Restauranteur: West Seattle businesses ‘hanging in’ with community help

Dec 30, 2020, 12:43 PM | Updated: Jan 4, 2021, 10:29 am
West Seattle Bridge...
The Duwamish Waterway viewed from the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge. (Photo courtesy of WSP, via SDOT Blog)
(Photo courtesy of WSP, via SDOT Blog)

Like many places, West Seattle businesses have been trying to survive the pandemic for months, with many now struggling to adapt to new realities. Lora Radford is the executive director of the business improvement area for West Seattle Junction, and Todd Carden is co-owner of Elliot Bay Brewing, and they joined Seattle’s Morning News on KIRO Radio to discuss the conditions of businesses in the area.

“We’re holding our own, quite honestly. I mean, it’s been difficult, especially with the pandemic and the West Seattle Bridge. But we are doing what we do best, which is being entrepreneurs and pivoting right into what we need to do to keep the doors open,” Radford said.

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The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has helped supplement the loss of income due to the pandemic, with many adapting to it and hoping for additional funds.

“I think in the beginning, we all scrambled to apply, and as the small business administration, as they flexed their rules, we flexed our ability to spend the money in a different way. We are hoping for the second round to open up pretty quickly, though,” she said.

Carden of Elliot Bay Brewing says restaurants are in a difficult position between being shut down, and trying to do their part for safety.

“Us in the hospitality industry, we know that it’s easy to look at us as part of that risky venture out there because we do have people coming inside, and when you have to take the mask off to eat or drink that poses questions,” he said. “We kind of got to step up, we’ve got to get out of this. If you’re going to shut people down, then what are you going to do to help them get through it?”

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“Because that’s when you see people saying, ‘Heck, I just got to go ahead and open up my restaurant. I’m going to have people come in because I need to survive,'” he added. “Fortunately, in West Seattle in particular, we have a really amazing community; they understand the challenges that we’re in.”

The community, he says, has been key in helping West Seattle businesses survive the past few months.

“That’s one of the reasons, to Lora’s point, why we’re hanging in there — and I mean it literally, hanging in there. It’s not like we’re thriving, but it’s because we have this amazing community. With the Junction Association having that localized support that’s helping our businesses in ways —  that the feds and maybe even to a degree on the state level, the city level, it’s been slow coming — that’s what’s really kept us going.”

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Restauranteur: West Seattle businesses ‘hanging in’ with community help