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‘Shop Your Block’ holiday campaign launches to support Seattle’s small businesses

The City of Seattle and community partners developed a new small business map to help local retailers who are facing a very different holiday shopping season.

SEATTLE — Black Friday is one week away, but this shopping season is already looking very different as the rising number of coronavirus cases prompted new statewide restrictions

Under Gov. Jay Inslee’s order, stores can operate at 25% capacity for in-person shopping while following health protocols.

To help give small businesses a boost, the city of Seattle launched the new "Shop Your Block" retail map. It is part of the larger public campaign, Shop Your Block, that aims to support small businesses throughout the holiday season. The city is partnering with Comcast, small business owners, business district organization and other community partners to make this happen for the holiday shopping season.

The Shop Your Block map allows people to find local retailers across the city. The app allows users to search for businesses by name, address, neighborhood, or product keywords. It also includes business hours and whether a retailer is open for in person shopping, online shopping, or curbside pickup. Businesses are able to display if they are BIPOC, woman, LGBTQ+ or veteran-owned. Business owners can add themselves to the map by completing a short questionnaire.

“The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic downturn have impacted so many small businesses and workers. People are hurting. The necessary new COVID-19 restrictions will have a particularly profound impact on our small businesses as we head into what normally would be a busy holiday shopping season,” said Seattle Mayor Jenny A. Durkan. “The Shop Your Block campaign is central to the City’s commitment to creatively support our small businesses during this challenging time. As we head into the holidays, I encourage all Seattle residents to mask up, shop their block and support Seattle’s incredible small business community.”

Councilmember Tammy Morales said, “small businesses are crucial to our city’s economic recovery, and they serve as the lifeblood of our communities. If you are able, consider shopping at a small business this holiday season, for everything from gifts to groceries for your family’s holiday meals. Between outdoor merchandise displays, curbside pick-up, online options and more, there’s no reason to not shop your favorite local stores.”

Coronavirus has created hardship for businesses that have dealt with closures. According to the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County, from March 1 through Oct. 24, 30% of the retail trade industry has been impacted by layoffs and shutdowns as a result of COVID-19.

“2020 has been a hard year, but here’s a chance for all of us to come together and give back in a positive way during the upcoming holiday season. Shop Your Block is a new effort we created with the Mayor’s Small Business Advisory Council and other business and community partners to celebrate and support our neighborhood small businesses who are struggling to get through this unprecedented economic crisis,” said Bobby Lee, director of the Seattle Office of Economic Development. “Many retail businesses are relying on this holiday season to re-coup some of their financial losses since the onset of this pandemic.”  

Small business retailers have been particularly impacted by COVID-19. Changing consumer habits and reduced foot traffic to local neighborhood retailers this winter presents additional potential strain on small retail businesses in Seattle. The "Shop Your Block" holiday campaign will seek two goals: encourage financial support of Seattle local retailers through holiday spending-particularly micro businesses and BIPOC owned businesses, and increase usage of neighborhood online marketplaces.