The Conditions Needed for Neighborhood Businesses

Last Thursday, the 35th Ave NE Neighborhood Plan Steering Committee hosted the first in a series of Coffee Talks, which are community learning seminars on planning concepts that are relevant to creating a successful neighborhood plan. Professionals from various fields are offering their expertise to the community to provide a primer on several concepts.

Our first Coffee Talk was a presentation on the needs of neighborhood businesses.  Theresa Barreras with the Office of Economic Development’s (OED’s) “Only in Seattle” initiative presented information on the needs of successful business districts, what other business districts are doing, and the resources that the OED has available to businesses.  This includes grants to business districts like those announced today by the Mayor for nine business districts. Additionally, Wendy Schwartz shared her experience as the owner of the Fresh Boutique that had to close this past summer.  Beth Dufek with Impact Capital was going to present as well although had problems with her ZipCar and couldn’t make it to the meeting at last minute.

About 30 people showed up to listen and engage in a Q&A session which turned into a discussion and others sharing their own business experiences. Business owners from Maple Leaf and students from the UW Urban Planning Program participated. Many thanks to all that showed and took part in such a productive and wonderful conversation. Also, thank you to Top Pot for providing so many donuts and delicious coffee.

Our next Coffee Talk will be on March 22nd at Wedgwood Presbyterian Church (Fellowship Hall -downstairs) from 7-8:30PM. The presentation will be on “Making a Neighborhood Walkable and the Importance of Proximity” and will feature Paula Reeves from WSDOT’s Safe Routes to School Program; Lisa Quinn, the Executive Director of Feet First; a speaker from SDOT (to be determined) and will be facilitated by the UW Urban Planning Department. As always, everyone is welcome.

We recorded most of last week’s Coffee Talk on video, although the video doesn’t capture Wendy’s presentation well.  You can also see the post-Coffee Talk survey that all attendees completed HERE.

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