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15 Women-Owned Businesses to Support in Downtown Bellevue

March 25, 2024 - by Mackenzie Ault

15 Women-Owned Businesses to Support in Downtown Bellevue

Celebrate Women's History Month all year long by exploring the diverse and thriving landscape of women-owned businesses in Downtown Bellevue. These women entrepreneurs are leaving their mark on the local economy. Uncover the stories behind these remarkable ventures -- honoring the past, celebrating the present, and empowering the future of women in business.


Bellden Cafe 

After experiencing the challenges of caring for her sick child in Shanghai without access to basic amenities, including a simple cup of coffee or meal, Claire Sumadiwirya was inspired by the kindness of hospital staff who surprised her with nourishment during a difficult time. This experience fueled her desire to make a difference and led her to establish a social enterprise focused on bringing love and support to those in need. Recognizing the community's various challenges, from homelessness to education disparities, Sumadiwirya found her calling in creating a mission-driven cafe that partners with local charities to uplift and strengthen the community, mirroring the unconditional support she received when she needed it most.

Matcha Magic

Rachel Barnecut -- founder of Matcha Magic -- introduced Bellevue to its first "plant-forward" matcha bar in 2022 after leaving a nine-year corporate job at Boeing. Inspired by her passion for matcha and a life-changing trip to Asia in 2020, Rachel embarked on a mission to create a vibrant community space offering innovative matcha drinks and supporting women entrepreneurs through donations to Ladies That Launch. With overwhelming support from the community and plans for expansion, Matcha Magic embodies Rachel's dedication to wellness, community, and empowering others in her journey as a female business owner.


Fran's Chocolates

The visionary behind Fran’s Chocolates discovered her deep passion for chocolate during a visit to Paris, igniting an intense dedication to crafting extraordinary confections. Fran Bigelow's commitment to purity and perfection created Fran's Chocolates, a place where she can create exquisite works of art that reflecting her love for celebrating life's joys through the indulgence of fine chocolate.

Holly Zhang Pearl Gallery

From her humble beginnings as a traveling vendor in hospitals across the Pacific Northwest in 2005, Holly Zhang's passion turned into the thriving Holly Zhang Pearl Gallery we know today. She specializes in premium saltwater and freshwater pearls that she meticulously crafts into unique contemporary jewelry. Beyond Zhang's artistic pursuits, she continues to give back to the community by supporting hospital programs through trunk show fundraisers, embodying her commitment to both artistry and philanthropy.

Smith & Main

With a passion for fashion and over a decade of experience under her belt, Chanel Smith was able to turn her dream of owning a clothing boutique into a reality. Her degree in Retail Merchandising and Product Development helped guide her to open Smith & Main in Downtown Bellevue where she curates each to reflect her clients' lifestyles, inspiring confidence and self-expression. Since its opening on June 1st, 2018, her shop in Old Bellevue has been a place for fashion enthusiasts, fulfilling Chanel's dream of bringing her passion for style to her community.

Salon & Spa

City Sweats

Janet Lee transitioned into the health and wellness industry after 17 years with Starbucks in the Greater Seattle area. In 2019, she became a City Sweats franchise owner in Bellevue and West Seattle -- a move that profoundly transformed her life. Proudly part of the City Sweats family, Lee is dedicated to advocating for the life-changing benefits of infrared therapy and aims to raise awareness about its positive impacts on overall well-being.

Vanity Pham

Van Pham Choe is a seasoned stylist specializing in bridal and pageant makeup, and deeply passionate about connecting with people and nurturing their skills. As the owner of Vanity Pham Salon, Van believes in the importance of self-care amidst her roles as a salon proprietor. Her dedication to training new stylists and her openness to client feedback has kept her luxury salon born from a concierge bridal service in Downtown Bellevue a success.

Yuan Spa

Zhiqin Zhang, affectionately known as “Z”, established Yuan Spa by drawing from her upbringing in mainland China where she was taught the principles of traditional Chinese medicine and Eastern wellness philosophies. Yuan Spa reflects Z's fusion of Eastern healing traditions with the serene lifestyle of the Pacific Northwest, showcasing her lifelong passion for holistic wellness.


Ascend Hospitality Group

Elaina Morris currently leads Ascend Hospitality Group (AHG) and continues to be known as an experienced business owner and community leader with over 20 years of expertise in various industries. Through her innovative approach to hospitality and active involvement in local education and charitable organizations, Elaina guides AHG in elevating service standards and making meaningful contributions to the communities it serves.

Thai Kitchen Bird Pepper

Cindy Gayte is continuing her mother's legacy of introducing Thai cuisine to the Pacific Northwest through Thai Kitchen Bird Pepper, located inside The Bellevue Collection. Gayte took over the family business in 2009 after her mom opened Bellevue Thai Kitchen in 1981. When the place closed, Cindy's passion for food and hospitality led to the establishment of Bird Pepper in 2019 where she continues to showcase her commitment to preserving and evolving her mother's culinary vision.


Bellevue Pilates

Check out Bellevue Pilates, where owner Cynthia has over 20 years of experience in Pilates under the guidance of Master teacher Dorothee Vandewalle. She is a proud member of the Bellevue community by enriching lives through her studio, and connecting to people through tennis, volunteering and entertaining friends from around the world. Join them for an empowering experience at our women-owned business, where passion meets expertise.

Yoga in the Park

Laurie Sasser is a seasoned yoga instructor with over 20 years of experience of teaching Slow Flow Yoga and Prana Vinyasa as imparted by Shiva Rea at prestigious locations such as Santorini, Greece, and New York City. Based in Seattle, Washington, she continues to cultivate a vibrant yoga community  by spearheading the beloved $5 Yoga In The Park sessions at Bellevue Downtown Park. 

ZenRock Fitness

Recognizing fitness as a lifestyle, Petra Zahn founded ZenRock Fitness in 2008, where she shaped it into a sanctuary for compassionate trainers to forge enduring connections with clients. Today, ZenRock Fitness stands as a place of comprehensive fitness, offering small group education, outdoor adventures, and transformative yoga retreats worldwide -- all united by Petra's commitment to empowering individuals to achieve their personal goals.

Indoor Experience

KidsQuest Children's Museum

Putter Bert is the visionary CEO and President behind KidsQuest Children’s Museum. Her journey began with overcoming her childhood struggles of stuttering at Boston Children’s Hospital’s speech therapy program and Boston Children’s Museum. Interested in giving back to the community that helped her, she held leadership roles at various children’s museums across the country. Putter's path led her to spearhead the creation and growth of KidsQuest and fulfilling a vital need identified by the community. She now serving over 200,000 people annually in Downtown Bellevue.

Reality Break Escapes

Meet Brenda Luper, the passionate owner of Downtown Bellevue's first escape room. Her background in event and project management fueled her enthusiasm for creating unforgettable experiences. From opening three rooms in 2018 to expanding to a second location with event space and a dedicated team, Brenda's commitment to immersive entertainment continues to grow, delighting adventure seekers in the heart of Bellevue.

This blog is part of the Heart of Bellevue: our campaign to showcase local businesses while connecting you with stories of activity, creativity and recovery. Find out about our campaign and explore more of what’s happening around Downtown.