‘Live Local INW’ campaign to help showcase Spokane small businesses

SPOKANE, Wash. – Soon, you won’t have to drive all around town to find your favorite locally made goods. Businesses are banding together, bringing some of those items under one roof.

When Jillian Joseph took over Kizuri last year, she saw friendliness and community. Like other businesses, the pandemic took a toll on her shop, too.

“It’s definitely been trial by fire,” she told 4 News Now.

Her shop was closed for three months, and sales were down by about 90 percent during that time. Unfortunately, she doesn’t have a website yet, so she tried what she could by selling on social media.

“Definitely wished that I had that infrastructure in place earlier,” she said.

Thanks to a new campaign called Live Local Inland Northwest, she’ll have a place to put some of her items so people can shop.

In fact, Live Local INW is launching an online marketplace next week for small businesses to showcase some of their products for free.

“We all know we need to pivot our businesses into a different model and the digital space is the safest for a pandemic. We created a place, a marketplace, for the entire local Spokane business community to live, and grow and thrive,” said Janice Miller, the communications director for Live Local INW.

While Bee You Organics, in the Perry District, has been online for several years now, partnering with Live Local INW will help.

“I’m really excited the program can really help other businesses get set up and learn how to do this so if we do get shut down or anything, it can just broaden their business base,” said Larissa Warren, the owner of Bee You Organics. “For us, I’m excited to be able to get the word out to the community that we’re here.”

The intention of the campaign is to allow more eyes on other businesses that are in the Spokane Community.

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While small businesses in Spokane are trying to make their own money through these hard times, it’s not a competition against one another.

“The way we look at it is a rising tide lifts all ships,” Joseph said. “So, what’s good for me as a small local business is good for those local businesses down the block.”

In addition to creating the marketplace, Live Local INW has been hosting meetings with business professionals to help small business owners learn some new business models. They’re doing this for free, too.

“As a business owner, you wear so many hats, you have so many things to learn and things are always changing. I think it’s important to always be learning as much as you can and try to keep up with new things that are happening,” she said.

Live Local INW offering these services to small businesses for free is possible because of CARES Funding organizations received from the City of Spokane.

To learn more about Live Local INW’s efforts and more about the marketplace, click here.

READ: ‘The data are not going in the right direction’: Spokane Health Officer concerned about spike in COVID cases