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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    2055 Pheasant Farm Lane
    Freeland, WA 98249

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    6-7-18 Doughnut House in Bayview Corner shows that “fixing a problem” is good marketing

    Every Friday I have breakfast with six to eight people who have been doing this little gathering for several years.  We usually go to the same restaurant, but many of my friends had read my story about the Doughnut House and wanted to go there for a change.

    At 8:30 last Friday, 10 of us showed up to try breakfast at Whidbey Doughnuts.  We first noticed that our orders were taking a long time to be filled.  Then we noticed that there were several mix-ups with the orders. By 9:30, when we all had to leave, some orders had not been delivered and there were mistakes in some of the orders that weren’t corrected.

    I came home and immediately sent an email to Scott Parks, one of the owners, describing our experience.  In less than 10 minutes, he sent back a response:

    “I’m so glad you took the time to write.  I was told immediately by both servers all the problems we created for your table.  Of course, I’m incredibly sorry and will do what I can to make it right. I have at least 4 excuses I could make for some of the issues you encountered, but let’s be honest, “who cares what happened, just fix it.”

    Scott showed up at my house the next day with 10 gift cards, one for each of the people at my table (I would have been happy just stopping by his restaurant and picking up the cards). I, of course, immediately told all of my breakfast friends. Since then, I have shared this story with many people.

    Our breakfast group is already planning to go back and give the Doughnut House another try. I’m guessing that many who have heard this story are also interested in paying a visit for breakfast, lunch or….doughnuts.



    5-31-18 Social media adds to the impact of a good business story

    Every week, I write a story for the Business Spotlight in

    The stories evolve from personal contacts, observing new or existing businesses or having someone ask me to do a story. These stories cover a broad array of Whidbey Island businesses; many are sole proprietorships or small businesses and some are more extensive business ventures that employ a significant number of people.

    Every few weeks, my editor sends me the numbers for how many people have viewed each of the stories. What has surprised me is the wide variations in these numbers.  Some stories will only have 20 or 30 openings, and some, like the stories I did for Comfort’s Winery on 4/20/18, Michael Corradini on 5/21/18 and Whidbey Doughnuts on 5/28/18 have hundreds of views.

    The differences, apparently, relate to how many connections, especially social media connections, used by the business.  Some business owners have large business and personal email lists. The owners of Whidbey Doughnuts used emails, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media connections.

    Many in my generation (OK, I admit to being a senior, senior citizen) are still learning about these new marketing tools. It seems to me that social media provides some great communication sources for building a business.


    5-24-18 Marketing wisdom from the Langley Chamber of Commerce


    Open Door Policy

    If you have a storefront, there is one simple thing you can do as summer is just around the corner and the weather warms up to increase foot traffic and provide potential for new sales: OPEN YOUR DOORS!

    There is nothing quite as welcoming as an open front door to spur someone walking by to turn in, browse around, and maybe even buy something.

    And, of course, when you see someone come into your business, be sure to make eye contact, say “Hello” and make them feel welcome.

    "Having an open door in front of you means having an opportunity before you."


    5-17-18 An important question to ask a customer or potential customer: "How did you learn about my business?"

    When someone comes into your store, or contacts you to purchase your product or service, be sure to ask how they found out about your business---and, keep track of what you learn.

    If you are already doing this…..that’s great! 

    Are you keeping a record of what you learn?

    Asking this question and keeping a record of the responses is important, so that you can see where to place your energy and dollars to promote your business. 

    On South Whidbey, word-of-mouth seems to be one of the most important sources of business, but we also have newspapers, emails, Drew’s List, (and let’s not forget the “Business Spotlight”), bulletin boards, brochures, and promotions for non-profits (hopefully, you’ve heard me mention businesses that support the Whidbey Children’s Theater, for example).

    When you have a sale or any kind of special promotion, it is especially important to keep track of what brings potential customers to you.

    Be aware also, that advertising and promotion that works well may vary.  It is not uncommon for something to work great for a while, and then suddenly not be as effective in generating business for you. 

    That’s why it’s so important to continue to check on what works, and if something isn’t working as well as it used to, try something new.



    5-10-18 Hearts & Hammers on Whidbey Island: Businesses give back to the community

    Last weekend was Hearts & Hammers.  Rich and I have participated in this wonderful community program for several years.  The concept of having large numbers of people come together on a single day to help elderly or low-income people with home repairs so they can comfortably stay in their homes has become a template being used in many other communities.

    In a small community like South Whidbey, you notice how much the local business people donate to the local non-profits and help out in many other ways. 

    This year, over 400 volunteers participated.  Many, like my husband and I, simply show up and do what we can to help.  But, there are also many skilled crafts people who donate their skills, as well like the two master carpenters who were on my team.  Electricians, plumbers, roofers and other skilled people who have their own businesses, participate.  Many of the large commercial businesses in the community offer special prices for materials needed for the projects.

    When you see businesses giving back to the community, it certainly makes you want to do business with them whenever you can.