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
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    2055 Pheasant Farm Lane
    Freeland, WA 98249

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    8-14-14 What’s queer about Whidbey’s first Queer Pride Parade?

    Whidbey had its first Queer Pride Parade last Sunday in Langley.  While there were a lot of different folks - some dressed in drag, some in sequins, some in outlandish costumes of one sort or another - what really struck me was that on Whidbey, we don’t seem to care who someone is or how they want to dress….as long as they are nice people and enjoy being part of our community.

    The parade honored anyone who wanted to take part, as a participant or on the sidelines cheering each person who went by.  I loved many of the signs.  One of my favorites was “Straight but not narrow.”  I saw the word “Love” on many signs, including simply “Love and appreciation.”  Even animals were represented, as an animal rights group proclaimed: “Love is endless; Embrace all beings; harm no one.”

    Even though the last comment applied to animals, I think it fairly represented the mood of the entire parade…and, our attitudes toward each other on Whidbey.


    (David Welton's photos of the event are posted on Whidbey Life Magazine.)



    8-8-14 This is a great time of year to buy all of your food locally on Whidbey

    Rich and I got home last night after being away from Whidbey for nearly a week.  First order of business: restock our refrigerator and pantry.

    We may live on an Island, away from the maddening crowds, but we do not live away from wonderful local foods.  At last count (according to my calculations), we have at least seven farmer’s markets featuring fresh, organic (most of the time) produce,  local baked goods, other locally made food items (jams, granolas…to name a few).  We can buy beef from local grass-fed cows.  Happy local chickens produce lovely eggs (and I believe they are happy until the last moment when they pass into chicken heaven).  We have coffee made from four local roasters and wines from nine local wineries. 

    I’m sure I am omitting lots more that we are able to buy locally….forgive me if I have left out something.

    Of course, we also have excellent grocery stores on the island that offer lots of the local-grown items, plus anything else we need for that pantry.

    Next time you’re thinking about heading across the water to do some shopping, remind yourself, almost everything you need can be purchased on Whidbey, and your local purchases help your neighbors to keep doing what they’re doing.


    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.

    (David Welton's photos of the event are posted on Whidbey Life Magazine: )




    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: