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Community Capital Boosts New RB Biz
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By Kiyomi Taguchi

It’s three-thirty on a blustery Friday afternoon, and the tables at Lottie’s Lounge are filling. Early birds are enjoying a happy hour beer or tucking in to hearty mac n’ cheese. Owner Beau Hebert pops out of the kitchen where he’s been discussing the days’ specials. “New customers!” he calls out happily, and proceeds to greet and take drink orders.

Hebert’s especially busy nowadays because of a second project – the opening of a Rainier Beach restaurant called Jude’s. It will be a neighborhood bar with a full menu and craft cocktails. Hebert walked us through the space on 57th, a block off Rainier, pointing out where the kitchen, booths and stage would be amid the construction. “It’d be a great place for a small jazz combo,” he says, pointing to a riser under a large window. “Hope to have a piano in here, so a little piano bar.”

But paying for all this requires money. “It’s difficult to get a traditional bank loan,” Hebert says, “even if you’ve got a successful place.”

An unusual funding source took Beau...

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It’s All About Family at Nate’s
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By Diane Han UW Newslab

Chicken runs deep in NBA Star Nate Robinson’s family. Nate is so passionate about poultry that he opened up a restaurant in his native Rainier Beach neighborhood called Nate’s Wings and Waffles with co-owners Darren McGill and Kryse Martin-McGill (of Happy Grillmore food truck fame), and Andre Israel.

But the birds are perhaps even more beloved by Nate’s younger brother Anthony Stewart, who works the restaurant floor while Nate is away on NBA business. Despite growing up immersed in the family’s athletic fame, Stewart is most commonly known by his nickname, “Chicken.”

“One time, when I was little, I fell asleep with a chicken bone in my mouth like a binky,” Stewart said. “My mom started calling me chicken and then everybody started calling me that. It’s stuck to this day.” Because of this, Stewart jokes around that he is discreetly a part of the name of the restaurant.Maybe the nickname sealed his fate.

With a menu combining...

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Bikeworks is Back at SV Fastpitch
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Bike Works has made it back to the annual SVP Fast Pitch, this year stronger than ever and with a new innovative program centered on job training. They have made it past the quarterfinals and will compete in the semifinals on Oct. 7th to determine if they will pitch onstage at McCaw Hall as one of 14 finalists. Over 100 innovative social impact organizations applied to Fast Pitch this year, making it the most competitive applicant pool in the program’s history.

Bike Works is an innovative Rainier Valley based non-profit centered around bicycles that combines youth development, community engagement, bicycle recycling and a social enterprise bike shop to help build a sustainable and healthy community. Last year, Bike Works’ Bike Mobile program made it as a quarterfinalist. SVP Fast Pitch is a four-month long program and pitch competition that provides free coaching and over $250,000 in awards to ignite social innovation in the Puget Sound. It is powered by over 100 volunteers and organized by Social Venture Partners.


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RBMA Mentorship Program Asks Corp Business to Step Up
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Cindy Jones thinks it’s time for corporate business in Rainier Beach to give back to the community, and help build a vital business environment here. “I have access to the data, and there is a reason why these companies do business here,” says Jones, Branch Manager at Washington Federal in Rainier Beach since 2006, and Secretary of the Rainier Beach Merchants Association (RBMA). “That is because it is profitable to do business in Rainier Beach.” The best way for these businesses to give back, she says, is by mentoring a local small business through a new Rainier Beach Merchants Association pilot program created by Jones last year.

Business to business mentoring has been proven to have a profound impact on the success of small businesses. Seventy percent of small business owners that receive mentoring have a business that survives for five years or more – double the success rate of businesses that do not receive mentoring, according to a recent UPS...

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RB Biz & Community Revealed Through Blue Tour
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By Susan Davis, Rainier Valley Chamber of Commerce Director

We all make assumptions about our communities, based on how we engage or shop, but by doing that we often miss the amazing things that are right under our noses.

A couple of weeks ago I had the good fortune to get reintroduced on a very deep level to some of the Rainier Beach business and community amenities on the Rainier Beach Square “Blue” Tour. This was the second of three tours created by the Rainier Beach Merchants Association this year to get people out walking in this community that is statistically lower in major crime than almost every neighborhood in the northend, and show off the incredible gems of the Rainier Beach Square area.

As a participant of the “Blue” tour, amazing things were revealed to me:

NW Tap Connection goes waaay beyond tap classes! We saw ballet, tap and hip hop for kids and teens. Melba has been building lives full of confidence and talent for two generations! Growing up in the south, she also adds her...

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Essential Birth & Family Center: Bringing a Dream to Life
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Contributed by Jodilyn Owen

Fulfilling a lifetime dream, the Essential Birth & Family Center is up and running just south of PCC in Lakewood-Seward Park. As owner of the business, it is my honor to be able to bring together holistic and like-minded providers in a collaborative effort to serve our local Southend families as a community-oriented gathering place and resource center.

Acupuncture, massage, nutrition support, lactation support, and support groups for the LGBTQ community, families of color, breastfeeding mothers, and all new moms are all housed in the little yellow building. In addition, I bring to the table twelve years of serving this community through birth and parenting support, and now as a licensed midwife. We have created a space that is warm and inviting, and there’s always room to stop in for a comfortable place to nurse or change your baby.

The idea for a community-oriented touch point for families is the fulfillment of a long time dream of mine after providing labor support for hundreds of South Seattle families over the years and developing a passion for the community.

In a new collaborative effort, we provide complete prenatal care right in our neighborhood...

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King Dynasty: Best Foot Massage Starts with the Head & Heart
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It’s a little known fact that the best foot massages start with the head. OK technically, first order of business is a hot herbal tea bath to soak tired feet. But in a traditional Asian foot massage, as tense foot tendons and muscles ease in the soup, a good masseuse is already at work needing weary heads, massaging tense temples, working stressed necks.

There are several places in Seattle to get a respectable traditional foot massage. Generally, $25 – $30 buys an hour of foot, back, neck and head relief. There are a handful of establishments in the International District at which we’ve had some success, but my new favorite is local family-owned, King Dynasty Foot Spa at King Plaza on MLK and Othello. King Dynasty gets it right every time: a clean, quiet room, fresh-smelling room – getting to it starting with the head and giving my muscles, glands, and nodes the attention they need, leaving me feeling completely relaxed, as if I’d had a particularly satisfying workout.

Foot massage has been practiced as medicine in China for thousands of years. The ancient medical text Huangdi Neijing was written by the Yellow Emperor...

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Hipsters & A Hidden Gem: Le’s Hair Salon
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Savvy Southenders know that the Rainier Valley is chock-full of fantastic businesses in the rough. But with so many diverse, family owned businesses (many without websites), often the only way to learn about the best places is by word of mouth, or by asking friends and neighbors. When my friend Jeannie showed up at a local event with a knock-out haircut that she got in the area, I went out in search of Le’s Hair Salon.

During the year that Le’s has been open on Rainier Ave S between Othello and Kenyon, I have driven past countless times without noticing. But inside the unassuming little shop, light and positive energy follow Le as she coifs up styles, on par with the best in the city. Technical, architectural bobs for women follow sharp business cuts for men. She accomplishes these at lightening-speed – and for the unbelievable prices of $8 for men, and $10 for women. She also offers waxing, relaxing.

Le was born in Vietnam and moved to California as a young adult. This is where she learned the art of hairstyling, and met the husband that we can all thank for bringing her here to Seattle. A passionate animal lover and mother, Le is popular with the young Southend hipsters. It helps that...

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Permanent Housing for Homeless Families Opens in Public/Private Joint Venture
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On Friday, June 29th, 5 First Place homeless families were moved out of shelters and transitional housing into Nhon’s House (pronounced “Young’s House”), a brand new, permanent affordable housing development in the Rainier Valley. Traditionally it is very difficult to get for-profit companies to build permanent affordable housing for homeless people due to their financial instability. However, in this wonderful community success story—Cobalt Mortgage provided the Construction funding, which allowed me to use private land and construct these townhomes specifically as permanent housing for homeless families. First Place acquired the PROJECT Based Section 8 vouchers with the help of Seattle Housing Authority. As a result of these combined efforts, Nhon’s House is now considered a model other communities can study as a solution for finding housing for homeless families.

The families, including 4 families headed by a single parent, and dual-parent family, all moved in to their beautiful new homes over the weekend—sharing in the work. The local community immediately welcomed the families. As the keys were handed out to families in a special ribbon cutting, a friendly neighbor who lives across the street from...

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Energy Efficiency Program Reaches Out to Diverse Businesses in the Southend
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Submitted special to SouthendSeatte by Jennifer LaBrecque
Community Power Works, Small Business Project Manager

As a part of the City of Seattle’s energy efficiency program, Community Power Works (CPW) for Small Business is working hard to reach a diverse group of small, independent restaurants and neighborhood grocery store owners in the Rainier Valley that might not know how energy efficiency options can help build their businesses. To reach this community and help make energy efficiency upgrades easier, CPW for Small Business has hired outreach staff members who are fluent in Vietnamese, Mandarin and Chinese, and who also have strong relationships with neighborhood businesses.

Candance Chin, one of CPW’s business outreach specialists, says, “Community Power Works for Small Business provides a great opportunity to help the small businesses with smart energy efficient options, which is an investment in their business longevity.”

Local Businessman Represents 98118
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Community leader ASARI MOHAMATH shares his story of how he came to live in the 98118 and what he has learned here with Julie Pham, President of the Martin Luther King Business Association. His story will be included as part of the community-building project REPRESENT! 98118, which will launch on Oct. 5 throughout the 98118. People are encouraged help write the history of this community through song, dance, photography, art or sharing one’s personal history and perspective. These voices will be collected and displayed on the REPRESENT! 98118 website as well as participating businesses and organizations. For more information, please visit:

Ever since I lived in the US, the 98118 has been my home. I travelled far to get here.

The journey began in 1980 in Vietnam, when I was ten years old. My parents sent off me and my older brother to go with my uncle’s family. At first, I thought I was just being sent to my grandfather’s village as punishment for a fight I had at school. I remember the sadness in my parents’ faces. I didn’t know then I would not see them for another two years.
We travelled...

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Cheap Chickadee: A Treasurer Hunters Delight
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Everyone loves a bargain. If you are in the market for some great buys, stop by the Cheap Chickadee Thrift Store, 4645 S. Holly St. (cross street = Rainier Ave.) Now open on Saturdays, the Cheap Chickadee is a nonprofit thrift store, giving all proceeds to the programs for older adults at the Southeast Seattle Senior Center. The store is staffed by volunteers from the membership of SESSC, but most are older adults placed by AARP, to gain job skills, training and experience. Recently some friends and family of Georgia Spencer, SESSC Board Member, spent time reorganizing and sprucing up the thrift shop. The young adults, who helped sort and arrange items, are in the retail industry. Look for some great surprises and additions to shop. Shopping at the Cheap Chickadee is another way to go green, because all of the goods are donated for re-use. Get your treasurer-hunting thrills and feel good helping others all in one go. Cheap Chickadee has unique finds, including jewelry, clothing, household items, and nick-knacks. Store Hours: 9-4, Mon-Fri, and now, Saturdays 10-5, (206) 760-9650. Regular sales, such Bag Days, the first Tuesday and Thursday of each month, slash already low prices.

You can visit the website:...

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What does Success Mean to you?
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I used to think so, especially after reading hundreds of stories about other successful people. I thought it was all about being #1 in my real estate business, having lots of awards, being recognized, and of course making lots of money. Now I am not making that wrong or saying that you shouldn’t have that.

I have experienced all that and at the end of the day I still felt there was still something missing and I was feeling empty and meaningless inside. I wasn’t sure why but inside I wasn’t truly feeling happy, satisfied, and fulfilled. So after searching for the answer, I found all the right teachers, coaches and mentors that have helped me find the answers I have been looking for.

I realize today that success isn’t about all that I mentioned above; today my definition for success is all about being balanced!!!

You see us human beings all have 8 equities in our life. We have Physical, Mental (emotion), Spiritual, family/relationship, career, financial, contribution, and social/fun. So let me show you what I mean about being “Balanced”.
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2011 Othello Walking Tour
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Come out and join your neighbors this Saturday June 11th for a guided walking tour of Othello Town Center. Exciting things are happening in Othello. The Station at Othello is leasing apartments and retail space, Othello Park is undergoing a safety and lighting transformation, a new grocer has moved into King Plaza and the Whistle Stop Co-op – Bikes, Bagels and Beverages is licensed and ready to open once their building is complete. These are some of the many reasons that the MLK Business Association is highlighting the Othello Neighborhood on the June Business District Tour.

Julie Pham, award-winning managing editor of Northwest Vietnamese News and President of the MLK Business Association, will lead us on the June 11th tour of the new neighborhood grocer -Saigon Town Supermarket, help us learn about alternative medicines at Seattle Chinese Herbs and sample some Halal cuisine at Karama Restaurant just to name a few of the upcoming highlights.

Karama was featured in the MLKBA’s Plate of Nations event and was well received by the new patrons. At Karama you will find traditional Somali food that can be described as African flavors with an Italian influence.  Khadija Moga, the owner of Karama, wants...

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Vince’s Closure: A Family & Community at Crossroads
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Vince Mottola, Jr. was speechless. The legendary second-generation Neapolitan smile began to fade from his face as families that he’d greeted by name for years filed out of booths for the last time. Meanwhile, it was standing-room only in the back room where best-dressed crowds gathered in an atmosphere that was something between a graduation party and a wake, as an elderly gentlemen channeled Barry White singing, “Let’s just kiss and say ‘goodbye’” to the Karaoke machine.

As different as the rooms appeared, and with a crowd as diverse as the Southend itself, one common theme echoed throughout the restaurant: We should have come here more often, reflecting the underlying sadness of taking for granted something that you always assume will be there, but is suddenly gone.

After opening here in 1963, Vince’s Italian Restaurant closed its doors to Rainier Beach on Sunday, March 20th. Although there are more Vince’s restaurants in the Seattle metro area and new ventures afoot, it was the end of an era and a crossroads for both the Mottola family and the Rainier Beach community.

The Mottolas are long-time members of the Southend...

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Your Itinerary to the Rainier Valley’s Culinary Delights!
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Many people glide through the Rainier Valley on the light rail without realizing the amazing diversity of cuisines this part of Seattle has to offer. Whether you’re a diehard foodie or just enjoy the delights of cultural exploration, Plate of Nations is a fun way to embark on a culinary expedition right in your own backyard!

Between March 27th and April 9th, Plate of Nations will bring together 12 eating establishments located along the Valley’s MLK Jr. Way for a celebration of culinary diversity. This is your opportunity to sample tasty dishes from Louisiana, China, Ethiopia, Mexico, Philly, Somalia, Thailand, and Vietnam. Below are just a few delicious samplings of what’s in store for you.

Get a taste of Mexico City at Huarachitos by trying out alambre, a mixture of chopped beef steak, bacon, Mexican sausage, green and red peppers, red onion, cilantro, and melted cheese. According to Carla J. on Yelp, “authentic Mexican food cooked fresh to order without the grease!!! I love it!”

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Pham Fam News Biz a Southend Tradition
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In celebration of the 2000th issue of Người Việt Tây Bắc-NVTB/ Northwest Vietnamese News, Julie Pham, PhD, Managing Editor of Northwest Vietnamese News and Chair of MLK Business Association submitted a retrospective of Washington’s largest Vietnamese language newspaper. Special to

My parents conceived Washington’s first private Vietnamese language newspaper in 1985 in a small space shared with a dentist near Columbia City library. I was six years old and my brothers were four and three. Since then, Người Việt Tây Bắc-NVTB (also known by its English name, Northwest Vietnamese News) has always been located in the Rainier Valley, and always along or near the Martin Luther King Jr. Way South corridor.

In Người Việt Tây Bắc’s infancy, my father, Kim Pham, also worked from 6am-3pm at a marine architectural and engineering firm to support the family and the newspaper until it was able to stand on its own. By the time the newspaper was first printed in 1986, my parents found an office space on MLK, near where the corridor intersects with Rainier Avenue. Người Việt Tây Bắc sat on the now vacant lot, then known as 3111 MLK, for nearly 20 years....

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March of Nations at Olympic Express
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In the kitchen of a restaurant near Othello Station, Al Les is sprinkling fragrant spices and chilies into the wok as he prepares his popular lamb curry dish. In the dinning area, a Latino family is served Malaysian rice dishes. At another table, several men speaking in Arabic are eating Halal beef pho. A Somali woman is standing near the cash register waiting for her takeout order.

All this is going on while the World Cup is playing on the TV by the menu board. Welcome to Olympic Express. The name is very apt as you can witness the equivalent of the Olympics’ March of Nations every day in this mom-and-pop eatery located in King Plaza right at Othello Station.

“I love this area, if I was given the choice of living in the Southend versus Issaquah or Bellevue, I’d definitely pick the Southend. It’s probably the most diverse area in Washington, I grew up here…this is my home,” says Al, the owner and main chef of Olympic Express. If you knew Al’s background, you would not be surprised at all by this statement.

Born in Vietnam of Cham ancestry, Al speaks Vietnamese, Cham, Cambodian, English and Arabic. His family immigrated to America in 1981 landing in Fort Collins, Colorado. In 1984...

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Last Minute Gifts? Shop the CCBA’s Short List of Fun Local Shops
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This post was submitted special to by Shelley Morrison, Columbia City Business Association

The rush is on for last minute holiday shopping. But the Columbia City Business Association is making your shopping adventure easier and more fun by flagging independent great businesses, and providing a short list below of some of favorite shops for gift-giving for the whole family.

When you’re strolling, or running, around Columbia City this week doing your holiday shopping and dining, you are likely to see lots of smiling faces in the windows. To point you in the right direction, the Columbia City Business Association has created window posters with close-up photos of the local, independent owners of Columbia City. You can also maximize your shopping trip by pre-planning from our web page and slide show:

Many of the window posters feature “Local Owners’ Holiday Specials”. It’s a great way to save this holiday season and support the community. Your dollar spent with a local, independent business creates 3x more...

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Setting the Record Straight on the Columbia City Cinema
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This post was submitted special to by Paul Doyle, owner of the Columbia City Cinema.


The whole city’s asking what happened? How did the owner of Columbia City Cinema suddenly become the Bernie Madoff of South Seattle? Is it true the cinema is being featured on an upcoming installment of American Greed?

Well, don’t believe everything you hear, especially if it comes from the State Department of Financial Institutions. Is promoting an upcoming movie, and asking people to come down and buy tickets when it opens, the same as selling tickets? No, until money has changed hands and the purchaser actually has a ticket, no sale has taken place. The same is true for our proposed stock offering. We were trying to get people in the mood to buy stock when it became available. We were taking reservations. We weren’t selling stock because we had no stock to sell. We tried to make that clear to everyone. Until the stock offering is approved, there is no stock because the approved application becomes the stock offering document and instrument of sale. Until the documents are read and signed and money changes hands, no sale has taken...

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Southend “Hidden Gems” Featured in Only in Seattle Campaign
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Just in time for holiday gift-giving, the city of Seattle and its neighborhood business district partners recently launched the “Only in Seattle” marketing campaign, a visually lush celebration of the many locally owned “hidden gem” retail shops and restaurants in Seattle’s unique neighborhoods. Featuring businesses like Seattle’s oldest retail bakery, Borraccini’s on Rainier Ave, the dynamic and multi-modal campaign journeys across the city in search of unique experiences, meals, and treasures that you’ll truly find only in Seattle. The initial campaign features locally owned businesses in five Seattle neighborhoods, including three areas in the Southend – Columbia City, Georgetown and the MLK Corridor in Rainier Valley – which were selected from nearly a dozen neighborhoods which applied to be in the program.

Inspired by the “buy local” movement, the city’s Office of Economic Development (OED) worked with local business owners and neighborhood leaders to develop a campaign that would inspire people to discover and explore new neighborhoods and businesses that make up Seattle’s diverse retail community.  By focusing on the unique character of individual businesses and neighborhoods,...

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Beauty Biz & Hair Culture in the Southend
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Along Rainier Avenue from the Rainier Valley to Rainier Beach, there are diverse beautification opportunities that bridge different minority communities and play an important role in breaking down negative stereotypes. The nail shops are usually run by Vietnamese people, and the hair, wig and beauty supply shops are owned by Koreans. But both of these services are catering to our diverse population. Unlike other big corporate stores in the south end that refuse to meet the needs of the community, the minority owners of beauty shops actually provide much better discounts and more customer-oriented services than downtown nail and hair salons. Additionally, these shops provide a great interracial social hub where interactions can downplay racial tensions among minority groups.

For many of us, the hair on top of our head is there just to keep us warm. Somehow the creative human mind decided to turn a bushy patch of hair into a fashion statement. In my Vietnamese culture, a bald-headed person is someone with a lot of knowledge and who is wise. In the American culture, hair represents personal image. Loud and thick hair represents attitude. Colored hair represents creativity. While balding represents insecurity. Wigs, false...

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MLK BA and HomeSight – World Biz Tours in Our Backyard
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Embracing a mission to realize a “strong, vibrant, and culturally diverse business community that is a destination, second to none, in the Pacific Northwest,” the MLK Business Association (MLK BA) formed two years ago to organize and promote businesses along the Martin Luther King corridor in the Rainier Valley. To further the impact and reach those goals, the MLK BA has teamed up with HomeSight, a local community development corporation (CDC), to organize tours of the incredible array of shops and services available—from the “chicken lady” to Cajun Crawfish to Sunlight Salon. The purpose of the tours is twofold; the tours not only to introduce the MLK businesses to potential new customers in a fun and interactive way, but also get the businesses thinking on their own about how to broaden their customer base with the community. Two successful tours took place last year, with a total of 4 planned in 2010.

This past June 12th, on a surprisingly sunny Saturday, upwards of 25 people gathered to tour 5 businesses in the Othello Business District led by MLK BA Board Chair Julie Pham. The group sampled dim sum at Venus, toured salons and gift shops, found perfectly pulled espresso and Halal meat at Halin Café and...

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Saar’s: World Foods Niche Market
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We can all agree that “Saar’s” is an unfortunate name for a food market and many of us have been confounded by the products in its Rainier Beach location read more…

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