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From the Ground Up: How the Street Level Experience Impacts Downtown's Economy

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Businesses located on the ground level have a front row view to consumer behavior and the influence of the street level experience on spending choices. We’ll hear from a panel of local businesses on how the street level experience impacts the destination appeal for attracting customers and generating vibrancy. Join us at the Bellevue Club for this year’s first Downtown Talks Breakfast Series program on March 28th from 7:30-9:00am as we explore this topic. Tickets include networking and a plated breakfast.


Learn more about our panelists and moderator below:

Joseph Brazen, Owner
520 Bar & Grill and Central Bar + Restaurant
The Brazens have been selling Bellevue Real Estate for 30 years. They were smart enough to purchase their building in Old Bellevue in 2001 where women’s clothing stores lined the street and closed at 5pm. Joseph realized that Main Street needed a local bar where everyone knows your name, and created Main Street Pub, but before opening they changed the name to 520 bar& grill. Area 520 is the real estate name for the area between I-90 and the 520 bridge it was also the neighborhood with the clientele they wanted to attract. 520 is now become an iconic landmark in old Bellevue, starting their 17th year on Main Street where there are now over 15 smaller, local restaurants who have changed Old Bellevue forever. They have also created and opened their second restaurant Central in Downtown Bellevue between the W Hotel and The Westin.

Joy Carpenter, Executive Director of Sales and Marketing
Courtyard by Marriott, Puget Sound Hospitality
Joy Carpenter is a seasoned hospitality sales and marketing professional with more than 20 years of experience in the industry. Throughout her career, Joy has established herself as a results-driven leader, with a reputation for delivering exceptional outcomes for her clients and employers in areas such as sales revenue, team leadership, and business travel education. Currently, Joy works as the Executive Director of Sales and Marketing for Puget Sound Hospitality, where she oversees sales teams for five regional hotels and is active on the Board for the local Puget Sound Chapter of the Global Business Travel Association and Bellevue Youth Theatre Foundation.

Lisa Martin, Director of Operations
Bobby Moore Restaurants
Lisa Martin is the Director of Operations for Bobby Moore Restaurants and is responsible for the operations of Bis on Main and Bar Moore. Lisa has a 20-year career in hospitality. From her time as Beverage Director at Westin Maui, owner of Twist Lounge, Food & Beverage Manager at Willow Lodge and Director of Operations with Compass Group Amazon campus. Her passion to travel has given her some fun and amazing experiences and stories.

Elaina Morris, CEO, President & Cofounder
Ascend Hospitality Group
Elaina M. Morris is the CEO, president, and co-founder of Ascend Hospitality Group (AHG), the Northwest's premier hospitality company. As an accomplished business owner, innovator, and community leader with over 20 years’ experience developing concepts and creating value in various industries, Elaina has launched several local businesses in the hospitality sector, including WiggleWorks Kids and AHG, with award-winning flagship restaurant, Ascend Prime Steak & Sushi in Bellevue.

Chris Peterson, Partner/GM
Bake’s Place Bistro & Bar
Chris Peterson’s restaurant story began as a dishwasher in New York. In 1998, he then moved to Seattle and joined Cafe Campagne as the sous chef. After building a reputation for himself Peterson took to the Eastside in 2001 as the executive chef of the coveted Bis On Main. After 9 years there he helped concept and open the late Milagro Cantina in Kirkland and the Habitant bar in Nordstrom's. He then spent 3 years as the Executive Chef of The Bellevue Club before joining Craig & Laura Baker as part owner and operating General Manager of Bake's Place Bar & Bistro.

Claire Sumadiwirya, Founder/Owner (Moderator)
Bellden Cafe
Claire Sumadiwirya, the owner of Bellden Cafe, blends her passion for coffee and community through high-quality food and drink offerings, authentic community service, and charity efforts that give back to those in need. She utilizes her MBA in Accounting and Marketing, as well as a decade of professional experience in global entrepreneurship, to support her business and community-based efforts. Her love for others and coffee, as well as the success of her cafe have drawn media attention from outlets such as Reader’s Digest, that voted the cafe “The Nicest Place in Washington,” Good Morning America, The Seattle Times, and Eater Seattle.