RACHEL BELLE

Yonder Cider allowed to reopen while it awaits crucial Seattle council vote on garage businesses

Mar 9, 2021, 9:40 AM | Updated: 11:13 am
Yonder Bar Cider, land use rules...
Greenwood's Yonder Cider. (Photo courtesy of Yonder Bar)
(Photo courtesy of Yonder Bar)

After the pandemic hit, Caitlin Braam’s long-time dream of opening a cider bar was dashed. Instead, she opened Yonder Cider out of her garage in Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood, selling cans and growlers to go.

“We have our Liquor Control license, we also have a city business license,” Braam said. “So when we started looking into this, we did call the city to ask if this was possible because we knew we’re in a single family zoned area. They were like, ‘go ahead, the way something will happen is if a lot of people complain.’ Well, one person decided they didn’t like Yonder Bar and complained a lot to the city, the Liquor Control Board, and the health department.”

Three weeks ago, despite enormous support from the neighborhood, Yonder Bar was forced to close its physical space. But a new bill, sponsored by Seattle Councilmember Dan Strauss, wants to put Braam back in business, and make other existing home businesses legal.

“Bringing Business Home is a small business flexibility bill that changes a few land use codes,” Strauss said. “This is an interim change, so it’s only lasting for one year. There is already a sunset date in place. It provides flexibility with the land use code so that entrepreneurs can use their garage to turn their dreams into businesses that succeed. So that as we emerge out of this pandemic, we’re able to fill those vacant storefronts with businesses that are home grown.”

Five days ago, Braam was notified by the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspection (SDCI) that she was allowed to reopen immediately, but would have to shut down permanently if the bill doesn’t pass.

“We hope that on Wednesday the bill passes through the Land Use Committee,” Braam said. “Then it will go to full council on Monday, and if it passes we get to stay open. It’ll take 30 days for the bill to go into effect after the mayor signs it that next day, so it won’t be until April 15 that new businesses can open and take advantage of this. But we’re excited that we got the blessing to be able to open up for now.”

Braam says without Yonder Bar, she wouldn’t have been able to fund the commercial space in Ballard that she’ll be opening in July.

“Yonder Bar allowed us to start at home without rent and be able to build a groundswell, and a community, and a following, which then allowed us to sign a lease for our new taproom in Ballard,” she said. “So that is the hope for this. This isn’t a long-term solution for businesses — it’s a one-year period that people can work in their homes. The hope is that they build up this business, build up the viability of it, build up that following, and then move into a longer term space. Why not take advantage of this and get some new businesses incubated so that in six months, a year, they can find a big, beautiful space to move into.”

If the bill passes, it will remove some of the restrictions in place for home businesses. Currently, home owners still have to be able to fit a car in the garage, they can only do business by appointment, they’re only permitted to have a tiny sign outside, and they can’t look like a business from the outside.

But both Councilmember Strauss and Braam are certain that residential neighborhoods will not become business districts.

“The biggest thing I keep telling people is this doesn’t take away the licensing you need,” Braam said. “I still had to go through three months of Liquor Control Board licensing to have Yonder Bar in our garage. The health department is another process if you’re having food. This bill does not take any of that away. It is a process, and it won’t be overnight that businesses start popping up.”

“If noise, smell, lighting, or glare are creating an issue, those are still aspects of the code that someone can file a complaint and that business could be shut down,” Strauss said. “If you’re roasting coffee out of your garage and somebody doesn’t like the smell of coffee, that could be a problem.”

Councilmember Strauss says this was an emergency bill rushed through to help small businesses in the COVID pandemic. If passed, it would be a pilot program that could lead to something more permanent.

“We know some of the most successful businesses in our country are born out of people’s garages and we shouldn’t be creating roadblocks to having entrepreneurs turn their dreams into businesses,” he said.

Click here to visit Yonder Bar or to sign the letter of support for the Bringing Business Home bill.

  • listen to rachel belleTune in to KIRO Radio on weekdays to hear Rachel Belle.
Who is Rachel Belle?

Your Last Meal

Rachel Belle

supply chain...
Rachel Belle

Start your holiday shopping now or risk supply chain issues

Now is the time to start holiday gift shopping because if you don't buy soon, supply chain issues may make it tough to get what you want later.
19 days ago
Dick's...
Rachel Belle

How does Dick’s Drive-In pay workers $19 an hour with a menu completely under $5?

Dick's Drive-In recently raised its base pay, as did Taco Time, which is now offering employees $20 an hour at select locations. How do they keep prices low and pay high?
20 days ago
botox...
Rachel Belle

Don’t like how you look on Zoom? Many young Americans are now getting Botox

More people are turning to Botox to get rid of lines and wrinkles, but is it safe? How does one age naturally in a youth obsessed country? Experts weigh in.
26 days ago
certified wildlife habitat...
Rachel Belle

Turn your backyard into a Certified Wildlife Habitat

The National Wildlife Federation will help you make your yard a habitable home for bees, birds, bugs and critters. And they'll give you an official sign!
1 month ago
Emily Cherkin and Ben Gitenstein, pictured months after 9/11. (Photo courtesy of Emily Cherkin)...
Rachel Belle

‘You either got married or broke up’: 20 years later, a Seattle couple on falling in love in NYC in the wake of 9/11

On Sept. 11, 2001, Seattle's Emily Cherkin and Ben Gitenstein were 22 years old and separately taking the subway into Manhattan when two planes crashed into the Twin Towers. This is their story.
2 months ago
dirty work...
Rachel Belle

New book ‘Dirty Work’ reveals psychological toll of working unsavory jobs nobody wants

A new book by Eyal Press called "Dirty Work: Essential Jobs and the Hidden Toll of Inequality in America" takes a deeper look at jobs no one wants to do.
2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Medicare open enrollment for 2022 starts Oct. 15 and SHIBA can help!

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, […]
...

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
...
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
...
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
...
Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for both lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.
...
Comcast

Small, Minority-Owned Businesses in King County and Pierce County Can Now Apply For $10,000 Relief Grants Through Comcast RISE

Businesses in King County and Pierce County can apply beginning on October 1, 2021, at www.ComcastRISE.com for a chance to receive a $10,000 relief grant.
Yonder Cider allowed to reopen while it awaits crucial Seattle council vote on garage businesses