Recap: Othello Business District Tour Sept 13

steps cafe mlkba othello tour 9.11.14

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

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

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