The GSBA Blog

  • Remembering George Bakan, Seattle Gay News Publisher & LGBTQ Rights Pioneer

    by GSBA Staff
    | Jun 15, 2020
    Losing George Bakan leaves a huge hole in our LGBTQ community. George, Publisher of the Seattle Gay News, was a friend, GSBA Member, and fierce longtime LGBTQ activist.

    20171213-IMG_0070George began his career with SGN in the early 1980’s, when LGBTQ Seattleites depended on each week’s edition of the Seattle Gay News to not only tie them to their community, but to stay informed about the HIV/AIDS epidemic. George printed every scrap of news on research, prevention, and resources to help fight the disease. As the death toll mounted, George filled the pages with the names of our community members who were lost, and published obituaries for free.

    He helped see our community through some of its darkest days, and continued to fight for LGBTQ equality for decades, also leaving his mark on the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and marriage equality movements.

    George was a powerhouse. He was never afraid to speak truth to power. He was blunt, and told you how it was - whether you wanted to hear it or not. He was known for his ongoing calls to every LGBTQ nonprofit, and GSBA was right up there receiving our daily one or more George Bakan calls, to hold us accountable, go on about community news, challenge us on what we didn’t do or should do, and other times - just for conversation.

    As we approach our 40th anniversary next year, we find it amazing that we can look back on every year throughout our history as an organization - and George was there. He never missed an event. He loved the GSBA Public Policy Task Force, was proud of our community having an LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce, and cared deeply about the GSBA Scholarship & Education Fund. 

    After the last EQUALUX - TASTE of GSBA in November, we picked up the phone to hear George say it was “one of the most powerful events” he’d ever attended, and he went as far as to contact the Mayor’s Office and have the day declared as “EQUALUX Day in Seattle.” Of course, the Mayor’s Office was also familiar with George’s calls and understood that life would be easier if they did what he asked.

    That was George, opinionated, irreverent, knowledgeable, incorrigible, and loved. His activist mold was one of a kind and his legacy within Seattle’s LGBTQ history is indelible. We were so lucky to call him a member and friend.
  • GSBA & CHBA Respond to Police Violence

    by Louise Chernin, President & CEO
    | Jun 08, 2020

    This letter was sent to Mayor Durkan, members of the Seattle City Council, City Attorney Holmes, and Chief Best on June 8, 2020.

    As the small business voice of Capitol Hill and the LGBTQ community, we write in solidarity with other community voices to express our deep concern that the events of the last weeks have put at risk the health and safety of the community.

    The murder of countless black and brown people at the hands of the police must stop. We stand with the Black Lives Matter movement and other community voices here in Seattle on the need to address racism in all its forms.

    As the small business voice of Capitol Hill and the LGBTQ community, we believe Capitol Hill should be a safe place for residents, small business owners, and for individuals to peacefully protest. The management by City Hall and the actions we have observed by the Seattle Police Department have created an environment that is hostile to free speech and the rights of the public to express themselves through peaceful protest.  

    GSBA is Washington's LGBTQ and allied chamber of commerce, founded on Capitol Hill in 1981 and representing 1,400 small businesses in Washington, including hundreds in Seattle. GSBA has a long history of fighting for economic empowerment and social justice. The Capitol Hill Business Alliance is a program of GSBA and is the business voice for the neighborhood. Many of our members have been risking their health and safety to support the protests against police violence because standing with their communities is what they do. In the middle of a pandemic and unprecedented economic crisis, they have seen it as their duty to open their doors and provide food, water, medical supplies, restrooms, and other needed amenities. And in return, many in the community feel betrayed and unsafe due to the reaction by the Seattle Police Department. 

    Watching the epicenter of the confrontation between protesters and police this weekend take place on the rainbow crosswalks in the center of our LGBTQ community's historic neighborhood on the start of Pride was particularly painful. The origins of Pride for the LGBTQ community are rooted in protests against police brutality, whether at the Stonewall Inn, Compton's Cafeteria, or the extortion and harassment of early LGBTQ spaces in Pioneer Square for most of the twentieth century. LGBTQ people of color have been at the center of these movements from the beginning. From our perspective, there is no way to separate the fight for LGBTQ rights from the fights for the rights of black, brown, and indigenous people.

    GSBA has long supported community-based efforts to reform the Seattle Police Department. What the events of the last week have made clear is that the institution needs deep and meaningful changes to its systems, policies, and culture. We ask that you act quickly and decisively to deescalate the tensions on Capitol Hill and across Seattle so that we can again feel safe on Capitol Hill and protesters can exercise their first amendment rights. The City must make every effort necessary to reach consensus with the community to eliminate biased policing, and we ask that you listen closely to the voices of our communities.

    We join with many others who have come before us advocating the following actions as a start to remedy these harms and the significant loss of goodwill and trust between the community, its local leaders, and its police department:

    • Cease all actions against peaceful protesters, including physical attacks, arrests, prosecution, and incarceration.

    • Prohibit the use of any gas, flash-bang grenades, rubber bullets, and other violent methods against protesters.

    • End forcing downtown protests up into Capitol Hill, allow protesters to peaceably walk and gather on streets and sidewalks as they choose, especially during these times when there is minimal obstruction of traffic or other activities.

    • Prohibit any obstruction of badge numbers by officers, for any reason.

    • Have an experienced incident commander who is visible throughout the demonstrations, speaking with and regularly updating community, businesses, the media, and all those watching who are trying to get accurate, timely, and consistent information.

    • Ensure that SPOG and SPMA contracts live up to the promises made to the community that reforms recommended by the Community Police Commission in 2014 and in the 2017 accountability reform law will be fully enacted. 

    • Follow through on all other requirements from the 2017 law that did not need to await contractual changes and on any other recommendations for reform from years of civilian oversight working in collaboration with community that are still not implemented.

    • Begin serious efforts to de-militarize SPD (equipment, training, and behavior) and redirect SPD funding where a law enforcement approach is not serving our communities, reinvesting in other approaches, and in addressing other long-standing disparities in services.

    The damage done to Capitol Hill, its residents, and its small businesses – as well as the loss of trust and mutual respect between police and the communities they serve – will take a lot of work to restore. We are outraged, frustrated, and disappointed, and we need you to hear our voice and those of the protesters. While our expectations are high, we will help hold City Hall and the Seattle Police Department accountable. GSBA will continue to work for equality and the dismantling of structural racism working with community partners to make our City safe and allow our communities to thrive.


    Louise Chernin, President & CEO

  • Thousands Watch Virtual Scholars Celebration

    by Louise Chernin (She/her), GSBA President & CEO
    | Jun 01, 2020

    Thirty years of shaping visionary leaders! One year of planning the celebration and then - poof - with three months to go, everything changed. A Scholars Dinner for 500 had to be reimagined as a never-before done Virtual Scholars Celebration. A sit-down dinner for 500 was transformed into an evening enjoyed by thousands. If you weren’t one of those fortunate viewers, you still have a chance to enjoy an hour of spirit-lifting inspiration by viewing the Virtual Scholars Celebration on YouTube.

    The Scholars Dinner planning committee led by Crystal Wilson and her team - Beth Osborne, Danny Cords, Jacky-Vy Chau, and Lisa Sterritt - let their imagination fly and created an evening of heartfelt stories and exciting moments to introduce this year's cohort: our sixty scholars, twenty-five returning scholars and thirty-five new scholars - the largest cohort yet. Scholar alum Ernesto Morfin-Montes de Oca knocked it out of the park as our emcee. The evening started off with Shinji Wakabayashi and Heather Wiedenhoff, GSBA’s first two scholars from 1991; who were followed by Scholars Nate Jo, Amanda Schendzielos, Richard Parra, Bryan Rincon Ochoa and Mei’lani Eyre. Listening to these resilient, courageous and smart students, renewed our hope, a scarce commodity in 2020.

    Special thanks to Mayor Jenny Durkan, US Senator Patty Murray, and Washington State Supreme Court Justice Helen Whitener for congratulating our students. We also want to give a shout out to our dinner sponsors, who without hesitation changed their sponsorships into donations to the fund. Thank you: T-Mobile, Premera Blue Cross, Alaska Airlines, Amazon, Carter Subaru, Kaiser Permanente, Liberty Mutual, PwC, Safeco, and UW Medicine.

    Now, more important than ever, we need people willing to step up and lead, so huge thanks is owed to our Board Chair Stephanie Dallas, Scholarship Chair Carrie Carson, and the entire Board for being those leaders. Moving an emotional evening of hugs and cheers into a virtual event is not easy, but with the vision and leadership of our Deputy Director Mark Rosén, Sr. Development Officer Jeff Boyer, Scholarship Manager Taylor Briggs, and the creative genius of our Production Manager Carlos Chavez, a magical evening was created. If you hadn’t grabbed your tissues yet, you definitely needed them when scholar Inéz Marti sang P!nk's “What About Us” as the images of smiles and messages from our cohort flashed across the screen.

    Again, it is not too late to watch if you missed the event (or to watch again) to take part in the magic. Thank you to all of you who gave during the Celebration. If you missed this opportunity, please join the GSBA family of donors. Every donation ensures our LGBTQ and allied students are able to go to college. Education is the greatest equalizer there is, and investing in future diverse leaders, is a wise investment.

    For a better future,

    Louise Chernin (She/her)
    GSBA President & CEO
  • We Stand in Solidarity for Black Lives & Against Racial Injustice

    by Louise Chernin, GSBA President & CEO
    | May 28, 2020

    It might be a beautiful sunny day, but there is a very dark cloud hanging over our country. Of course, there is the cloud of COVID-19, but we believe that crisis will go away with treatment and a vaccine.

    Today, my heart goes out to the family of George Floyd, another black family burying a loved one who was senselessly murdered by those sworn to protect us. This year alone, we already grieve the senseless killings of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, and too many black and brown Americans whose lives have been cut short because of racist violence.

    The outrage and anger intermingling with our grief can be paralyzing as we continue to dismantle, shatter, and wipe out ongoing individual, personal, structural, and institutional racism that permeates every aspect of our country.
    As we all try and cope with the sick feeling and outrage I know you share with me, let’s find concrete ways to address this treacherous fear and hatred within our country. It must be battled on every front, every day, in every way.

    I know that the LGBTQ community continues to suffer discrimination and violence, but we have plenty of work to do even within our our community, whether in our organizations, our community spaces, or ourselves. We talk about allyship and how important it is to work for human rights for all, but it is essential that we understand true allyship must be loud and visible, even when it is uncomfortable. And above all else, it must be earned.
    We can do this, but it must be a priority. No one is better at movement growing than the LGBTQ community. Racism is deadly, discrimination crushes our souls, and at this very moment it is being fed by those in power. We must find ways to stop its growing boldness.

    This includes accountable police forces which must continue to address acts of violence against the black community, all communities of color, and transgender and gender-diverse people. This includes intentional decisions to change economic systems that consistently oppress large segments of our populations. This includes recognizing that our desire to be comfortable is not greater than someone else's right to live.

    Wishing you courage and safety,

    Louise Chernin (She/her)
    GSBA President & CEO
  • Meet First-Year Scholar Dawson Dang

    by GSBA Staff
    | May 15, 2020

    Dawson Dang_1First year GSBA Scholar, Dawson Dang grew up in the small town of Longview, Washington. He is the first in his family to pursue a higher education and is now going to school at the University of Washington in Seattle pursuing a degree in Nursing with a minor in Nutritional Sciences.

    We recently caught up with Dawson and he shared,

    “What sparked my interest in pursuing a nursing/ healthcare degree was when I came across Growing Generations, a surrogacy and egg donation agency. I was researching for a paper on same-sex adoption when I found out about Growing Generations and its president Erica Horton, who is also a board member for the Family Equality Council. When I found out about the work they do for the LGBTQ+ community and how they help them start families I knew this is what I was meant to do. I’ve always strongly valued family so to help others through the means of healthcare to start a family of their own was something that would mean a lot to me.”

    Especially in the midst of a global pandemic, we are reminded just how important it is to have strong leadership and representation of marginalized communities in healthcare. For Dawson, the need for culturally competent and compassionate healthcare is personal for many reasons:

    “Being both a member of the LGBTQ+ community as well as a Vietnamese-American during a time of global pandemic can be quite frightening especially in today's political climate. Ever since discovering myself and my own sexuality, I’ve always realized the importance of having LGBTQ+ community members in healthcare. I think now more than ever it is important to have LGBTQ+ as well as Asian representation in health because of the blatant discrimination this virus has brought on to both communities.”

    Join us for the Virtual Scholars Celebration on Friday, May 27, from 6:00 - 7:00 PM to meet Dawson and the 59 other incredible GSBA Scholars who are ready to change the world!

  • Scholar Stories: Meet Three-Year Scholar Elmer Coria

    by GSBA Staff
    | May 01, 2020

    P1188151In this time of economic uncertainty, the GSBA Scholarship Fund is redoubling our efforts to stay connected with scholars, learn more about how they are doing, and find new and creative ways to support them. In 2016, the GSBA Scholarship Fund formally adopted a new policy, which we called the GSBA Guarantee. This Guarantee ensures that every scholar who is making steady progress toward degree completion is eligible for up to four years of undergraduate scholarship funding. As an added benefit, this Guarantee has allowed GSBA to foster and maintain deeper relationships with each of our scholars over the course of multiple years.

    One such multi-year scholar who we have had the pleasure of supporting is Elmer Coria. Elmer came of age in Mexico City and presently resides in Tacoma, Washington, where he attends Pacific Lutheran University, pursuing undergraduate degrees in Business Administration and Hispanic Studies. He yearns to address LGBTQ issues of immigration, social justice, and discrimination by creating optimized support networks and spheres of influence. Elmer’s longstanding goal is to elevate the voice of LGBTQ immigrant and refugee communities in regional chambers of commerce via economic, legislative, and community-based initiatives.

    For the past three years, we have come to know Elmer as a global-minded, infinite learner who firmly believes in building communities and economies through integrity, teamwork, and global vision. Elmer will be graduating from Pacific Lutheran University in May and is currently studying to take his CPA exams before starting full-time employment with PwC in the fall. We could not be more proud of Elmer and are so excited to continue witnessing all of the good that he brings to the world. Click here to watch Elmer speak on how the GSBA Scholarship Fund has impacted his life.

    GSBA will be sharing more Scholar Stories in the coming months so stay tuned! And don’t forget to join us on Wednesday, May 27th at 6 PM for our Virtual Scholars Celebration to honor our graduates, celebrate our returning scholars, and welcome our 35 newly selected scholars.

  • GSBA Continues to Advocate for Businesses During Pandemic

    by Louise Chernin (She/her), GSBA President & CEO
    | Apr 27, 2020

    Although many of us are weary of life under COVID-19, Governor Inslee has announced some movement to allow the opening up of some sectors of the economy, starting with low risk construction. Other industries that the Governor is looking to open up will be elective surgeries and outdoor recreation. But, the main question everyone wants answers to “when will we return to normal?”

    Given these unknowns, the Governor is not able to provide direct answers. As we keep repeating, it will be a “turn of the dial and not a switch.” Even as industries open, the openings will be gradual - and we need to be prepared for setbacks. GSBA will continue to monitor the lifting of industry restrictions, and keep you posted. As business owners, you do need to start thinking of how you will reopen in stages, in terms of staggering staff hours; making accommodations for high risk employees; and ensuring your workplace will able to be compliant around workplace safety such as social distancing and hygiene maintenance; and customer/visitor expectations and monitoring. 
    Although mostly consumed by COVID-19, there are other workplace issues that GSBA is actively engaged. I am referring to the recent payroll tax legislation introduced by Councilmembers Sawant and Morales. Given that the State of Washington is soon to see an unemployment rate of one million, I was aghast that our City Council was considering a tax against payroll.

    In response, GSBA has written councilmembers and the Mayor, testified before the City Council’s Budget Committee; had an opinion piece published in the Puget Sound Business Journal co-authored by me and Taylor Hoang, Executive Director of the Ethnic Business Coalition, and are actively engaged with the No Payroll Tax, Recovery First committee. GSBA understands that there is a need for more revenue in Seattle and Washington State, but do not believe taxing payroll is the way to go. Perhaps, the time is now to look at a more progressive tax at the state level.
    It is a busy time for GSBA as we work on behalf of you, our 1,400 members, each who are facing the gravest challenges of your professional lives. Our Membership Team is available to provide you with technical support on applying for SBA loans and grants. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if there is information or support we can provide you.

    Stay safe,

    Louise Chernin (She/her)
    GSBA President & CEO
  • GSBA Endorses Federal Paycheck Guarantee Act

    by Matt Landers, Public Policy & Government Relations Director
    | Apr 27, 2020
    The GSBA Board of Directors has endorsed the Paycheck Guarantee Act, proposed by Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-7).

    "A federal paycheck guarantee would stanch more layoffs and unemployment, and quickly and reliably deliver relief to workers," says Representative Jayapal. "Workers would not be forced to apply for unemployment insurance, overwhelm that system and then have to once again find a job. Businesses of all sizes would be able to keep workers on payroll and benefits—and be able to quickly re-open—partially or fully—without having to rehire and retrain their workforce.”

    GSBA thanks the Congresswoman and her office for the extensive outreach to small businesses, including GSBA members, on how to best structure this act. In particular, she heard the many frustrations around accessing supports from the CARES Act and has designed the Paycheck Guarantee Act to have as few barriers as possible so that relief can get in people's hands as fast and as easily as possible.

    The Paycheck Guarantee Act would:
    1. Cover 100% of wages for workers earning up to $100,000, ensuring that employers are able to keep workers paid and out of unemployment lines
    2. Keep workers enrolled in employer-sponsored benefits, including health care
    3. Encourage employers to re-hire recently laid-off staff or furloughed workers by covering payroll retroactively to the start of the crisis
    4. Cover essential business expenses like rent to ensure that businesses don't shutter completely and can re-open when the pandemic ends
    5. Get support to employers and workers as quickly as possible, using existing payroll tax infrastructure to facilitate delivery of payments.
    6. Keep workers attached to the labor market and businesses ready to open, speeding up the economic recovery.

  • Walking the Talk: Regional Companies Show Up for LGBTQ Students

    by GSBA Staff
    | Apr 24, 2020
    When the Scholarship Fund was founded 30 years ago, it was the generosity of individual donors that provided the funds to support our scholars. Individual donors continue to contribute the majority of the funds raised each year and every donation helps from our Yellow Brick Road donors, who give what they can monthly, to our Presidents Circle donors who have made philanthropy a significant part of their life mission. Added to that, is the support we receive from our corporate partners.

    2018 Scholars Dinner - Photo Credit - Mary Grace McKernan (73)In our region, we are blessed with companies that understand the importance of giving back, that embrace diversity and inclusion, and see the impact their donations can make for the next generation. These are companies who don’t just write a check with a rainbow stamp. They show up as volunteers, they hold trainings for our scholars, they provide internships and mentoring, and they truly walk the talk. This is true for the Sounders FC, Holland America Lines, Microsoft, PwC, and so many more. The individuals working for these companies give from their own pockets, they dedicate their time to interview and help select the next scholar cohort, and they are some of the best ambassadors for the Fund around.

    With the cancellation of our 30th Anniversary Scholars Dinner, every one of the93089110_10157891229278726_3725045051584151552_n corporate sponsors quickly switched their sponsorship to a direct donation to the Fund, thereby ensuring that we are able to continue to support our scholars. Some have gone even further by increasing their support for students facing extraordinary burdens with the loss of jobs and vital income. Goose Ridge Cellars was excited to support the Dinner for the second year in a row with their amazing wines; but now will be donating a portion of the proceeds from the sales of their Cascadian Outfitters Rosé Bubbles, featuring a rainbow colored Sasquatch on the can, to the Scholarship Fund.

    GSBA Diamond Sponsor, Wells Fargo, created a scholarship five years ago, and continues to be one of the Scholarship Funds biggest supporters. This year, the Wells Fargo Scholarship is being awarded to Marlon Do Couto, a multi-year GSBA Scholar who is one of two recipients of a graduate level scholarship. Marlon has been a volunteer at numerous events for GSBA and last year, while he took a gap year between undergrad and grad school, Marlon was one of many past GSBA scholars who interviewed and help choose the newest cohort.

    Marlon Do CoutoOriginally from Brazil, Marlon Do Couto has lived in Seattle for seven years. He has a B.A. in Finance from Seattle University and will pursue a Master of Science in Business Analytics at Duke University in North Carolina. Marlon wants to use data analytics to increase diversity within companies and to advocate for social and environmental responsibility. He also wants to use his background in finance and analytics to help LGBTQ immigrants of color who want to launch businesses. By helping these entrepreneurs to access resources and capital, Marlon hopes they will be able to establish and grow their companies, creating thriving and diverse business communities across the country.

    At EQUALUX 2019, the largest donation received was from Symetra. With a focus on students from the most underserved communities. the Symetra Empowers Scholarship will fund three scholars each year for the next five years. It is the largest corporate grant that Symetra has awarded and the largest corporate gift to the Scholarship Fund in our history.

    In a time of great economic uncertainty, it takes the entire community to sustain the work of investing in the next generation of leaders. The need for compassionate, innovative and dedicated leaders has never been more evident than it is now. We thank every single one of our donors and our corporate partners for making the difference!

    We hope that you will join us at the Virtual Scholars Celebration on May 27 from 6:00-7:00 PM to meet all of the named scholars and the entire 60-student cohort. The 30th Anniversary Scholars Dinner may be cancelled, but the celebration goes on. 
  • GSBA Concerns About New Jobs Tax

    by GSBA Staff
    | Apr 17, 2020
    This letter was sent to the Seattle City Council and Mayor's Office on April 14.

    Members of the Seattle City Council - 

    GSBA, as you know, is our state’s LGBTQ chamber of commerce with over 1,400 mostly small business members. Programs of GSBA include Travel Out Seattle (focusing on the tourism and hospitality industries) and the Capitol Hill Business Alliance (representing all small businesses in Capitol Hill). At the moment, over 80% of our members are in crisis during this pandemic. Every day, our staff reaches out to members to hear heartbreaking stories of folks losing everything that they have worked their lives to build. GSBA appreciates all the City is trying to do to support small businesses, including the Stabilization Fund and setting up a Small Business Recovery Task Force. We know you care about our community and are deeply committed to ensuring our community will survive this health crisis. 
    That is why many at GSBA have been frankly shocked to learn about the reintroduction of one of the most divisive issues in recent City history. Just when businesses across the country are struggling to survive and when our amazing federal delegation is fighting hard to keep people employed and to support the survival of our small businesses, the City of Seattle appears to be taking the opposite approach and attacking either businesses teetering on the edge of survival or enacting harsh punitive measures against those few who are actually still able to pay and support their workers.

    We are not yet even to the worst part of the economic crisis, and already the City Council is considering policies that will place further unsupportable hardship on some of the businesses who can least afford it. Most businesses in the hospitality industry - including restaurants and hotels that would be covered under the proposed tax - have lost all of their revenue and had to lay off most of their staff. Basing a tax on their 2019 payroll - a banner year - and applying it to 2020 - the worst year in memory - is frankly appalling. As unemployment in Washington State surpasses half a million people, do we even for one moment want the largest employers to reconsider their investment in our community? Having those large employers maintaining payroll, donating to restaurant workers, supporting small businesses and hourly workers,  shipping needed medical supplies and food is paramount to our survival.

    GSBA is not an anti-tax business organization. We remain the only chamber of commerce  to support and actively fight for a statewide income tax to fix the most regressive tax structure in the United States. We strongly supported the unsuccessful efforts at the state legislature this year to create a county-wide tax that had strong buy-in, strong accountability, was written with the input of those being taxed, and would have provided a tremendous number of resources to solve a regional problem. We have supported the increase in the state minimum wage, and numerous policy proposals to strengthen workplace protections. With that in mind, we respectfully suggest the following: 

    1. Please do not take up this issue while our economy is still in free-fall. With the economy is such flux, planning new taxes during the middle of a crisis when we do not even know where we will be in a few weeks is dangerous. Entire sectors of the economy already sustained enormous losses nearly overnight, and what they will look like in weeks or months is not yet known. For example, the tourism industry alone has practically collapsed, which has hit hotels, airlines, Expedia, and so many more companies and their employees. Other, larger, companies such as Starbucks, have also been severely impacted yet has committed to continuing to pay many of its employees and contractors even while they are not working. We believe that adding a tax to entities that have - so far- managed to stay afloat, is extraordinarily counterproductive and seems punitive. Punishing businesses while they are navigating unknown waters is perilous for the economy. The goal should be to find ways to enable the economy to resume quickly and nimbly as soon as possible. 

    GSBA is committed to working with you to find revenue solutions when the economy settles and when we have moved from crisis mode to recovery.

    2. Please focus your attention on the needs of the small business that need public assistance. We acknowledge the limitations due to Washington’s constitutional prohibition on gifting public money to private businesses, but our City needs to help find a constructive way to support our neighborhoods. Small businesses are key to supporting our communities. Many small businesses provide goods and services to larger companies. Thus, while the proposed tax is currently targeting companies that have a payroll of at least $7 million, the reality is the dollars spent on taxes at this moment in time are dollars that will not be spent on goods and services that will keep the economy alive. The efforts on Monday to prevent commercial tenants from being evicted is a good example of this, and we thank you for your action.

    3. Please start planning for how all parts of our City will recover from this humanitarian crisis. We know that everyone is hurting right now, and that times will be bad for the foreseeable future. All levels of government, like the economy, will experience catastrophic drops in revenues and will be forced to make painful sacrifices. A tax on businesses to permanently fund other priorities is not what is needed to address to the emergency presented by the pandemic. The most important and direct way for the City to regain revenue on the other side of the crisis will be to get people back to work. All our businesses - small, medium, and large - need to survive this moment in order for that to happen.

    4. If you want support from small businesses, they must be authentically and credibly included from the start. This means not selecting a few specific supporters or limiting the number of business representatives on a panel that will be guaranteed to outvote them every single time. City policy has often suffered from a lack of understanding of the operations of businesses in our community across different sectors. Inclusion of those who understand how businesses work - owners, CPAs, bookkeepers, lawyers who specialize in small business issues - have been strikingly absent from recent City efforts and it has shown. GBSA is eager to be a constructive partner and help get those with the right knowledge at the table, and to help facilitate connection and communication among all participants.

    I have been a community leader in Seattle for decades. It pains me to say I am deeply disappointed that the Seattle City Council is allowing itself to be drawn into a particularly divisive battle, pitting large and small businesses and communities against each other, when we must now be united to fight one battle: COVID-19. Please don’t let yourself or colleagues be dragged into something that will harm your community deeply at a time when we need your leadership, compassion, and thoughtfulness. We have a lot of work to do to get through this, let’s all be committed to work together for the greater good – our wonderful Seattle community. Please do not support this any new head tax proposal at this time. We need your leadership now to get on with focusing on surviving this global pandemic.

    For equality,
    Louise Chernin
    GSBA President & CEO

  • Companies Pivot in Changing Business Landscapes

    by Joey Chapman (He/him), GSBA Membership Development Manager
    | Apr 16, 2020
    Every year a new word makes waves, stemming from the power given to its usage within our daily lexicons. Over the last five years, Merriam-Webster's Word of the Year list has included words curiously connected with the LGBTQ community: Marriage (2015), Surreal (2016), Feminism (2017), Justice (2018), and most recently, They (2019). If one was to make an educated guess as to what 2020 has in store, chances are the word "Pivot" will be a strong contender for making the top spot by year's end. 

    In the unprecedented wake of COVID-19, GSBA Members have taken left turns, pivoting in operational and day-to-day duties. A majority of these pivots are geared toward sustainability, additionally answering the question, "How can we continue to thrive, while making a difference?" Here are just a few of those GSBA Members helping our community by placing the word "Pivot" at the forefront of our collective vernacular.  

    HandandSurfaceSanitizerGroupShotHeritage Distilling Company and Goose Ridge Estate Vineyard & Winery
    Pivot from Spirits to Sanitizers: 
    Both companies are helping to produce hand and service sanitizers. They're not only selling the in-demand disinfectant alongside their standard spirits, but they're also giving back to "first responders, hospitals, care facilities, grocery store workers and more."  

    Seattle Opera
    Pivot from Petticoats to PPE's Seattle-Opera-face-masks
    "Seattle Opera is lending a hand in the effort to produce more masks to help our local medical providers... costume staff have made 3,000 masks since starting this project just last week. They are continuing to work under the direction of Providence Saint Joseph and expect to make another 2,000 to help with PPE needs in our region." 

    Buddha Builders
    Pivot from Craftsmanship to COVID Collective 
    From our 2020 GSBA Member Buddha Builders; "Unexpected changes come in many forms, some difficult, some liberating. We at the COVID Collective hope to capture and share art made in response to the profound changes we're all going through. Colorful paintings have appeared on boarded-up storefronts and home offices are turning into art studios. Your neighbors, friends, families and your kids may be making art. Let's get it into the public eye. The COVID Collective discovers and shares art from the pandemic."

    As we jointly practice physical distancing during what has been deemed "The Great Pause," let us all continue to pivot down the path toward what could be 2021's Word of the Year, "Promise." 

    A promise for tomorrow. A promise of a new day.
  • A Legacy of Music: The Theodore & Rosemarie Ockels Scholarship

    by GSBA Staff
    | Apr 15, 2020
    Creating a named scholarship is a way to honor a family member, to create a legacy and to preserve our stories for future generations. In 1997, the Richard Rolfs Scholarship became the first named scholarship at GSBA, and in 2020 that has blossomed into more than 25 scholarships awarded in memory of a loved one, to support a specific need, or to encourage a particular area of study.

    In many cases, students who receive named scholarships are able to strengthen their network of support by connecting with the creators of the particular fund. For scholars who have scant support from family or local community, this is an added benefit that can help them persist to graduation. Sharing a bond over a mutual interest in politics, education, music, or art can help sow the seeds of a lifetime mentorship and friendship.

    In 2016 , when Sandy Peterson along with her husband Glenn, her sister Carolyn andtouri and sandy Carolyn’s husband Steve, created the Theodore and Rosemarie Ockels Scholarship, they included a preference for a student who had a love of music. This did not mean they must be a music major; but that they should have a personal connection with music in their life, either through song or instrumental performance. Tragically, Sandy passed away in 2019; but not before she was able to connect with Tori Puoci, the first recipient of the Ockels Scholarship 2016-2019.

    On Tuesday, April 14th the named-fund selection committee gathered to select those scholars who best matched the criteria to be named scholarship recipients in 2020. With Tori’s graduation, that meant selecting a new, as Sandy called it, “Ted and Rosie” Scholar.

    IMG_5275We hope that Sandy would be proud to know that this year’s Theodore and Rosemarie Ockels Scholar is Nate Jo, an amazing leader with a love of music who is running for AS President at Western Washington University's Associated Students, the second-largest student government body in the country. Meet Nate Jo, the 2020 “Ted and Rosie” Scholar!

    Nate Jo grew up in Richland, WA and now lives in Bellingham where they attend Western Washington University. Nate is pursuing an undergraduate degree in Philosophy, Political Science, and Economics and also hopes to minor in Queer Studies and Environmental Justice. Nate is passionate about creating change through leadership in student affairs for LGBTQ students and students of color. Nate also seeks to make a meaningful difference in the world by addressing homelessness, especially where it affects LGBTQ youth.
  • How to Leverage Your Workspace to Support Health & Wellness

    by Nicole DeNamur (She/her), Sustainable Strategies, PLLC
    | Apr 08, 2020

    This unprecedented time has resulted in countless workers suddenly transitioning from a traditional office setting to working from home. As many GSBA Members already know, working from home presents a variety of challenges – some obvious, some not.  

    nicole denamurWhen you worked in an office setting, you relied on facilities professionals to maintain that space and ensure that all building systems were running correctly. Now that you are spending more time in your work-from-home space, it makes sense for you to put extra focus, attention and resources into improving the quality of your space.  

    To help your space work for you, consider implementing the following strategies: 

    Indoor air quality – The air we breathe has a direct impact on our health and wellness – both positive and negative. Studies have shown that reducing common indoor pollutants, such as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), can improve cognitive function. Generally speaking, a good place to start is by opening accessible windows and utilizing fans, including bathroom exhaust fans, to temporarily flush and dilute indoor air.  

    Manage potential dust sources – If needed, clean your vacuum’s filter and consider vacuuming often-overlooked spaces, including under the fridge, mattresses and exposed vents. Reducing clutter will make it easier to spot and clean dusty surfaces, and can also help reduce anxiety. If you have pets, consider establishing a regular schedule for washing their bedding.

    Household cleaning items – Think beyond your physical space to the products you bring into your space, including cleaning products and anything with a fragrance.  Common cleaning and other household products can contain VOCs, harsh chemicals and other irritants. Take the time to review these products, research their main ingredients, and consider “cleaner" alternatives for later purchase. 

    Other high-touch surfaces – The importance of cleaning high-touch surfaces with appropriate disinfectants is at the top of everyone’s mind. In addition to the commonly referenced surfaces, consider other high-touch surfaces: toilet flush mechanisms, fridge and freezer handles, handles of water filtration pitchers, faucet and dishwasher door handles and remote controls.

    Increase natural light – There are numerous benefits of increased access to natural light, including improved mood and increased productivity. If possible, open curtains or blinds, and adjust your workspace so you have access to natural light or a view of the outdoors.  Be mindful of glare and adjust as needed to manage it.

    Electronics – Electronics, batteries, compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) and related products can contain toxic components.  Particularly as they age or if they break, they need to be disposed of properly. Take this time to gather unused electronics, including computers, phones and music players. Research how to properly dispose of, e-cycle or donate them in your area and set a calendar reminder to do so when safe. King County’s Solid Waste Division has a helpful “What do I do with…?” resource that enables you to search by keyword or category. 

    Include biophilic design – Biophilic design incorporates strategies that reconnect us with the natural world. In addition to increasing access to natural light and views of the outdoors, incorporating other natural elements into your workspace can help reduce anxiety. Add a potted plant to your desk or move existing plants to within view of your workstation.

    Digital wellbeing – Like most of us, you are likely spending more time on your devices, both because your regular work schedule and dynamic is interrupted and as a way to access information related to the pandemic. Digital wellbeing is an emerging field, and Google has produced some helpful resources on the intersection of technology with wellness. This website provides users with the opportunity to “develop their own sense of digital wellbeing.”  

    Ergonomics – Many of us are now taking a significant number of calls on our cell phones. If available, utilize a hands-free support device to help reduce neck strain.  Additionally, EWI Works has produced free resources, including an app, that walk users through a preliminary ergonomics assessment of their new workstation.  

    If you have questions or need help, do not hesitate to reach out to us at Sustainable Strategies, PLLC.

    Disclaimer: This article is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not legal, medical or any other type of advice.   
  • GSBA Catering Members Selected by Grammy Winner Lizzo to Provide Lunch for Hospital Staff

    by GSBA Staff
    | Apr 07, 2020

    The COVID-19 outbreak has had a taken a significant toll on our region's restaurant and hospitality industry and on healthcare workers, who're on the forefront of the crisis. During these dark times, we have also seen an outpouring of generosity from across the state and country. Businesses and local nonprofits have stepped up to provide much needed relief to populations most impacted by the pandemic.

    IMG_5031As news of the outbreak spread, organizations around the world began canceling events - an important move to promote public health, but one that devastated local catering businesses. Some GSBA Tourism & Hospitality Members have reported that as much as 80-90% of their events and programs were canceled in the first two weeks of the crisis. That’s why GSBA was thrilled to get a call from GSBA Ruby Sponsor Kaiser Permanente asking us to connect them with local catering businesses for a tall order - lunch for hospital staff at several Kaiser locations. We introduced them to Chantel Jackson at Thyme Well Spent, a Tacoma-based catering company and 2019 GSBA New Business of the Year. GSBA Members Marination and Shooby Doo Catering were also contacted by Kaiser.

    “This was our first gig in two months. We really needed it,” Chantel told us.

    Chantel was floored at the opportunity to get right to work. She had the weekend to make the 350 boxed lunch meals Kaiser requested. While large orders are typical for this type of work, the less than normal circumstances made acquiring the necessary ingredients a challenge.

    “I was worried about getting supplies with COVID,” Chantel explained, “I had to go to four places to find all the bread!”

    Chantel’s tenacity won over the circumstances, and after a quick tour around the city’s grocery stores, she was able to gather all the necessary ingredients. The next step was delivery.

    “It was Monday afternoon and raining. I had everything packed in lunch bags in my car, and I was parked next to other caterers with personalized vans and boxes—it was hard not to compare my business to theirs.”

    Chantel delivered 350 boxed lunches to Kaiser's Capitol Hill Campus, while Marination catered to Kaiser's Downtown Seattle and Rainier Valley locations, and Shooby Doo Catering provided lunch for four Snohomish County hospitals.

    The next day, the Thyme Well Spent crew was thrilled to find out the order came from20190720_Lizzo_at_2019-CHBP_14 global superstar Lizzo, who also purchased lunch for hospital staff at UW Medical Center and several in her hometown of Minneapolis. Lizzo's mantra of self-love and inclusivity, and unwavering allyship towards the LGBTQ community has made her a welcome figure in the Seattle area. Her headlining performance at last summer's Capitol Hill Block Party earned rave-reviews and went down as one of the largest attended performances in festival history.

    Chantel explained what this news meant to her, “I feel close to Lizzo – my business was chosen and elevated into the same kind of area as her. This experience makes me feel like I am closer to my destiny.”

    With the threat of COVID-19 possibly extending into the lucrative summer months, catering businesses are justifiably worried about their future. Nevertheless, Chantel remains optimistic. In February, Chantel saw a large boost in business after the 39th Annual Business & Humanitarian Awards: Thrive Together, where Thyme Well Spent was honored as the 2019 New Business of the Year recipient. Immediately following the event, she booked several events. By the end of the month, many of those events had been cancelled as the outbreak progressed.

    “We went from 1000 to 8000 followers on social media after (the awards dinner)," Chantel said. "I’ve been using quarantine as an opportunity to learn how to better engage with the community on our online platforms.”

    After the COVID-19 pandemic passes, Thyme Well Spent hopes to look for a retail space to open a soup and sandwiches storefront. 

    (TOP PHOTO: Chantel teaches a Thyme Well Spent intern how to make cucumber and red pepper salad at her kitchen in Tacoma's Hilltop neighborhood. Photo by Cade Schmidt, GSBA. BOTTOM PHOTO: Lizzo performs at Capitol Hill Block Party in July 2019. Photo Credit Alex Crick,
  • Business Webinar Library

    by GSBA Staff
    | Apr 02, 2020
    We know that all of us have been deluged with webinars and online town halls as we look for summaries of new programs, answers on how to get resources fast, and figure out what we are eligible for.

    There is a wide range of chambers, business associations, and nonprofits who have a broad knowledge of the many issues facing small businesses, nonprofit employers, sole proprietors, independent contractors, and other establishments. GBSA has compiled this list of partner organizations and their resources so that you can find the right answers for your workplace on your schedule. Many of these organizations have ongoing webinar series, and many of these webinars are recorded for on-demand viewing.

    We have tried to indicate the date of airing, so that you know if you need to register for a future event or if you need to be aware of when the information presented on a recorded webinar was current.

    GBSA Rapid Response Webinar Series
    Your Legal Questions. LIVE Answers (Recorded on March 31)
    Ask a CPA (Recorded on April 7)
    Ask an (Un)Employment Attorney (Recorded on April 14)
    Ask the SBA: Pt. I (Recorded on April 21)
    Self-Care During a Pandemic (Recorded April 28)
    Supporting Health While Working From Home (Recorded May 5)
    Ask the SBA: Pt. II (Recorded May 12)
    Global Impact with OutRight Action International (Recorded May 19)
    Seattle Erupts, Mayor's Office Responds (Recorded June 2)
    Police Accountability (Recorded June 9)
    Keeping Watch on the Pandemic (Recorded June 16)
    PPP Loan Forgiveness (Recorded June 23)
    Staying Open on Capitol Hill (Recorded June 30)
    Retail & Office Space in the New Normal (Recorded July 14)
    Immigration Under Attack (Recorded July 21)
    Reopening Hospitality & Tourism (Recorded August 4)
    Playbook for Small Business Recovery (Recorded September 1)

    Keeping It Real, GSBA's signature wellness series
    Embracing Anxiety (Recorded May 14)
    Are You Taking Advantage of Fear? (Recorded May 21)
    Are We Allowed to Be Joyful? (Recorded May 28)
    Black Health Under Threat (Recorded June 4)
    How to do White Allyship (Recorded June 11)
    Put Your Money With Your Beliefs (Recorded June 18)
    The Now Visible Burden of Womxn (Recorded June 25)
    Is School Still a Thing? (Recorded July 2)
    Being Asian in 2020's America (Recorded July 9)
    The Unspoken Reality of Trans Health (Recorded July 16)
    The Fight Against Fake News (Recorded July 23)
    Exploring How COVID-19 Shifts Our Relationships (Recorded August 13)

    GSBA Civic Engagement Series
    Out on the Campaign Trail (Recorded June 15)
    The Importance of Elections (Recorded July 20)

    Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce: #WeGotThisWA Webinar Series
    Navigating State Unemployment, Deferring Expenses, Managing Business Expanses
    Managing Business Expenses (Recorded April 2)

    WA Small Business Development Center (Event page)
    SBA EIDL Loans and CARES Act
    Business Survival Strategies
    NGLCC - National LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce
    Economic relief for small businesses (Recorded March 26)

    NFIB (National Federation of Independent Business)
    How small businesses can react to the pandemic, updates on federal legislation, federal financial resources.

  • Travel Out Seattle, From Home

    by GSBA Staff
    | Mar 29, 2020
    Seattle's tourism industry is facing unprecedented challenges in the wake of COVID-19. With Governor Inslee's announcement of "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" order, all Washingtonians are required to stay home unless pursuing an essential activity. While we are all practicing physical distancing, GSBA has curated a way you can support the tourism industry during this difficult time, fending off the stir-craze by touring Seattle from home with GSBA Members. 

    az190903-0590_3a41f671e85a5cdee99cc1724d904ba9Space Needle Virtual Tour: Experience thrilling heights from home, while taking-in 360° live-webcam views from Seattle's most iconic structure - including the famous rotating glass floor below your feet.

    5th Ave Theatre: The stage might be dark and the ghost light is on, but you can still get your Seattle musical theatre fix. One of America's leading musical theater companies, The 5th, is very active online! Hosting their own March Madness Musical Theatre Edition or hosing a special cloud editions of their Fridays @ The 5th featuring beloved artists. 

    Pacific Science Center: Bring the classroom home with Pacific Science Center's collection of at-home science experiments, live science shows, featured videos, and more.

    Woodland Park Zoo: Watch live web cams of tigers, bears, and bats, oh my! 

    Seattle Symphony: During these challenging times, the Seattle Symphony will continue sharing performances to provide strength, comfort, and joy through video rebroadcasts and livestreams throughout the month. These broadcasts have been seen by over 130,000 viewers around the globe.

    otter_800x500Seattle Aquarium: Rivers and otters are bound to cheer anyone up. Check out the Seattle Aquarium's live cams of the incredible animals home to the beautiful waters of the Pacific Northwest. You can also keep your kids busy and help them learn about conservation with interactive online activities from March 30 to April 3 during Sea Otter Week.

    Seattle Art Museum: Dive deep into the SAM's vast, globally-celebrated collection - such as John Grade's large-scale installation Middle Fork and visiting exhibits from legendary artists like Georgie O'Keefe through interactive virtual tours, video presentations, and more.

    In addition, our friends at Visit Seattle have put together a list of virtual tourism activities and livestreams, including additional ways to enjoy Seattle from the comfort of your own home. 

    When virtually visiting each of these iconic Seattle tourist destinations, be sure to give a  look for a donation link to give back. More than ever before, now is the time to support Seattle's hospitality and tourism industry.
  • Supporting LGBTQ Students at Seattle Public Schools

    by Matt Landers, Public Policy & Government Relations Director
    | Mar 25, 2020
    The Seattle Public School Board of Director is introducing Resolution 2019/20-28 on March 25, which would affirm the inclusion of LGBTQIA+ students, staff, and community. The Resolultion will be introduced today, and then voted on by the Board at their Tuesday, April 7 meeting. We encourage everyone to write to to express their support for these efforts to affirm and protect LGBTQ students and include LGBTQ people in the curriculum.

    The letter GSBA wrote expressing our support for the resolution is below:

    Members of the Seattle School Board,

    I am writing to express our support of Resolution 2019/20-28, affirming the inclusion of LGBTQIA+ students, staff, and community.

    GSBA is Washington State's LGBTQ and allied chamber of commerce, representing over 1,400 small businesses, nonprofits, and other employers. Additionally, we are home to the GSBA Scholarship Fund, the first LGBTQ scholarship fund in the US (founded in 1990). As a business organization, we understand that education and inclusion matter. As a scholarship fund, we understand the importance of recognizing and affirming the identities of LGBTQ students.

    The efforts contained in the Resolution are admirable and strongly supported by GSBA and our membership. If our small businesses can make the effort to convert restrooms into accessible, gender-neutral facilities with no adverse impacts on customers, we believe that should be no problem for Seattle Public Schools as well. Honoring a student's gender identity and expression is not just the right thing to do, it is also in alignment with Washington State's evolving public policy including the recent recognition of nonbinary genders on state identification. While there remain some barriers to access for identification changes, it should always be up to the individual to decide their own identity without needing it to be affirmed by anyone else. 

    Visibility is critical to the ongoing acceptance, health, and vitality of the LGBTQ community. Displays of community flags and icons are important, but even more so is hearing about LGBTQ history and diverse representations of LGBTQ people and their contributions. For LGBTQ people who are still too often shunned by their families, their peers, and their communities, understanding that they are not alone and not intrinsically damaged is vital.

    We also recognize that some of these societal changes have happened at a pace where not everyone is comfortable with topics of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. That is why we are very supportive of Seattle Public Schools' efforts to train staff and volunteers to be more understanding of the experiences and needs of LGBTQ students.

    Thank you for your efforts to ensure that all SPS students are safe in their schools, reflected in their curriculum, and respected for who they are.

  • Letter to Congressional Delegation on "COVID III" assistance bill

    by GSBA staff
    | Mar 24, 2020
    This letter was sent to the Washington State federal delegation on March 24, 2020.

    Members of the Washington State Congressional Delegation,

    First, we want to thank you for the extraordinary work that you are doing to get real help to those who need it most. As you remain at the negotiating tables for further assistance efforts, we urge you to keep the following points in mind:

    • What small businesses and nonprofits need most is direct cash assistance. Barring that, no-interest loansforgivable loans, and rent abatement for businesses and workers are essential.
    • If any grants, zero-interest loans, or forgivable loans are made available, create a way for those who have already applied for the SBA’s EIDL loans to become eligible for these better products rather than saddle them with more crippling debt.
    • Ensure that businesses less than 2 years old are able to access the same supports as other, longer-established businesses. Many of these employers have invested just as many of their personal resources into their establishment, and the length of operation has nothing to do with who they employ or the benefit they bring to their community.
    • Extend tax deferrals on a realistic timeline – the February deferral is good, but almost no small businesses will be able to pay both February and March at the same time.
    • Expand unemployment insurance eligibility and wage replacement, including gig workers.
    • Ensure that nonprofit organizations are included as employers in all instances
    • It is essential to include c6 business organizations, most especially those which serve LGBTQ and other minority communities, if we are to reach the most vulnerable small businesses during this health and economic crisis.  Nonprofit 501c6 business organizations, as well as 501c3 charitable organizations must both be given resources to provide information and stability to those businesses which are essential to the economic health of low income and minority communities. Minority, including LGBTQ, business organizations, are already under-resourced and receive little public support from government agencies as it is. For populations already at higher risk of poverty, unemployment, financial insecurity, and more, this public health and economic crisis will hit them even harder than the population at large. Minority business organizations provide critical community support services just like many c3 organizations, and their expertise and earned trust that they have in their communities will be essential in recovery efforts. They drive business activity and support small businesses and the jobs they, in turn, support. Please ensure that resources are directed to the communities who need them the most.
    Thank you for your dedication,
    Louise Chernin
    GSBA President & CEO

  • GSBA Members Offer Creative Promotions for Social Distancing

    by GSBA Staff
    | Mar 13, 2020

    With their regular patrons working from home and practicing social distancing, small businesses - especially those in the food & hospitality industry - have come up with fun promotions to allow customers to support their neighborhood businesses, while also remaining safe.


    The newly-established American-style hotspot on Broadway is offering "Sidewalk Service" for any item off its menu. Just call in your order (206-557-4201) and they'll meet you at your car with their payment systems and tonight's dinner.

    Madres Kitchen

    Feed your body and soul with freshly-made and locally-sourced rotating herbivore and carnivore pick-up or delivery meal combos from Madres Kitchen.


    To make working from home easier, Amaxra will help businesses that don't already utilize Microsoft 365 or Microsoft Teams access Microsoft's six-month free trial, in addition to guidance on using Team. Click here to inquire about this offer.

    Cherry Street Coffee House

    Missing your favorite cafe go-to? Cherry Street is open for mobile and take-out orders at all of their locations, with most shops closing at 3:00 PM. 

    Ethan Stowell Restaurants 

    Starting on March 19, Tavolata - Capitol Hill will offer take-out and curbside pick-up from 5:00 - 8:00 PM seven days a week. Starting on March 20, How to Cook a Wolf, Red Cow, and Rione XIII will also begin offering these same services during 5:00 - 8:00 PM seven days a week.

    The Catering Company

    Choose from chilli lime chicken, chicken teriyaki, beef stroganoff, and more when you order dinner for the whole family. Best of all, these nutritious meals are delivered free of charge.


    Gift cards purchased between now and May will have an extra 20% added on. Mamnoon's menu is also available for delivery via Caviar.

    Hi Spot Cafe

    The Ballard-based cafe is serving up a limited menu for breakfast and lunch for take-out orders.

    Broadcast Coffee Roasters

    Order a pound or two of beans from Broadcast online, and they'll ship it to you for free! In addition, Broadcast is offering a $7.50 to-go weekday-breakfast special at their Jackson St. location. Click above to order your breakfast online, and it'll be ready to go by the time you get there.

    Cafe Flora

    One of the nation's oldest vegetarian restaurants, Cafe Flora, has put together a special menu of brunch, lunch, and dinner favorites for delivery. One of Flora's famous cinnamon rolls are guaranteed to lift your spirits.

    Indi Chocolate

    If you're hibernating at home, you'll definitely want to make sure you have plenty of chocolate in supply. This Pike Place Market chocolate shop's online store has everything you'll need. 

    Repair Revolution

    Car trouble? Repair Revolution will pick up your car, fix it up, and drop it back off at your home.

    Terra Plata

    Even if you can't make it in for dinner now, purchase a gift card above to use to use when this all blows over. Terra Plata has also started offering pick-up and delivery options, making for a perfect date-night-in.

    Cone & Steiner

    Running low on supplies? Did you already blow through all your candy and sweets? Stock back up by ordering online for pickup or delivery from Cone & Steiner.

    Two Doors Down

    Grab a burger and a growler of beer by calling in your order to 206-324-2337 and pick it up curbside. Beer must be picked up inside for age-verification, and all transactions are card-only. In addition, every Monday in March, laid-off restaurant industry workers can call-in for a free Classic Burger with fries to-go (based on the honor system).

    Crown Plaza Hotel

    If you've lost internet at home, or need another safe place to work remotely from, the Crown Plaza Hotel has workspaces available at a highly-discounted rate for up to eight hours of use. Each room includes a coffee-maker and refrigerator, high-speed WiFi, spacious work desk, and more. 

    Descendant Cellars

    Stock your cellars for your quarantine by ordering wine shipment to anywhere in King, Pierce, or Snohomish Counties, courtesy Descendant Cellars. Orders can be placed here and shipping fees will be refunded.

    Capitol Cider

    Capitol Cider is currently offering curbside pickup - including family-style menu options. Capitol Cider's menu is also entirely gluten-free!

    Elliott Bay Book Company

    Curl up with a good book during your quarantine, courtesy Elliott Bay Book Company, who've currently moved all sales to online and phone.

    Optimism Brewing Co.

    Optimism Brewing has launched an online pick-up platform for folks to order in a growler of their favorite brews, and stop by to pick it up.


    Capitol Hill-based gluten-free bakery Nuflours is open for pickup with limited hours (Thursday - Sunday, 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM) and delivery (Grubhub & Caviar, Tuesday - Sunday, 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM). Online orders can be made anytime.

    Marination & Super Six

    Marination & Super Six's delectible caramel sauce is a must for anyone working from home with a bit of a sweet tooth. Their online store carries limited dry goods, merch, gift cards, and their famous coconut cream pie can also be ordered for pickup at Super Six.


    Ordering delivery has never been easier with Tulio providing 20% off phone-in delivery and a 25% additional boost to any gift card purchase - making any $100 gift card $125.

    If you're a GSBA Member and are offering a current promotion to support your business during the COVID-19 outbreak, send us the information about your promotion here to be featured.

    This story was written using information from Intentionalist, Seattle Met, and various GSBA Member submissions.

  • Letter to WA Congressional Delegation on COVID-19 Relief

    by GSBA Staff
    | Mar 11, 2020
    This letter was sent on March 11, 2020.

    Members of the Washington State congressional delegation,

    As Washington State’s LGBTQ and allied business association we wanted to share the dire situation that so many of our 1,400 businesses are currently facing during the COVID-19 pandemic. We understand that social distancing is critical to contain and slow the spread of the virus, but the effective full stop of the entire economy is having an existential crisis on our small businesses. We have never faced a situation like this before – this is worse than the Boeing downturn, the dotcom bust, 9/11, and the Great Recession. Nearly overnight our economy has stopped, and it will have tremendous ripple effects across our society.

    We are urging you to do all you can to get cash assistance in the hands of our small businesses as soon as possible. Due to the particulars of Washington State’s constitution, the State and localities are unable to offer this kind of assistance; putting this enormous responsibility on our federal government. As you will see below, many of our businesses will not survive the next two weeks, the length of time it is estimated that SBA loans will take to get to market. Please help Washington’s small businesses find relief with no-interest forgivable loans, grants, and other immediate and material forms of assistance. SBA loans currently are focused on microbusinesses of 5 or fewer employers. These businesses certainly need the assistance fast, but it also leaves out large numbers of businesses who employ a great deal of people, such as restaurants and hospitality oriented businesses. 

    Regarding the attempts to pass a paid sick leave bill in the Senate, please ensure any financial resources will include both relief for workers and the owners of small businesses. The small businesses are teetering on the brink of disaster right now, and without government support, will not be able to survive or recover on their own. Please don’t give conservatives talking points about the federal government hurting small business. This is the time for your leadership to ensure that our federal agencies, and federal funding and strong federal support steps up to prevent the collapse of our small business economy.

    Nothing more clearly demonstrates the terrifying scope of this small business crisis than reading the words from GSBA’s small business members. 

    Thank you,
    Louise Chernin
    President & CEO