What makes Pike Place Market such a significant landmark is the diversity of small businesses, shops, artists, and restaurants that line the cobblestones with residents above and community services seamlessly interwoven throughout.
The Pike Place Market Foundation has always been committed to nurturing a vibrant neighborhood. As part of our Model for a Healthy Market Community, we work to ensure that all members of our community are economically stable and are able to remain in this Market for as long as they wish. This includes the Market’s 500+ small business, many of which have been hard at work navigating the COVID-19 crisis for the past year.
That’s why we responded in 2020 with a new means to better support the needs of some of our Market businesses. Through our new Small Business Recovery Fund, we’ve been able to provide critical gap funding and peer mentorship to help vendors, artists, and shops adapt now and into the future.
“Overnight, our business completely dried up and we had to adapt. Then, we realized COVID-19 wasn’t going away and we had to lean into this new business model,” said one Market merchant. “This grant helps us build out the part of our business that is showing promise, but that we don’t have the capital to invest in right now.”
So far, the Small Business Recovery Fund has made a substantial impact on Market businesses. We’ve invested $573,515 in 119 businesses throughout the Market, complementing these funds is dedicated staff and peer consultation time to help business owner’s strategize how to utilize these funds for their business’s development.
The Small Business Recovery Fund is unique in that it’s responsive to the emerging and specific needs of Market businesses. Not only is the program helping with rent relief, but the funds are also used by some businesses for investing in better equipment, transitioning to e-commerce and online sales, and developing new products.
“I don’t think I ever would have made the investment in the equipment, it was just too much money to risk,” a Market Merchant told us. “I can’t really thank you enough for giving me the chance to take that risk and discover what a wonderful return on the investment it was!”
Thanks to the hard-working staff of The Market Commons, applicants for the Small Business Recovery Fund are given individual attention for their questions and concerns on how to move forward with their business. This has been bolstered by the Market community themselves, as Market merchants are providing peer mentoring with fellow business owners on adapting to new sales practices and digital platforms.
“It really helped even just to talk to you and figure out more of a plan and go over it in my head,” said one Market shop owner. “The whole process was so helpful and I feel a lot more confident going into 2021.”
As we all know, the COVID-19 crisis continues to play a large and unpredictable role for the future of the Market’s small businesses. We look to grow the Small Business Recovery Fund and maintain it as an available resource for ongoing needs in the Market community.
“This is really such a relief. It really makes me feel good about being part of the Market community,” said a Market business owner. “I’m excited to give my business some much needed structure, especially right now when it’s more important than ever.”