King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove this week secured additional funding to support a County program to protect small businesses from displacement by gentrification or impacts from pandemic-related economic challenges.

The King County Council voted on Tuesday to provide the additional $800,000 to the County’s Commercial Affordability Pilot Project as part of its most recent round of COVID-related funding.

“The Pilot Project has helped two South King County businesses thrive despite facing displacement and other small business challenges,” Upthegrove said. “Both Spice Bridge in Tukwila and the SeaTac International Mall in SeaTac are success stories in part because of this vital County support. I want to see more of these community-led, small business successes in our region.”

The recently opened SeaTac International Mall features an indoor Somali shopping mall, grocery store, deli, office space and a chiropractor. Many of the Somali-owned businesses were displaced from Bakaro Mall a few years ago and were looking for a new space to sell their goods.

“When Bakaro Mall closed, we worked with many of the businesses – including the micro-businesses run by Somali women – to find options so they could continue to operate. The County provided intensive technical support through a consultant, but it was clear we needed a broader approach to the issue of displacement,” Upthegrove said. “When a small business is displaced, it’s not just the business that is hurt, it’s the entire community. This new funding will not only strengthen businesses, it will also strengthen our community.”