Some empty storefronts in downtown Seattle are about to get a makeover.
It’s all part of the city’s new program launched on Saturday, which aims to encourage downtown safety and support small businesses.
Mayor Bruce Harrell said it was part of his public safety plan.
“I had this dream of this type of space, a healing space for the community for about three years. And I applied for grants and tried to get funds, but, of course, it takes someone to believe in your dream,” Sierra Jones said.
On Saturday, Sierra opened her self-care studio called “Inside,” and it was paid for by Seattle Restored.
This is a new program from the city’s Office of Economic Development with support from Harrell.
The city is using local and federal funds, including U.S. bailout money, which is all about helping small businesses open.
“I think our small business communities are sort of like the last line of defense, so to speak,” Harrell said. “Which we employ in our own communities, we give jobs to our communities, we recycle money from tourists. Frankly, it’s like Commerce 101. And we use an investment strategy and a public safety strategy to make sure we support that kind of effort.
To ensure that public safety is at the forefront, occupy vacant properties from Belltown to the Chinatown-International District.
Each business receives $2,500 to help set up their space. The program also connects small business owners with specific landowners.
And in a city full of businesses, Jones said it was help she didn’t know was possible.
“Like our space, paid for while we’re at it. It is simply unheard of. And that’s a step up that we couldn’t have had,” Jones said.
The mayor said, “We’re going to make sure access to capital is achievable for small businesses. Our job is also to keep the streets safe. To make sure people can come and go.
Hundreds of people applied for the program, but only 30 small businesses were chosen.
Harrell said the city will continue to help small businesses open downtown for the rest of the year.