Ballard company finalist for best small business

Gracewinds Perinatal Services, which offers a community-focused set of parenting services ranging from pre-childbirth through six months, is one of seven finalists for U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business of the Year.

“We just found out this morning, so it’s pretty exciting,” CEO Chris Wallace told My Ballard. Two weeks ago they were awarded the chamber’s Blue Ribbon Small Business Award from which the seven finalists were selected. The winner of the Small Business of the Year award will be announced April 17 at a banquet in Washington, D.C.

The recognition is the latest in a string of awards for the small business. “Last year we won the Small Business Administration award for Women in Small Business,” Wallace said. “We’ve won five awards in the last two years,” including the Seattle Mayor’s Small Business Award and the Homestreet Bank Great Business, Great Neighbor Award in 2006.

Other finalists for this latest award probably gross a lot more revenue, Wallace says, so she thinks they’re being recognized “because of what we do with families and babies, they recognize there’s a need for that.”

Wallace started the company in 2002, offering a range birth-related services. It’s since expanded to include a host of workshops, and other services including massage, acupuncture and lactation consulting. In 2005 they opened the Peapod Store and last summer they opened a popular mom and baby-friendly coffee shop.

While the store is focused on local families, they’re also involved in the Global Breast Milk Initiative which is promoting breastfeeding in sub-Saharan Kenya where many new babies die for lack of adequate nutrition. “We’re a business, but we’re also trying to do something globally.”

Speaking from personal experience, if you have a newborn or have one on the way, it’s definitely worth your time to check out Gracewinds. 

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