Make It Tacoma
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Grow your Market

Every entrepreneur knows there’s always more to learn if you want to keep growing. Even with a well-intended business plan in hand, you never know when you might need new information. Have you been wondering if your website is effective? Or if now is the time to add a retail distribution channel to your wholesale business?

Now might be a great time to meet with a business mentor to discuss your next steps. The City of Tacoma can also provide free customized marketing services for your business, including consultation, data and mailing lists.

Expanding to a Second Location
Choosing the right place to put a stake in the ground is an important decision and you want to carefully review all your options. To help you make the smartest decision, the City of Tacoma also offers free customized household demographics for any part of the city you are considering a location. Check out our downtown + neighborhoods page for options of where to expand your business. You will also want to check with the City Planning and Development Department to make sure that the property is zoned for your business use.

Contracting with the Federal Government
Want to grow your business through Federal Government and military contracts? Start by signing up with SAM.  The System for Award Management (SAM) is a Federal Government owned and operated free web site that consolidates the capabilities in CCR/FedReg, ORCA, and EPLS. Future phases of SAM will add the capabilities of other systems used in Federal procurement and awards processes.

Go International
Looking to enter the international market? Check out the Washington State Department of Commerce’s Export Washington Program.  Everything you need to know to start exporting can be found there.  Also, check out the State Trade & Export Promotion (STEP) Grant . This program,  funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration, supports state programs that help small businesses access global markets and increase sales of world-class, American-made goods and services. The Washington State Department of Commerce has been one of the largest STEP grant recipients in the nation, with $1.6 million awarded in 2011 and $1.4 million in 2012. You might also want to look into the services that the World Trade Center Tacoma provides it’s members.

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Biz Spotlight:

Kathy Manke

The Spar

In Business Since 1987
Number of Employees 31

When asked why she started The Spar in Tacoma’s Old Town district back in 1987, Kathy Manke doesn’t miss a beat. “It’s my city and  I love it! My family goes back four generations here, everyone living and working in Tacoma. My great-grandfather owned and operated a butcher shop in Old Town from 1886 to 1910. So, it’s my destiny.”

The Old Town Spar is Tacoma’s oldest saloon. The building has operated as a restaurant, tavern and lunch counter as far back as the 1920’s. Before that, it was a men’s furnishings shop and even further back the site housed “The Old Tacoma Saloon” which boasted “five girls and a piano player” upstairs. The David building, built in 1917, sits on the saloon’s original site.

A long-time favorite of professionals for casual business lunches, families looking for a friendly breakfast and local residents looking to hear live music, The Spar always delivers when it comes to good food and a comfortable atmosphere. With a steady stream of customers and over 30 employees, its no wonder The Spar is a true success story.  

Kathy loves doing business in Tacoma. She points to the Old Town Neighborhood Business District Association as one of the benefits of being here. “It creates a strong community, which in turn builds strong business for all of us located in the neighborhood,” says Kathy. Being in Old Town particularly speaks to her love of the historic waterfront and the shipping and trade industry that has always and continues to support her business.