Seattle’s Pride Celebration may only last a few days, but some say the city’s thriving LGBT business community is something that should be celebrated year round. Some of the community’s favorite businesses are owned by members of the gay community.
Seattle boasts the largest LGBT Chamber of Commerce, and some of the city’s most popular businesses are members. Cupcake Royale, Fuel Coffee, and Tutta Bella Restaurants are just a few of the 1,200 businesses that belong to the Greater Seattle Business Association.
Tutta Bella owner Joe Fugere takes a lot of pride in every aspect of his business. It starts with his food.
"Our pizza doesn't travel long distances. It's like a great cup of espresso it needs to be consumed almost immediately,” he explains. It’s the reason they invested in a pizza truck with its own wood oven so they could take their pizza on the road.
Fugere even takes pride in the tomatoes that go into his food.
“The tomatoes are grown in the volcanic soil of Mt Vesuvius” he explained. “They’re handpicked and hand sorted and canned in Italy.”
Fugere recently partnered with PCC markets to sell the canned tomatoes in their stores.
“If you had asked me 13 years ago, when I started this business, would I be in the retail business, in the food truck business and the restaurant business, I would have said you're crazy.”
What makes his journey even more remarkable is Joe has done it as an openly gay businessman - one of many embraced by the Seattle community.
“I think we have a responsibility, here in Seattle, as LGBT business owners, to set an example for the rest of the country for those areas that feel some discomfort around this,” he said.
“I think, if they can look at a city that has fully embraced it and supported it, you become a role model and there is a sense of responsibility for those of us in Seattle who feel so fortunate to be in the situation that we're in.”