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Visit Seattle and Seattle Bank announce next cohort of BIPOC and LGBTQIA+-owned small bnusinesses for community partnership program 

Visit Seattle

Now in its third year, initiative aims to grow tourism activity for small businesses in Pioneer Square neighborhood.

SEATTLE – Visit Seattle, the official destination marketing organization for Seattle and King County, and Seattle Bank, a Seattle-based, digitally-driven financial institution, announced the newest cohort of businesses selected for the Community Partnership Program. Now in its third year, the Community Partnership Program aims to bolster tourism and economic vitality by extending support to BIPOC and LGBTQIA+-owned restaurants, cafes, and retail establishments in emerging Seattle neighborhoods.

Visit Seattle and Seattle Bank partnered with Alliance for Pioneer Square and Intentionalist, an online guide to intentional spending, to identify the 12 BIPOC and LGBTQIA+-owned businesses selected for this year’s program. The businesses selected for the Community Partnership Program are located in the historic Pioneer Square neighborhood near Lumen Field, where six FIFA World Cup matches will take place in 2026. The program aims to support and prepare businesses owners to host the influx of visitors during the tournament.

“Seattle hosts nearly 38 million visitors a year. One of the best parts of our mission is connecting them to under-explored spaces in neighborhoods that define our community,” said Visit Seattle President and CEO Tammy Canavan. “This year, we’re excited to help Seattle visitors experience some of the creative and mouthwatering things happening at small and minority-owned businesses in Pioneer Square, a historic and culture-packed neighborhood folks can easily access via the ferry, the light rail, or Seattle’s stunning new Waterfront Park. It’s a phenomenal time to visit these businesses.”

Businesses will receive waived membership dues (courtesy of Seattle Bank) to join Visit Seattle’s Membership group through 2026 (with additional discounted membership offered for 2027). As members, each business will receive dedicated promotional backing through Visit Seattle’s marketing platforms and editorial content – gaining access to leads and referrals generated by Visit Seattle to encourage leisure visitors, business travelers, and meeting attendees to patronize their establishments. Businesses will also receive complimentary financial consulting services from Seattle Bank, along with comprehensive marketing collateral and toolkits to leverage for promotional purposes.

“Pioneer Square is an ideal focal point for the third year of Seattle Bank’s collaboration with Visit Seattle to support BIPOC- and LQBTQIA-owned businesses,” said Mary Grace Roske, senior vice president of marketing and community relations at Seattle Bank. “This area is a destination for summer tourists and local sports fans alike, and there’s great opportunity to drive traffic to these businesses and introduce people to new restaurants and retailers in one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods.”

Originally created to aid in the pandemic recovery of small businesses, the Community Partnership Program has grown into a long-term, signature program. The inaugural program focused on businesses within Seattle’s Chinatown-International District and Central District neighborhoods, while last year’s centered on Capitol Hill and First Hill – supporting businesses in close proximity to Seattle Convention Center’s newly opened Summit building.

“Since becoming a member of Visit Seattle we’ve enjoyed a number of visiting media and journalists interviewing us and getting to share our micro business story, service and products,” said Kenneth Dillon, Owner of Footprint Wine Tap, a 2023 participating business of the Community Partnership Program. “We’ve met some local representatives and those from around the world and it has been a pleasure to meet and learn about their stories as well. We hope to continue to (re-)connect with anyone interested in meeting and wanting to share stories.”

Visit Seattle and Seattle Bank identified the historic Pioneer Square as a hub for this year’s cohort. Known as Seattle’s ‘original neighborhood,’ the Pioneer Square of today is among the city’s most culturally diverse – regarded for seamlessly blending vintage charm with trendsetting creativity. The neighborhood will be a hub for FIFA World Cup activity, as Lumen Field will host six matches, including the U.S. Men’s National Team on Juneteenth, 2026.

“Pioneer Square has so much to offer, including a fantastic mix of both new and legacy BIPOC-owned businesses,” said Lisa Howard, Executive Director of Alliance for Pioneer Square. “The Alliance for Pioneer Square is excited to work with our partners at Visit Seattle, the Intentionalist, and Seattle Bank through the Seattle Bank Community Partnership Program to bring critical visibility and economic activity across Seattle.”

To commemorate another year of this partnership and give people a taste of the neighborhood, Visit Seattle and Seattle Bank are bringing back sponsored tabs via Intentionalist. Visitors will have the opportunity to enjoy a taste of each business by placing orders on a pre-paid tab until a $250 limit is reached. Look out for tab information on social channels for Visit Seattle, Seattle Bank, and Intentionalist, as well as on Intentionalist.com.

“Intentionalist is excited to continue our partnership with Visit Seattle and Seattle Bank to bring the Community Partnership Program focus to small businesses in Seattle’s first neighborhood,” said Intentionalist founder and CEO, Laura Clise. “This year’s cohort includes both neighborhood newcomers as well as local businesses that have shaped Pioneer Square for years. The common denominator? Small business owners’ passion for providing cultural and culinary experiences that keep them on the map for locals and visitors alike.”

The 2024 cohort of businesses includes:

  • ʔálʔal Café – Café by Chief Seattle Club that reintroduces traditional Indigenous foods in a way that connects food to culture.
  • Drunken Pizza & Pocha – Restaurant that serves Korean street-inspired dishes alongside artisanal pizzas.
  • Foggy Tea – A shop from Japanese and Native American owner Michelle Ishimitsu that offers a delightful variety of teas and tea lattes, along with a seasonal menu of rotating local pastries.
  • Golden Roosters – Korean fried chicken restaurant that’s also an ideal spot for local sports fans, from owner Sean Yoon.
  • Intrigue Chocolate Co. – An artisanal chocolate company from Aaron Barthel and Karl Mueller.
  • Lune Café – Café with playful energy serving drinks like coffee and matcha. Stop in for delicious treats like crepes, waffles, and mini pancakes.
  • Muse Lounge Seattle – Upscale restaurant and lounge from owners Jasmin Mendoza and Addie Mendoza, serving brunch and dinner in a bright venue with great vibes.
  • Nirmal’s – Restaurant that focuses on authentic Indian techniques and flavors as well as a wide variety of dishes and preparation styles.
  • OHSUN – Restaurant from Sara Upshaw with house-made banchan and comfort food, along with pantry items.
  • Saigon Drip Café – Vibrant spot owned by Phong Dang that serves freshly brewed Vietnamese coffee, bánh mì sandwiches, and noodle dishes.
  • Señor Carbón Peruvian Cuisine – Restaurant that specializes in Peruvian and Japanese flavors from Joe Tuesta and Imelda Diez-Tipa.
  • Rojo’s Mexican Food – 100% plant-based menu of burritos, tacos, tortas, and more.
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Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.

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