INTENTIONALIST: Woman-Owned Businesses in South Seattle

INTENTIONALIST: Woman-Owned Businesses in South Seattle

by Kristina Rivera

The intentionalist is based on a simple idea: Where we spend our money matters. We make it easy to find, get to know and support small businesses and the different people behind them by making decisions about where to eat, drink and shop on a daily basis. #SpendLikeItMatters

Women’s History Month begins this Monday, March 1st, and the Intentionalist team is excited to kick off our celebration with some of our favorite women-owned businesses in South Seattle.

This month is about commemorating, recognizing and celebrating the crucial role women play in history and present. March also marks a year since the pandemic that saw small businesses shut down across Seattle, disproportionately affecting women and women of skin color in particular. This month, especially given the events of last year, it is important to continue to emerge for the women-owned small businesses at the heart of our communities.

Whether you’re into sweet, savory, or all of the above, here are three women-owned business ideas from Intentionalist to help you out in the South End.

Tess Thomas is in her Hillman City restaurant, Emma’s BBQ. (Photo: intentionalist)

Emma’s BBQ

Tess Thomas opened Emma’s BBQ in Hillman City in 2016 to honor her mother Emma’s life and passion for cooking and for people. Tess’ mother always developed her own recipes, could smell something and know exactly what ingredients to prepare to make it delicious, and never turned anyone away from her table. Today Emma’s BBQ is a real family owned and operated restaurant that serves a box-no-box type of grill, which Tess calls “Emma’s Style”. What sets her food apart from Emma is the taste, spices, process, and love they put into the food (this is how Tess will get specific). The restaurant is also a place where Tess hopes to leave a lasting legacy of Emma’s life and cooking that will be in her family and community for generations to come.

While you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu, Tess’ favorite dish at Emma’s BBQ is the brisket because it melts in your mouth, and she understands the hard work it takes to get the brisket to the table. If your mouth isn’t watering just yet, the tender pulled pork sandwich, fluffy cornbread, and ribs smothered in their flavorful, smoky, and sweet barbecue sauce should do the trick.

“What I love most about owning this company is that it will be visible to future generations. I’m just trying to build something that future generations can see and know that when this 72 year old woman can get up and spend full days I can do something with the talents I have. That’s what it means to me. I enjoy coming here every day that I get up. I said to my husband, “I love it so much, I could sleep here and wake up the next day and be ready to go to Emma.” This little place means so much to me. “

– Tess Thomas

Shizuno Wynkoop, coffee manager at Resistencia, and Coté Soerens, owner, hold their baby in the South Park cafe. (Photo: Dennis Diaz)

Coffee resistance

Resistencia Coffee in South Park is a community coffee shop for the community. Owner Coté Soerens and manager Shizuno Wynkoop, who has been a little cart in the neighborhood at Resistencia since it was founded, built the café as a place where people can meet their neighbors in a radically inviting environment. Shizuno describes Resistencia as hyperlocal – the cafe shows art by local artists, offers food from South Seattle companies like Umami Kushi and Global Chill, and gets their coffee just blocks from Cafe Umbria. Anyone who walks into Resistencia Coffee is considered a neighbor, whether they’re from South Park or not.

Coté’s favorite drink in Resistencia is the cortado because it reminds her of Chile, which is where she comes from, while Shizuno is a big fan of her iced teas. Additionally, Resistencia is partnering with The Urban Fresh Food Collective, led by Monica Perez, to provide South Park with access to quality, fresh produce throughout the pandemic. They even named one of their signature drinks after Monica – La Xingona (Spanish for a badass woman), a cinnamon sugar latte with a dash of cayenne pepper.

“Resistencia is a love letter to South Park. This neighborhood has so many challenges, but the people who are in this neighborhood are so incredibly creative and loyal when it comes to overcoming those challenges. We’re the youngest neighborhood in Seattle. We are an immigrant neighborhood. We’re a neighborhood with very different people on the same square mile. And that alone is an incredible enrichment for life in the neighborhood. “

– Coté Soerens

Donna Chan, co-owner of Macadons at White Center. (Photo: Macadons)


Eight years ago, Donna Chan didn’t know what a macaron was. To date, she has perfected her own macaron recipe, shipped her macarons to the US, and her business is Yelps’ best dessert spot in Washington. Macadons or Macarons by Donna at the White Center offer unique flavors of macarons and ice cream inspired by Donna’s East Asian heritage, such as Thai tea, Vietnamese coffee, durian, and eube. Her love for baking macarons began when her mother, an avid baker, asked if she would like to help make macarons one night. Her first attempt failed because macarons are notoriously fussy to prepare, but Donna kept baking, determined to get it right. She started selling macarons to family and friends and then took orders through her Instagram page. Soon after, she began making them for weddings and was even approached by restaurants interested in selling their macarons, which gave her the confidence to open macadons with business partner Michael Huynh in 2013.

Macadons also offers macaron towers and macaron ice cream sandwiches, and you can even have custom images printed on the classic French dessert. Donna’s all-time favorite flavor is Nutella, one of her original recipes.

“I love our community because we have such different companies and community members in the neighborhood. I’ve lived here for about 10 years so I decided it would be really good to be part of the community. We have been in this room for six or seven years now. When we started here there weren’t many new restaurants and when we moved in all of these new businesses popped up over the years. It is definitely nice to see all of the companies growing here. “

– I’ll be chan

Kristina Rivera is Marketing and Communication Coordinator at Intentionalist. She holds a degree in Journalism and Public Relations from Western Washington University and has worked with organizations ranging from local nonprofits to global public relations firms.

Featured image: stack of macaron sandwiches with ice cream made from macadons. (Photo: Macadons)

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