Karen True is the Director of Business Development and Community Engagement for the Alliance for Pioneer Square. In our neighborhood, her approach to business development is the secret sauce. Part retail recruitment, part matchmaker, full-time community builder.
Karen is photographed at Jujubeet. Jujubeet is a juice bar and cafe that offers nutritious fruit and vegetable juices as well as wholesome breakfast and lunch items. The Jujubeet leadership team is comprised of company founder Bianca Szyperski, and dieteition Elena Razmpoosh. Together, they create opportunities for individuals in Pioneer Square to treat themselves kindly by nourishing their minds and bodies through fresh, plant-based whole foods. Jujubeet’s menu is mostly vegan and gluten free, with dishes prepared with great care and attention. Jujubeet is a new addition to Pioneer Square, having opened their fourth Greater Seattle location in the neighborhood earlier this year. If you are seeking a warm, airy environment and a healthy bite to eat, look no further than Jujubeet.
What is Karen excited about this week?
This week (as with every week), Karen is excited about creating connections- connections between Pioneer Square residents, between businesses (both first floor and upper floor), and between communities. “One of my goals is to encourage everyone who lives, works, and plays in Pioneer Square to become an insider by finding a way to dig in and find a way to become an expert at something in the neighborhood that speaks to them,” Karen opens. Karen is speaking on her talents as a connector. Her dream is to expose each and every individual in the neighborhood to the vibrant community that surrounds them each and every day. Karen observes that, “we have over 850 businesses in Pioneer Square, so there is a huge opportunity to get to know the folks who make our neighborhood so great.”
So, how does Karen encourage individuals to become an insider? In two words: engage and connect! There are spaces for the Pioneer Square community to do both around every corner: patronize businesses, get to know folks by name, look for opportunities to collaborate, and become a Find It Fix It “fanatic”, and more. An essential component of engaging and connecting is to become a neighborhood “expert.” Karen encourages folks to learn about Pioneer Square’s history (including before 1852!), understand the local transit options, and to shop/eat/volunteer regularly. Karen also recommends becoming a neighborhood ambassador by writing positive reviews for local businesses, bringing family and friends to favorite businesses, and introducing coworkers to shop owners. These are just a few avenues of engagement that Karen suggested, though she has plenty more to offer- just ask!
Karen’s emphasis on connections spans across Seattle’s neighborhoods. Karen partners with CenturyLink Field to support their Concessionaire Program, where local restaurants participate in supplying concessions for Seattle Seahawks home games. The Concessionaire Program, and more broadly Pioneer Square’s partnership with CenturyLink Field, is one example of what Karen refers to as a community portal- or a way for Pioneer Square businesses to engage with a wider audience. “This is what I think is a critical component of a neighborhood,” says Karen. “I am excited about continuing to build the neighborhood into a stronger and more vibrant community”