Letter to the editor: Edmonds has so much potential


We received an email newsletter from a small business in Edmonds three to four weeks ago that simply said “We’ve been pretty slow lately! Don’t forget to support small businesses in Edmonds!”

We immediately asked ourselves: What had this business done recently to foster a sense of connection and loyalty with me and my family as consumers? Their website is stuck in the 1990s, their newsletters are wordy, and service on entry is….well, sub-par. We’re a dual-income family (two kids) and have expendable income; we like to spend our hard earned dollars on businesses that foster a sense of connection and loyalty, and provide us an elevated service and experience. Know your customer. There are a lot of younger, dual-income families in Edmonds that value elevated service and experiences.

Edmonds has so much potential! My family likes to support small businesses, but give us a reason to come in! It’s 2023, and being a “small business” isn’t reason enough. There is competition everywhere! Please don’t fall into the trap of thinking customers will support you just because you’re a small business in downtown Edmonds.

If you’re a small business in Edmonds and aren’t meeting your customers where they are at (digital), then it might be time to reconsider your marketing strategy. Take that digital strategy and then translate it to an in-store experience! As consumers, we want to see transcendence from digital to in-store!

Do not simply rely on your dated website, lengthy Mailchimp newsletters (that I don’t have 20-30 minutes to read), or the “support small business” decal in your window to drive sales. It’s not enough in 2023.

Lee Reeves

  1. Well that is a tough one. I have never received a newsletter? So I don’t care but maybe only go to people who have shopped?? Lee is correct about the support small business decals. It wouldn’t bother me but some it would…I do know I hear and read a lot about parking issues in the bowl? I personally havent been shopping there for other unrelated reasons. I wish them luck. I think our Bowl for retail shopping needs to reach out to the whole city now..People travel, people boat many I assume in wealthier areas in this nice weather and yes people drink and eat… I bet the popular restaurants are doing fine?? No digital unless returns for full payment BTW.

  2. Part 2. It could be political too. Any business who in any way associates itself with Partisan politics 50% will suffer 50% of the time. I think from what I observe is some restaurants sort of by ownership and ideals alone. This is in retail too. But the restaurants bring in more sales tax for the city. Please correct me if I am wrong. I am only observing and trying to help. I will buy something if I like it and see it on your site. But like going to a store I need to try on. With tags attached if things don’t fit I would not and never have purchased without complete return to my method of payment. Mine would be CC on phone. Lots of hacking going on here too. This is why the phone to give th CC number. Lilly did that for me. And I bought a lovely lime green B glass flame. So it works. I drove down, well, Hub did to pick it up.

  3. Maybe unsubscribing to their newsletter might be a good first step? Doesn’t sound like that business suits your needs anymore. Hiring a digital marketing team probably isn’t in their budget? It’s not for most small businesses, perhaps still reeling from COVID shutdowns. But to say that “Edmonds has so much potential”, stings a bit as a small business owner downtown. I’ve lost track of how many award winning restaurants, bars and unique shops have opened up in the last 5 years. And don’t forget the decades-old businesses that have continued to make Edmonds a thriving destination spot. I dunno, I think Edmonds is doing pretty darn good.

  4. I thought there was going to be a pitch for marketing services or social media management at the end of the letter, but instead, it just ended up being a rant about our incredible downtown and small businesses. We have come a long way DT Edmonds and I’m in love with the direction we’re headed! I would rather have quality, in person connections with our business owners and customers, vs. a fancy website any day. It’s the people that make our town vibrant and being a small business owner myself, I know the challenges first hand. I’m so incredibly proud and honored to be a part of the Edmonds Downtown business community. People might not know this but I’ll share a little something with you. Edmonds business owners support one another. We collaborate, share ideas and feedback, and cheer each other on. Restaurants, Retail, Services…all of us. We know that we’re stronger together and it shows in the energy, vibrancy and success of our downtown district. There’s a reason it’s difficult to find space to lease. We are meeting our potential and then some!

  5. As a consumer, I’m writing about an experience I had at an (unnamed) Edmonds small business. I think some will interpret this article one of two ways: personally, or as a call to action. The demographics of the community are changing, rapidly. Buyers are more informed now than ever – and have more choices – now than ever. If you’re a business owner and taking this letter personally, this article won’t win you over. If you’re a business owner and see this letter as a CTA, maybe you give some thought to your (1) CP (customer profile), (2) how the demographics of the local market are changing, and (3) how younger, dual income families that WANT to support small business in Edmonds are seeking an elevated experience that connects them to the brand their buying from.

    And to be clear, my family supports small businesses in Edmonds – we recently bought a table from Housewares; I purchased a glass of wine from a local restaurant today, I then bought 4 bottles of wine from another local shop, after the glass of wine. We frequent all of the coffee shops, home stores, restaurants..

  6. Edmonds has so much potential? Wow. Sounds like Edmonds isn’t meeting your needs. Why get so worked up over a restaurant owner who is trying to increase business? People are doing the best they can, and if that’s “not enough in 2023” for you, then unsubscribe from the email list and don’t go to the restaurant.

    1. Not sure why I thought you’d said it was a restaurant, but I see that you didn’t. Replace “restaurant” with “business”.

  7. I hope you all realize that I am not a computer person. I am a come into a store type. Frankly the internet annoys me. I saw this and, silly me I thought it was a business complaining and was trying to find a solution for that. I never thought or heard that Edmonds Bowl Retail was having any problems and it sounds like from Jen and Liz that they are doing well with their businesses. I am glad to hear this. So I hope you are referring to the person who wrote the original letter? Either way again, good luck to you all. I agree that Edmonds has very cool stores. I just haven’t shopped much due to covid. I don’t go to the mall either. Hoping too get downtown this summer. B-4 covid I shopped a lot in the Bowl. 32 years. Lots of new stores to explore I hear.

  8. I would argue that many of those moving to Edmonds have done so in part BECAUSE of the elevated experience our small business community provides. The relationships with their customers and each other. The unique shops, restaurants, cafes, salons, studios, and services. I appreciate good marketing (it’s what I do), but not more than what these awesome, hardworking friends (because so many of them are) do each day and provide to Edmonds. I trust they’re savvy enough to understand the evolving demographic while still appreciating those that have been supporting them for years.

  9. Well, I don’t take this personally or see it as a CTA. I see this as an attack on a small business in our community because they and possibly other businesses aren’t as “elevated” as you want them to be. It’s just an odd approach given you’re looking to be or are a business owner yourself. As I stated before, we’re kind of a tight-knit group around here and this includes businesses new (like ours) and old (with all the respect). Those businesses with the 90’s websites and long-winded newsletters are part of our community and I’m thankful that they have cared so well for our town. They play a part in our success. 100% of this town does not have to cater to dual-income tech professionals, of which my husband and I were/are. There’s been a shift in Edmonds demographics for a number of years now and there has been and will continue to be a natural response to new consumers from our DT businesses by way of bringing in new products and services. It’s already happening but might not be as quickly as you would like.

  10. To all our small businesses in Edmonds – if you’re working hard on transitioning to your next ‘stage’ (whatever that might be), and need coaching/guidance/mentorship to help you re-frame, improve your digital marketing, grow capacity, thrive as a business owner of color, compete with large businesses……please check out this resource link that will help steer you to MANY non-profit resources that can help!
    Edmonds Business Booster:


    Kevin Harris, Vice Chair
    Edmonds Economic Development Commission

  11. When it snows, Edmonds businesses need to shovel and ice melt the sidewalks. Drivers will be staying home but will walk to local businesses. Shovel, shovel, shovel … be smart and think safety. Pre-order your supplies at the local ACE Hardware.

  12. What is this “elevated experience” the writer is not being given? Honestly, that smacks of intolerance. Good customer service has always been important and most shops in Edmonds provide that. How elevated do you need it to be? Or do you require obsequiousness? Greeting you by name as you enter? Calling you sir? What are you really complaining about here? Edmonds is like a mecca for young families because it retains some kernel of its old village atmosphere. You are whining.

    1. I have lived in Edmonds for 32 years. During this whole time I have only been in 2 stores that I felt were a bit brusque and rude, for no reason. 2 and one of them not every time. HA. Thst is a pretty good record if you ask me. I don’t know maybe I was lucky but I do not live in the Bowl or and have never and still don’t know any of the business owners personally. So no special treatment expected or given. So I think all is well and for me the experience of shopping in Edmonds was good. It has been a few years since my last large purchase due to covid and walking issues. So lots of the new stores I haven’t had the chance to visit…yet. HA

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