Our community has experienced an unprecedented change over the last year and a half. The shut downs that were imposed on us were devastating to small businesses, while the large box stores were allowed to operate without restrictions. As a small business owner, my heart aches when I drive by retail areas and see empty business spaces. As a community member, I am upset to learn that several of my favorite restaurants, which were consistently busy before the pandemic, are now permanently closed.
Why should we be concerned about small businesses closing in our community? Small businesses have historically accounted for close to 50% of all jobs in the United States. That means close to half the jobs in our city are provided by small businesses. People need steady employment to be able to pay their bills and live happy lives. People who are able to work and live successfully contribute to the revenue of the city in which they reside. Small businesses are ESSENTIAL to the revenue of the city in which they operate. Federal Way takes good care of the roads and provides beautiful outdoor spaces for us to enjoy. We have a wonderful place to live, but that could change quickly if we don’t attract and retain a diverse group of small businesses in Federal Way.
How do we improve Federal Way’s economic development?
BE A WELCOMING ENVIRONMENT TO ALL BUSINESSES AND DEVELOPERS
The State of Washington is not an easy place to operate a small business. We are one of the highest taxed states in the country. This makes the job of attracting businesses to Federal Way more difficult from the start. We MUST rebuild the small business community in Federal Way. It is imperative that we do everything possible to welcome small businesses and help them thrive in our city. As a small business owner, I have first-hand experience with these issues. Our city needs the input of business owners to assist in making important decisions about the laws and regulations concerning operating businesses here.
We have the opportunity to welcome development to our city, but we are not aggressively pursuing it. We must engage developers and offer incentives to attract them to our city, so the next “MIcrosoft” or “Starbucks” will take notice and build their base in Federal Way. We are in great need of businesses who offer living-wage jobs for our citizens. The City Council can make the difference in this arena.
KEEP OUR STREETS SAFE AND CLEAN
Another deterrent to businesses is the perceived safety and appearance of our streets. Have you noticed the increase of trash lining our streets over the past few years? Have you seen drug addicted homeless people in their permanent panhandling spots, or digging through dumpsters and garbage cans? This is not an environment a business owner would feel is suitable to open a business. We must clean up our streets. We must make it uncomfortable for the drug addicted homeless to loiter and make messes around our town. It is not acceptable. Federal Way must return to the healthy, beautiful environment it was a very short time ago.
Running a city is running a business. The most important part of running a business is being responsible with one’s income. I have experience in budgeting, forecasting, and working with statistical data to predict future outcomes. Estimation and financial planning is part science and part art. I am blessed to be a person who understands the fundamentals of this subject, it is the reason my business has been so successful over the years. Running a business successfully sometimes means we must make decisions that are difficult. Sometimes we must take steps that are uncomfortable or even unpopular. I am willing to be the person who makes those difficult, unpopular choices in order to keep our city fiscally sound.