‘It’s just easy to blame minimum wage’ when Seattle businesses close

Jul 30, 2015, 3:57 PM | Updated: Jul 31, 2015, 5:30 am
Seattle methadone clinic...
A local pizzeria want to city to do something about the Seattle methadone clinic nearby. (AP)

It seemed like minimum wage was going to spell doom for some restaurants on Capitol Hill after Z Pizza closed its doors for the last time.

Owner Ritu Shah Burnham told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson in May that the profit the pizzeria was finally making after an undisclosed amount of time, was going to get sucked up in the black hole of Seattle’s minimum wage law.

“I can’t continue to struggle and work as hard as I do and not get any return,” Burnham told Dori.

Z Pizza did close. Ironically, what is replacing it is another pizzeria.

Ian’s Pizza on the Hill is scheduled to open later this year in the exact same place as Z Pizza at 1620 Broadway.

It’s a perfect example of the scare tactics people against the wage increase use and how the closing of one business can create a “media storm,” Working Washington spokesperson Sage Wilson said. Working Washington is one of the leading forces behind increasing minimum wages in cities in Washington.

“It’s just easy to blame minimum wage,” he added.

The city’s minimum wage law went into effect on April 1. Businesses with more than 500 employees, including franchise businesses that may only have a handful of local workers, have three years to raise their wages to $15 &#8212 unless they are providing health insurance, in which case they have four years. Smaller businesses have seven years to increase their wages.

Franchise owners have argued their businesses should not be lumped in with large employers.

Though he isn’t about to pretend like he knows how to run a pizzeria, Wilson said not long before the Capitol Hill Z Pizza closed, other branches of the franchise restaurant closed outside of Washington.

“Individual stores or restaurants opening or closing is not proof of anything,” Wilson said.

Burnham might argue that. The owner of the franchise restaurant said by January 2016, she would begin losing money unless the business saw a 20 percent increase in profit. The business began breaking even in 2014, she said.

But if a pizzeria can open up in the exact same location as another that allegedly fell victim to Seattle’s minimum wage, is the law really that bad?

Wilson said most business owners tend to vent their frustration before wages increase because it does have an impact on their bottom line. But they continue to survive.

“They figure it out and everyone is better off,” he said.

Now let’s see if Tacoma can figure out how to handle a minimum wage law.

Local News

MyNorthwest Staff

New mass COVID vaccination site opens in Snohomish County

A new indoor COVID-19 vaccination clinic opens at the Everett Mall on Tuesday, and Snohomish County says a mass testing site is coming soon.
11 hours ago
Washington ferries...
MyNorthwest Staff

Washington ferries move ‘most routes’ to alternate schedules amid ongoing crew shortages

Washington state ferries have continued to deal with delays, staffing shortages, and reduced routes to kick of the new year.
11 hours ago
Cars at Pike Place Market...
Nick Bowman

Early friction surfaces in bid to remove cars from Pike Place Market

Efforts to remove cars from Pike Place Market are encountering early friction, with one group accusing city council of overstepping its authority. 
11 hours ago
flight, 5G...
Chris Sullivan

Major US airlines warn of flight disruptions Wednesday as new 5G service starts

Many airlines are warning of flight delays Wednesday as new 5G frequencies are fired up by cell phone companies that could interfere with landing.
11 hours ago
garbage, strike...
MyNorthwest Staff

Teamster-backed sanitation worker strike continues in Western Washington

Sanitation workers employed by Republic Services in Seattle, Bellevue, Lynnwood and Kent continue to strike Tuesday morning.
11 hours ago
King County, jail...
Dalton Day

King County jail ‘crisis’ prompts joint request for release of non-violent offenders

Public defenders are demanding that King County take immediate action to relieve a short-staffed jail system overburdened with COVID cases.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles


Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
‘It’s just easy to blame minimum wage’ when Seattle businesses close