MARY BACARELLA

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MARY BACARELLA ON:

The importance of grassroots activism:

Social Media is all about grassroots activism and we use it all the time, every day - for causes, to raise money, marketing, etc. Personally, we all use it and it's a given for companies to use it as one of their main strategies to get to their end user. But as we all know, grassroots activism has been around forever. The delivery may have been improved through technology but we can still use the tried and true ways. Ghandi didn't have social media, Martin Luther King didn't have social media, and they made great changes. But to me the most important aspect is about the message. If you don't have a message for change that others will support and stand behind, it doesn't matter how you get out there.

Grassroots activism in the Market:

You need to look at our history to see that it works--especially for the Market. Here, you have a place so you have a voice. It's also helpful in figuring out what people really believe in here, there are so many opinions and ideas. Once you figure out what the message is, use the grass roots activism tool for change. You have to commit. And you need to have a message that makes people care to put a dollar in to join the Constituency and come to the meetings. When asking people for their time in this busy world, the message better be one they will get behind and want to tell others. There are so many opinions and ideas here and that's great. But we need to hear from different people with different ideas not just the same ones all the time. I would love to have some sort of campaign to get people outside of our nine acres to join our Constituency. SIFF has, during festival, seven to eight hundred volunteers. I think they like to be around the twenty-five days of craziness. So what is it that we have at the Market that people love? This is the question I would ask. I'm not sure I have an answer because I think it would take some time to really dig in and figure that out. I really do think people who love the Market would want to volunteer in some way as an ambassador. If people love something they want to tell people about it.

Increasing Constituency membership:

Do you go back into the files into the years and say, "Hey, you were a member. Come back to the Market and be part of the Constituency, there are a lot of great things going on?" Also, we need to figure out how to get to all of the new people that are now living around the Market and downtown. The Constituency will have a new office in the Down Under and it will make it easier to get to, and have more room to bring people in. If you want more people to join the Constituency, you're going to have to market to them just like any other organization. Most importantly, you have to know what resonates with your audience or they will not hear you.

Why the Market community should join the Constituency:

One reason, and one reason only. This is your Market. If you want a say, and you want to live and work here and this is your home--you got to be part of it. Because you are the voice here.

How impressions of the Market have changed since becoming Executive Director:

You know, it doesn't seem that different to me, but I'm sure there are ways. However, I used to come down to the market every Friday and Saturday for twenty years to pay the bills for Unexpected Productions, run the box office or see friends. I would come down and meet friends at Le Panier, the Athenian, Lowell's for breakfast. My lunch was always grabbing something at Chicken Valley, Mr. D's and bringing it back to the theatre. So to me--has it changed? I'm still learning, but I'm kind of glad that a lot of it hasn't. But.. and this is an important one… there is still a lot to do and strategize to ensure its future success.

What's been learned so far:

I've learned that everybody has an opinion about everybody and everything that's going on here-it's very interesting to hear and watch. And I kind of knew that, but now I really know it. Everyone working and living here has a passion for this place. I have seen from a small percentage that it is self-serving. But thankfully and lovingly, the larger population of the Market looks at it holistically; as what is best for the Market. That is what is so great about this place. One of the things I'm learning is there is a feeling that people don't want to venture out of the nine acres that we're on to extend the name and brand of the Pike Place Market. But I'm still on my listening tour. The way I see it, we have an international brand and we very carefully need to figure out how and if we extend it out of our area to reach new customers and for the betterment of the Market.

The Market's main challenges:

One of the main challenges is we have to figure out a way to get our message out to the new Seattle and bring locals back. Questions we need to answer - What do we offer to all of the new people that are moving to Seattle? What is our message to them? As the soul of this city, they need to understand that we hold the history and the culture of Seattle. We also need to find out who our customer is. I'm not sure we know. The biggest customer seems to be the tourists but we need to get our locals excited again about making the Market the place they do their shopping. We need to focus our research and outreach here. The Market has gone through a lot of changes in the last few years, especially with building the MarketFront. We need to take a moment to make sure everything is working well and holistically as we move forward. Seattle is changing. It's a new city. Everything is growing up around us. I think the Market is going through a bit of an identity crisis. We know who we are, but how do we fit into the new Seattle? More importantly, how do we tell the new Seattle how important this Market is to our community? People moving here are obviously moving for jobs. But the underlying thing that everybody says is our culture is a major reason Seattle is so attractive to live in - and the culture starts here! It's in the arts, our farmers and vendors with organic and sustainable produce, meat, all kind of products. We have everything here and you can also meet the people who make the product. You can't find that online or in a mall. We have to make sure the new Seattle understands what the Pike Place Market is, who we are and why they need to make it a part of their everyday lives.

Creative marketing increasing local support:

I think that's what we can be good at, because we have some very creative people here. People are looking for experiences, they want a story and they want to know why they should care. And most importantly they want it told in a creative way. I think we can message all of that. We have so many great stories here. Everyone seems to have one and we need to tell them.

MARY BACARELLA-THE QUICK Q AND A:

You're from Michigan. Why did you move here?

Love brought me after grad school to Seattle. The love of my late partner, Michael Walsh, who was transferred out here for his job with the Federal government. He was a labor relations attorney and later in his career he started the King County alternative dispute resolutions department. I didn't know where I was going when I came to check out Seattle. Seattle?....Huh? This was 1983. He was also a sailor, and he had his boat in Michigan, but every winter you had to put it up on blocks. So he loved it out here and he wanted to sail year round so he moved here and I followed him after school.

When did you realize public markets are cool?

We had a small market in Monroe, Michigan where I grew up. It's still there. FYI - Monroe where your La-Z-Boy chairs and your Monroe Shocks come from. My family did visit the market, but being Italians we had our own gardens. So markets weren't a big deal until I came here. And our market is so much more. The first time I came to Seattle in 1983, Michael picked me up from the airport and took me to Place Pigalle for dinner--before I did anything else! In a letter he described Place Pigalle to me and said "I can't wait to take you there. You have to see the Market." It was the first thing I visited when I got off the plane.

How has shopping at the Market changed for you since becoming Executive Director?

Let's just say I'm spending more money than I have in the past. How's that?

You have a long relationship with the gum wall. What are your gum wall stories?

I remember when it started. This was 1991. Our audience at Unexpected Productions started it while they were waiting in line to get into a show. Someone put a piece of gum on the wall with a penny stuck to it. It went all the way down the wall in a line and then suddenly it spread all over the wall. Someone took the money off the wall, and the PDA told us we had to clean off the wall--and we did not have hazmat suits on like they did when they removed the gum in 2015. I don't even think we had gloves. I think we had these little scraper things. The gum then piled up again and we were told to clean it again. Finally, the PDA said it could stay - that it was as quirky as the Market. I know people love it or hate it and I'm one who loves it. It's part of my history here at the Market. Isn't it amazing how it became so popular?

What seasonal produce do you most look forward to?

Well, actually there are two things that have to be perfect for me. First, being the Italian that I am--tomatoes. But they have to be juicy and ripe. I come from the Midwest where it gets really hot, and in my dad's garden I would just pick them out of the garden and bite into them right then and there. We also went out to the farms and picked bushels of tomatoes. Every summer around the second or third week in August, my family would go out and we'd pick because my mom canned her pasta sauce for the entire season. The other product that has to be perfect for me is the peach. There is nothing better than a perfect peach.

What's a meal you like to prepare using Market food?

I'm a chicken person. How many ways you can make chicken? And don't forget the sausage from Uli's. But one of the best things about the Market is that food is represented from all over the world. You can eat "in a different country" every day.

What's the most unusual job you've had?

When I worked for the PR firm Golin-Harris, one of the coolest jobs was with Nintendo. I did media tours visiting 20 cities in two months. I'd go around the country in a truck that looked like a white moving van and in the back it looked like your den. It had TVs and couches and all the new games were there for the media to play and review. The coolest one was when Ken Griffey Junior was a Mariner. Nintendo was part owner of the Mariners and they developed a Ken Griffey video baseball game. We visited every single baseball spring training camps two years in a row. After the games, the players would come into the back of the van and try and beat video Ken Griffey on his game. It was the year that Michael Jordan tried to play baseball and I met Michael Jordan, he was very nice to the fans. I met so many players but the high point was meeting my childhood hero-[Detroit Tiger Hall of Famer] Al Kaline. I literally couldn't speak when I met him.

You worked for the Seattle International Film Festival for years. Name three movies you think everybody should see.

The Godfather.....or Goodfellas? I can't pick, I love them both. Annie Hall and My Favorite Year.

You also worked for the Space Needle. Did you ever take the stairs?

I did. Down though, not up! And I went to the roof a number of times. Not the sloped roof--the flat roof at the top! It was when we'd put a flag up or take VIPs up there. It's the best view in the city - except the one from the MarketFront!

What was your favorite book to read and re-read in elementary school?

Beezus and Ramona and the rest of the series by Beverly Cleary.

As you know, Constituency dues are only a dollar. If you go back to when you were ten years old and you had that dollar, how would you squander it?

Candy. Chocolate. Good n Plenty. Dots. You name it. Randy Dixon, the Market Theater / Unexpected Productions artistic director--his son used to call me The Good N Plenty Girl because he and I would eat Good N Plenty together. As I kid I would also buy baseball cards with gum in them, and Beatle cards. We still have a stack of Beatle cards at my mom's house somewhere. Might be worth some money. I would buy those all the time.

Mary, thank you for your time.

Thank you Haley. Really a pleasure talking with you.

Remember to join the Constituency today!! Still only $1.00. Sign up cards are available at the PDA office front desk.  Haley Land

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