Marketing Tools and Resources for Small Business: Chamber partners with UW Foster School to create valuable information just for you

Since 2019, the Magnolia Chamber of Commerce has developed a partnership with the renowned Michael G. Foster School of Business at our state’s flagship research institution, the University of Washington. The Chamber has worked with four different teams made up of UW Foster School MBA candidates. The teams have collaborated, delivered analyses, and proposed solutions to address critical relevant business topics and challenges as proposed by the Chamber.

In the Spring of 2021, a UW Foster School MBA team conducted industry and market research to gain insights and propose actionable recommendations regarding the application of loyalty programs. They assessed whether loyalty programs are an effective way to stimulate traffic into local Magnolia businesses and generate long-term customers. The team was specifically charged with examining the viability of a chamber-wide loyalty program to encourage locals to patronize member businesses.

After a thorough review and seeking insights through questionnaires and interviews, the team recommends against the introduction of a consolidated Magnolia neighborhood loyalty program by the Chamber of Commerce, at least at this time.

However, the team recommends that the Chamber provide the resources and data driven research the team compiled regarding loyalty programs to small businesses while simultaneously pursuing other strategies to attract more foot traffic to the neighborhood. The team created a resource for small businesses that helps entrepreneurs understand the value of loyalty programs in customer retention, revenue growth, extending market reach, and building lasting relationships by offering customers rewards. The loyalty program primer provides you with an array of loyalty programs to consider for your business, how best to apply a loyalty program to your business, and a step-by-step guide in how to launch such a program with your customers. The primer guide is available to all businesses interested in learning more about loyalty programs and provides a suite of best practices. To receive your copy of step-by-step loyalty program guide, please contact Jason at jason@discovermagnolia.org or by phone at 206-618-1589.

The team also recommends that the Chamber develop a strong marketing strategy to promote local businesses. The team suggests the Chamber can clarify the Magnolia brand to attract our various target audiences while creating a compelling and strategic ‘shop local’ narrative that is communicated to various market segments. We are busy assessing the recommendations and building into our marketing and strategic communications efforts.

The Chamber reminds our members of the 2020 UW Foster School MBA team’s in-depth market analysis aimed at assisting Magnolia businesses learn more about the unique demographics and consumer profile of our neighborhood. The report presentation is replete with data and information about consumer habits and preferences of the Magnolia neighborhood. Such marketing data is helpful when building customer loyalty while improving outreach to your most immediate consumer base and increasing sales and clients. With consumer habits changing in a market still responding to the impacts of the global pandemic, the report helps you better understand consumer-based characteristics of the Magnolia neighborhood, which assists you in boosting sales, receipts, and revenue. 

King County’s mask directive ends as COVID-19 rates are down and number of people fully protected hits 70% goal

Public Health – Seattle & King County is announcing the end of the current King County Mask Directive that has been in place since May 20, 2021. Now that the local directive has ended, the Washington state mask guidance is in effect in King County. Unvaccinated people will need to continue wearing masks in indoor public spaces and crowded outdoor spaces.

With 70% of King County residents age 16 and older considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and the number continuing to increase, Public Health — Seattle & King County is announcing the end of the King County Mask Directive as of today, June 29. The end of the local mask directive marks a remarkable achievement for the residents of King County as high vaccination coverage has led to drops in COVID-19 cases.

King County has reached this milestone today, two weeks after 70% of residents age 16+ completed their vaccine series, as it takes two weeks after completing the vaccine series to be fully protected. Now that the local directive has lifted, the Washington state mask guidance is in effect in King County. Unvaccinated people will need to continue wearing masks in indoor public spaces and crowded outdoor spaces and continue to take other precautions including avoiding crowded indoor spaces and physical distancing.

The end of the local directive nearly coincides with an end to most COVID-19 pandemic restrictions statewide, including in King County. That happens tomorrow, June 30.

Now that the local mask directive has ended in King County, it’s important to know that:

Vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask in most public settings but may choose to do so based on personal considerations.

Everyone, vaccinated or not, should continue to keep a mask with them when they go out. Masks will be needed in some indoor spaces.

People who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated must continue to wear face coverings when they enter indoor public spaces, according to state guidance. This helps protect not only adults who are unvaccinated, particularly as more contagious variants are spreading, but also children and those with medical conditions that prevent them from getting vaccinated or from being fully protected by vaccines.

Businesses are allowed to request or require their customers and employees to wear masks regardless of vaccination status.

If there is a surge in COVID-19, masks will be an important tool. Don’t throw away those masks!
Because COVID-19 spreads through the air, including from people who do not have symptoms, it is critical for those who are unvaccinated to continue to wear masks indoors and limit indoor gatherings with unvaccinated people to decrease their risk for acquiring COVID-19 and spreading the infection to others. With more contagious variants circulating, if COVID-19 increases in the future, mask-wearing may be recommended more widely to prevent the spread of infection.

Even vaccinated people may choose to continue wearing masks in public places. Some vaccinated people may choose to continue wearing a mask if they are at increased risk for severe infection, have an underlying health condition, or are in close contact with someone at increased risk. Others may choose to continue to wear a mask to support mask-wearing by unvaccinated people or because they feel more comfortable doing so. Some people also wear masks to protect themselves from other respiratory illnesses or allergens

Thanks to highly effective COVID-19 vaccines and decreasing rates of disease in our community at this time, vaccinated people are no longer directed to wear masks in most indoor public settings but may choose to do so at their discretion.” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, Health Officer, Public Health – Seattle & King County.

“We are in a much better place today, but the course of the COVID-19 outbreak remains unpredictable and we continue to depend on one another for community protection, including through vaccination as well as mask wearing. People who are unvaccinated are at increased risk for COVID-19 along with people who do not respond to vaccine because they are immunocompromised due to underlying medical conditions. The best protection for both individuals and the community as a whole will be through more of us continuing to be vaccinated.”

About the local mask directive
The King County Mask Directive was issued on May 20 and strongly urged all residents, fully vaccinated or not, to wear face masks in public indoor settings to help us all stay safer until our community was more protected from the virus.

Our community is now more protected than in May. Since the King County Mask Directive was issued, an additional 209,733 people age 16 and older completed their vaccine series, and another 114,970 first doses were administered to people of all ages. COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations also decreased substantially with the case rate dropping 69%.

Looking toward re-opening
In addition to the mask directive ending, the State of Washington will be lifting restrictions because the current levels of COVID-19 have decreased substantially – largely due to vaccination, and over 75% of Washingtonians over 65 years of age have been vaccinated, protecting them from severe illness. There will no longer be mandated restrictions on the number of people who can be in most indoor public spaces or how far they must be spaced.

As re-opening occurs, Public Health is urging businesses and organizations with indoor facilities to take steps to improve air ventilation and filtration. COVID-19 spreads primarily through the air, and better air flow and filtration will help prevent the spread of infections and future outbreaks.

For residents, continuing to gather outdoors is a safer option than indoors, particularly for large gatherings. For more information on re-opening, visit Washington State Department of Health’s Frequently Asked Questions about reopening.

More information
For questions and answers about re-opening, including more information about mask wearing for workplaces, visit Frequently Asked Questions: kingcounty.gov/safereopen

For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine, including a full list of vaccination sites and appointment options, visit: kingcounty.gov/vaccine

SBA is actively accepting applications for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund

The SBA is currently accepting applications for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF). In fact, more than 186,000 applications have been submitted in the first couple days

While all qualified businesses are allowed — and encouraged — to apply now, under the law the SBA will prioritize RRF applications from small business concerns owned and controlled by women, veterans, and socially and economically disadvantaged individuals for the first 21 days of the program. Following the 21-day period, all eligible applications will be funded on a first-come, first-served basis.

For more information about eligibility, how to apply, and other details — including program information in more than 30 languages — visit the SBA website or call the support hotline at 1-844-279-8898.

Double Your Gift to Magnolia Beautification – give before June 5th

The Reimagine Magnolia Village project is delighted to share that two donors have offered to match any future donations up to $20,000. Their generosity is all in the effort to complete Phases II & III of the beautification project. 

We are so close. 

With your gift (that will be doubled if donated on or before June 5th), you will ensure new tables, chairs, red umbrellas, and maintenance activities are purchased, installed, and completed on West McGraw Street between 33rd and 35th Avenue West.

We are very hopeful that the “I’m All In, Are YOU” fundraising campaign is going to get us over the finish line and we can complete the streetscape improvements.

If you have been in the Village, you have seen what donors have already accomplished. Together, we have improved sidewalk safety over three blocks. New poles are up and trees planted, the benches have been refurbished and installed, and stunning flower baskets and inspirational banners have been hung. 

All we need now is your support and we can purchase the very popular tables, chairs, and umbrellas.

When we kicked off our fundraising efforts back in October 2019, we used the phrase “Let’s get it started.” Today, we ask you to be all in to finish Phases II & III by doubling your donation if you give on or before June 5th.

Please share this time sensitive and lucrative matching donation offer with all your neighbors and friends. Let’s complete Phases II & III of the Reimagine Magnolia Village project and double your generous gift. 

Donate here.

Spring Cleaning – Magnolia has all you need

The Magnolia Chamber of Commerce is delighted that it is Spring. For many, the season of renewal is the time of year to clean our homes, get our gardens ready for planting, and spruce up our environs. After spending more time than ever inside our homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, we figured showcasing Magnolia businesses who will help you get through your Spring cleaning checklist couldn’t be more timely or helpful. The Chamber has you covered, spring cleaners! We match your spring cleaning needs with the local businesses who offer the products and services you need to tackle the tasks. 

Please follow the Magnolia Chamber of Commerce on Instagram and Facebook to see the latest posts on Magnolia based businesses who will offer you the solutions and inspiration to getting your home, car, garden – you name it – back in shape, better organized, and ready for the summer season ahead. Love local AND shop for your spring cleaning essentials right here at home.

Chamber Chats – Up Close & Personal with Magnolia Businesses

Welcome to Chamber Chats, a great way to learn more about the businesses and business leaders in Magnolia. The Chamber Chat concept is simple, yet highly informative to the viewer. We sit down with business and community leaders for-one-on-one interviews on topics of interest both to our Magnolia neighborhood and local business. By following us on the Chamber’s YouTube channel, you will learn more about the faces behind the business or organizations while exploring the human side of Magnolia.

Chamber Chat helps you discover how highlighted businesses are managed, got their start, and what they uniquely bring to their customers and our community. If you are a Chamber business owner, Chamber Chat is a great way to provide broader exposure in the local marketplace. Please reach out to the Magnolia Chamber if you would like to be featured.

We strongly encourage you to visit our Discover Magnolia channel on YouTube and subscribe. New episodes are posted almost every Sunday. Check our latest Chamber Chat from March 20, 2021, below. To see all of the Chamber Chats or to listen to the story of your favorite Magnolia business, click here.

Apply NOW for Working Washington Grants – applications open thru Apr 9

Applications are now open for the fourth round of Working Washington grants through the state Department of Commerce. These relief funds for small businesses offer grants up to $25,000.

Priorities for funding in this round include:

– Businesses required to close.
– Businesses with lost revenue as a result of closure.
– Businesses with added expenses to maintain safe operations.
– Equitable distribution of funds across the state and to businesses owned and operated by historically disadvantaged individuals.

The application portal is open now through 5 p.m. on April 9 at www.commercegrants.com.

For technical support, call 855.602.2722 or email commercegrants@submittable.com.

SBA to Provide Equitable Relief for Main Street Small Businesses

Small Business Administration to Further Promote Equitable Relief for Main Street Small Businesses

On February 23rd, the Biden-Harris Administration and the Small Business Administration announced steps the agency is taking with the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to further promote equitable relief for America’s mom-and-pop businesses. With the exception of the first item, the following will start next week:

  1. Starting Wednesday, Feb. 24, the SBA will establish a 14-day, exclusive PPP loan application period for businesses and nonprofits with fewer than 20 employees.
  2. The SBA will allow sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals to receive more financial support by revising the PPP’s funding formula for these categories of applicants.
  3. The agency will eliminate an exclusionary restriction on PPP access for small business owners with prior non-fraud felony convictions, consistent with a bipartisan congressional proposal. 
  4. Also, the SBA will eliminate PPP access restrictions on small business owners who have struggled to make federal student loan payments by eliminating federal student loan debt delinquency and default as disqualifiers to participating in the PPP. 
  5. Ensure access for non-citizen small business owners who are lawful U.S. residents by clarifying that they may use Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to apply for the PPP.

Read More

Steps You Can Take to Access PPP Funding 

  • Keep in communication with your PPP lender – regardless the size of your small business, continue to work with your lender to keep the application process moving.
  • Find a PPP lender if you don’t already have one – use the PPP Lender Map or Lender Match tools to find a lender accepting PPP lenders.
  • Work with an SBA Resource Partner – connect with local mentors and advisers to help you prepare your application and devise the best financial and strategic plan to move your business forward.
  • Attend an informational webinar – local SBA staff and SBA Resource Partners are providing webinars that share program information, updates and resources to help you prepare for the PPP application process. View upcoming webinars in the Seattle District

Details about PPP

Current COVID-19 Guidance and Restrictions

King County is in Phase 2 of the state’s Healthy Washington – Roadmap to Recovery plan. Effective Feb. 1, 2021.

On January 28, Governor Inslee announced King County and the Puget Sound Region will move to Phase 2 of the state’s Healthy Washington – Roadmap to Recovery plan on Monday, Feb. 1. based on new criteria that requires regions meet three of the state’s four metrics. Read the Governor’s announcement.

Phase 2 allows for additional indoor activities, including dining, fitness, museums and more at 25 percent capacity. As we face new more contagious COVID-19 variants, we must stay as vigilant as ever to keep businesses open and COVID activity trending down. In addition to wearing well-fitted masks and social distancing, Public Health—Seattle & King County encourages businesses and facilities operating indoors to prioritize ventilation and air flow, plus outdoor, takeout and curbside offerings. For activities and gatherings allowed in Phase 2 that require advanced planning, such as wedding and funeral receptions for example, keep in mind that the state evaluates our region’s status every two weeks and can move us back to Phase 1, if we aren’t meeting their criteria.

Learn what workplaces, community and faith-based organizations, schools and childcare, and residents in King County need to know, plus important COVID-19 resources for you or your business: https://www.kingcounty.gov/elected/executive/constantine/covid-response/current-guidance.aspx