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Should You Accept Jobs Outside Your Passion?

Many people think that typography consists of only selecting a typeface, choosing a font size and whether it should be regular or bold. For most people it ends there. But there is much more to achieving good typography and it’s in the details that designers often neglect.

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“The kind of typography I’m talking about is “knowing your hanging punctuation from your em-dash” typography.

Recap: Othello Business District Tour Sept 13

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On Sat, Sept. 13, six people gathered for the last business tour of the summer led by former MLKBA board chair, Julie Pham. We toured five businesses: Lidia’s Culture Shop & Fashions, New Holly Gift Shop & Alterations, Ba Mien Supermarket, Seattle Chinese Herbs, and Steps Café. Here are some notes on each business:

Lidia’s Culture Shop & Fashions (3815 S. Othello St #102) is next to the UPS Store on Othello Street. Habtom, the owner, owned a retail business in his home country, Eritrea. The store is named after his daughter and has been in business for three years. The store serves the Eritrean and Ethiopian community by selling special foods and the walls are lined with embroidered white dresses. A tailor sits in the backroom.

New Holly Fashion, Gift Shop & Alterations (7133 MLK Jr. Way South) is on the west side of MLK Jr. Way South across from the Light Rail station. Walk inside the store and you’ll see a wide assortment of colorful women’s fashions and shoes, trinkets, and costume jewelry. Phuong, the owner, also alters clothes on-site. She said her one of her most popular and unique items are bright leggings with cut-out designs running along the side.

Ba Mien Supermarket (6951 MLK Jr. Way South) is located in King Plaza North, just northwest of the Light Rail station. “Ba Mien” refers to the three regions in Vietnam. You can buy already shredded om choy, papaya, and banana flower popular in southeast Asian salads along with a wide assortment of seafood.

Seattle Chinese Herbs (6951 MLK Jr. Way South) is located just a few stores down from Ba Mien Supermarket on the ground floor. Gia Lam is a long time employee and he speaks five languages. He said that people from all ethnicities come to the store looking for all natural solutions to their ailments.

Steps Café (7148 MLK Jr. Way South) is managed by Mary Hackney. It is in a portable building on the northeast corner of Othello and MLK Jr. Way South. She, Miss Peggy and Niki, the barista in training, shared their vision for the new café as a meeting place for community groups (they just ask for a minimum donation of $20) and a place for economically disadvantaged people to train as baristas and food industry workers and to learn the basics of running a business from Mary. For more information, email mary@stepscafe.org

MLKBA runs these free tours of the Graham and Othello business districts each summer. For more information, email: Sarah Valenta

Recap: Graham Business District Tour Aug 23

MLKBA board member Susanna Tran led the Aug 23 Tour of the Graham Business District. She said, “The tour went very well. All, with the exception of one couple (they were from Greenwood), have lived in the area for lengthy periods of time yet have never visited any of the businesses on the tour.

Jackfruit was sampled at Viet Wah and I pointed out all of the locally produced/sourced ingredients and assisted tour goers to find ingredients to make pho. Everyone tried pennywort mung bean (rau ma dau xanh) drinks, moon cakes, eggrolls, and tofu sandwiches for the vegetarians at Tony’s Bakery and Deli. At Rainier Restaurant, Franklin Chau (another MLKBA board member) generously allowed us to order as we pleased, so we feasted on ong choy salad (which was the favorite), betel leaf beef, roasted quail and vegetarian chowmein. Most everyone tried café sua da as well.

The highlight was reaching the top of the temple grounds and overlooking the MLK/Graham intersection.”

Register for the next tour on Saturday, September 13th by contacting Sarah Valenta at 206 760-4213 or sarah@homesightwa.org. Former MLKBA board chair Julie Pham will lead a tour of Lydia’s Fashions, New Holly Gift Shop, Seattle Chinese Herbs, Steps Cafe, and Huarchitos Restaurant.
And visit www.facebook.com/MLKintheValley

Recap: How to get funding to help pay for the development of your business website

At the Aug 13 MLKBA business mixer at Joy Palace, MLKBA board member Franklin Chau and RVCDF business case manager Jennifer Tam presented on “How to get funding to help pay for the development of business website”

Here are key points from the presentation:

-The importance of businesses having a web presence. Although a website can be expensive to build, the power of having an online presence can’t be underestimated when so many people today turn to their phones, tablets, and computers to find information about businesses before they patronize them.
-A simple web page helps put a business on the map and can allow a business to reach a broader audience of prospective customers and people who are interested in learning about what types of businesses are in a particular neighborhood.
-A website doesn’t have to be complicated, it can be as simple as having some photos of your business, contact information, location, hours, menu of services or food, pricing, and a brief story about the business.
-98118 in particular is so incredibly rich with different cultures from all around the world, businesses who have a web presence can help show case the diversity in the community.
-Social media also plays an important role in connecting with customers and potential customers.
-Yelp – before going to restaurants, many people today go to Yelp before patronizing a restaurant. Restaurant owners who claim their Yelp page have more control over the information that is being presented and have an opportunity to respond to customers who patronize their business.
-Since Rainier Restaurant & BBQ’s release of their new website, they’ve received business from new customers and they’ve been able to direct people to their website to find more information about their menu items.

MLKBA members located between Othello St. and Graham St. along Martin Luther King Way South are eligible to apply for funding to subsidize the development of your website. Funding ends in 2014. To apply, email Wayne Lau .

MLKBA Member Dayspring-Fitch & Sons Funeral Home Profiled in Forbes.com

Former MLK BA chair and Forbes.com blogger Julie Pham profiles Dayspring-Fitch & Sons, Seattle’s last remaining independent African American funeral home. MLKBA board member and Dayspring-Fitch founder Zane Fitch shares his story of starting out and working in a still self-segregated industry, adapting to serve an increasingly diverse market, and preparing his sons to take over the family business. Read the story in Forbes.com http://www.forbes.com/sites/juliepham/2014/07/30/dayspring-fitch-sons-funeral-home-changes-with-its-community

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Thanks to All of YOU Who Made Plate of Nations 2014 a Success!

It takes a local, global village to make Plate of Nations a success! First and foremost we at the MLK Business Association want to THANK YOU good diners who came down to experience the global menus and down-home family service at our participating restaurants, and helped to support the Rainier Valley Food Bank during the last two weeks. And, of course, this event wouldn’t happen without the hardworking owners and staff and delicious fare of Café Ibex, Bananas Grill, Rainier Restaurant, St. Dames , Thai Palms, Olympic Express, The Original Philly’s, Joy Palace, Huong Duong, Othello Wok & Teriyaki , and Huarachitos Cocina Mexicana.

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It’s too early for final numbers, but all indications are that Plate of Nations 2014 was, by far, the best year yet. We’ve had so much great feedback from diners that we won’t print it all, but here is a nice representation of recurring themes:

“So much food!  I wish we brought two more people!  It was delicious.”

“Great service, great food, great idea!”

“Don’t change anything!  Excellent food and people.”

“It was awesome, we loved it!!” 

It takes a staggering number of people to make Plate of Nations happen. We want to give a huge shout-out to folks that have been essential to our success this year.

There would be no Plate of Nations without financial assistance from Grow Seattle/ Seattle Office of Economic Development, and Vulcan, Inc., two incredible, forward-thinking, and inclusive organizations, supporting the vibrant diversity of MLK in the Valley for many years.

To help us get the word out, The Stranger and Titan, donated a portion of our advertising online, in print, and on busses. NW Polite Society donated postering services, and our marketing and communications partners, Penniless Projects, donated a portion of their services to collectively reach over 1.2 million people with news about the event, and the amazing businesses in our community that are here year-round.

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Inspiration for diners to eat their way through ALL of our venues was powered by prizes donated by Huarachitos Cocina Mexicana’s Ana Martinez & Jose-Luis Pantigas for the Grand Prize private cooking class and lunch for 4, Chinook Book for mobile apps, and participating restaurants for gift cards.

We’d like to thank our core partners HomeSight and the Rainier Valley Community Development Fund, and the MLK Business Association Board and committee members for the tremendous resources and emotional support channeled into this event.

And last but not least, we cannot express enough appreciation for our Sarah Valenta, who hit the streets several times a week to connect personally with every restaurant for planning, ideas, and feedback, from long before the event started until well after it ended.  We could not have pulled off Plate of Nations for any of the past four years without her dedication, drive, and unflagging energy.

We’d love to hear from you about your past experiences and suggestions for future events, and hope to see you back at our local, global restaurants before Plate of Nations 2015!