SWDA Fall Updates and Volunteer Opportunities

Happy Fall Everyone,

The Sedro-Woolley Downtown Association has some exciting things happening lately! Here’s what we are working on and how you can help:

Startup Sedro-Woolley

Startup Sedro-Woolley is off to a great start for it’s second session. This round we had 15 participants all with great ideas from agro-straws, apps, equipment repair, boutique hotel, forge and many other great ideas. This 8 part program is in partnership with CIE & SBDC and funded by a USDA Grant. If you know of an entrepreneur that would like to go through this 8 week program, please have them signup for the next available course which will be in the spring of 2020. Startup Sedro-Woolley

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Welcome 2 New Board Members!

Damian Vines was voted in as President, he is a local business owner and has been volunteering as Design Committee Chair since our founding. Matt Desvoigne was voted in as Treasurer, he works downtown and volunteers for many organizations and is a strong advocate for supporting local, revitalization and historic preservation. Welcome and Thanks you 2!

Are you a member yet? Most of our members only pay $5 a month! Those funds go directly to help programs like Startup Sedro-Woolley, Signage and events that drive locals, tourists and customers into our downtown businesses.


Main Street America!

As many of you know, our Board and Volunteers has been working hard for a few years now in hopes of becoming an Accredited Main Street Community. We recently submitted our application and should have a final determination in November. “Main Street America” is a nationally recognized program that helps communities with revitalization and historic preservation. It follows a specific strategy of 4 committees, a comprehensive plan, tools, resources and tax incentives for our businesses. If this excites you as much as us, please feel free to read up about the Main Street Program.

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“Dine in December”

The SWDA is organizing the community for an Eat Woolley Campaign during the holidays. We are calling in ”Dine in December” and will include a weekend/evening activities, we really want our locals to Shop Small and Eat Big! Did you know there are 16 eating/drinking establishments just in the downtown district? We are still putting the details around all of this but trust me…I’ll email you!

Board Meetings

Our Board Meetings are open to EVERYONE and are held on the Last Monday of the Month at 6pm at Skagit Connection Hub. On November 25th from 5-9pm we will have our strategic planning meeting for 2020. All are welcome to attend.

Volunteer Opportunities

Promotional Committee: They are working on the Eat Woolley campaign called “Dine in December” and need help promoting the event, are you a Facebook/Instagram Rockstar!

Design Committee:  They are working on Signage!  We are proposing signs to the City and County and Connecting with the WSDOT on I5 Signs to draw people into the downtown.  We need some organized and creative people!

Organization Committee: Tax Incentive Roll out - If/When we are an “Accredited Main Street Community” we will need some help introducing all the tools and resources to our community.

Please email swda@downtownsedrowoolley.com to get involved!

Help Us Restore The Downtown Chainsaw Carvings.

For decades the Loggerodeo organization and local businesses have purchased or donated all the wood carvings in the downtown area and over that time the sun and weather have wreaked havoc on these beautiful works of art and we hope YOU will help us restore them to “close to original” condition.

We have partnered with a team of Chainsaw Carvers, Wood Workers and Craftsman to repair these carvings. Our goal is raise $7,000, to bring them to Sedro-Woolley, and over 2 weekends they will tackle repairing all 40 Carvings in the downtown area

If our restoration team is unable to restore the wood carving we will use the funds to commission NEW Chainsaw Carvings. The work will be planned for the spring.

Thank you all for your continue support and please remember TO VOTE!

Ian Larsen
Executive Director
Sedro-Woolley Downtown Association

SWDA Summer Update on Events & More

What a beautiful summer we are having! We have some important updates on events and projects we are working on.

Welcome Pioneer Market to Downtown, please join the Chamber of Commerce TODAY at 3pm for a ribbon cutting ceremony: https://www.facebook.com/events/2412506469038338/

Regarding, Woolley Western Days, the board has decided that we are postponing WWD when we can gather more sponsorships and rally more volunteers to help us pull all of this together. We are a small organization with a small budget and we all felt like we bit off more than we can chew, so we are going to keep plugging along on the most important parts and will let you all know when we have a solid date with confirmed activities.

Many of you have been following Startup Sedro-Woolley…We are entering Round 2 of this program that is being spearheaded by our partner Mike Skinner at Center of Inclusive Entrepreneurship. If you or someone you know is trying to build a business from scratch, reach out to Mike Skinner and get your name on the list for our next session starting in October. For more info: mike.skinner@cie-nw.org, (206) 235-6029. https://www.downtownsedrowoolley.com/startup-sedro-woolley

Get Involved! We have open Board & Volunteer Positions! Please consider helping with one of these Projects: Wood Carving Restoration Project, Startup Sedro-Woolley, Downtown Shopabout (December), Walking History Tours, VIP Brewfest Event and Local Business Opportunities Project. Please email swda@downtownsedrowoolley.com if you want to help out!

Thank you all for supporting us! Please consider donating $5 a month to help support our revitalization efforts! https://www.downtownsedrowoolley.com/community-supporter/community-supporter

Ian Larsen
Executive DIrector
Sedro-Woolley Downtown Association

Winter is NOT here in Sedro-Woolley!

Our committees are bustling and SWDA projects are moving right along, but we still need volunteers, members and professionals to join us in revitalizing Sedro-Woolley! Please consider Volunteering today!


Sideshow & Woodfest this weekend! April 26/27th!

Ladies & Gentleman, Boys & Girls...Step right up to see the Greatest Sideshow in Sedro-Woolley! You'll be Shocked & Amazed at the Shops, The Food and the Fun you'll have when you come Downtown! You'll Marvel at the Magicians, Musicians & Aerial Acts popping up throughout downtown on Saturday April 27th! Come see the Wonders of Woolley! More Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/605066969953658/

Woodfest 2019!
An annual celebration of achievement in the area, the theme for this year’s Woodfest is Timber to Tech! Join us as we host Thomas Vrba, the Pacific Northwest’s Premier Chainsaw Artist, as he designs and carves full-sized chainsaw art in our outdoor pavilion. More Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/628272754298291/


The Sideshow is for the Family...The Freakshow is for Friday Night! Come out the night before Sedro-Woolley's Downtown Sideshow and be Wow'd, Wined and Dined to benefit the Sedro-Woolley Downtown Association. This fundraiser, in conjuction with the performers from the Bellingham Circus Guild & Beyond and our friends at Iron Mountain Bar and Grill is a great opportunity to support the ongoing cleanup, revitalization and innovative ideas the SWDA is working on. Get Tickets

StartUp Sedro-Woolley is a pilot program for aspiring entrepreneurs featuring free business training and support, cash prizes and the chance for participants to launch a pop-up business at a new business park.

Up to 20 emerging entrepreneurs, including up to three high school students, will have the opportunity to participate in CIE’s First Steps to Business course, a 16-hour course that will be held twice a week (Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4-6pm) starting May 6 through May 30 at the Skagit Connection Hub. Participants will learn how to apply business fundamentals to assess the feasibility of their business goals to reach a quick “go-no go” decision. Participants will have access to individualized coaching and mentorship from the Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship, GroWashington, the SBDC, and local volunteer business and economic development professionals.

APPLICATION DEADLINE IS 4/26/19 Apply Here:   https://www.downtownsedrowoolley.com/startup-sedro-woolley

APPLICATION DEADLINE IS 4/26/19 Apply Here: https://www.downtownsedrowoolley.com/startup-sedro-woolley


Expanding our Brownfields Knowledge in May! Cleaning up and redeveloping brownfields is key to local economic development efforts, turning perceived problems into community assets, such as affordable housing. The goal of this conference is to bring together public and private sector stakeholders and tribes in Washington and the Inland Northwest to share information on brownfields redevelopment successes and future opportunities. This event is being coordinated in partnership with the Northwest Environmental Business Council and is funded in part by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Wednesday, May 29, 12 – 5 p.m.
Thursday, May 30, 2019 , 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. 

Doubletree by Hilton Spokane City Center
322 North Spokane Falls Court, Spokane, WA

A Monthly pledge program where anyone can make a difference!   Your monthly contribution, as low as $5 a month, goes directly to critical programs that will help us Revitalize Sedro-Woolley!

Main Street America Conference Takeaways

Earlier this week I attended the national Main Street America Conference in Seattle. I participated in a number of workshops and seminars across a dozens of revitalization topics. Here’s my main takeaways.

#1 We are in an Experience Economy.  Over the years we have gone from a scratch made life, to boxed up convenience, to a fast paced 2.0 lifestyle...And now, experts believe we are in the Experience Economy.  Powered by both Baby Boomers and Gen-Z looking to enrich their lives; consumers are demanding less things and more experiences while traveling, dining out, shopping and life in their “Places”.   We must adapt and innovate our services, businesses and downtown around experiences. In fact, the top 3 community drivers, by a large national survey are:

Social Offerings

Openness or Inclusion


#2 Placemaking is becoming vital to revitalizing communities.  It's not only the art of identifying community assets and turning them into gathering places, but creating a community that has pride in their place. This is tough, everyone's place is different to them, everyone loves Woolley for a reason, there must be hundreds of uses, the only solution is to become inclusive of everyone from every culture, age group and interest.  Listen to what's important and create welcoming places inside our businesses, parks and throughout downtown Sedro-Woolley.

#3 Brownfields (contaminated properties) don't have to stand in our way of revitalization! The EPA and other organizations have processes, programs and resources for us to immediately start the long term redevelopment steps.  Grants, Loans, Foundations, Other Non Profit organizations and many government agencies both local, state and federal are working with communities JUST LIKE OURS to turn these situations into opportunities!  They also welcome double dipping if it’s a historical building!

#4 We need to tell our story.  As we have evolved over the years we have taken on a certain reputation, brand...my age group has one image, locals, tourists, customers, students...We need to discover our communities personality, create a vision that will outlast leadership changes, and position downtown for growth, investments, pride of place and the connected community.

#5 There's never been a better time to start planning the historic preservation of our downtown.   There are a number of different strategies that the City could implement that could boost investments in our downtown and create a tourist destination while both celebrating and protecting our heritage.  There are dozens of grants, resources, experts and partnerships waiting for us as soon as we begin creating our Historic Preservation Plan. This starts the long term project of inventory, surveys and applying for National Park Service Grants.  Some historical misconceptions demystified:

  1. Improvements don't have to take your building back in time.  Modern building materials allow you to keep the style and preserve the heritage.

  2. Our city council actually establishes the regulations on design standards, can establish building code variances and create property tax incentives.

  3. It’s not actually hard.  I made several relationships with folks at the National Park Service and other organizations that will help us get put together a historic preservation plan.  It DOES take time. So jumping in now is 2nd best to starting 3 years ago.

#6 Opportunity Zones could be a great way for us to attract investments in downtown.  There are some rules to follow, but as one consultant I met laid out, with the right Cooperation, Marketing and most importantly passionate projects, it's possible to build a pipeline of all the necessary components.  Doubled up with historic tax credits, this could be very lucrative.  Here’s how Opportunity Zones Work:

  • In 2018, an individual investor sells shares of Amazon stock that they purchased and end up with a Capital Gains Tax of $1,000,000.  

  • Instead of paying capital gains tax on this sale, the investor rolls their $1 million gain into a Qualified Opportunity Fund that invests the capital in various operating businesses or real estate located in Opportunity Zones with a plan to liquidate the fund in 2028 (10 years).  

  • The assumed value of this investment in 2028 is $2 million.

  • Paying $202,300 in taxes in 2026 instead of paying $238,000 in 2018.  15% discount

  • Owing no additional tax on the $1 million in capital gains on the Opportunity Fund investment realized in 2028.

Some other things to note:

  • You must invest your gains within 180 days.

  • Can be teamed up with workforce housing or HMTC funds.

  • You must make a “Substantial Improvement” of the property.**

  • The Fund must spend the monies designation for the project within 31 Months.

  • You MAY bring in 70% Tangible Assets for a business OZ project.

Look for some micro seminars around Brownfields,

Historic Preservation and Opportunity Zones in the near future.

Please consider Volunteering for the SWDA so we can make all this happen!

Ian Larsen, Executive Director

Please consider becoming a member of the SWDA!

Community Supporter
from 5.00 every month

Your minimum $5 monthly contribution will go directly to fund revitalization activities through the Sedro-Woolley Downtown Association.  Thank you very much for your ongoing contribution! the SWDA is a 501(3)c & Your donation is a tax deductible contribution.


Grand Opening for the Hub, Main Street America, Memberships & Meetings for March


Grand Opening Tuesday the 12th for Skagit Connection Hub
Please help us welcome Skagit Connection Hub to Downtown Sedro-Woolley! Tuesday the 12th of March, we’ll be there for a ribbon cutting ceremony at 5pm with Mayor Johnson. The “Hub” is Skagit Counties FIRST co-working space touting super fast Fiber Optic Internet Connections, 24 hour access and beautiful productive environment!

Strategic Directions
A few months ago, Board Members of the SWDA gathered to discuss what our mission, vision and strategic directions should be for 2019. Because we are working towards becoming an Accredited Main Street Program we broke these down into the required committees and specific categories. #1 goal on our list is to apply for Main Street Accreditation in the Fall, when the application process opens.

What’s Main Street America have to do with Sedro-Woolley?
The unique combination of grassroots dedication to comprehensively improving quality of life at the local level, integral support and expertise provided by Coordinating Programs at the city, county, and state level, and leadership and direction from the National Main Street Center (NMSC).

Main Street America is also a special mark of distinction. It is a seal, recognizing that participating programs, organizations, and communities are part of a national movement with a proven track record for celebrating community character, preserving local history, and generating impressive economic returns.

Other Benefits include: Main Street Tax Credit Program, Access to regional & federal main street grants, huge network of professionals, resources and proven solutions.

Later this Month…
Our executive director, board members and the Mayor of Sedro-Woolley will be attending the national Main Street Now 2019 Conference over 3 days to learn from other communities, organizers and revitalizers.


The Greatest Sideshow in Woolley!
We are collaborating with the Bellingham Circus Guild (& other folks) to fill our downtown with fun for the whole family on April 27th. Why the Greatest Sideshow? We want to highlight the shops, the restaurants, the services and the great Downtown Sedro-Woolley! On that Saturday, we are setting up shows INSIDE these shops and business and drawing a crowd to every corner of downtown! please share this event, please come, please volunteer to help!


  • Last Monday of the Month we have our Board Meeting. Everyone is welcome. 6pm @ Liberty Bistro in Sedro-Woolley

  • 2nd Tuesday of Every Month we have an Organization Committee Meeting at 5:30pm at Skagit Connection Hub in Downtown Sedro-Woolley

  • 2nd Wednesday of Every Month we have a Design Committee Meeting at 6pm at Bottorff’s in Downtown Sedro-Woolley.

Membership Programs for SWDA
Please consider becoming a member of the SWDA! Learn more about our membership programs , you can join for as little as $5 a month! Please download, print or share our membership program with friends and family!

Please put your unique experiences & talents to work for us! Whether you can volunteer 2 hours a month doing this, or 1 hour a week doing that…we need help revitalizing our downtown and can likely have a project going that you’ll get excited about!

Ian Larsen
Executive Director
Sedro-Woolley Downtown Association