As national guidelines and local orders have shut down or restricted the activity of small businesses, the ability to continue making money is essential to their survival.
Gift certificates have been touted as a way for consumers to support small businesses today, providing them with much needed cash flow. But while most small businesses have some kind of gift certificate or gift card program, not all of them are integrated into an online storefront.
Intentionalist’s Gift Certificate Marketplace is an online platform where consumers can purchase physical gift certificates (to be delivered via snail mail) from a variety of local brick + mortar small businesses. Businesses are not charged any fees, and so all gift certificate dollars go directly to supporting the small businesses at the heart of our communities.
“So many people want to support local businesses, but it’s hard when it isn’t possible to buy their gift certificates online, ” said Intentionalist CEO, Laura Clise. “Intentionalist’s Gift Certificate Marketplace is a one-stop-shop where community members can support a variety of local small businesses today, and then look forward to using the gift certificates for future purchases.”
“During this time, we appreciate the support of our community and understand and deeply empathize with the worries and uncertainty,” said Purple Dot Cafe owner, Jason Xie. “Providing gift certificates through Intentionalist, for us, means making a promise to our customers to give them a nice warm meal when they are able to finally come in and dine with us – when it is safe, without having to break any stay-at-home orders or risk any safety because they can make the purchase in the safety of their homes.”
While the idea for the platform was inspired by businesses that do not currently sell their gift certificates online, we encourage any brick + mortar small business that would like to sell their gift certificates via our marketplace to fill out this form.
We are excited to launch our Gift Certificate Marketplace with the following Seattle small businesses:
Amy’s Merkato – Amy’s Merkato first debuted as an Ethiopian restaurant in 1992. In 2000, Filli Abdulkadir and Yodit Seyoum took over when Amy returned to Ethiopia. Today, the restaurant serves traditional Ethiopian and Eritrean food as well as a variety of breakfast and lunch options. Amy’s Merkato also sells a curated variety of spices, coffee, and kitchenware.
Cedars of Lebanon – Whether you sit inside or order from the to-go window, you’ll be treated like family at this hole-in-the wall Lebanese restaurant. Owners John and Janette opened Cedars of Lebanon in 1974, and have been delighting customers ever since. The menu features delicious tastiest falafel, shish kebabs, gyros, hummus and spicy garlic sauce.
Conscious Eatery – Combining their collective experience in the restaurant industry and non-profit sector, in 2016 Cierra Laub and Chaz Rowlan opened Conscious Eatery — a sandwich, salad, and pressed juice stop that donates one meal to Seattle homeless for each ordered. Since its opening, Conscious Eatery delivers an average of 547 meals monthly. Open for breakfast and lunch, Conscious Eatery sources many of its ingredients locally.
Donut Factory – Donut Factory began as a popular shop in Lynwood and opened their University District location in 2019. Owned by Marc Sapatin, Bryan Phaysith and Marvin Crespo, Donut Factory offers a wide variety of donut flavors and forms, including the ube glazed nod to Marvin’s Filipino heritage. Ready to explore some innovative donut deliciousness? Try the cinnamon crobars – think croissant meets bar-style donut!
Makeda & Mingus – Prashanthi Reddy’s neighborhood cafe began as a coffee shop and has expanded to serve beer, wine, sandwiches, salads, and home-cooked Indian food on Thursday nights. Makeda & Mingus is also a gathering place that promotes local artists and community organizing around social issues.
Marjorie – All are welcome at Marjorie, where owner Donna Moodie serves food to nurture community. The name pays tribute to Donna’s mother, celebrating her ability to bring people together to enjoy “scratch” cooking and warm hospitality. In need of a private dining room or event space? Marjorie is the perfect spot.
Purple Dot Cafe – Craving dim sum long after many of the International District’s cars have been rolled away? You’re in luck because Jason Xie’s Purple Dot Cafe serves up Chinese brunch time favorites until 2 a.m. (Late night partiers can even stop by until 3:30 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays to sober up.) Jason and his family took over this Chinatown eatery from the original owners in 2013. Fun fact: While the Xie’s have renovated the space three times, its distinctive purple walls have been preserved.
Retail Therapy – When Retail Therapy opened in 2002, it was the first boutique on Capitol Hill’s Pike Street corridor. Wazhma Samizay’s wonderfully quirky boutique specializes in clothing, gifts, jewelry, cards, art, and accessories made by small independent artists and designers. Customers delight in finding something fun for themselves or a friend among the eclectic mix of offerings. Looking for a locally designed and ethically produced apparel? Check out the dresses, underwear, and more that are a part of Wazhma’s Bobojan clothing line.
Salvadorean Bakery – Originally from El Salvador, sisters Ana Castro and Aminta Elgin founded Salvadorean Bakery and Restaurant in 1996. From pupusas and tamales to conchas and cookies, they provide the El Salvadoran population in Seattle a taste of home, and share their country’s baked goods and culinary traditions with the broader community.
Seattle Best Tea – Lydia Lin and Joe Hsu’s Taiwanese teahouse, Seattle Best Tea Co, definitely lives up to its name. The couple’s shop showcases a curated selection of high-quality teas, which customers can try in Lydia’s educational tea tasting classes. Looking for milk tea? Enjoy Lydia’s high mountain organic oolong boba!
Seattle Fish Guys – Husband and wife team Sal Panelo and Desiree Chinn started out with a fish stand at the Pike Place Market. In 2016, they opened their premium seafood market, Seattle Fish Guys, where they serve a variety of fresh seafood dishes, including poke, oysters, and chowder. In addition, pick up fresh fish to cook at home along with a variety of dessert and other items from local businesses.
SugarPill – SugarPill is herbalist and homeopath Karyn Schwartz’s modern apothecary. Her passion for natural medicine is evidenced by her large selection of medicinal house blends and herbs, which she dispenses with warmth and expertise. SugarPill also carries artisanal foods, rare chocolates, locally made cards and jewelry, and an impressive collection of gourmet salts and spices.
Sweet Alchemy – While studying art the University of Washington as an international student from South Korea, Lois Ko fell in love with ice cream. Years later, she pursued her dream of creating the best ice cream in the Pacific Northwest. In 2016, she opened Sweet Alchemy where she prioritizes sustainability and strives to only use local, organic ingredients.
Watson’s Counter – Watson’s Counter is a Ballard cafe that serves fun and flavorful Korean-American dishes. Opened in 2019 by lifelong Seattleite James Lim and named after his dog, Watson, the restaurant is known for its all-day menu, which includes Korean-style “Eggs Benny,” cereal-crusted french toast, Korean poutine, and loco moco.
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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.