the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Background On The President's Event in Seattle, Washington

Upon arrival at Boeing Field-King County International Airport in Seattle, WA the President will be greeted by:

Governor Chris Gregoire
US Senator Patty Murray
US Representative Jim McDermott

ROUNDTABLE & STATEMENT TO PRESS
11:40 AM PDT (ROUNDTABLE) & 12:20 PM PDT (REMARKS)
SEATTLE, WA

Tomorrow the President will travel to Seattle, where he will meet with three area small business owners for a discussion about strengthening the economy and creating jobs.  He will be joined by Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and US Senator Patty Murray for the roundtable, following the discussion he will make remarks to the press. 

The names of the small business owners participating in the roundtable discussion and their stories are below:

Gillian Allen-White joined Grand Central Bakery in 1997 after having worked in banking and for a small high-tech start-up.  She is currently a co-owner and the general manager of Grand Central’s Seattle operations.  Grand Central is a locally owned artisan bakery that opened in Seattle in 1989 and has grown to include a Seattle based wholesale facility and eight cafés with over 250 employees in Seattle and Portland.  In Seattle, Grand Central will be opening its ninth café on Friday and over the next two months plans to hire five additional employees across the three Seattle locations.  Gillian is optimistic about the bakery’s future potential for growth and continues to look for expansion opportunities in the greater Seattle area.

Tiffany Turner and her husband, Brady, opened the Inn at Discovery Coast in 2004 in their native Long Beach, with a loan from a local community bank.  Out of the same office Tiffany and Brady manage the 12-room Inn and eight bungalows nearby.  There are currently four full-time employees and during the peak season there are up to seven additional part-time employees.   Since its opening the business has thrived, even expanding during the recent economic downturn.  In 2009 they approached their bank about a loan in order to expand but were turned down.   However, just recently, Tiffany and Brady were approved for a loan that will enable them to expand operations and hire up to 20 additional full-time and part-time employees over the coming year.  Tiffany and her husband have been ready to expand and hire more employees, and can finally do so thanks to an economic climate where community banks are lending to small businesses again.

Joe Fugere is the founder of Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria in Seattle.  The first Tutta Bella opened in 2004 and has since grown to four locations, employing 180 employees.  Joe funded his first restaurant personally and later opened two additional locations funded by loans from a large commercial bank.   In December of 2008 Joe approached his bank, a large regional commercial bank, to discuss the funding of an additional location, but was turned down.  He then approached other large regional and national commercial lending institutions; but was again turned down due to the uncertain economic climate.   Having been rejected by larger banks, Joe approached a community bank and within a few weeks the loan was approved.  In mid-2009 Tutta Bella’s fourth location opened and currently employs 50 people.  Recently, a SBA loan under the Recovery Act has helped him improve the company’s cash flow.  Joe is proof that community banks can be the engine for getting much needed loans to small businesses, so small businesses can grow, create jobs, and build the economy.

*Backgrounder on Recovery Act Investments in Washington and the surrounding area attached.