Seattle Growth Podcast 7.7: restaurants and retail reshaped by pandemic

Restaurants and retail shops have been among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. What does the future hold for these mainstays of American economy and culture?

Episode 7 of the Seattle Growth Podcast, season 7, explores this question. Two local business leaders—interviewed before the recent spike in cases and subsequent restrictions on businesses and social gatherings—offer a sense of hope that this next round of challenges can be overcome.

Lisa Bridge, the president and CEO of Ben Bridge Jeweler, discusses how her retail business has adapted to the pandemic and opens up about the emotional and financial toll on her company’s downtown locations. She also compares the experience of weathering the pandemic in Seattle versus other cities in which Ben Bridge operates.

Restaurateur Bernie Garcia, president of Moctezuma’s Restaurants who was recognized as one of Puget Sound Business Journal’s 40 under 40, shares how he has connected with his customers during the shutdown and adapted his operations to emerge stronger than ever. He also offers lessons that can be applied by any business facing a dramatic shift in the business environment.

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The Seattle Growth Podcast is hosted and produced by Jeff Shulman, the Marion B. Ingersoll Professor of Marketing at the UW Foster School of Business.

Shulman is also the co-director and producer of On the Brink, the acclaimed documentary of history, hope and determination to save the soul of Seattle’s vanishing Central District.