Chamber organizes fund drive to help flooded businesses

January 19, 2009

By Chantelle Lusebrink

Businesses at  Gilman Square are swamped with water Jan. 8 at the corner of Northwest Gilman Boulevard and Seventh Avenue Northwest. By Greg Farrar.

Businesses at Gilman Square are swamped with water Jan. 8 at the corner of Northwest Gilman Boulevard and Seventh Avenue Northwest. By Greg Farrar.

Issaquah city and chamber officials are asking for your help to aid several Gilman Square businesses severely affected by the January flooding.

“We need to coalesce around these local vendors and help them in any way we can,” said Larry Ishmael, interim president of the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce. “We want to make sure these businesses are able to continue, because they bring revenue into the city, tax dollars into the city and add to the vibrant economy that we have.”Officials are asking residents and other local businesses to donate whatever time and money they can to the cause.

The chamber and city officials held a press conference about the issue Jan. 20.

Businesses like Lombardi’s Neighborhood Italian restaurant were forced to close their doors for the month, until damage repairs can be made with insurance and local, state and federal aid.

Other businesses, including Casual Dining Countersools and Dinettes, Leathers Home Furnishings and Accessories, Classic Nails and Hair and Gray Beard’s, an antiques store, also suffered damage.

Some of them have insurance and others don’t, Ishmael said.

To help businesses ward off closure, the chamber and city officials are teaming up with the business owners to help them access flood damage assessment information, and navigate state and federal aid. Chamber officials and are setting up a 501c-3 nonprofit account with Issaquah Community Bank to help cover immediate needs, such as employee salaries.

The accounts will hopefully ward off immediate closures and help the businesses get by in already trying economic times, Ishmael said.

On the Web

www.issaquahchamber.com

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