From left to right: Colleen O’Brien, Laura Clise, Sonia Dara

I recently had the opportunity to contribute to the Microsoft Women in Business & Technology Podcast series, and during my conversation with co-host Sonia Dara, shared a list of ten small businesses in Seattle that exemplify the ways in which local businesses are so much more than the products and services they offer.

The truth of the matter is that I love connecting with the people behind the small businesses that make our communities awesome, and I want to acknowledge that the idea of whittling down the approximately fifteen hundred businesses on our site to a list of ten is ridiculous. With that said, I hope that you will take the businesses I am highlighting below as a starting place for your own exploration and celebration of the independent businesses at the heart of the places where you live, work, and play.

1 – Eighth Generation – I love the tagline (Inspired Natives, “Not Native-Inspired“) Louie Gong created for his business because it gets to the heart of why ownership matters and encourages us to think about who benefits from the money we spend. I recently had the opportunity to chat with Louie when I stopped by his Pike Place Market store to purchase a gift for a friend. His business is the embodiment of cultural celebration, empowerment, and connection through art.
2 – Central District Ice Cream – I feel so fortunate to have developed a friendship with owners Kryse and Darren, and that we’ve had the opportunity to collaborate on a number of events that bring diverse people together. I have tremendous respect for the way that they use their business as a platform for lifting up PoC artists and business owners that goes beyond the deliciousness of their ice cream.
3 – Piroshki on 3rd – I first encountered Alyssa Anderson’s bakery before Intentionalist was formally launched. I was drawn into her business by a chalkboard sign outside that made it clear that she was committed to a culture of inclusion. I later learned that she had made the sign in response to an incident where a customer had made transphobic comments to one of her employees. I am thankful for business owners like Alyssa, who help ensure that our communities are places where everyone can feel a sense of belonging.
4 – Hood Famous Café and Bar – Chera and Geo bring people together to experience Filipino culture through food. But beyond the little purple cheesecake that started it all is a genuine passion to ensure that Filipino people and businesses are a vibrant and visible part of the Seattle community.
5 – Café Turko – Beyond her talent in the kitchen, Süreyya Gökeri is a community leader. She speaks her mind, and she shows up powerfully to help bridge cultural differences and contribute to a more compassionate world. That said, her food is absolutely amazing, and the eggplant moussaka in particular has become the dish I seek when I need a comforting bite.
6 – The Station – I was intimidated and inspired the first time I met Luis and Leona, because in many ways their impact on the Beacon Hill community reflects how I hoped Intentionalist might eventually make a difference. I am so grateful to have gotten to know them in the months since, and have only deepened my appreciation for their example of using their coffee shop to unapologetically stand for a more equitable Seattle.
7 – City Sweats – I can still remember the first time I met Dee Alams – her warmth, and her passion to bring needed healing to all who seek it. In addition to being an incredibly savvy business owner, Dee is a wonderful reminder of the power of generous care and compassion.
8 – SugarPill – I first encountered Karyn Schwartz via the Business Impact Northwest Impact Pitch competition. I was immediately struck by her commitment to personal connection and her ever widening community. Her holistic understanding of how we can begin to address the variety of ailments within and beyond ourselves is a gift.
9 – Marjorie – Donna Moodie’s restaurant is a magical place that reflects her talent for bringing people together through delicious food and warm hospitality. Beyond her business, she is a sage voice informing conversations about how we can seed and cultivate a more inclusive, equitable Seattle.
10 – Arcaro Boxing Gym – Tricia Arcarco is the real deal. She cares deeply about her community and walks the walk – with quiet strength and a humility that draws people in. Her care and compassion show up vividly in the way that she runs her business, not only in terms of the inclusive culture she has created, but also through the myriad of ways she shows up for people and issues that matter.


“I am the commitment to human connection that bridges differences and builds community toward a world in which we recognize our shared humanity, feel a sense of belonging, and invest in each other’s possibilities.”


To learn more about Intentionalist please visit our websitesuggest your favorite small businesses, and be sure that you’re following us on social media (InstagramFacebookTwitter). Thanks for all you do to #BeIntentional and #SpendLikeItMatters!

Intentionalist is your local guide to small businesses and the diverse people behind them. We believe that where you spend your money matters, and we’re sure glad you do too! Whether you identify as a localist, activist, or just a good neighbor, we make it easy for you to connect with, learn about, and support small businesses in your community through everyday decisions about where you eat, drink, and shop.

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