Seattle launches Small Business Stabilization Pilot Program with $25K grants for eight ‘vulnerable micro-businesses’

The efforts are limited in scale but Seattle is ramping up programs to help small businesses survive an increasingly expensive city. A new Small Business Stabilization Pilot Program will help eight Seattle “micro businesses” get on the right track, Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office announced Tuesday.

The first-time pilot program will provide the eight owners with $25,000 grants that can be used to cover “day-to-day operating expenses of the business, such as payroll or losses due to destabilizing events.” Continue reading

With studio approaching 20 years on the Hill, new owner stretches out with SweatBox Yoga

Assaf (Image: SweatBox Yoga)

The SweatBox Yoga studio sits in the middle of Pike/Pine where more than a few of the nightlife venues are now owned by tenders, chefs, and managers turned bar and restaurant owners.

Earlier this year, Frani Assaf officially took ownership of SweatBox Yoga  after starting as a student and teacher at the Capitol Hill mainstay since the early 2000s.

“She’s always risen to the occasion. She and I are both from the midwest. We get that mentality and we get each other,” longtime owner Laura Culberg said. “Once I hired a broker and put the SweatBox on the market, I met with a few people who were interested in buying the studio and my gut told me it wasn’t right. I couldn’t imagine selling this living community to a stranger . . . A lot of people think Frani is the owner already, and it seemed like a natural fit… Frani at the helm would be the best for the community.”

Assaf has taught yoga since 2003, and was recently SweatBox’s studio manager. Hailing from Iowa, she trained as a dancer for over twelve years and was introduced to yoga around 1996 when she and a friend started practicing poses from a book in their living rooms. Continue reading

Seattle’s new Legacy Business Program won’t save your favorite restaurant or bar from demolition (but it might help it find a new Capitol Hill home)

In business for a decade or more? Check. A community asset? Check. At risk of displacement? CHECK!

A new program will award one lucky District 3 business eternal immunity against dips in the economy, looming redevelopment, and changing tastes.

Those last parts? Not true.

But the city is rolling out a Legacy Business Program. The bad news is the new initiative is not really about preserving the most culturally important spaces in the daily lives of our neighborhoods.

Instead, Seattle’s first step in recognizing its most vital “third places” away from our homes and work will be a bit of a popularity contest:

One Legacy Business will be selected from each of the seven council districts. These businesses will receive public recognition at an awards ceremony in May, in recognition of National Small Business Month. Winners will also receive access to a variety of small business support services through the Office of Economic Development, including a commercial lease and succession planning toolkit, marketing and legal consultation.

The city’s Office of Economic Development officially opened nominations for the program this week and will continue to collect submissions through Valentine’s Day 2020. Continue reading

Melrose Night Market

Join us on Small Business Saturday for a festive Night Market at Melrose!

Get into the spirit of the season with your favorite Melrose Market shops and restaurants as well as 20 local makers from Seattle Made forming a holiday bazaar in our Melrose Market Studios space.

This evening market will include live entertainment for the whole family. Melrose Night Market is the perfect opportunity to cross everyone off of your holiday shopping list while supporting independent Seattle businesses!

Three different themed gift baskets filled with local goods will be raffled out throughout the evening! All raffle proceeds benefit Seattle Made, a local non-profit.


Butter Home • Glasswing • Greenfire Products • Homegrown • Marseille • Melrose Market Studios • Rain Shadow Meats • Sea Rose Knifeworks • Sitka & Spruce • Still Liquor • Taylor Shellfish • Terra Plata

SEATTLE MAKERS curated by Seattle Made:
Louie de Coton • Firefly Kitchens, LLC • Dottyspeck • Filigree & Shadow • Britta Ambauen Jewelry • OOliva • Good King Snacking Cacao • Kitten Mittens • Irene Akio • Heidi Kunkel Fine Porcelain • Lanier’s Fine Candies • Seattle Seed Co. • Your Chef du Jour, LLC • Modern Mettle • Jonboy Caramels • Salt Blade • Mathew Porter Art • rue Sante • Laughing Elephant • GRACE GOW

Balloon Art by JR Seldon • Music by Navid Eliot & Marina Christopher • Origami Art, History, and Tutorials by Mike Berry • Trivia Puppet Company • Drawings & Poems by Requests from Anthony Carson

Power Connect: Capitol Hill Streetscapes

Capitol Hill continues to change at a rapid pace, and it can be hard to keep track of all the projects transforming and improving our neighborhood. From bike lanes to bus rapid transit to streetcar changes to putting a lid on I-5, there are a lot of actions big and small shaping how we live, work, and play in the neighborhood.

Enjoy a drink with your neighbors while you meet and mingle with neighborhood small business owners. Learn what is going on around Capitol Hill’s streets and in front of your business, including representatives for:

Seattle Department of Transportation Director Sam Zimbabwe will be joining us as a special guest to talk about the big picture of how the city and region are looking at our streetscapes to adapt to our evolving needs in a fast-growing city while also serving those who already live here.

This mixer is open to all.

Free to attend; registration preferred:

$15 now? Nah. Chef Matt Dillon says try ‘triple net’ when sorting out why he’s closing Capitol Hill’s Sitka and Spruce

(Image: Sitka and Spruce)

“There’s gonna be a reckoning, big-time,” chef and owner Matt Dillon told the Seattle Times about his decision to close the still respected, James Beard-worthy Capitol Hill restaurant, Sitka and Spruce at the end of the year.

When a tastemaker and leader says something like that about his industry, people tend to notice. Fans mourn. Fellow restaurateurs take a deeper look at their bottom lines. And the political crowd gets something new to chew on.

CHS reported here on the plan to close Sitka and Spruce at the end of the year after its birth in Eastlake 14 years ago and its move to Melrose Market in 2009.

“Was this about $15 minimum wage? That plays a part in it but it’s such a complicated situation,” Dillon told CHS last week after his words had their chance to circulate and started popping up in arguments over Seattle’s small business and restaurant economy where pundits can’t seem to quit the fight over issues like the $15 minimum wage and the incumbents they blame for ushering it in. Continue reading

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