known, just not talked about. There will always be mom and pop businesses that are able to survive and/or adjust to changes in the market place.
      That is actually what part of the description of an entrepreneur was at one point; someone that figures out how to get around all the obstacles and still achieve success.

    • “prices the customers will pay” doesn’t necessarily mean “cheap” or “just as cheap”. If we want to pretend we’re supportive of a more fair and living wage for workers, we need to expect to pay higher prices when & if they ensue. Otherwise we’re all a bunch of hypocrites blowing hot air about “fairness”– just as long as it costs somebody else other than ourselves. Figuring out where that balance is will be the tough part. But if we all expect wages to go up, but not the prices we pay, we’re just full of crap.