New Capitol Hill Business Alliance launched to advocate for neighborhood business community

The Capitol Hill Business Alliance has launched.

The GSBA-backed small business resource and advocacy initiative was set into official motion Tuesday morning with an event at 15th Ave’s Ada’s Technical Books.

“Do you need help with marketing, programming, meeting each other, networking, communicating? What is it you need? Because, we want to be that group for you,” the group’s CEO Louise Chernin said kicking off the initiative Tuesday. Continue reading

This Capitol Hill entrepreneur is making waves… with inflatable pools

Myllebeck (Image: Margo Vansynghel)

(Image: Mylle)

Kristin Myllebeck’s office has all the trappings of a fashion stylist’s workplace. Four small, graphic purses hang on spread-out hooks on the wall, like an art installation. A faux-cowhide rug partly covers the polished concrete floor, and on the floating wall shelves stands a framed Warhol reproduction, on which a bold, black typeface spells out “I like boring things.”

What stands out: Myllebeck’s office is filled with pools.

Deflated ones.

Since Myllebeck debuted her inflatable pool company Mylle (pronounced mile) last year, she’s been fulfilling orders from all over the country, sending them out one by one by mail.

“They’ve been popular in Brooklyn and in LA where people’s backyards are like the size of the pool,” Myllebeck, who worked as a fashion stylist for Nordstrom for over a decade, said. Continue reading

CHBA: After neighborhood chamber implosion, Seattle business group forms Capitol Hill Business Alliance

The GSBA’s Louise Chernin, center, has been in the mix around Capitol Hill businesses for decades

Following through on plans formed with the summer financial implosion of the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce, a major Seattle organization has announced the formation of the Capitol Hill Business Alliance, “dedicated to serving this vital neighborhood.”

“It’s the launch of a new era of support for the Capitol Hill business community,” the Greater Seattle Business Association announcement of the new effort sent to former chamber members reads.

In May, CHS reported on the sudden closure of the Capitol Hill chamber as the nonprofit representing hundreds of neighborhood businesses cited financial difficulties for bringing an end to its advocacy and marketing efforts. In July, CHS took a deeper look at what brought down the chamber and found a failed attempt to create an expanded “Business Improvement Area” had sapped much of the remaining energy and resources of the group, plus more details of the downward trend in city funding, legal issues, and the loss of key people including director Egan Orion who left after four months to launch a City Council campaign. Continue reading

Third time’s the charm for Aria as the salon hopes its new home at 15th and John will be permanent after its latest and ‘final’ Capitol Hill move

(Image: Aria Salon)

In 1998, Bianca Brookman opened Aria Salon at 11th and E Pike. Today, the salon has moved three times in twenty years. Aria has re-opened after its third move, and Brookman hopes the salon’s new home on 15th and John is permanent, proving small businesses and the gayborhood can thrive on the Hill today.

“It’s not the Pike and Pine corridor, but we’re in our 20th year, we have amazing staff, and I’m super excited,” Brookman said. “There’s a lot of good energy up here, and we’re ready for another 20 years.”

Prior to the salon’s move to 15th and John behind Bakery Nouveau, Aria resided on E Pine adjacent to Dingfelder’s Delicatessen. Brookman believed Aria would remain in its home since 2008 for years to come, and she sought to make changes to the salon’s layout. While renegotiating Aria’s lease on the space to ensure the salon’s longevity, Brookman learned she could not extend her lease beyond the duration of a development project set to wrap around the building.

She was also concerned with how the new development’s layout would impact the old building’s appearance and structural integrity, even if Aria could afford to remain in the space once construction was completed. Brookman viewed the situation as an opportunity to find Aria its latest permanent home. Continue reading

The Capitol Hill chamber — and with it an ambitious push for a neighborhood-wide business improvement area — is dead. What went wrong?

The chamber’s annual Hilloween festival is likely to be picked up and continued by the new guard.

When the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce shuttered in June, board members chalked its demise up to a confluence of issues and “unanticipated developments.”

A couple of “key” board members left, chamber board co-chairs Joey Burgess, and Tracy Taylor wrote in a letter at the end of May. Plus: Egan Orion, the recently appointed executive director of the chamber, decided to run for City Council, they wrote, and “a reduction of funds” from the Office of Economic Development “imposed insurmountable obstacles to operating as a true Chamber model.”

Now, two months after the announcement, interviews with former board members and others reveal a fuller picture of what happened to the nonprofit representing the neighborhood’s business community— and what is to come. Continue reading

If Seattle is going to preserve its ‘legacy businesses,’ here are a few ways it might do it

Work continues on a program that might help your favorite neighborhood bars, restaurants, cafes, and shops navigate a changing Seattle.

The Seattle City Council first started developing the program in 2017, when an effort spearheaded by council member Lisa Herbold budgeted $50,000 to study the issue of so-called “legacy businesses.” Council staff produced a study that year of what a legacy business might be, and ways the city might help them remain afloat.

The study defined a legacy business as one that has been open for at least 10 years and is small (10 or fewer employees), independent and serves as a community hub. A hub is considered a retail, restaurant or other environment where people gather. While someplace like the Central District’s Cappy’s Boxing Gym and Earl’s Cuts and Styles, or Capitol Hill’s Wildrose might qualify, something like a law office would not likely make the cut. It did not include nonprofits, since they would face a very different set of challenges. The study found that 1,162 businesses citywide might qualify for the designation using those standards.

This definition was only used for the purposes of the study. Changes would, obviously impact the number of potentially qualifying businesses. For example, if businesses needed to be open for 20 years instead of 10, the number of qualifying businesses would drop to 493.

All of this, however, is purely theoretical, as the city has not yet developed an official definition.

What they have developed is a series of potential ways to help these businesses. Simply handing the businesses money runs afoul of the state constitution, and so is out of the question. In fact, the study reports that there’s no easy way to help. Continue reading

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