Welcome to your Downtown Olympia business resource pages. Here you will find information for employees working downtown and local business support services that are available to help strengthen and grow your business.
Information on employee parking, customer parking, programs like the Downtown Ambassadors, Clean Team, and ODA Guides, and additional safety information.
Business Support Services
The Olympia and Thurston County community has an impressive array of business support organizations. These include the Thurston Economic Development Council, Experience Olympia, Olympia Downtown Alliance, Thurston Chamber of Commerce, and many other public and non-profit organizations.
Here you’ll find information about Olympia city services, big seasonal downtown events, and where to get information about theater productions that bring people downtown.
Downtown Employee Parking and Transit options include city owned parking lots, private parking lots, and Intercity Transit’s free bus services.
City owned parking lots are available via monthly or pro-rated annual passes. Visit the city’s downtown parking web site (http://olympiawa.gov/city-services/parking.aspx) for more information.
There are a number of private parking lots in and around downtown. Most have posted signs for getting more information about monthly passes.
Intercity Transit (https://www.intercitytransit.com/bus/system-map) buses serve downtown at the Downtown Transit Center and other stops. There’s a customer service center at the Transit Center
Escorts to parked cars
Should you wish, both the Downtown Ambassadors and the Downtown Guides will escort you to your car or bus stop if they’re on duty. Call ahead.
Whether you’re a ground floor retail or an upper floor business, you probably will have customers and visitors. Here is some help to guide them to different parking options.
Street parking at meters
Downtown Olympia has different parking meter durations: 15 minute, 2 hours, 3 hours, and 9 hours.
The 2 hour meters are closest to the downtown core. If you coach customers to walk a couple of blocks to the 3 hour or 9 hour meters they save money and won’t run out of time downtown as their meter runs out.
Check this link to confirm latest information and rates (http://olympiawa.gov/city-services/parking/downtown#rates).
Disabled parking is free at any meter for four hours.
Pay-By-Phone Phone App
The Pay-By-Phone app is available for both iPhones and Android devices. The user links a credit card to their account and can use the app to pay for parking.
The app has two user advantages you can remind customers of
1) Customers don’t have to have coins to use a meter
2) The app will remind them when their meter is running out of time and gives them the option to add money to extend their time
The city has worked with private lot owners to have them use the same Pay-By-Phone app so it’s easier for customers to have a consistent experience whether they’re parking at meters or in lots.
City Link: http://olympiawa.gov/city-services/parking/parking-pay-by-phone.aspx
Application Website: https://www.paybyphone.com
You have a number of options for unwanted visitor support. Availability and service hours differ.
Olympia Downtown Ambassadors 360-338-2853
The ambassadors have training and experience with trespasser engagement. They’re a great option during their service hours (Tue-Sat).
Link: Olympia Downtown Ambassadors: https://olympiawa.gov/community/downtown-olympia.aspx#ambassadors
ODA Downtown Guides
This service’s hours complement the Downtown Ambassadors. The Downtown Guides mission is to help visitors, residents, and employees feel comfortable, welcome, and safe in our community’s amazing Downtown.
Link: ODA Guides: https://downtownolympia.org/guides
Olympia Crisis Response Unit - CRU 360-704-2740 or 911)
The Crisis Response Unit (CRU) provides free, confidential, voluntary crisis response assistance. The CRU provides outreach services to those in crisis, identify each individual's circumstances and needs, and help identify individuals with chronic mental health disorders, substance abuse and co-occurring disorders.
CRU’s service hours are 7am to 9pm, 7 days a week.
You can call 911 and suggest that you need a CRU response. They will dispatch based on their assessment of the situation and CRU availability.
CRU serves all of the city of Olympia.
Link: Olympia Crisis Response Unit: https://olympiawa.gov/city-services/police-department/Crisis-Response-Peer-Navigator.aspx
The police are the only 24 hour a day / 7 day a week response.
Police Non-Emergency 360-704-2740
Link: Olympia Police Department: https://olympiawa.gov/city-services/police-department.aspx
Sidewalk Cleaning Leaves, Snow, and Ice Ground floor businesses or building owners are responsible to keep their sidewalks clear. This includes clearing snow and ice and leaves. The PBIA has distributed heavy duty brooms and dust pans in the past and may have some available. Contact Max DeJarnatt (email@example.com). Waste Cleanup If you encounter bio-hazard type waste outside your business, contact the Clean Team 360-522-3850 for cleanup. This includes feces and needles. It does not include standard trash - cigarette butts, food bags, coffee cups, etc.; these are your responsibility.
Through the Clean Team, the city has a program that if a building is painted with colors from their identified list of options, and you are signed up for the graffiti removal program, the Clean Team will repaint graffiti without additional contact. They take care of it before you may even be aware that your business / building was tagged.
Contact Mark Moore of the Clean Team (360-522-3850) for more information.
Olympia Fire Department conducts fire inspections annually. Typical topics to be aware of are blocked exits, fire extinguisher placement and expiration dates, and overloaded electrical circuits and extension cords.
Gas Meter Monitoring
Puget Sound Energy regularly inspects their service lines around and in buildings with gas-leak sniffers. They will work with business for access when required.
When a severely broken window is discovered, the Olympia Fire Department will board it up.
Depending on funding, ODA may have funds available in their broken window fund to help with window replacement.
To encourage safe, well-lit allies, the city has at times provided partial support for alley lighting. Contact Mark Rentfrow (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information and current availability.
City Infrastructure Issues
If you have issues with city infrastructure, like street lights, public trash and recycling cans, etc. you can contact Mark Rentfrow (email@example.com)
Special Requirement Parking
If you have a need for loading / unloading, maintenance crews, etc.; the city has a program to reserve a parking meter spot for a day with a $10 permit.
The Olympia and Thurston County community of both public and private organizations are available to support you and your business to maximize success. Many of these services are available for free.
City support for EDC classes
Olympia at times will provide funding to support taking Thurston Economic Development Council classes. Annual slots are limited. Contact Mark Rentfrow (firstname.lastname@example.org) to see if this funding is currently available.
Thurston Economic Development Council (EDC)
The mission of the Thurston EDC is “To create a dynamic and sustainable economy that supports the values of the people who live and work in Thurston County.”To deliver this, they have many resources, classes, coaching, and networking options.
Many downtown business owners and managers have visited the EDC to take a class or get one-on-one coaching. They help with all aspects of a business including: financials, marketing, employee management, etc. and if they don’t provide the knowledge directly they can point you in a direction to someone who can help.
Experience Olympia & Beyond
The Thurston County Visitor and Convention Bureau is named “Experience Olympia & Beyond”. They provide marketing and promotional services targeting out-of-county visitors and visit your own neighborhood tourism.
Olympia Downtown Alliance (ODA)
The mission of the ODA is to “Act as a catalyst for a vibrant and thriving downtown through service to businesses and property owners.”
Parking and Business Improvement Area (PBIA) Board
The PBIA board is made up of elected representatives from downtown businesses. They are a conduit to city staff and the City Council. The public PBIA meetings provides recommendations to City Council on how to spend the annual tax on downtown businesses.
Enterprise for Equity
Enterprise for Equity’s mission is to ensure that people with limited incomes in the South Sound region have access to training, support, and funds to develop their own small businesses. These services are provided with the belief that people can and do transform their lives as they bring their strengths, initiative and dreams to their entrepreneurial efforts.
Thurston County Chamber of Commerce
The mission of the Thurston County Chamber is “Growing a prosperous economy and vibrant community by connecting people, ideas, and resources.” They provide a variety of classes, presentations, and networking opportunities.
The Chamber is committed to regional planning, education, workforce development, community infrastructure, and environmental stewardship to help create a vibrant community.
Washington Center for Women In Business (WCWB)
The Washington Center for Women in Business supports the mission of all Women’s Business Centers: to “level the playing field” for womxn entrepreneurs, who still face unique obstacles in the business world.
Small Business Development Center (SBDC)
The Washington Small Business Development Center Network is your resource for expert business advising, management training and market research. SBDC advisors offer one-on-one technical assistance at no charge to make sure you have the information you need to make the decisions that are right for you and your company.
Northwest Cooperative Development Center (NWCDC)
NWCDC is a not-for-profit organization devoted to assisting new and existing cooperative businesses in every sector. The support converting existing businesses into worker-owned or community-owned cooperatives.
Olympia Downtown Strategy
Here is a link to the city’s published document.
Work on this has been disrupted by COVID-19.
Theaters and Shows
There are three large theaters downtown of varying sizes. They all have big productions through the year and season ticket holders.
The Washington Center provides nearby restaurants with performance audience size numbers so they can plan staffing. Contact Chad Carpenter for more information (email@example.com).
Washington Center for the Performing Arts: http://washingtoncenter.org
Harlequin Theater: http://harlequinproductions.org
Olympia Film Society: http://olympiafilmsociety.org
Olympia Family Theater Link: http://olyft.org
Downtown Big Events Calendar
This list isn’t intended to be comprehensive and post-COVID-19, some of these events will be changing.
There are events happening in Olympia throughout the year that bring people downtown. You can participate in these events as sponsors, market to these downtown visitors, and see all of these as opportunities to grow you business.