Archive for Shop Local

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?


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


The Power of Local Spending, From a 1915 Ad

Found this charming ad while browsing the internet. It’s interesting that the concept of supporting your local small businesses is as old as business itself. The ad says,

“Will some one tell us, for we’d like to know

Why it is some people go

And spend their money for a bread

Made out of town, when they instead

By patronizing this home trade

Could get as good or better grade?

Think it over well tonight

And tell us if we are not right.


The money you spend with us

We spend with you.


Your telephoned orders will receive prompt attention.

W.S. Bull, The Baker”

We’re right with you W.S. Bull! Money spent with small locally owned businesses does go back into the hands of other small business owners, enabling them to turn around and spend it again.

Our locals-only directory makes it easy to shop local. Search RelyLocal Renton-Skyway-Newcastle first when you need to find a business or non-profit. You might be surprised what you will find! 1915ad

Spend it Here. Keep it Here.

S 3rd St Renton, WA; Rely On Renton

Spending money at local small businesses keeps more of your money here. For every $100 spent at a small business, about $45 remains in the community, versus $13 spent at a big box or chain store. You CAN make a difference in your community today!

Shop Local to Support Children’s Hospital

523571_586941094664576_1874657739_nThere are times in life where winning is a sub-optimal outcome, because it means a worthy party loses. There are also times when one win leads to another win, which leads to a big win-fest around the room. Local Rewards cards, sold as a fundraiser, is one of those things. Small businesses benefit, an important charity benefits, and our local economy benefits. Triple Win!!!

Danielle Gould, owner of Little Quadoo Children’s Consignment, is partnering with RelyLocal Renton, Skyway, Newcastle, to benefit Clare Beckett Guild, a non-profit that covers uncompensated care for Children’s Hospital of Seattle. She is selling the cards at $15 each at her store at 601-A S 3rd St, Renton, WA 98057. A special fundraiser Sidewalk and Bake Sale to benefit the Clare Beckett Guild will be held this Saturday, July 20th, 2013, from 11am-5pm at Little Quadoo Consignment.

Children’s Hospital provides about $100,000,000.00 per year in uncompensated care. The Clare Beckett Guild, founded by two mothers whose children received care at Children’s Hospital, helps to offset some of those costs. Their mission is to see that every child who needs care at Children’s can receive it, regardless of ability to pay.

Local Rewards cards allow you to receive special cardholder-only discounts at your favorite independent, locally owned businesses. For instance, you can use your Local Rewards card to save at Little Quadoo Children’s Consignment, which offers a 20% discount on Wednesdays to Local Rewards cardholders. New Local Rewards offers and discounts at businesses around Renton are being added all the time. In time, your Local Rewards card will only get better!

See for more information about Local Rewards.



cards.largeYou’ve been waiting for the Local Rewards cards to appear, and they’re finally here! About fifty free cards are waiting for you to claim them at local businesses across our city! Participation in the Local Rewards Scavenger Hunt is simple!

  • Go to to see where the free cards are located.
  • Go to the checkout counter and ask for one of the free cards.
  • First Come, first served! There are only 5 free cards at each location, so you may have to visit more than one location to find a free card.
  • Don’t want to hunt around? Prefer to purchase your card? No problem! Each location also has extra cards they are selling for the limited time, reduced price of $15. There are a limited number of free cards available, so get them quickly!
  • We request that only one free card be claimed per person. Honor system. (And maybe big brother…? Nah.)
  • We’ll post hints about where you might still find free cards on Twitter and Facebook throughout the week.

Joining RelyLocal as a card-carrying member allows you, as someone who cares about Renton’s future, to participate in the Rely On Renton campaign as “Loyal Localists”. Many businesses around town are willing to thank you for your loyalty with discounts and special offers on everything from appliances to clothing to entertainment! More offers are being added all the time. Look at some of the great Rewards your card will get you:

Renton Civic Theatre

Reward Details: Renton Civic Theatre offers tickets to the Summer Teen Musical, “Legally Blonde” for HALF OFF to RelyLocal Rewards members. To order, call / email the box office, let them know you’re a Rewards member, and show your card when you pick them up.

Creative Mom Toys

Reward Details: Creative Mom Toys offers RelyLocal Rewards members 20% off any one item, on Mondays or Tuesdays. Limit one item per week.

Shannon Richards, Stylist

Reward Details: Shannon Richards, Stylist at Shear Delight offers RelyLocal Rewards members $5 off hair cuts and $10 off coloring.

King and Bunny’s Appliances

Reward Details: King & Bunny’s Appliances offers 5% off MSRP to Local Rewards members. May not be combined with additional offers.

Juneteenth – How we still support slavery in Renton

Happy Juneteenth! One-hundred forty-eight years ago today, slavery was declared abolished in Texas, two and a half years after the rest of the United States. This was an important landmark in our shared American history: African American as well as every other ethnicity; we are equal in value in spite of the color of our skin. No one person should ever be allowed to own another.

As we commemorate the end of slavery in America, let us remember that although we abolished legal slavery in America in the 1860’s, slavery still exists in America and around the world in the modern day. Even though you’ve probably never seen a restrained person laboring in Renton, you and I unknowingly pay for slavery to continue on a daily basis. Slaves harvest the cacao beans that are made into the chocolate that we eat in our chocolate chip cookies. Slaves produce the clothing that we purchase. Slaves mine the coltan that is used to make our mobile phones (watch the documentary online here). Slaves harvest produce grown in America that you buy at your grocery store, and raise the beef cattle that are processed into your fast food hamburgers.

It’s awkward to think about supporting slavery in our day to day lives. However, we can make choices that impact the demand for slavery produced products. We can:

  • Eat food that has been produced with transparency. Moving production of our food and goods behind closed doors has led to a proliferation of human rights violations and abuses. Undocumented workers, under myriad threats of violence against themselves and their families, deportation, and exposure, work for little to no pay to produce much of the food we eat. We can call for more transparency in the production of our food and supplies by choosing to buy locally from producers we know are ethical. What is transparent? Can you visit the farm where your veggies are grown? Can you shake the hand of the person who harvested your food, and ask them what their wages are? Buy instead from: Whistling Train Farm, Top of the Hill Produce, Smoking Monkey Pizza
  • Choose coffee, sugar, chocolate that is “Fair Trade” or “Direct Trade”. Yes, you will pay a little more for these things. You are paying the people who produced it a little more, too. That is a good thing. Liberty Cafe uses coffee from Middle Fork Roasters. They purchase Fair Trade coffee as often as it is available, which is apparently seasonal.
  • Buy clothing that has been produced ethically. This one is especially difficult. Most of the clothing we purchase has no history attached for us to view. The wages of the workers can influence the price of the final product, so that clothing produced ethically is more expensive than clothing produced as a result of slave labor. “Fair Trade” labelled clothing has added cost associated with being labelled “Fair Trade Certified”. Buying clothing second hand is a subversive way to “rob” money from the companies that produce unethical clothing. Buy Fair Trade clothing from Maya Whole Health. You can find second hand clothing at Chici Baby’s Consignment Boutique, and Little Quadoo Consignment Boutique
  • Be prepared to pay a little more. The question always is asked, “How can I afford to pay more for fair wages, when I can barely pay for the food and goods that are produced unfairly?” Ask yourself, can you do more with less? Do you really NEED another pair of shoes? Can you eat a little less chocolate? Eat at home a little more frequently? We are so accustomed to living with excess. Try living simply, so that others may simply live.
  • Share this information with others in your network. Spread the word. You may not be able to make a huge difference, but someone in your life may. Watch the video below and share it with everyone you know!

What other producers and retailers around Renton do you know of who sell slavery-free merchandise? Share them with us here so we can support them too!