Archive for Amanda

The Piazza Renton Spring Festival

We are wiggling with anticipation for this year’s Family Fair. We have a great lineup of activities, music, and entertainment that kids of all ages will enjoy!

The Rely On Renton Family Fair is part of Piazza Renton’s Spring Festival, a tradition in it’s thirteenth year of celebration of spring in downtown Renton. Piazza Renton is an volunteer organization that organizes seasonal celebrations in our central downtown area park, The Piazza. Other events Piazza Renton helps organize include the Return to Renton Car Show in July, Fall Harvest Festival in October, and the Tree Lighting ceremony in December.

spring festival 2014 poster.v2

2014 Rely On Renton Family Fair

We are proud to bring the Rely On Renton Family Fair back to the Renton Pavilion Event Center! It is one of the many exciting, family-oriented activities at the Piazza Renton Spring Festival. It’s all happening May 3rd from 10am-4pm at the Piazza in downtown Renton.

Our Family Fair features small businesses and local non-profits for families with kids ages 2-14. Eric Ode will be performing at 11am on our stage, which will have kid-friendly demos and entertainment all day long. Each booth has kid activities, so bring the whole family down and learn what great resources Renton has to offer for families!


Family Fair2014

Yep. That about sums it up!

I don’t know what it is about, but I love it. It sums up our blog better than I ever could. It’s also fun to see the subtle changes in focus that our blog and the RelyLocal Renton-Skyway-Newcastle undergoes over the course of time.


Can’t Save Renton Small Businesses? Respectfully, I Call Hogwash.

Grass is greenerLaunching the RelyLocal Renton-Skyway-Newcastle campaign 18 months ago, our goal was to start a grass-roots movement to support and favor small businesses in the Renton area. Since that time we’ve been confronting the widespread fear in our community that we’re “too late” to save small businesses in Renton. “Sadly I don’t think there is anything anyone can do to turn things around…” said one woman in response to my post called “Rentonish…Keeping Our City Unique“.


There is NOTHING. Anyone. Can do to turn things around?

I respectfully call hogwash. Maybe one person can’t, but together we absolutely can.

Let’s look at the facts, shall we?

When you spend money at small locally owned businesses, economic data reveals that four times more of it stays and is re-spent in your community than the same amount of money spent at a big box or chain store. Local businesses support other local businesses and charities, who in turn reinvest the same funds. This creates a powerful multiplier effect of money spent at small businesses.

The reported population of Renton (not including Fairwood, or Skyway, or the city of Newcastle) is 95,540 people of varying ages. Let’s just count the ones over 18, since kids don’t always control where money is spent (heh).

There are also varying income levels. Not everyone can afford to buy local farm-raised meat, local-artisan-designed-and-manufactured clothing, etc. I would say that pretty much anyone can choose where they spend $20 a month, right? I’m not saying spend $20 more a month. Rather, instead of buying:

  • A book on Amazon, buy a few books at Old Renton Book Exchange
  • A child’s birthday gift at WalMart, choose a couple unique items from the “Under $15″ at Creative Mom Toys
  • A bottle of wine from Total Wine & More, choose a couple bottles from the boutique selection of wines for $7.99 at The Wine Alley
  • A new-and-soon-to-be soiled girls’ dress from Target, choose a gently used one (or two!) from Little Quadoo Chidren’s Consignment.
  • Going out with the family for fast food, choose one of our many excellent locally owned restaurants instead.
  • Something else that costs $20 online, spend the same $20 at a local establishment

How much would we collectively generate for our city’s economy with just $20 a month?

$13,097,387.52. That’s 13. MILLION. Dollars. From just $20 a month. Totally do-able.

The grass is greener where you water it. You’re watering grass everyday as you spend money shopping eating, playing, and living your life. Whose “lawn” will you water?


Should I write a negative review for a local small business?

In response to several poor decisions I have witnessed recently regarding negative reviews written in poor taste against local businesses, I have created the following flowchart to assist you with decision-making on when and how this is appropriate. Enjoy!

Rentonish – Keeping Our City Unique

Screenshot 2014-01-16 13.06.11It’s been said many times before that no one likes Renton…until they live here. Then they love it! Growing up here, I took it’s charms and convenience for granted, along with the plentiful free parking, beautiful park areas, etc. Leaving to find BIGGER, greener pastures in neighboring Seattle, I never imagined I’d return to my home town. Now that I’ve been back for a few years, I wonder why I ever left. Returning, I saw Renton with new eyes.

Take a moment to think about our city and what sets it apart. What are the key elements that make Renton Rentonish? I think about those places that are like none other anywhere else: our natural features and special places, and of course, our small businesses.

Journey with me into a potential dystopian future, in which all small businesses have closed. Downtown Renton is a long line of boarded up storefronts. You have to go to Starbucks to get coffee, because Liberty Cafe, Common Ground Cupcakes, The Met, and Luther’s Table are closed. I hope you really like Red Robin, Applebee’s, Denny’s, or fast food, because those are your dining choices.

With all the small businesses closed at the Landing, you are left with big box options: no Poggi Bonsi, C’est La Vie, Creative Mom Toys, Eyes On the Landing… <sarcasm> At least the Big Box stores save you money, right? </sarcasm>

In this alternate reality, Renton looks like EVERY OTHER CITY. Having a fancy chain coffee store is not something to brag about, move here for, stay here for, or even remember.

In our reality, small businesses all over our city are struggling to survive, and we, as citizens of Renton, need to take responsibility for the demise of many of our city’s great small business assets (think Happy Delusions). More are on the chopping block if we don’t intervene (Old Renton Book Exchange). We are responsible because we chose to patronize big chains, rather than small businesses.

How bland does Renton have to get before we lose a sense of what “Rentonish” means? If we don’t want a city that looks like every other, it’s time we stood up and fought for it before it’s too late. Fight back by changing your shopping habits. Choose to RelyLocal!


Plaid Is the New Black

Celebrate “Plaid Friday” instead of “Black Friday”

Show your support for independent, locally owned businesses


Thanksgiving Day comes late this year. For those of us who don’t own small retail businesses, it probably has no other meaning than rent is due mere hours after turkey time. For small business owners, however, it means there are fewer shopping days till Christmas. Did you know that many small retailers take in 50% or more of their annual revenue during the holidays? Without intentional local shoppers, a short holiday shopping season could break some of the small businesses we hold dear!

Instead of risking life and limb at the big box stores this year, why not shop at your local indie stores instead? Many of them are welcoming customers through their doors with food, special events, and offering special deals. Below is a list of some “Plaid Friday” events in Renton. Do you know of others? Comment or email me, and I’ll add them to the list!







Chici Baby’s Consignment Boutique

  • 10% off everything

Old Renton Book Exchange

  • Extended hours: open from 10am to 8pm
  • Raffle and door prizes on Friday, as well as specials on select items.

Antique Country Station

  • 20% off everything

Little Quadoo Consignment

  • Extended hours: open 9am to 5pm
  • 20% off storewide!
  • 30% New select baby carriers, Yummi Pouches, and Buttons Diapers!
  • Sale excludes locally handmade items. Maximum 20% discount on consigned items is $10 per item.

Maker’s Mercantile (The storefront where Ryliecakes is located)

  • Early Bird Doorbuster Goody Bags for each customer that pops in before 12pm, ’til we run out!
  • Buy any 4 skeins of Stash-quisition yarn, get the 5th free.
  • Between 12 and 4 Free Make & Take: Addi Express Headbands & Hats, with over 50 colors to choose from!
  • Don’t forget to bring your Local Rewards card to get a buy-one-get-one-free gluten-free bakery item at RylieCakes!

The Wine Alley

  • MEGA Beer Tasting featuring 10 beers from 4p – 7p. $5 tasting fee includes keepsake beer glass.

small business saturday






Maya Whole Health

  • 20% off Lululemon apparel

Sierra Fish and Pets

  • 10% OFF Store wide
  • 30% OFF Freshwater & Saltwater Livestock

Chici Baby’s Consignment Boutique

  • 10% off everything

Little Quadoo Consignment

  • Extended hours: open 9am to 5pm
  • 20% off storewide!
  • 30% New select baby carriers, Yummi Pouches, and Buttons Diapers!
  • Sale excludes locally handmade items. Maximum 20% discount on consigned items is $10 per item.

R&D Thriftstore

  • 10% off everything with one-day-only RelyLocal Coupon

Old Renton Book Exchange

  • Extended hours: open from 10am to 8pm
  • Bake Sale
  • Raising money for RAYS (Renton Area Youth & Family Services)
  • Children’s book drive for RAYS

Antique Country Station

  • 20% off everything

Poggi Bonsi

  • Complimentary treats all day
  • All Henkel’s knives will be 50% off
  • Customers will receive a free tea towel with their $100 purchase.
  • Many other in-store specials

Maker’s Mercantile (The storefront where Ryliecakes is located)

  • Early Bird Doorbuster Goody Bags for each customer that pops in before 12pm, ’til we run out!
  • All felt, fabric and roving is 15% Off.
  • Between 12 and 4 Free Make & Take: Felt, Pom-pom and Tassel Cap Ornaments or Garlands, using roving, yarn, buttons, acorns and beads!
  • Don’t forget to bring your Local Rewards card to get a buy-one-get-one-free gluten-free bakery item at RylieCakes!

The Wine Alley

  • We are doing a Cote Bonneville Tasting from 12p – 4:30p. Great high end wines. Perfect for the holidays!



Rely On Renton’s New Three-Way Partnership

Renton Technical College

Renton Technical College, located in the Renton Highlands, was originally a war production school for World War II. When the war ended it was converted to the Technical School it is today.

Rely On Renton is excited to announce a dynamic community partnership between Local Rewards, Renton Technical College Foundation, and Twilight Laptop Repair! The RTC Foundation has created a new membership organization, the RTC Circle of Friends, which allows community members, alumni, students, and faculty to participate in making quality technical education accessible to those who need it most.

Did you know that RTC has over 11,000 matriculating students each year? I have to confess that although I have lived basically my whole life in the Renton area, I had no idea they were this big! If you live in or around Renton, you probably know someone who has attended Renton Technical College, formerly known as Renton Vocational Technical School, or Renton Voc Tech. So many lives have been touched by Renton Tech, that it is no exaggeration to refer to them as a pillar in our community.

A college with a comparatively large share of low income students, RTC students’ stories are particularly poignant. Many RTC students are refugees who came to our country with nothing, but want to be productive members of society. Women who are homemakers without marketable skills and unexpectedly have to provide for their families due to illness look to RTC to provide them with necessary career skills. Unemployed workers in need of career change after economic upheaval ejected them from a job in their chosen profession need a leg up to be able to support themselves and their families.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe RTC Foundation awards scholarships to needy students, helping break the cycle of poverty in our city. Last year the RTC Foundation helped 121 people complete their GED test and provided emergency grant scholarships to 111 people. The foundation also awarded $72,000 to 105 workforce training students in 2012.

Eligible donations to the RTC Circle of Friends* will receive several benefits including a Local Rewards card (valued at $15), which allows cardholders to receive discounts at small local businesses who are RelyLocal members throughout the Renton / Skyway / Newcastle area.

To make your donation to the RTC Circle of Friends, and receive a Local Rewards card immediately, pick up a donation pamphlet and make your donation at Twilight Laptop Repair in the Renton Highlands. The owner of Twilight Laptop Repair, Shade Moon, is an alumnus of a community college himself, and is passionate about community college’s ability to transform lives and create great career opportunities. Shade has generously agreed to be a brick-and-mortar donation location for the RTC Circle of Friends. All donations go directly to the RTC Circle of friends, and are tax deductible as a donation to the Renton Foundation 501c3, EIN#91-1590751.

*Eligible donations begin at the $36/year student & alumni level,$48/year Advisory Committee Level, $60/year Good Neighbors level, and $144/year for Business Partner level, and $300/year (only $25/month) Friends for a Lifetime Level


12 Gorgeous Photos of Fall in North Renton

Today the sun peeked out from behind the clouds and beckoned me to come out and take pictures of the fall colors. I’ve been watching the trees with anticipation, particularly these ones on North Third Street in Renton. We also took a short stroll on the riverwalk next to the Cedar River and captured our unique over-the-river library. Enjoy!

Top 10 ways to GO OUT OF BUSINESS

ostrichI wrote a snarky, provocative blog post for the RelyLocal blog. I think you’ll enjoy it!

I have to say that underneath it’s humorous exterior there is a lot of truth related to success in small business. It seems easy to blame the economy, taxes, our changing culture, etc. for failures, but then what was learned? That other forces control your destiny and you’re just a passenger in your life? No thanks! I’d prefer to take charge and plan for my own success, thank you.

Top 10 Ways to Go Out of Business


Going out of business is all the rage these days! In this economy, many small business owners are going out of business. Here’s a few tips to keep up with this growing trend…
10. Act like you’re the only shop in town. If you’re serious about going out of business, you need adjust your mindset; denial is a powerful tool in going out of business. Ignoring the fact that there are other small businesses like yours in town gives you a sense of entitlement to local residents’ business and makes you less apt to listen to customer feedback. What’s that you say? You really are the only one in town? Don’t worry. With your bad attitude, someone else who wants to succeed in business instead of fail will replace you before long.

9. Treat your customers badly. People expect a superior experience from small businesses because, let’s face it, you can offer it. But should you? Not if you want to go out of business! If you treat customers badly, they might come in, but they won’t be back. With fewer and fewer customers coming to you, you’ll be well on your way to going out of business.

Watch this great example on how to treat customers badly. This couple, featured on the reality TV show Kitchen Nightmares uses customer reviews to their advantage. They ignore negative customer feedback which, especially in a customer service business like a restaurant, is a roadmap to failure-town.

Read more…