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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    1-11-18 Non-Profit Theater brings profits to local businesses

    We are truly blessed on this island with the abundance of quality theater productions. An article was published this week about Island Shakespeare Festival’s first winter, indoor production: “Shakespeare’s Other Women.” (

    In describing the growing success of this local theater company, it was noted that of the more than 4,000 people who attended last year’s summer performances, half had come from off-island (based on a zip code check).

    So, that’s 2,000 people who attended the theater and, most likely, purchased a meal here, or walked around Langley and likely purchased some additional items, or toured other parts of Whidbey (and made purchases elsewhere)..

    Besides Island Shakespeare Festival (ISF), we have Whidbey Island Center for the Arts (WICA), Outcast Productions, Whidbey Children’s Theater (WCT) in Langley, and the Whidbey Playhouse in Oak Harbor. I don’t know the statistics on these other theater groups, but I am guessing a significant number of audience members come from other parts of the island and off-island….and most probably contribute to our local economy..



    1-4-18 Three basic marketing ideas to help increase business

    When you’re thinking about how to best use your dollars for marketing, here are the three ways I approach this:

     1)      It is always easiest to sell more to those who are already buying your product or service;

    2)      You are more likely to sell to new customers who are much like the customers you already have or have been referred to you by current customers; and

    3)      It is hardest to sell to new people about whom you have little information.

    Item 1 assumes that you do everything to keep your customers happy so they’ll want to keep coming back to you.

    Item 2 is based on the idea that the kinds of people who really appreciate you, what you sell, and how you do business are likely to want to do business with you….once they know who you are….and especially if they have heard good things about you from your from their friends.

    Item 3 means it can be very expensive to simply place an advertisement without knowing details about the audience that will see the advertisement.

    The wise ways to use your advertising dollars are to promote your business to current satisfied customers, and let your customers know how much you appreciate having them refer you to others.

    And, remember….a satisfied customer usually tells many people.  A dissatisfied customer tells everyone.



    12-28-17 Looking for good stories for the Business Spotlight

    A few years ago I got into writing stories about Whidbey businesses. My professional background was as a marketing research and public involvement consultant. Then I moved to Whidbey and was asked to write a couple of stories about marketing research for a local business magazine (Northwest Business Monthly, which no longer exists). I don’t even remember now what first created my connection with the magazine. Then, I was asked to write stories about local businesses for that publication.

    Somehow, the publisher of Whidbey Local, JoAnna Weeks, learned about my writing, and she asked me to do business stories for her on-line publication. She encouraged me to write what I wanted, in my own style. She has now branded me as the “Business Spotlight.”  Each week, she trusts me to choose a business, tell their story, and it is published without any editing (my husband is my “official” editor).

    I feel very privileged because I am having the delight of making my own choices and telling stories in my own way.

    I believe that what makes a business story appealing is knowing about the person or people who started the business. I ask three basic questions: Why did they come to live on Whidbey? Why did they decide to create their business? What is special or unique about the product and/or services they provide?

    I invite you to check out a new story each week on The Business Spotlight on Whidbey Local:

    For me, a business story is really about the people behind the business. If you have a story you’d like to share, please contact me:



    12-14-17 On Whidbey, most of us do our best to shop here instead of going to America 

    I don’t remember how long ago I heard someone say, “I’m going to America tomorrow.”  I soon learned that many on the island use the term to mean taking the ferry across and dealing with the traffic and stress of going there to run some errands and/or do shopping.

    Of course, there is a recognition that the “big box” stores over there have more selection and, often, lower prices.

    But for many of us, it is also important to support our local businesses. There definitely is an ethic here, that I am sure is true of other small, connected communities, that doing our part to make the local businesses successful is often more important than going for the selection and the prices at the big boxes.

    We are fortunate on Whidbey to also have many businesses that make their own products (coffee, wines, foods, crafts….to mention a few), and the quality is usually excellent. To have an idea of the diversity of the business community we have on Whidbey, take a look at the Business Spotlight on Whidbey Local .

    There is also a lot to be said for feeling good about helping someone else. I like to buy locally and know that I am playing a small part in helping a small business thrive on Whidbey.



    12-7-17 A Visit to the Village of Langley during the holidays offers a delightful place to shop and have fun

    The City of Langley seems to get more colorful and vibrant with each holiday season.  This year there are new businesses, and many of the businesses have created lovely holiday decorations. The annual Lighting of Langley happened on Saturday, November 25th.

    For the last few years the town of Langley has promoted a “Deck the Doors” contest where local artists work with the merchants to create special Christmas displays at the entrance to their stores. An impartial panel of judges choses three winners who each receive a $1,000 cash prize on December 16, 2017. The outdoor gallery created by this contest provides bright and colorful holiday decorations throughout the town. The real winners are the visitors to Langley.

    Nearly every store in the business district participates. The result is a cheerful, lively space where people can wander in and out of the different stores, enjoy shopping or simply appreciate the lights and colors and artistic atmosphere.

    A recent visitor during this holiday time commented that the “city feels alive and festive.”

    There are those who enjoy the experience of going to a busy, crowded mall to look for bargains for friends and family. But the village of Langley offers something that many people will discover reflects the pleasures of a simpler time, when the winter holidays were more than just a mad dash to buy presents.

    The village of Langley provides a quaint, charming experience that appeals to many who want to walk around shops in a relaxed and inviting atmosphere.