Patty in the News

SEATTLE - Peninsula resident Tiffany Turner was one of three Washington small business owners who met with President Barack Obama Tuesday morning for a round table discussion at Grand Central Bakery in Pioneer Square, Seattle.

In a brief interview shortly after the meeting, Turner said excitedly, "It was crazy!" Turner and her husband Brady own the Inn at Discovery Coast in Long Beach.

The group, which also included U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, Commerce Secretary and former Washington Gov. Gary Locke, Gillian Allen-White, co-owner of Grand Central Bakery, and Joe Fugere, owner of Seattle's Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria, discussed the owners' stories as small-business entrepreneurs and their experiences with obtaining small-business loans.

According to KIRO-7 News, the three business owners all had a hard time getting loans from big banks and eventually found success with small community banks. The group reportedly discussed incentives that might spur additional small-business lending by community banks. Locke said Turner and the other two business owners were selected to meet the president because they've managed to succeed despite current economic challenges.

Turner, who had met with Sen. Murray for a similar discussion in April, said she was contacted Saturday by Main Street Alliance, a national network of small-business owners that work on public policy issues, to see if she could attend the event.

Outside of the bakery after the meeting, Obama talked to the public about the economic situation and the importance of small businesses to job growth.

"These are tough times for a lot of small-business owners" said President Obama. "Across the country, many small businesses that were once the beating heart of the community are now empty storefronts haunting our main streets."

Turner is an Ilwaco High School graduate and earned a degree in family consumer sciences from Seattle Pacific University in 2001. A former local school teacher, she participates in a number of community activities, for example serving on the board of directors of the Peninsula Boys and Girls Club.

The Turners' inn currently has four full-time employees and during the peak season there are up to seven additional part-time employees. 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," according to Murray's office.

- Chinook Observer