Jackson Commons and All-Purpose Pizza throwing National Cheese Pizza Day party

In their continuing effort to highlight Jackson Street businesses and set up temporary guerrilla outdoor cafes to encourage more street life, Jackson Commons will be at All-Purpose Pizza this evening celebrating National Cheese Pizza Day (yes, apparently that’s a thing).

They also profiled APP and its owner Kedra Olsen on their blog:

Why did you move to Jackson?

So, I didn’t really “move” to Jackson, I was already a resident! The area at the time was really lacking any kind of small Mom & Pop kind of place. Everything that existed at the Promenade was it. There were problems with gangs and people thought I was crazy to open a business during such tumultuous times. But it made sense to me, like I could make a “third space” where neighbors would commune together and appreciate the diversity and culture of the CD as much as I do.

We sure need more of those! So what’s the best thing about doing business on Jackson?

Neighbors who have become patrons, then friends. Everyone is super friendly and SO many people ask “how are things going here?” they really care about and support their community as much as they can. They want to see small business succeed and see their neighborhood thrive. I also like the proximity to everything, like if I run out of bread or need something for a special I can hit the Gai’s bakery or the Red Apple in a heartbeat!

Olsen also announced some changes in the kitchen and plans for a revamped menu as the pizza joint enters its eighth year.

Jackson Commons will be there from 4-9 this evening. The deals only count if you dine-in or take-out.

5 thoughts on “Jackson Commons and All-Purpose Pizza throwing National Cheese Pizza Day party

  1. Hooray for national cheese pizza day! All-Purpose Pizza, Kedra Olsen, please help the CD and yourself by lowering prices. Quit trying to cater to all the rich people from outside this community, from leschi and madrona. Lower your prices and show lower-income people some respect. These changes will also help your business a lot.

  2. I have been to this place. They have great food and beers and a friendly staff. There prices are on par with Zeeks and that type of restaurant. They aren’t buying 50 gallon drums of sauce, or 500 lbs of cheese like a Dominos so you will never get a $7 pizza. But, the flip side is you get to eat some good food. I say keep up the good work and I will come in again.

  3. @ smeef. Quality not quanity. For decades the CD was in the no delivery zone for Pizze. Dominoes was the first. Picoras still will not come past Yesler. All of these are not as good as All Purpose. Save up you money and buy one instead of the cheap generic crap other deliver here. There are all kinds of incomes here at all racial types. Stay away from sterotyping!

  4. Thanks so much to Kedra and the fine folks at All-Purpose Pizza for hosting the National Cheese Pizza Day and Jackson Commons, as we keep working to build some buzz and interest about the many business and opportunities for awesome on Jackson Street.

    I wanted to respond to “Smeef”‘s comment as it indirectly touches on several of the major issues we’re trying to start a community discussion around, while using All-Purpose Pizza as an example, as time and again on the CD News, it is given as an example of a business with pricing issues.

    So let’s talk about that and how that relates to the redevelopment on Jackson Street. Not meaning to be pedantic, but I am just going to number out my “logic” steps while working out this discussion.

    1. On a busy city arterial, you often have a mix of buildings, old and new. This is important for a mix of business as typically older builders are cheaper to rent and often have more flexibility in what can be in them. On Jackson, we have some very old buildings with rents as low as $800 for poor spaces with no improvements to new spaces like Kedra’s where the leasing agreement was signed before the 2008 crash. All-Purpose Pizza’s rent in a newer building is $4000 a month.

    2. On Jackson there are few buildings worth saving/rehabbing. The entire street is zoned for 4-6 stories. That will happen as in-fill development is the “hottest” type of development happening now and it’s hard to get land this cheap this close to a major city. This is why real estate investment companies from LA and Houston are buying up the old properties.

    Make no mistake, Jackson Commmons is pro-development: it makes sense that a major street like Jackson should have more people and more businesses. This is good for the long-term development of the city, and its good for building a more sustainable future. But our question is this: if all of the buildings are new, how are we going to have a mix of businesses that cater to the wide range of incomes and community (interests) that make up our neighborhood? How will some of our existing businesses (Western Beauty Supply, Two Big Blondes, East African Imports, Ocean Cafe, etc) that are important to different communities here be able to afford rent in new spaces? How do we work together as a community to address this problem, when we all have specific types of business that appeal/don’t appeal to us culturally. (For example, boy howdy, I’d do anything to get a good Micropub down on Jackson but could care less about a braid shop as I have no hair…and so it wouldn’t naturally cross my mind that a braid shop might be the business we need most to find development grants for!)

    3. Let’s go back to All-Puprose as an example of how this plays out. If their rent is $4000, and then you add in utilities (and evidently the burn through lots of gas to keep the pizza ovens hot), city taxes, insurance, fees for stuff like their sign hanging on the building, and finally their staff, you can imagine that the operating costs add up. I’ll just ball-park some number let’s say operating every month they need to come up with $12,000-$14,000 to just keep open. So how many pizzas is that? Let’s say a pizza is being sold for $20 , but that the ingredients cost $5. (again, illustration purposes… it’s not like I have deep knowledge of All-Pupose’s books!) so to just break even on the low-end you need to sell 800 pizzas a month… or something like 30 pizzas a night, every night. That’s not paying yourself, that’s not investing in the business, not paying off the build-out loans that were probably incurred, and that’s not taking into account any seasonal variance (I did not know this until last night, but summer is very very slow in pizza land), and it doesn’t take into account that the space itself only has about 10 tables or any challenges that might exist like location.

    4. So then, Smeef, we come to very specific marketing issue. Is it possible to sell 1800 pizzas from that location for $10 (assuming this is possible with cheapest ingredients) per your request so that the business can stay open? We’re not proposing to be business experts, but we’d suggest that it’s not. First, to sell that kind of cheap pizza you’d have to be in a more central location of the neighborhood. Second, you’d need more leveraging power to get price breaks on the ingredients, power that a single store doesn’t have. (And this doesn’t even take into account any passion Kedra may or may not feel for quality or ingredients or cooking or community). You’d also be likely paying your employees less and needing to train more people more of the time due to turn over. It makes sense to us that this model is not possible at All-Purpose given their location and the size of the restaurant. So what formula works? One is becoming a complete destination, something that people drive to from all over the city. It’s a formula that works for Two Big Blondes (being completely unique niche) and maybe other pizza places in town like Delancy’s or Bar del Corso, but in the world of pizza there’s tons of competition…so the other option is really focusing on the folks living right around the restaurant and certainly, in All-Purpose’s case that does include a lot of well-enough off families along the Leschi/Madrona communities that are part of the Central District and neighborhoods that make up the Central Area District Council. It would be foolish not to appeal to these folks along the ridge up there who can walk over and have a quick beer and slice and not be concerned about the price.

    5. So that leaves us with something Smeef, that I am guessing looks a lot like “gentrification” to some folks, with gentrification in this example, meaning the introduction of a business with a commonly desired object (pizza!) that not everyone within walking distance can afford/or feels is of appropriate value (given a dinner for four at Catfish Corner would cost you the same, if not more).

    So we’re back to the question, that we don’t have an answer for: if we follow the logic that Jackson will be redeveloped, and we assume rents will be more in line with All-Purpose Pizza’s, how are we going to make sure there are opportunities for new start-ups? How can we help business who are struggling now with their lower rents transition to higher rent spaces? How will this work when we’re also dealing with large out-of-state developers who have limited knowledge/interest in local businesses? That is what we would like to start discussing NOW because we are assuming that Promenade 23 redevelopment will begin in two-three years and once that starts, the rest of Jackson redevelopment will really start up again.

    6. In Smeef’s comment, I also want to stress that we know Weingarten is looking and markets the Promenade 23 as a 3-mile radius as “our neighborhood”. So whatever map you might have of the Central District in your head, we need to keep in mind that there are plenty of business interests that have a different map of what our “neighborhood” means. Three miles gets you all the way to Madison Park, East Cap Hill, the edge of Columbia City and into Pioneer Square. It’s hard to imagine someone from Madison Park being very excited to drive up to Jackson and 23rd for something right now, but that doesn’t mean it will always be that way.

    7. Jackson Commons believes if we do nothing as a community, one of two things is going to happen on Jackson as it redevelops. One is a street that becomes much, much more corporate. The big chains, like Chipoltes and Panera Bread can afford the retail spaces at the bottom and can absorb loses here and there and stay in business. They are low-risk for the building owners. That’s why we have Quiznos, Auto Zone, Papa Murphy’s etc. There is a place for chains, but we certainly don’t want the entire strip of Jackson to be one long mile of soul-numbing chain stores with low-paying jobs taking all our local money out state!

    The other is something that looks more like gentrification because the demographic trends of the Central District support a broader range of development than currently exists, i.e the current business opportunities all point toward catering businesses toward younger people/families with decent (tech) incomes who are making up more and more of the Central District. If you want to start a business, that’s the group that’s currently living here but leaving to go eat dinner on Cap Hill/Columbia City, leaving to go shop at Whole Foods and PCC, leaving here to go pretty much to anything, despite one of the draws of the CD is to be “close” to everything. We would disagree with Smeef that business like All-Purpose Pizza aren’t ‘helping” the CD, they are. We need more businesses like All-Purpose Pizza so that a broader range of folks are spending money in the CD and then using other businesses in the Central District. More businesses, more opportunity for work, more money that is here already stays here.

    8. Our focus is on Jackson Street. We believe that a healthy street is going to have a range of businesses that are going to appeal to a wide range of economic levels and communities. Not all businesses are going to appeal to everyone, but we need a much better and bigger mix than we have now. Jackson should a place that everyone who lives near it can’t wait to go walking to and along.

    9. Next week, we’re holding our official Kick-Off meeting for the Jackson Commons initiative. That’s at 6:00 on Thursday, September 13 at the Douglas Truth Library. We’re asking the community to come help us set the goals of the project and looking for volunteers. Are you interested in helping us build a public market? Getting the street car spur fast-tracked? Are you curious about how the community can have a voice with the Promenade 23 redevelopment? Are you interested in trying to figure out if we can use Kickstarter to help fill up the empty retail on Jackson and launch the types of businesses we want to see, or do you just like to have fun and help plan events to build a buzz on Jackson to support the local businesses that are already here? Then we could use your help.

    You can join the conversation at http://www.jacksoncommons.com or follow along on our Facebook at Jackson Commons Seattle, Twitter @JacksonCommons and take a look at the stuff we find interesting on Pinterest Jackson Commons.

  5. some dummy here “smeef” or whom ever at any given moment post on everything about some skewed aspect of racial justice. We all continue to take the smeef on face value as if he really were some young social justice misfit activist. In fact, smeef is just trolling for race debate as usual.

    I mean really, now we have a treatise in the social justice econimics of Pizza? f sakes. Go back to Evergreen.