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Seattle Womxn's March causes concern for International District businesses

Leeching Tran with Lunar New Year decorations at Viet Wah Supermarket. She's worried the Womxn's March on Seattle will mean fewer sales
KUOW Phot/Kate Walters
Leeching Tran with Lunar New Year decorations at Viet Wah Supermarket. She's worried the Womxn's March on Seattle will mean fewer sales

Organizers expect up to 60,000 people to hit the streets for the Womxn's March on Seattle on Saturday.

The march is being held in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington D.C., and it will follow a 3.6 mile route from Judkins Park to Seattle Center.

Leeching Tran is planning to attend the march. She supports the idea behind the demonstration, to stand with those who feel vulnerable under the new administration.

But Tran’s enthusiasm was dampened when she looked up the route for the march and saw that it will go right through the International District, past the Viet Wah supermarket run by her family.

Tran and others in the International District are concerned about the impact the march will have on their businesses.

It’s not because they don’t support the message, Tran said. It’s because Saturday marks the last weekend before Lunar New Year and it’s a big business day for folks in the ID.  

“Typically the weekend before New Year is our busiest of the whole year. So if you can imagine Black Friday for American shoppers, it's kind of the equivalent for us. Everybody's flooding in. The store is packed, it's a crazy weekend, sales take a huge jump that weekend as everybody's preparing,” Tran said.

She's concerned her business could lose half a day of sales when the street is shut down for protesters and that they'll take a big hit. 

Tran wants those attending the march to think about the unintended impact they might have.

“We just want them to realize that this march, while it's meant to empower women, minorities, people of color, whoever is feeling kind of threatened by this incoming administration, that's great and we're really standing behind that message. But while they're trying to support this cause they're also hurting some of the people who they're championing.”

March organizers say they're aware of the concerns of businesses and they’re trying to take steps to mitigate the impact.

“We’ve been working with some businesses and want to encourage people to come back and patronize their shops and their restaurants there so it’s a positive impact. Because that’s the whole purpose of the march, to have a positive impact on the community,” organizer Joy Gerhard said.

Tran said she hopes people will come back and support the businesses in the International District. And she’s hopeful that moving forward events in the city won’t disrupt Lunar New Year preparations. 

Year started with KUOW: 2015