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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    2-7-14 An iconic community like South Whidbey Island can be a great draw for tourists

    Rich and I just returned from a one-week trip to Sayulita, Mexico, our fourth visit to this special little town north of Puerto Vallarta.  When I was musing about what I would write for my marketing blog this week, it occurred to me that there are a lot of similarities between this town and South Whidbey Island that relate to drawing tourists that are major contributors to the economy.

    In contrast to what are considered the major tourist destinations, with large corporate hotels, on-site restaurants, swimming pools, and orchestrated entertainment, these two communities cater to a different kind of tourist.  Rich and I go to Sayulita (which was recommended to us by several Whidbey friends) because there are no big hotels, chain restaurants, big box stores, or amusement parks.

    We spent our days…..relaxing.  We slept in a quiet place, went shopping at the local small grocery stores, and chose special local restaurants for dinner.  If we wanted to swim, we could go to the local beach that has no areas reserved just for tourists, but are open to everyone.  In the evening, we wandered and listened to local musicians playing at some of the restaurants or just sat on a bench in the town square and watched the local world go by.

    To anyone who knows Whidbey, this could also be description of our community.  There are plenty of B & B’s and a few small motels for lodgings, lovely locally-owned restaurants, local grocery stores, farmer’s markets during the growing season (usually something from April through October), local musicians entertaining in the local bars and restaurants.  We are a quiet place for a restful visit, but with many sites to explore (parks, trails, beaches, charming small towns), etc. 

    On South Whidbey, we pride ourselves on having no chain store businesses; everything is local.   All of this happens to describe a great tourist destination, as well as a wonderful place to live.


    1-23-14 More about our burglary: The interconnectedness of Whidbey

    In my Blog on 12-9-13, I wrote about the burglary that took place in our home while we were gone, and about some of the impressive responses from Whidbey Sheriff Evan Tingstad and from a stranger who found some of our belongings that had been tossed alongside the road.

    Two weeks later, Rich saw an item on Drewslist where a person mentioned finding a bead necklace on Andreason Road, and asked for an email from someone who might know about this.  Rich emailed, and quickly learned the bead necklace was one of the items stolen from my jewelry box.

    We drove over and met the person who had found the necklace, which also had a small plastic bag with extra beads.  She and her husband spent half an hour walking along Brooks Hill Road to see if we could find some more items.  We did find an empty drawer from the jewelry box…but nothing else.  We thanked the couple very much, and they told us they were really happy they could help us.

    A week later, we were chatting with Windwalker Taibi from Raven Rocks and showed him the necklace.  He confirmed he had made it.  He also said he’d be glad to add some of the extra beads to lengthen the necklace and make me some matching earrings with the remaining beads.

    I got the necklace and the earrings from Windwalker a few days later.  I made a trip to Langley that same day and stopped by to see Fred Lundahl at Music for the Eyes.  I showed him the necklace and told him the story.  He looked at me with a whimsical look on his face and said, “You know where those beads came from?  Music For the Eyes!    Windwalker gets most of his beads from us.”

    I love the interconnectedness of our island!


    1-16-14 Business owners want to hear from their customers when something isn’t right

    Have you ever had a friend tell you about poor service they experienced at a restaurant or a retail store and learned that they were telling you something they never said to the owner of the business?

    Mistakes occur in any business situation.  The challenge is to learn about these mistakes and then to do something to acknowledge the error to your customer and apologize.

    If you’re a customer and you’re not satisfied, ask to talk to an owner or manager and let that person know about the problem.  If it’s a business that really cares about customer service, your comments will be appreciated and responded to.

    If you’re the business owner and you hear of a problem, or you are aware that something has gone wrong (for example, if you have a restaurant and the service hasn’t been efficient), if possible, talk directly to the customer, acknowledge the problem, and offer something as an apology.  You can also make it clear to your employees how important it is for them to say something when there’s a problem and to give your employees the authority to do something to rectify the mistake.

    Good customer service means no one ever leaves your business dissatisfied.


    1-9-14 New owners for the Oystercatcher Restaurant in Coupeville, and another example of being passionate about what you do

    I continue to be impressed with how common it is to hear the word “passionate” when I talk with people who have a business on Whidbey (this may be true everywhere, but Whidbey businesses are what I know).

    I just interview the new owners of the Oystercatcher Restaurant in Coupeville for a story in Whidbey Local.  Sara and Tyler Hansen, who are 28 and 29, respectively, have purchased an iconic restaurant and are bravely moving ahead to continue the tradition of quality cuisine and excellent service that has defined this eating experience.  As I spoke with them, I was truly impressed with their passion for owning such a labor-intense, demanding business, and with their commitment to make their venture a great success.

    Having any kind of a store front business requires a level of passion and commitment that often boggles my mind.  As I’ve said before, if you love what you do, you can put in the time and energy to make your business a success.




    1-2-14 Starting the New Year with another late-in-life love story

    Those of you who have followed my blogs are used to seeing stories about how to best serve your customers, and I write many stories about businesses and entrepreneurs on Whidbey.  You may have noticed that I tend to talk more about the people than their products or services because it is the people stories that interest me most.

    I also have a writing project that has captured my on-going attention because it’s my own story, and it tells some wonderful love stories, rather than the business stories I love telling.

    So, I’m starting the New Year with a new entry in my Late-In-Life love stories, which you can read by going to the link at the top of this page.

    If you know of anyone who met and partnered or married in their 50’s, 60’s or older, please ask them to contact me and tell me their story.