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Creative Ways to Help Keep Businesses Alive

Creative Ways to Help Keep Businesses Alive

by Mary Clymer on October 20, 2020

Chip-In to help your favorite businesses stay open

Did you know that already over 40 small businesses have permanently shut their doors due to the “Stay at Home” order? Governor Jay Inslee is doing what he can to continue to protect our fellow Washingtonians, but as with all hard decisions, it has come at a cost. 

Renton businesses are at the heart of our community. Small businesses help to create the small-town feel of our big city.


More and more people turning online every day we are well aware of the impact this has on our community and businesses. 

Shopping at a locally owned business keeps your money local. Shopping at a big retailer keeps only a small percent local, and shopping online doesn’t keep any money local. 

These are important things to remember as we consider where and how we choose to spend our dollars. You make a difference with every dollar you spend.


If you don’t want to see the local charm of our area disappear now is the time to get involved. 

Local philanthropist Gerald Smiley's new crowdfunding website Chip-in is similar to a GoFundMe site. The City of Renton, OneEastside, and the Renton Chamber are working together with Chip-in to raise funds for small businesses throughout Renton. Your tax-deductible contribution will go directly towards supporting local Renton businesses.

Every dollar counts so please consider contributing. 

If you want to be more hands-on with businesses, go support the open ones. Go local whenever possible. It means the world to them and our community.

Cheese Please

River Valley Cheese on the corner of South 3rd St. and Wells closed her doors on March 4th because of the pandemic. Just one example of a great new addition to our downtown that was left wondering how they would survive. Kristi Slotemaker, like many small business owners, was left feeling heartbroken. She missed the days of laughter coming from a group engaged in making cheese for the first time.

After seven months of paying the rent with no income, she decided it might be time to close the doors permanently.

Richelle is the owner of Sparkle and next-door neighbor and friend to River Valley Cheese in downtown. When she heard the news she got busy figuring out ways to help save the business.

The makers of our community came to mind, and she suggested opening up the space to help local artisans as a win-win. 

Support Your Makers!

Along with the many communities strongly affected by this pandemic are our local makers. Many who make a living at Farmers Markets and Summer and Holiday Shows are wondering how they are going to make it. 

A grant to this small business paired with a savvy idea created the SYM Market (@sym_markett). A Pop Up Showcase for local makers to showcase and sell their products.

From October 15th - December 23 every Thursday - Sunday River Valley Cheese will be taken over by artists.

The curated space will highlight 3-5 makers at a socially responsible distance. Everything from clothing to candles and don’t forget the food. 

Cheesecake is back! 

Along with other fabulous featured treats from Trevani Truffles, Pipa Preferred Brittle, and a cream cheese spread named Dragons Breath. A spread made especially for Erasmus, our resident rooftop dragon named after city founder Erasmus Smithers. This sweet and spicy combo is just a sample of what to expect out of this whimsical opportunity. 

Kristi is working with local curators to make this the best showing of talent from the area. Ashley Dobson of Urban Markets is one of those curators and you will see many of your favorites from her pop-ups as well.

BLM Art Walk

If you missed the black lives matter art walk that showcased art done by the black community you’ll have another chance to check out the work November 5-8 and November 19-22. They are part of the amazing line-up.


Artists Wanted

If you are an artist looking to show your work, contact Kristi at 1-425-222-5277

4 and 8-foot tables will be provided along with a chair. Even electricity can be accommodated. Kristi will set you up with one of the three amazing curators to set up the proper time and space for you to sell your product. 

You can sign up for a day or the whole weekend depending on availability. It’s been made affordable for you to get involved and only 10% of your sales are taken to be put back into future markets. 

Support Support Support!

As showcased here, we have an amazing community who reach out and help one another in times of need. 

Now we are asking you. As a member of this great community to reach out and help a business that is struggling. You will feel better knowing you played an active role in supporting your neighbors and friends. 

If you are struggling and cannot give at this time, please stay active by spreading the word to those who might be able to help. 

Let a local business know how valuable they are by getting involved today. 

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