DORI MONSON

Local business owners create Facebook group to support one another

Mar 18, 2020, 7:21 AM | Updated: 9:25 am
social distancing, coronavirus, Seattle, business...
A nearly empty dining area near where food trucks park at a downtown Seattle park. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)
(AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)

The business community around the nation and especially in the Puget Sound, the epicenter of the U.S. coronavirus outbreak, has taken a massive hit.

With the state ordering all restaurant dining rooms, bars, theatres, museums, hair and nail salons, barbers, gyms, and art galleries to close — and with the people who might shop at the retail stores remaining that are open being advised to stay home — commerce has screeched to a halt.

“About a week and a half ago, when this all started, we started seeing this tsunami coming at us,” said Bob Bagga, who founded BizX. “Business was down, in some cases 80 to 90 percent, businesses were closing, were dropping like flies.”

Bagga compared the current situation to someone hitting a giant pause button for the entire economy.

State government describes early relief measures for small business owners

“We’ve all had our backs up against the wall as entrepreneurs — every single one of us, there was a time,” he said to KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson. “But this is unprecedented, where everybody is in it together. And what does this mean? Business will stop.”

He contacted his friend Aaron Blank, CEO of the Fearey Group, to brainstorm a way to bring people together and save local restaurants, shops, and services.

“We’ve got to get together to create a common voice, a place where we can share information and be able to have  a voice at the table,” Bagga said.

Within minutes, the two had created a Facebook group called “CORONA: Seattle Business Owners Fight Back!”

“A lot of businesses — 80 percent of the businesses around us, our friends and partners in the community — are all closing shop,” Blank said. “They don’t know what to do, there are no answers. What do they do with their employees, what do they do with their doors, can they pay their leases?”

Through the page, business owners can give one another ideas and advice about strategies that have worked for them. They can also find ways to give one another their business, even if this cannot be done in person.

“We are going to be able to support each other, both with information, as well as being able to patronize each other, as well as being able to weather the storm,” Bagga said. “And so what we want to accomplish is, the more that we can share with each other, the more that we can learn from each other, the situation is just changing so quickly that that’s the only thing we can do.”

The result is that business owners have been able to find creative ways to drum up commerce, even during a time when people are asked to stay home. For example, Blank approached a gym owner who was forced to close his doors after the statewide order for recreational facilities to close for two weeks. Blank asked the gym owner to hold online yoga classes for his own employees at the Fearey Group.

Bagga pointed to Canlis, which “overnight, [took] this fine-dining restaurant and turned it into take-out.”

“These conversations that are happening to help business owners think differently, think quickly, think nimbly — those are all important elements that, if you want to succeed right now, need to be taken advantage of,” Blank said.

The Facebook page gained a thumbs-up from Governor Jay Inslee on Tuesday, when he tweeted out a laudatory message.

In the midst of the uncertainty and fear, something wonderful has come about — lifelong friendships between business owners. Blank said on the day of his interview, St. Patrick’s Day, the business owners got together through a video conference line for a virtual St. Patrick’s Day toast.

“Most of these people are strangers to me — I’ve never met them in my entire life,” Blank said. “And these are now fast, good friends. That’s what life is about, right?”

Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from 12-3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Dori Monson on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM
  • listen to dori monsonTune in to KIRO Radio weekdays at 12 noon for The Dori Monson Show.

Dori Monson Show

Dori Monson

Western Washington University Viking...
Dori Monson

Dori: Is Western Washington University’s Viking mascot getting the woke boot?

He’s male. He’s Scandinavian. He’s considered by some as “too masculine” and “too aggressive.” And now, he might be getting canned.
3 days ago
plows, vaccine mandates...
Dori Monson

Dori: WSDOT’s snowplow service refusal over vaccine mandates ‘unbelievable,’ lawmaker says

State Sen. Curtis King joins the Dori Monson Show to discuss how COVID vaccine mandates may have impacted WSDOT's recent trials at the state passes.
4 days ago
Ronnie Spector...
Dori Monson

Dori’s tribute to the late Ronnie Spector: ‘She’s got one of the sexier lines in rock ‘n roll history’

When CBS News broke the story about the passing of the iconic singer Ronnie Spector today, I was so sad.
5 days ago
Musical theater, COVID...
Dori Monson Show

Local 7-year-old who beat COVID is kicked out of community theater program for lack of vax

The mom of a local 7-year-old speaks to Dori after her daughter was kicked out of a community theater program for being unvaccinated.
5 days ago
gender...
Dori Monson Show

State senator: Law allowing teens to change gender without parental consent is ‘insane’

Young people in Washington can’t buy cigarettes or vaping products until they’re 21, but teens can now pursue gender reassignment.
5 days ago
Seattle council, police reform...
Dori Monson Show

Dori spars with lawmaker who calls Washington ‘model for entire nation’ in policing

Washington lawmakers are facing pent-up pushback from constituents and police officers about crime increases following laws enacted in 2021.
6 days 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, […]
Local business owners create Facebook group to support one another