Carolyn Browne Tamler

has helped hundreds of businesses and organizations with her thoughtful facilitation and research services. She also writes colorful and compelling articles about new business initiatives! Would this help you? Call Carolyn today!

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    p:| 360.222.6820
    c:| 425.351.7531

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    2055 Pheasant Farm Lane
    Freeland, WA 98249

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    7-31-14 Helping with a community event is good business

    On July 26th, nearly 100 people attended the annual SummerFest at the home of Grethe Cammermeyer and Diane Divelbess.  It was a success, to a great extent because of the community businesses that helped.

    As the Chairperson, I was responsible for making the decisions on the items that needed to be purchased for the event.  Betty Bond and I worked together on the food and beverage choices.

    First, a big shout out is due to Goose Community Grocer in Langley.  The store provided all of the food for a gourmet hot dog dinner with side dishes.  Store Manager Charlie McKissick went over the entire menu with us, made suggestions and offered competitive prices.  He provided a complete price list for every item we selected, gave us some tableware and donated a plate of brownies and cookies for our dessert auction.

    Many people made homemade desserts for the auction, but we also received donations from The Kitchen Door, Mukilteo Coffee, Whidbey Pies and One Spirit Garden.  The Inn at Langley donated a dinner for two for a very productive raffle.

    We had many great volunteers who helped, but without the participation of our local businesses, the logistics would have been difficult, stress levels would have been high and we certainly couldn’t have had the success that we did.

    You can bet that everyone who attended, everyone who runs into someone who attended, and everyone who talks to me or reads this Blog, will know how helpful and generous these businesses were and will want to patronize them.



    7-24-14 Take a walk through Langley, Freeland or Coupeville  

    When you live in a city or suburb, it’s common to drive to a shopping center, park in a large parking lot and head to a particular store or stores to do shopping.

    On South Whidbey, I believe it’s more common to drive (or walk) to a particular community, walk around and do some unplanned, as well as planned, shopping.  It’s part of our Whidbey lifestyle.

    The newly renovated Second Street in Langley provides a great incentive for walking around and exploring all of the businesses and galleries in the community.  There is no question that Langley is a charming, iconic town.

    There’s also Coupeville, which has a lot of history and charm, as well as interesting shops and places to explore.

    And, while Freeland may not have the look of a Langley or a Coupeville, it has many interesting shops that invite a visit while on a short walk.

    These small communities are wonderful places to guide tourists, and they are also delightful places to wander if you live here.  And, if you patronize the local businesses while you’re wandering, all the better.


    7-17-14 Making eye contact and smiling are the first steps in providing good customer service

    In the Langley Merchants Survey that I worked on recently, I noted that word-of-mouth and being a returning customer were two repeated themes about what encouraged someone to come into a business.  Both of these relate to good customer service. 

    If you tell someone about a business, it’s usually because you were pleased with the service and the product; if you come back to a business again, it’s probably for the same reasons.

    Good customer service includes many elements, but one of the simplest parts of good customer service is the first impression someone has walking into a business.  Making eye contact and having a sincere smile are the first steps in sending the message that you really care about providing a positive experience for the customer.

    While there is a lot of business done today through the Internet, owners and managers of many small retail operations still meet people face to face.  Depending on what source you check out, you’ll find that human communication is 70 – 90% non-verbal.  Even with today’s texting and networking, most true human communication is without words.  (Ever notice how often you have a “gut feeling” when you meet someone new?)

    Making eye contact and having a warm smile are the most effective ways to let someone know you appreciate their business.

    Here is an interesting article I discovered about this:


    7-10-14 Langley has a lovely new public space

    Last week I wrote about our trip to Italy, France and Spain and my response to seeing the people in these countries looking so relaxed and happy as they enjoy good food and friends in the many outdoor cafes and other public places.

    Last night, we went to the dedication of the refurbished and renovated Second Street in Langley, and I was reminded of my recent experiences in Europe.

    The street was closed off and the lovely space that extends from Callahan’s across the street was filled with tables and chairs.  Food and drinks were available and Trio Nouveau provided their usual mellow jazz.  There was lots of conversation and laughter.  We socialized with many people we knew.

    It may have been a hardship for many of the businesses to go through the several months of construction, but I’m sure they will benefit in the long run.

    From a marketing perspective, the “new” Second Street will help the Langley businesses.  It makes a great loop experience for people to walk through the town; it encourages people to stop and talk and notice what is around them; and I have no doubt, it will encourage visitors to stroll into some of the businesses.

    Congratulations, Langley!!


    6-27-14 Honesty is the best policy

    Rich and I just returned from a wonderful one-month adventure in Italy, France and Spain.  Part of our trip included a 7-day river cruise in France.  At lunch one day, I ordered an item from the menu, and after several minutes noticed that others at our table were getting their lunch while I was still waiting.  I started asking our waiter what was happening, and he responded, “It will be ready in just a minute.”

    We had an appointment following the lunch, so I was getting more and more concerned as I waited.  And still I was told it was coming right up.  Finally, about 10 minutes before we had to leave, he brought my lunch and said the kitchen had a little trouble with this particular entrée.

    I had gotten to know the waiter a little and I called him over and said, “I wish you would have told me when things weren’t going right and given me my options of waiting for a while to get what I had ordered or switching to something else to get faster service.”  He thanked me and I could see by the expression on his face that he understood what I had described.

    Later, I went and talked to the person in charge of the dining room service and related what had happened (though I was careful not to identify the waiter).  As a customer, I told the supervisor that I wanted to know what was going on and be given my choices.  She thanked me very sincerely, and the next day came over to tell me that she had passed this on to the entire wait staff.

    This incident is a metaphor for many situations where something goes wrong with an order, and instead of explaining what’s happening at the very beginning, a choice is made to simply continue on and hope things work out before the customer gets too impatient.

    As the title says however, honesty is the best policy.  People want to be told when there is a problem and allowed to make a choice that will best resolve the situation.

    (Note: If you’d like to know more about the trip adventure, visit my Facebook page or send me a request for our itinerary – Carolyn Tamler).