Support at the Storefront

Local small businesses awaiting the announcement of COVID-19 restrictions.


Courtesy Photo from City of Everett.

One Everett campaign to spread positivity and encouragement.

County and city leaders, and patrons weigh-in on supporting small businesses as Snohomish County faces possible regression to Phase-2 restrictions. Fluctuating limitations are impacting all communities, but in Everett, community is becoming more purposeful.

On April 12, Gov. Jay Inslee announced three Washington counties moving back to Phase-2 due to unmet Phase-3 Roadmap to Recovery metrics. The state will evaluate all 39 counties again on Monday, May 3.

Reverting to Phase-2 will cause business indoor capacities to fall from 50% to 25% once again.

Tod Fiscus shares the importance of supporting local businesses. (Courtesy Photo from Tod Fiscus.)

“I think it is important to support our businesses for multiple reasons. Having small businesses can bring a community together, bring light and bring revenue,” Tod Fiscus, EvCC student and business major says. 

Anneliese Vance-Sherman, state economist says, “In Snohomish County, nearly 20,000 businesses had between 1 and 19 employees (nearly 90% of businesses); collectively, they supplied nearly 70,000 of Snohomish County-located jobs (about 24% of jobs).” 

For small businesses, heightened restrictions can lead to financial hardships and the risks of closing their doors for good. Voices in the county and the city are prepared to support them to ensure this doesn’t happen.

“When you see all these places closing because of the pandemic, it touches your heart,” says Sofia Denning, prior small business manager and EvCC student computer science major. “There’s never a time that we go out and I don’t make a new friend with my server, busser or my host. I think that connection with humanity right now, especially with such uncertainty, is what’s needed.”

New Everett initiatives and campaigns like Everett for Everett, One Everett, Safe Opening Tool, and Everett Streatery focus on aiding businesses and encouraging the personal connections that come with it.

Julio Cortes, Everett senior communications officer says, “The collaboration with the Small Business Association, county, and health district were key for the success of not only our residents safety, but the

Julio Cortes inspires the Everett community to stay healthy and support local businesses. (Courtesy Photo from Julio Cortes.)

businesses as well.”

“Mayor Franklin was the one really pushing for us to support businesses as quickly as possible. She understands the importance of economic recovery.”

Various grants, funding programs and loans have helped businesses retain workforce, make necessary investments, and lessened the impact of a highly uncertain environment.

“The grants and support from the city and county helped us to pay bills that accumulated while closed,” Charlie Knoedler, Everett Comics shop owner says, “Monthly payments are due even if you aren’t open.”

Matt Smith, Economic Alliance of Snohomish County Director of Industry and Resource Development says, “You went through the learning exercise, and that’s where you really get a sense of how small businesses are hurting, they hadn’t been in this scenario before.”

“The challenge this year for the state is really how to spend all the money. They want to spend, but they must do it responsibly to know they’re going to get a positive result.”

The city and county are working towards a system that’s more defined and attuned for businesses to not only reach out to them for support but to one another for direction as well.

“Engage at the local level. The cities are now learning who their small business employers are. Creating the local economic ecosystem will be important moving forward,” Smith says.

The steps ahead for businesses and their supporters will be new territory. COVID-19 has impacted everyone and highlighting precautions for a possible regression will be a necessary focus.

“There’s a lot of false information out on social media. We try to make sure we’re working with the health district and county to push out information helpful to a lot of businesses and families,” Cortes says.

“We lost businesses, family members, and friends to it. It affected everybody. I think that if we remember that, it will help us come together as a community, and a lot stronger.”

This is a chance for Everett to re-learn who their neighbors are, recognizing small businesses as locals struggling with the pandemic and joining hands as a stronger community.

Everett Comics storefront welcomes all customers. (Xavior Crowley)

“Go out and support your local stores. Check out places and see how they’re doing. We’re listening and trying to give a better shopping experience to everybody,” Knoedler says.

“We appreciate all of our customers and future customers and we want them to leave happy. This will be our 30th year open, and I hope in the future we just stay in business.”

Support the Everett community in your own way.