Graces 5Graces 5 is a restaurant startup with the mission of revolutionizing healthy eating. Boasting a juice bar and soy-free, gluten-free, and dairy-free kitchen, Graces 5 still has something for everyone. Find it hard to believe? It’s true. We checked their menu

This restaurant startup has definitely been a learning experience for owner Tim Sharpe whose main lesson as a first time entrepreneur has been to hire a good team and delegate. An average of one in four restaurants close or change owners within their first year, so Sharpe’s team will be essential in his success. “Hire a team you can trust,” he says. “Start small and surround yourself with key people.” Sharpe decided early on to pick people with the skill sets that he lacked to help him get the job done.

Graces 5 has been two years in the making for Sharpe, a two time cancer survivors and father to a 5-year-old daughter who just beat leukemia. To say he’s passionate about healthy eating might be an understatement.

While this will be Sharpe’s first restaurant, he’s all too familiar with nutritious eating, citing it as an integral part to his recovery from cancer—the second time. The first time Sharpe was diagnosed, he underwent chemo but continued eating processed low quality foods.

The second time around, decided to Sharpe look at how his lifestyle and eating habits were affecting his overall health and decided to do things differently. He looked at alternative therapies, worked with a naturopathic doctor and watched the quality of foods he ate. He began to live a life that supported his health.

Sharpe is committed to making Graces 5 a gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free restaurant where anyone can come eat good food, made with quality ingredients and not have to worry about food allergies, dietary restrictions or harmful chemicals. Graces 5 is about local organic ingredients, so much so they have their own urban garden complete with fruit trees and a variety of herbs.

Graces 5 will be a place where plant to plate could quite literally be a few feet. And for what they can’t harvest on site, Graces5 is working with local farmers to keep ingredients fresh and healthy.

You can learn more about Graces 5 and taste some of their delicious food at our Wine Wednesday event on September 14th from 5:30-7:00pm. Wine Wednesday is a monthly reoccurring event that features a thinkspace entrepreneur and local winery. Wine Wednesday is a free event open to the whole community! We would love to have you there. RSVP.


City of Redmond Logo

The City of Redmond is updating their Hazard Mitigation Plan, and needs your input to ensure success. Tell the city which strategies they should use to lessen the effects of disasters and other types of hazards before they strike.

Please attend the city’s public meeting and workshop on Thursday, May 14th in the Bytes Cafe at Redmond City Hall. The meeting will begin at 7pm and should run no later than 8:30. Light refreshments will be served.

You can also head over to the city’s surveys page to fill out the related questionnaire:

Information provided by Zachary Howard a graduate student at the University of Washington’s Urban Planning Program.

The GSM trade association announced that it has come to terms with the world’s leading handset manufacturers to come up with a standard for charging cell phones!

The initial group of companies include AT&T Inc., Motorola Inc., Nokia Corp., Samsung Electronics Co., Sony Ericsson, Deutsche Telekom AG’s T-Mobile and Vodafone PLC.  There’s only one company that is obviously missing from that list and it’s Apple.  At least their iPhone charger works interchangeably with their iPod. Perhaps they think by the time this standard comes to fruition in 2012, no one else will be using anything other than an iPhone, thus making them the standard.

The WSJ pointed out that every 20 months about 48-51 million cell phone chargers become obsolete.  I hope that purchasing a charger will become an option and not bundled with a cell phone so that way the cost of purchasing a new phone will be less.

Throughout my quest to have a greener office, I have always looked for incentives and grants to do so. The best places to look are with your power utility company like Puget Sound Energy or Seattle City Light as well as through city, state, and federal government agencies.

My latest find is with the City of Redmond’s Trip Incentive Reduction Program.  I have been working with Erika Vandenbrande, the R-Trip Program Manager to figure out how I can take advantage of their incentive program.  I have been looking for ways to encourage people to take alternate methods of transportation into the office.  One of the ways is to encourage people to ride their bicycle.

I was talking wtih a few of thinkspace members and they said that they would ride into the office if they had secure bicycle storage.  They are looking for more than just a bike rack to chain the bicycle up to.  They would like to see secure bicycle storage.

When I was discussing this with Erika, she said that R-Trip has an incentive grant program which could be used to create secure bicycle storage.  Through this grant program, I am having a chain link fence built in one area of the parking garage for bicycle storage.  It will be accessed through a door with a combination lock that only the bicyclist will know.  There will also be a chair/bench inside that area for people to change their shoes.

This is pretty cool that the City of Redmond has this program!

R-Trip has a formula for small companies of less than 100 employees.  R-Trip will pay the first $1,200 of my bicycle storage expense and provide a 50% match above this amount.  For companies that have 100-500 employees R-Trip will pay the first $2,400 and provide a match of 33% above this amount.  For companies with more than 500 employees, R-Trip will pay the first $3,600 and provide a match of 25% above this amount.  To apply for the grant, you can go to the R-Trip Employers website and fill out an application.

Tonight, before dinner, I was walking out on the E Lake Sammamish Trail and walked by the best house on E Lake Sammamish.  The house is located right on the lake and has a spectacular view.  I happened to meet the owner of the house and she was so kind to give me a tour.  The lot is 3600 SF and the house is 1500 SF. The house is three stories and each floor is about 500 SF.  The house is 14 feet wide by 38 feet long.

I always wondered what kind of people lived in a house like this. My initial thought before meeting the owner was that it was a pair of empty nesters that were living in their dream house on the lake.  It turns out the owners have four children! I never would have thought it to be possible to put a large family into that house.

The owner shared with me some of the creative things that she did in order to build a house that could really maximize the square footage. It was inspiring to hear her talk about trying to find a way to squeeze out five more square feet. I think about how inefficient the typical floor plan of house is and it makes me appreciate this house even more.

The first and third floors are living space and the second floor is where the kitchen and family room are.  The house feels quite spacious partly because it has a ton of windows. In the family room they have a Nana Wall, an accordion style sliding glass door. If you haven’t ever seen one go look at the Nana Wall website. The Nana Wall makes the lake feel like an extension of the house. One of the other cool features of the house is a exterior fireplace on the side of the house — I can already envision sitting outside next to the lake staying warm by the fireplace! I would take this kind of living over a downtown condo any day. The house also has a lot of energy efficient features like on-demand gas hot water and radiant floor heating. I love the warm concrete floors.

I’m ready to downsize into this kind of house!

I just received my Green Festival Seattle Exhibitor Invitation!  Last year, Seattle held its first annual Green Festival and it was a huge success.  I remember the weather was incredible that weekend as it was about 80 degrees and clear blue skies.  I also remember it being completely packed as more than 30,000 people attended the weekend event.  I think the 2009 event will be even more successful.

Highlighting what is inside my exhibitor invitation, the focus is on three things:

Your business: For the best in green, there is only one event against which all other green events are measured. By choosing to participate in Green Festival, your business has secured the best and most comprehensive exposure for your planet- and people-friendly products and services.

The community: By offering green alternatives to businesses and individuals across economic and political spectra, you provide them tools to enjoy a healthier way of life.  Awareness of your business expands rapidly as neighbors in these regions spread the word.

Our planet: When you exhibit your green products and services at Green Festival, you help create a more just and sustainable world.  Attendees feel more empowered when they see the daily actions effecting positive change. By employing the ideas, tools and products you provide these motivated citizens help make life better life better for everyone.

Who’s exhibiting?

• fair trade • eco-fashion • organic foods dining • organic home & garden • responsible investing • green pets • organic food • eco kids • community action • green careers & education • eco-travel • permaculture • green building • eco-art • bodywork • renewable energy • conservation & recycling • transportation • green office • organic health & body • green media • green technology • organic beer & wine

For more information on how to be an exhibitor you can go the the Green Festival Exhibitor website.  The are offering a nice incentive (30% off) to those that register and pay in full by December 15, 2008.  This is something that I definitely have to consider doing!  I’m really excited about event as last year was so enjoyable!

Green Festival Seattle 2009 will be on March 28th and 29th at the Washington State Convention & Trade Center.  Hours are: Saturday 10AM – 8PM and Sunday 11AM – 6PM.  Click here for pricing.

Updated March 21, 2009:

Free Admission Tickets: My wife just told me that you can get a free admission ticket to the Green Festival Seattle if you purchase $5 worth of groceries at PCC.

Hollywood Hill Vineyards was the wine sponsor for the Sustainable Art + Wine event at thinkspace on October 29, 2008. It was a great match where both of our companies operate using sustainable business practices. Hollywood Hill Vineyards grows many of their grapes here in Woodinville. They have approximately 2,200 vines. Their Cabernet Franc is really tasty and I highly recommend that you try a bottle! Their tasting room is open every Saturday from 12-4pm. Here is an interview with Becky Snyder of Hollywood Hill Vineyards.


Tonight we hosted Eastside GreenDrinks inside thinkspace. Looking around the room tonight, it appeared that people were having a good time talking with each other. I had a great time meeting new people and making good connections. A big thank you to tonight’s sponsors: Beer was provided by Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, Food was provided by PCC Natural Markets. Other sponsors include: Eastside Business, Sustainable September, Interra, and NBIS.

Here are a few photos from tonight’s event.

We’ve started our recycling of wine corks program today!  We’re allowing businesses inside thinkspace to bring in their wine corks and then we will coordinate the recycling of the wine corks.  We’ve signed up with TerraCycle to have the wine corks recycled.  They pay for the shipping once we have collected 200+ wine corks.

I just picked up another gallon of paint today for the coworking space. I decided to compare the VOC content of Sherwin Williams Duration paint versus Sherwin Williams Super Paint.

Paint Type     g/l       lb/gal
Duration           48          0.40
Super Paint     145        1.21

There are 67% more VOC’s in traditional paint than a low-VOC paint.  That’s a big difference.  Low-VOC paint has almost no smell, though some chemically sensitive people may still notice the VOC odor.  The price difference is about $2 per gallon.