New effort launches to connect neighborhood businesses to ‘stay home’ shoppers

You can’t shop inside Ghost Gallery right now. But you can shop Ghost Gallery online via (Image: Ghost Gallery)

A Capitol Hill-based design firm is working to help local businesses across Seattle connect with their “stay home” customers in the wake of virus-related closures.

“I came up with this idea of like an Etsy for neighborhoods,” said Sara Green, principal and creative director at DEI Creative.

Local businesses, hard-hit by virus-related restrictions, have been hustling to find new ways to generate income, and the Support Local site developed by DEI is one way for them to do that.

The websites are a bit like a virtual shopping mall, featuring at least a few products from dozens of different stores in the neighborhood. The program launched first in Ballard, and the site there features clothing, furniture, toys, books, beer, and the ever popular gift cards from a number of businesses around that neighborhood.

Or, you can buy things from them at the support local site

And even after the virus has run its course, and we’re back to going to stores in person, Green said she hopes to keep the site going.

“My intention is for this not to go away,” she said. Continue reading

Perfect Copy and Print cleans up old Lather Daddy space for new home after move from Broadway

(Image: Perfect Copy and Print)

Legendarily named Lather Daddy is long gone, Phoenix Comics is happily expanded on Broadway, and longtime neighborhood service provider Perfect Copy and Print has found a new infrastructure-laden home on 12th Ave. Everybody loves a happy ending.

The copy shop is now open in the former laundromat space after a few months-long hunt for a new Capitol Hill home. After nearly 30 years of business on Capitol Hill, owner Asif Alvi was facing yet another move after holding out for years as Broadway was torn up for streetcar, light rail, and development projects. His concerns about finding another space in the neighborhood with the infrastructure required for multiple large copiers and printers were met with opportunity in the former Lather Daddy space. Turns out that washers and dryers also needed a system with plenty of juice. Continue reading

Behind Capitol Hill small biz roundtable and Saturday’s March on Amazon, Seattle biz tax maneuverings swirl — UPDATE

With reporting by SCC Insight

UPDATE 12:45 PM: With Durkan’s surprise counter proposal defeated. the Herbold/Gonzalez legislation was approved out of committee Friday but now faces a battle in securing a crucial sixth supporter before Monday’s full council vote. With negotiations underway, Saturday’s activism won’t be a victory march but could end up as a show of power to help change the tally and leave the mayor’s hands tied on the so-called Amazon tax. UPDATEx2: Durkan has released a statement saying she “cannot support” the legislation passed Friday. The full statement is below.

Seattle City Council members Lisa Herbold and Lorena Gonzalez were slated to be on Capitol Hill Friday morning to talk with small businesses about the proposed tax on large employers. But the deals may have already been cut on the plan to raise revenue to help pay for homelessness services and housing — before any further roundtables and before any marches on Amazon.

District 3 rep Kshama Sawant and supporters are now framing Seattle’s push for an employee tax on large companies as another historical moment for the city akin to the $15/hour minimum wage fight. “This is a key moment in Seattle’s history,” a statement from the Affordable Housing Alliance reads. “We have a chance to make the richest man in the world pay to build union-built, publicly-owned, affordable housing. This would be an inspiration to the rest of the country as cities offer tax incentive after tax incentive to attract Amazon’s HQ2. Let’s turn this race to the bottom into a race to the top.”

UPDATE: Herbold and Gonzalez Friday morning at Elliott Bay Book Co. in a meeting with Hill business representatives on the mayor’s tax proposal: “We’re looking forward to learning more about”

Gonzalez and Herbold’s meeting with Hill business constituents, meanwhile, comes before a key council committee meeting Friday and in the wake of a Mayor Durkan-fired shot across the bow of the veto-able raft of five council members said to support the $75 million employee tax legislation. Continue reading

Capitol Hill Chamber to hold roundtable with Council members on business tax proposal

The debate over the proposed Seattle business tax has turned into a fight. Next week, the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce is bringing neighborhood business representatives for a “roundtable discussion” with City Council members on the proposed tax:

Capitol Hill Chamber Roundtable Discussion with Council members re: Tax on Business

“It is important that small business SPEAK UP as Councilmembers finalize their proposal,” the Chamber implores.

The proposal from the council’s Lorena Gonzalez and Lisa Herbold aims to raise at least $75 million annually to address the twin crises of affordable housing for the city’s most vulnerable people, and the increasing number of people living unsheltered. It comes in two parts: an ordinance that enacts the tax, and a resolution that lays out the spending plan.

With Capitol Hill commercial rents also soaring, Seattle looks at tax breaks for landlords with small biz tenants

Since 2008, commercial rents have risen 42% in Capitol Hill’s 98122 zip code, making it the third most expensive zip code for businesses in the city. The second most expensive retail rents are now in 98102, while other neighborhoods, like Ballard, have seen retail rents increase by more than double.

To ensure small businesses are not drowned out in the rising tide, Mayor Ed Murray convened a task force in April to explore what the city could do to help. The results, released during a Wednesday morning media conference, are relatively modest compared the mayor’s housing affordability plan, but Murray said it was an important starting point.

Recommendations from the Commercial Affordability Advisory Committee include a new entity to support small businesses, tax incentives for property owners to keep small businesses as tenants, and “fast track” permitting requirements for small business projects. Defining what exactly constitutes a small business would still need to be determined, but the recommendations appear to target support for micro-business projects like Melrose Market.

In the short term, the city will be directing $122,000 annually to a low-cost lending program for businesses with five or fewer employees and fund a commercial affordability consulting team to give businesses and small property owners technical advice. Not included in the recommendations — commercial rent control. Continue reading