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Sunday, August 18, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Business

Spokane Independent Metro Business Alliance launches magazine geared toward small-business owners

UPDATED: Wed., March 13, 2019, 6:56 p.m.

Joel Williamson, co-founder of LINC Foods and The Grain Shed in the Perry District, speaks at a Spokane Independent Metro Business Alliance gathering Wednesday. The event was held to announce the launch of a new magazine, Independent Northwest, for small businesses. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Joel Williamson, co-founder of LINC Foods and The Grain Shed in the Perry District, speaks at a Spokane Independent Metro Business Alliance gathering Wednesday. The event was held to announce the launch of a new magazine, Independent Northwest, for small businesses. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

The Spokane Independent Metro Business Alliance, a coalition of independent business owners, will share advice on running sustainable, community-based businesses through a new magazine that’s launching this month.

The publication – Independent Northwest – is a 48-page, full-color magazine co-produced by SIMBA members Sarah Peterson of S Peterson Consulting and Ryann Louie of REL Spokane.

The magazine reflects on SIMBA’s first year and features interviews with 14 businesses in the membership-based organization, which now has more than 63 members, including baby boomers and millennials with varied backgrounds that led them to their present occupations.

“We were lucky to have an inside track to having these deep conversations,” Peterson said in a news release. “We hope this magazine will catalyze even more meaningful conversations among our members and the broader community, continuing to build the relational power that comes with those connections.”

The publication is sponsored by Inland Imaging and other businesses and individuals.

SIMBA’s goal is to connect consumers with local businesses to keep dollars in the greater-Spokane economy. Membership to the organization is open to all independently owned companies in the region.

SIMBA indicates that local independently owned businesses typically generate more than three times the local economic impact of national chains and the added sales taxes provide support for schools, parks and city services.

“We are working to stand strong on those values and find creative ways in enacting them in a world where there’s not always enough money and there’s not always enough time in getting the right people connected to each other,” Mariah McKay, SIMBA executive director, said at a news conference Wednesday announcing the magazine’s launch.

Several local independent business owners attended the news conference at First Avenue Coffee in downtown Spokane, where they shared stories and themes emerging in the region’s economy.

“One of the things we’ve really been excited about in a place like Spokane is the types of spaces that are waiting to be redeveloped and reimagined,” said Steve Dewalt, property manager of the Knickerbocker Apartments, which was builtin 1911 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. “We pride ourselves on making wonderful places for people to live, to work, to shop, to play, and what I think what’s great about SIMBA as an organization is we’re now being connected to a network of people that are excited to be a part of projects we want to create.”

Joel Williamson, SIMBA board chair, said his great-grandfather launched a small, independent rose-growing business on the South Hill.

“It, like many other businesses, didn’t survive, and we didn’t survive because of a lot of these large, disruptive changes in the economy over the last 40 years,” said Williamson, who is co-founder of LINC Foods and The Grain Shed in the Perry District.

Williamson said he’s been organizing efforts over the past decade to ensure small businesses thrive and that SIMBA aligns with that mission.

More than two decades ago in downtown Spokane, Janine Vaughn launched Revival Lighting, which sells vintage and reproduction lighting fixtures.

Vaughn wants to support small businesses who provide a good work environment for their employees.

“We are built on small businesses here in Spokane,” she said. “We all live and breathe together as a bunch of small businesses, and SIMBA is close to my core values.”

The Spokane Public Library will host an Independent Northwest magazine launch party March 23 from 3-6 p.m. in the Community Lens event space on the third floor.

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