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

    f:| 360.222.6820

    2055 Pheasant Farm Lane
    Freeland, WA 98249

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    3-16-17 Another story about a niche being filled: Chris’ Bakery, the only full service bakery in Oak Harbor

    I am going to sound repetitious, but I just published another story on Whidbey Local about a business that is filling a void.

    Chris’ Bakery was opened by the Christensen family  50 years ago in Oak Harbor. The bakery was closed in 1998, when the second generation of Christensens moved back east to be with other family members.

    In 2015 they decided to return to Whidbey Island, and in 2016 found an appropriate place to use for a new Chris’ Bakery.

    Now, with the help of their daughter (and her 16-year old daughter in the summer), Patrick and Maribeth Christensen have just opened the only made-from-scratch bakery in town.

    In addition to filling a niche, this is also a story of a family that has a history in the town returning and re-establishing a business still known to many.

    The Business Spotlight story of Chris’ Bakery can be found at Whidbey Local


    3-9-17 Ruby’s Closet in Freeland is filling a much needed niche: Baby and young child clothing in South Whidbey

    One of the likely ways of having a successful business is to do something that isn’t being done by anyone else.  The marketing term for this is “filling a niche.”

    I love the creativity and awareness that lead to someone having the courage to not just open a retail business, but to do something that hasn’t been done before.

    Ruby’s Closet is the dream-come-true for Kari Daumen. After she had a child and discovered that shopping for her new baby on Whidbey Island, especially in Freeland, where she lives, was just about impossible, she began exploring options for creating her own business.  With a little help from a friend, she was able to begin renting a place in downtown Freeland that has turned out to be just right.

    The story of Kari Daumen and Ruby’s Closet is featured in the Business Spotlight of Whidbey Local .



    3-2-17 Your first job as a retail business owner is to make a person feel welcome coming into your store

    Recently, my husband and I stopped off at a takeout restaurant on our way back to Whidbey.  We had been to the place before.  The restaurant was busy, and we stood in line behind two people waiting for service.

    We waited for our turn....and none of the staff looked up from what they were doing; no one made eye contact or said “Hello” or “We’ll be with you in just a minute.”  We waited.  Finally, Rich said, “Let’s go somewhere else.”  And, we did.

    I can imagine the young staff had had a long day, or some cranky customers, or were just anxious to be done with their work day and head home.  

    But, as the customer, my only concern was being waited on, or at least having someone greet me and say they would be helping me soon.  I wanted to feel welcome.


    Anyone who is meeting the public in a business must always be aware of the power of that first moment when a potential customer walks through the door.  More than anything else, a customer must be noticed and made to feel welcomed.


    2-23-17 Here comes Langley Mystery Weekend - A great event for tourists and locals

    This weekend is the 33rd annual Langley Mystery Weekend when hundreds (or is it thousands) of folks descend on the town to look for clues, meet the potential villains and see if they can solve the murder mystery.  It costs $10 to participate, but, of course, anyone can simply wander around town and look at all of the characters, and of course say hello to the friendly people who live in Langley.

    No one really mentions that this is also a great way for the local businesses to have lots of visitors stop in, see what is available, and...maybe purchase something.





    2-9-17/2-16-17 A delightful Whidbey tradition and a great example of the power of collaboration

    If you have been reading my blogs, you will notice there are some repeating themes.  One of these themes is the power of collaboration. 

    The weekends of February 11 and 12 and 18 and 19 are the annual Red Wine and Chocolate Tour put on by the Whidbey Island Vintners and Distillers Association.

    Four wineries and a distillery on South Whidbey are part of this collaboration, as well as other events that are presented by the association at other times of the year. People are invited to tour and sample.  Inviting people to visit these five businesses rather than simply promoting a visit to a single one greatly enlarges the potential market for each.

    My adult children look forward to coming to Whidbey to participate every February.  My guess is that lots of friends and family also pay a visit to Whidbey Island to be part of this event.

    So this collaboration is not only benefiting the participating businesses, it is creating an event that is promoting tourism on Whidbey.

    You’re invited to join in on this collaborative event and sip, sample and have a relaxing day on Whidbey Island.

    For details about the 2017 Red Wine and Chocolate Tour, visit the website for the Whidbey Island Vintners and Distillers Association: