by Kirby Lindsay, posted 21 November 2014
This November, the Fremont Chamber of Commerce rescheduled its monthly Board of Directors from the day before Thanksgiving to the Tuesday before their monthly general meeting.
The differences between these two monthly meetings are significant – in the conference room at History House, each month (except December) the Board discusses issues facing the non-profit, advocacy organization. At the monthly general meeting Chamber members (and anyone interested) gather for a scheduled program. For November 19th, the Chamber had scheduled its popular ‘Breakfast of Shameless Self-Promotion’ with delicious food by Roxy’s Diner, and hosted at the Fremont Foundry.
The differences, and the outcomes, of both meetings are briefly (these were both two hour meetings!) recounted here:
The meeting started on a down note, as Chamber Executive Director Jessica Vets reported that Chamber membership numbers have gone down, in spite of the Chamber’s November membership drive. Vets also reported that sign-ups, in October, for the 2015 Walking Guide to Fremont have also dropped; with 125 businesses registered, the handout will have 10 less than last year
Vets reported that she has heard, anecdotally, “that it’s a very bad year out there.” Several Board Members confirmed their own experiences of anxiety and caution expressed by fellow business owners. It was suggested that the pending rise in the minimum wage to $15 has many business owners nervous.
Still, new businesses did join in November, and established businesses did renew. At least one business joined based on a random conversation they had with another members. “Keep having those random conversations,” she requested.
Chamber Board President Phil Megenhardt suggested Board Members go to their four business neighbors and talk about membership. Jennifer Beus, the manager of the Fremont PCC Natural Market, asked for pitches used by other Board Members. The Board shared their pride in the advocacy the Chamber does with the City of Seattle, the way membership immediately connects businesses within our community, and the instant response of the Chamber to crises with information and community-wide meetings.
Food Trucks & Fair Food Vendors
Megenhardt, of Bold Hat Productions, Pete Hanning, of Red Door, and Ryan Reiter-Hegeman, of Piranha Blonde, shared that the King County Health Department is revising its fee structure. They want fees to cover their costs, which could result in a massive jump in costs.
A discrepancy could be resolved as part of the overhaul though. Currently, food trucks pay a license fee once a year, while fair and/or festival food vendors pay for every event where they set up. This has resulted in more food trucks and more selective vendors, doing only one or two fairs a year.
Ultimately, the Board agreed that any large fee increases that make small, independent vendors/restaurants less likely, and favor large, corporate companies, must be avoided. The Board agreed to send a letter to Fremont’s King County Councilman Larry Phillips, asking for equity in the fee structure.
Mobile Food Rodeo & Street Food Fest
Reiter-Hegeman reported that the Mobile Food Rodeo, usually held in May, won’t be in Fremont in 2015. He’s needs to expand the event from Sunday to Saturday also, but he can’t find a date that works for the Fremont neighbors.
Instead, he’s talking about relocating the Street Food Fest here, from Capitol Hill. This festival is much more than food trucks, or food vendors. It also involves area restaurants, groceries, chefs, and all things foodie. As a fundraiser for the Fremont Chamber, with an expected 40,000 attendees, this August 2015 festival could fit more easily it the Fremont events calendar.
The Board heard reports about the Seattle City Council discussions on ‘linkage’. Proposed by Councilmember Mike O’Brien, this is a proposed additional fee on developers of multi-family and all commercial buildings around Seattle. The fee will, supposedly, go to building affordable housing, or be waived if the developer produces 3% – 5% of affordable units. The Board discussed how this could move new development to Bellevue, and other areas outside the city, rather than creating more affordable housing here – and it could also move more jobs outside the city.
Also, the Council has a major spending plan for homelessness. KOMO news reported on a proposal to spend $100,000 on internet access for the homeless camps. This is part of the $1.2 million package, reported in The Seattle Times, that the Council has put in the 2015/2016 budget.
Finally, Seattle Public Utilities continues to work on drainage along Stone Way between N 34th & N 35th St. This is part of the rebuild of the North Seattle Transfer Station. Unlike the new building, Stone34, next door, this project includes no water retention on the actual property, and requires the City to increase capacity on Stone. Yet, digging into Stone, the contractor has been surprised to discover old rail, unexpected utilities and a sinkhole. All of this has created a disaster for the neighbors, particularly Brooks Sports, as it’s had to delay an official grand opening of its new headquarters.
In November, the Chamber membership will vote for one-third of the Board (Chamber Board Members serve for three years, with one-third running for election every year.) The elections will close in December, and this new slate will join in the Board retreat on January 15th, and serve publically at the next Board Meeting on January 28th (at 8a at History House.)
With six seats available, and only five candidates, expectations are for a walk for:
- Phil Megenhardt, of Bold Hat Productions
- Rodman Miller, Local Artist
- Riq Molina, of Chase Bank
- Paul Doak, of ID Financial
- Jennifer Beus, of the Fremont PCC
At the January retreat, the Board will set a new slate of officers for 2015, and elect on them at the January Board meeting.
The day after the Board Meeting, Chamber members (and fans) filled three long tables to promote their businesses. Here, in brief, are those businesses:
Bold Hat Productions – Event producers, they can do smaller events and now offer consulting on social media and sponsorships
Capitol Accountant – looking to help small businesses, Nicole Pastarnack can take your chaos and create organization (contact her at email@example.com)
Shepherd Family Chiropractic – an electrician working on the electrical systems of the body, they help clients lead healthy, happy lives
Fremont Health Club – they service the local community with 24/7 access to the workout facility, and offered a free class to those who ask. They will also be participating in Toys For Tots and a canned food drive during the holiday season.
Fremont Foundry – a new venue in Fremont for weddings, fashion shows, conferences, corporate parties, photo shoots and all kinds of events
True Fabrications – the other business in the Foundry, this growing manufacturer of bar and kitchen supplies has its headquarters here
Moisture Festival – this showcase of vaudeville, new circus arts, and burlesque entertains over 13,000 people every year, with 55 shows scheduled for 2015, and they need sponsors
Barry North, PhD, MPH – wants to help you get healthy and stay healthy, and achieve your goals. He has a new Transform 30 program, and can speak to groups that want to hear more.
Stone Way Café – open two months, this full menu café can host public and private events, and offers a full calendar of free music, and family-friendly gatherings
Roxy’s Diner – open 7a – 5p, Roxy’s offers a special, weekly menu of unusual, seasonal items like its pumpkin glazed pancakes and kielbasa hash
The Backdoor – open 5p – 2a (with food service until 11p,) this is also a venue for parties and private events
Umpqua Bank – offers a refreshing new way of full-service business and personal banking
Houlihan Law – doing real estate law, above the Red Door, stop by for answer to questions or just to find out what might be able to be done
Edward Jones – Marko Tubic actually promoted this company as a great opportunity for those looking for a change. Often rated highly as a great place to work, he encouraged anyone to contact him about becoming an agent
Fremont Jewelry Design – ‘if we can’t fix it, it is broken,’ they proclaim, and offer a tailored approach to all fine jewelry
Grassroots Community Acupuncture – now providing NAET, a few days a week, for those interested in desensitizing their allergies, and seven-days-a-week, acupuncture done in an affordable, community setting
Seattle Wellness Group – a chiropractic center currently focused on educating clients about how to avoid car accidents, and what to do if you find yourself victim of one
Fremont Dock Company – a Fremont commercial/industrial real estate provider with 116 tenants, and around here longer than anyone
Fremont Studios – a multi-purpose event space for larger, spectacular events, available for tours during the Fremont Chamber Holiday Party on December 3rd from 5p – 7p
Sanachi Massage – integrating mind, body and spirit to help restoring ease, and helping people experiencing a life transition or emotional processing
Vital Essence Acupuncture – they provide acupuncture and Chinese herbs, to get the whole body working, and they can take most health insurance plans
Univera – a pharmaceutical laboratory, creating new medicines all based on plants and natural substances
Rain City Integrative Clinic – Naturopathic doctors that can accept most insurance plans, and aim to make health care more fun for those interested in actively participating in their health
Nalanda West – a center for contemplative arts, run by Nalandabodhi, they can rent spaces for like-minded organizations and those aligned with their mission – including weddings and funerals. They want us to know that they are here.
Puget Soundkeeper Alliance – a non-profit that uses the Clean Water Act to build a clean, drinkable waterway for all
Focal Point Business Coach – can help with time management, team building and business plan strategizing for established or new businesses
Fremont Sunday Market – an affordable market place for new and established businesses to meet the 180,000 people that attend each year, for $10 off your first booth rental, mention the name of Ryan Reiter-Hegeman
Union Bank – a full-service community bank, offering no fee home loans and the ability to come to you to talk banking
Sustainable Seattle – an organization currently hosting ‘Green Drinks’ events to gather professionals in the environmental and/or green industry, a holiday party on December 9th, and a start-up fair in March which needs sponsors and vendors
Fremocentrist.com – your neighborhood news website sharing on all things Fremont, and bringing you news of what is happening (and who) including within the Fremont Chamber
If you want to know more about the Chamber, and its members, consider attending the December 3rd Holiday Party, or one of the open-to-the-public Board meetings in 2015, held at 8a on the last Wednesday of each month – except December.
Hope to see you there!
- Fremont Chamber Invites Shameless Self-Promotion
- by Kirby Lindsay, April 9, 2014
- FCC Highlight Reel: Membership, Administration & A Cycle Track
- by Kirby Lindsay, November 3, 2014
- An Historic Overview (Of The Fremont Chamber,) In Brief
- by Kirby Lindsay and W. James Daly, June 2006 on Fremont.com
©2014 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.