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Small Business And The Gift Of Community

Patch welcomes letters to the editor. Please submit letters via email to jenny.manning@patch.com and include your full name and city of residence.

I’m a long time DTR resident and a life-long small business supporter. In the Philippines, where I grew up, small business owners were vital members of the community. So much so, that we didn’t have Small Business Saturday to remind us to support them, and care for them; because that’s already something we did, as a culture, to watch out for everyone and treat them as family. I’ve been fortunate enough to be welcomed into the DTR fold. It started with Jeannie Keyes at The Venus Moon, and as of this writing, I’ve been her customer and her friend for 10 years. She reads my Tarot cards and we talk about life, love and everything in between.

I’m nostalgic for a great café and while my relationship with various small cafes has soured over the years, I’m very pleased to call myself a regular at Liberty Café and Common Grounds. It’s a wonderful feeling to get a cup of coffee and see/hear/feel the soul of a community breathing inside Liberty Café. Mike has been a witness to my job changes (quite a few) and even my nephew, has been taken in by Mike’s hospitality, and became a Liberty Café regular.

I’m a reader and needless to say, I’m very happy we have Dacia over at Old Renton Book Exchange. It takes courage and strength to open a bookstore in today’s society, and I’m proud and grateful that she gave DTR the gift of an independently-owned bookstore. I’ve bought books everywhere, and nothing compares to the experience of finding a book in a shelf, taking it home, and reading one of the best books of your life. I’ve discovered most of my favorite authors browsing in indie bookstores all over WA State. Amazon.com doesn’t quite give me that same experience, no matter how hard they pound my emails with their “Recommended for You” book selections. 

On top of being a bookworm, I’m also a dedicated foodie. I’ve worked for several small restaurants all over Renton. It’s become my great amusement to get asked where I work now, since I’ve worked pretty much everywhere in the Renton area. It’s my dream to visit Europe but I can always get that European vibe at the wonderful Peyrassol Café. Here’s a well-kept secret: Eddiet. Even as a hardened restaurant veteran, I can still appreciate quite lunches at Luther’s Table and the occasional eggs and sausage breakfast at my former workplace, Whistle Stop.

For anyone who ever visited Happy Delusions, I can pretty much say that our collective hearts broke when Mary closed her doors. I remember countless minutes looking at well-crafted items in her store and leaving with a bag full of artisan products. Actual artisan products—where you can feel the beating heart of the artist who crafted the item in your hand.

This is what small business is all about—treating everyone as family and building a community that supports and cares for one another. I want to see the next generation of Renton residents, chatting with the local business owners about their lives, and having an emotional and financial investment into the city we all love.

—Ruzielle Ganuelas, WSU student, Renton, WA

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