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February 5, 2013 at 10:03am

Harmon brews Eleventh Street IPA, Tacoma bars to stock it

HARMON BREWERY: It makes beer in celebration of old things in Tacoma.


Back in December I had a sit down with Harmon Brewery co-owner Pat Nagle to discuss local brews and his desire to collaborate with local businesses. Harmon has united with Dry Fly distillery, 21 Cellars and the Grocery Outlet. In celebration of the reopening of the 11th Street Bridge - renamed the Murray Morgan Bridge - Nagle continued his collaboration efforts, brewing an Eleventh Street IPA - with the blessing of the city of Tacoma and JayRay Advertising - and offering the brew to numerous downtown hot spots such as The Swiss, Office Bar and Grill, TwoKoi, The Mix, Puget Sound Pizza, Meconi's Pub, The Social Bar and Grill and Rock the Dock Pub, just to name a few.

Nagle took the bridge celebration a bit farther with his new beer, incorporating 11 different hops and bumping it to 100 IBUs (bitterness measurement) to represent the 100th year anniversary of the bridge. IPAs tend to be very high in IBUs, which is desirable by hopheads who enjoy that fuzzy tongue feeling.

"The City of Tacoma, along with JayRay Advertising and the Pierce Co. Chamber of Commerce, are putting together a christening of the bridge on Valentine's Day, Thursday February 14th," Nagle states in a release. "The goal is to have as many downtown retailers as possible participate by putting together an 'offer' for Valentine's Day that will tie into the 11th St. Bridge celebration."

The offers poured in. As part of Murray Morgan Bridge Week Feb. 11-16, downtown Tacoma businesses will offer discounts, as well as carry the Harmon Eleventh Street IPA as I previously mentioned. The list of participating businesses can be found at tacomachamber.org.

The official rededication ceremony begins with the Light the Bridge fun run/walk at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 14. Light the Bridge organizers ask all participants to wear headlamps and/or carry flashlights or glow sticks. Advance registration is required.

A dedication ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. Feb. 15. The event will take place near the bridge at the intersection of 11th and A streets.

February 4, 2013 at 1:07pm

Bonjour Cupcakes opens in Lacey



"My soul has had enough chicken soup, now it wants cupcakes." - Princess Cupcake, administer of cupcake-forum.com.

Princess Cupcake, we agree.

That is why we're happy to announce the city of Lacey has just climbed a few notches on the coolness ladder, bringing in downtown Olympia's cupcake queen, Cecilia Mikler and her successful business, Bonjour Cupcakes. The shop celebrated a soft opening Wednesday, Jan 30.

"We wanted to bring our goodies to a new market," says Mikler. "There's nothing like this in Lacey."

Bonjour specializes in gourmet and exotic cupcake blends; producing from-scratch cupcakes that make the sweet tooth swoon. Gluten-free options are available too.

Last week I sampled a divine chocolate chipotle mini cupcake. The first bite bursts with chocolate, followed by a slow creep of earthy spiciness of chipotle, making the cocoa of the next bite savorier. I also tried a blueberry lime mini. I have to say; the frosting is my favorite part - light as air and not overly sweet. 

The Lacey location is just as cute as downtown, with a shabby-chic feel, nice music, kids' tea play set and eating area and family board games.

They also have a bigger and more private space for larger parties. Wise since baby showers, cake-decorating parties and birthdays are popular at the cupcake shop.

Speaking of parties, Bonjour will have a grand-opening celebration at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb 9. The Oly Rollers derby girls will be in the cupcake house helping with giveaways such as Bonjour cupcakes, T-shirts and derby bout tickets. The Thurston County Chamber will also perform an official ribbon-cutting ceremony. 

Sounds fancy - just like anything pertaining to cupcakes should. 


January 31, 2013 at 7:52am

Be Washington state's chief weed advisor


Area woman Aunt Mary marked a new level of commitment to her marijuana habit by grabbing her bong, "Ol' Frederick Greenmeister," and filling out the paperwork to be Washington state's pot consultant. Yesterday, during her break at the licensing department, Aunt Mary joined the sea of ponytails and flannel at a briefing in Tacoma hosted by the Liquor Control Board. The agency is looking for an advisor who knows weed, inside and out, and could assist in developing regulations.

The 37-year-old feels her nightly ritual of smoking several ounces of marijuana and then microwaving a turkey pot pie gives her cred for the new position.

"Sure, I might not have the five years of regulatory experience, or the preferred law degree, but ask Ol' Frederick Greenmeister, I certainly have the extensive knowledge of all things marijuana," said Aunt Mary.

After passing a law legalizing the recreations use of marijuana this fall, Washington state must set up a system of state-licensed growers, processors, retail stores and such where adults can score an ounce of heavily taxed cannabis.

"I'm not saying Mr. Greenmeister has a soul or anything like that," Aunt Mary said with a cackle. "But I mean, how cool would it be if I was allowed to bring my bong to my new office at the Liquor Control Board."

Aunt Mary then affectionately chucked the bong where its chin might be.

Filed under: Drugs, Business,

January 30, 2013 at 7:25pm

Reality is Me-Ality

ME-ALITY: The virtual fitting room changes the clothes shopping experience. Photo credit: Mckenna Snyder


Today I was invited to try out Me-Ality, a machine that scans your body frame then suggests your perfect fit of clothes! The first and only one in Washington arrived last March at the South Hill Mall near Target. It's a free service and only takes 20 seconds to get scanned.

Like most scanners you can't wear metal. Me-Ality has a bucket to put your stuff in. I still suggest you don't wear too much metal jewelry or accessories as it's a pain to take off.  After you are scanned, the Me-Ality staff sends you an email with a link to its website housing a detailed list of clothes that would fit you best. They have a long list of brands such as Guess, Buckle, Abercrombie & Fitch, Hollister and Levi's. Since Me-Ality is located at a mall it is only natural it will show you the clothes that would fit you there! So you can get scanned and go right to shopping.

Thanks to Me-Ality I have a nice long list of jeans that would look good on me. Jeans are not the only items they know will look good on you. They also have lists of tops, skirts, dresses, pants, intimates and sweaters - for both men and woman.

Thousands of Americans are logged into Me-Ality's shopping guides. If you have trouble finding things that fit you or are just curious about what they think you should try, Me-Ality is your stop.



Filed under: Fashion, Puyallup, Business,

January 29, 2013 at 1:48pm

Tacoma: "State of the City" address 2013

SHIFT HAPPENS 2013: Go Local Tacoma board members Derrick Rhayn and Patricia Lecy-Davis strive to bring the community together.


The words I feel best describe last night's Go Local Tacoma Shift Happens 2013 event can best be summed up by Charles Dickens from his book A Tale of Two Cities: "It was the best of times; it was the worst of times." This is especially true as the city of Tacoma continues to grapple with the reality of a decimated budget, and business owners guard their marketing dollars as if it was Bimbo's Italian Restaurant pasta sauce recipe. Regardless of how much money we earn, our education, faith, ethnicity, neighborhood we live in, or types of jobs we have, nearly all Tacoma and Pierce County residents have been impacted directly or indirectly by the downturn our economy has gone through over the past four years. People are exhausted. Business owners are logging in more hours due to staff reductions. City leaders have gone through a string of stressful budget sessions. Marketing managers wrestle with social media. Consumers are trying eek out a life with less money and longer work hours.

The mood at last night's Shift Happens event was more somber than the past two years. Handshakes were short. A few booths weren't manned. Attendance seemed down, but it was difficult to judge with the change of environment from a warm room to a gray, cavernous hall.

That said, Shift Happens is exactly what this city needs. It's an opportunity for Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland to light a fire under our asses, to push the fact more than a 1,000 new businesses opened in Tacoma last year, to brag what our students have accomplished, to boast the city's forward-thinking and global goals, and to relay Tacoma success stories. Go Local Tacoma, the organization behind Shift Happens, knows people need to be seen and heard, respected and cared for by one another. Rebuilding community at the local level can dramatically restore human well being. That, to me, is what Shift Happens tries to accomplish. It's what is needed. I get the "shift $20 to a local business a month and it will result in millions to the local economy and more jobs." And I applaud Go Local's soon-to-be released Localist savings card. But, having everyone in one room - as large as is was - rallying around the go local concept, nibbling on each others successes brings the community together, one hug at a time, and encourages local spending. That's cool.

Congratulations to this year's Shift Happens Indie Award winners: Advocacy Champion Angela Jossy, Community Steward Justin Mayfield, and Entrepreneurial Empowerment winners Robert Bunge and Teresa Springer-Grounds.

Below is Mayor Strickland's "State of the City" address from last night's Shift Happenes event, shot from my shaky hands. "Tonight I ask you, what will be your civic contribution in 2013? Will you sit on the sidelines or will you get involved? What will be your role in making Tacoma a better city?" asks Mayor Strickland at the end of her address.

What are you going to do?

Filed under: Business, Community, Tacoma,

January 28, 2013 at 9:30am

Learn about the Pacific Avenue Streetscape Project over drinks

GREEN DRINKS TACOMA: Discover the Pacific Avenue Streetscape Project plans over beers.


Why drink alone when you can get your drink on with cool cats who care about environmental issues? On the first Thursday of each month, Green Drinks invites Tacoma and Pierce County residents to do just that - hang out and chat with other green-minded individuals over drinks and snacks. The next session of Green Drinks - which will be held Thursday, Feb. 7 at The Office Bar and Grill - will focus on downtown Tacoma's Pacific Avenue Streetscape Project ... and drinks, of course.

Doreen Gavin, project manager for AHBL - the consulting firm hired by the city of Tacoma in 2011 to design the Pacific Avenue Streetscape Project - will be main entertainment at the Feb. 7 Green Drinks session. And by entertainment I mean giving an overview of Pacific Avenue's makeover and answering questions. 

In a nutshell, the Pacific Avenue Streetscape Project will deck out downtown's main drag with new sidewalks, lighting and bike lanes, as well as innovative green touches from stormwater infrastructure and rain gardens to more than 3,000 new plants. When all is said and done, downtown Tacoma intends to be a leader in urban greenness - as well as a lot prettier.

I tossed a few questions at Gavin before she got her Green Drinks on at The Office.

WEEKLY VOLCANO: Why is the Pacific Avenue Streetscape Project important to Tacoma?

DOREEN GAVIN: The Pacific Avenue Streetscape project has three main goals. First, economics. The project is designed to create an active, attractive and economically viable "main street" that encourages people and businesses to be downtown. Second, multimodal accessibility. The new sidewalks, intersection bulb-outs, crosswalks, bike sharrows, landscaping, street furnishings, artwork, catenary lighting and transit stops will improve walkability, accessibility, bicyclist and pedestrian safety. And third, but not least, stormwater improvements. The project incorporates stormwater treatment for this busy downtown corridor, which drains into the Thea Foss waterway. The waterway was designated a superfund site in 1983 and the cleanup was completed in 2006 at a cost of over $100 million to the city and its partners. The stormwater treatment facilities to be constructed as part of this project will improve the quality of stormwater generated within this corridor before it's discharged to the Thea Foss Waterway. This work adds to our efforts to protect the newly remediated waterway through source control, sweeping, maintenance and treatment projects. In addition, the Pac Ave corridor is a wonderful opportunity to showcase this treatment to the public in an innovative and interesting way. The goal is that these stormwater improvements will not only be functional but beautiful as well.

VOLCANO: It's a huge project. How are you going to structure your talk at Green Drinks?

GAVIN: My talk will focus primarily on green stormwater infrastructure and how the Pacific Avenue Streetscape Project incorporates the goals of stormwater quality treatment in Tacoma's "Main Street" through the use of rain gardens and silva cells. I will show some sketches and images illustrating what the proposed project will look like when completed. I will also talk about the goals of the project and the construction schedule.

VOLCANO: What pairs with a Pacific Avenue Streetscape Projects lecture?

GAVIN: Green beer, if available.


January 25, 2013 at 8:06am

Pacific Grill could help you get a promotion at work

PACIFIC GRILL: It delivers breakfast.


Remember last week when you were busted for adding that hand-painted platter from West Elm to your Pinterest board during the morning office meeting?

That was embarrassing.

You best go big at the next morning meeting. You better order breakfast for the group. You better order a delicious one, too.

Here's the deal. If you're looking to wow the office or just plain tired of the same old crap, be the breakfast hero and order delivery from Pacific Grill.

Yes, you heard me right. Pacific Grill, the fine dining establishment on Pacific Avenue delivers breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. - and available for pick up until 6 p.m. Orders must be placed a day in advance but include awesome breakfast staples such as a continental breakfast ($14.95) that serves six and a variety of breakfast sandwiches ($4.75) and burritos ($5.95). And Pacific Grill even delivers must have breakfast sides such as Tabasco and avocado. Check out it's new delivery menu here.

If you are crunching numbers in Tacoma or most of Fife, then delivery costs NOTHING. If you live outside of its delivery zones the fee is a mere $10.

Now go and be the office champion. Breakfast is after all the most important meal of the day. And you could post a photo of the breakfast sandwich to your Pintrest board.


Filed under: Food & Drink, Business, Tacoma,

January 23, 2013 at 11:07am

Join Murray Morgan Bridge Week in Tacoma

YAY! >>>

Murray Morgan Bridge is the proper name of what some people call the 11th Street Bridge or City Waterway Bridge. It's that old steel bridge over the Thea Foss Waterway. Yeah, the one that has been shut down since 2007. The one that has spent the better part of 2012 under a big white tarp. The one that got tens of thousands of wire stolen from it in 2009.

And it's going to reopen next month. With a new pedestrian path. And a bike path. And an elevator connecting it to Dock Street.

Who was Murray Morgan? He was a Tacoma historian, author and columnist. He passed away in 2000.

The city of Tacoma and Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce will celebrate the bridge's opening with what they call Murray Morgan Bridge Week, which include a fun run across the bridge Feb. 14 and an officially opening ceremony Feb. 15. The city and chamber sent out a letter yesterday to Tacoma business asking them to join the fun. Part of the letter is attached below.

One of the businesses joining the celebration will be the Harmon Brewing Co. "We're brewing a special beer with 11 different hops and 100 IBUs in celebration of the bridge's 100 year anniversary," says Harmon co-owner Pat Nagle.

A list of businesses participating in Murray Morgan Bridge Week can be found here.

What will you do?

January 23, 2013 at 9:00am

Tacoma's GIVINGtrax helps businesses manage donations

GIVINGTRAX TEAM: Lance Hungerford, Karrie Hungerford, Courtney Titus and director of development Kai Sounthala. Courtesy photo


Tacoma has brought many wonderful products, resources and people into this world: Almond Roca, Dale Chihuly and the 253 Heart. Now, there is one more side of awesome to serve up - GIVINGtrax. Never before has giving or receiving donations been so nifty.

Originally founded in 2010, but officially launched at Consumer Electronics Show 2013 in Las Vegas, GIVINGtrax was co-founded by Tacoma businesspeople Karrie and Lance Hungerford, and Internet marketer Courtney Titus of the Bruce Titus Automotive family.

"GIVINGtrax provides web-based and mobile-based tools for managing donations, corporate giving, cause marketing, volunteerism, and fundraising," says Titus. "In a way, GIVINGtrax.com plays matchmaker to local businesses, nonprofits, and individuals who otherwise may have never met."

Along with managing your own giving, the service is all about connection and awareness - simplifying and consolidating the donation receiving and giving processes. Among the system's many capabilities, it allows nonprofits to thank their donors or business partners, ask for donations, or submit donation requests to a cloud and find others who are likely to give to their cause. Individuals can join and affiliate themselves with their employers, and both keep track of their donations as well as get notifications about employee-matching programs.

"We have launched our GIVINGtrax BETA here locally in the Puget Sound and will be rolling out the product Nationwide and hopefully globally," says Titus. "As we expand we will continue to keep the local aspect of GIVINGtrax - giving the businesses, nonprofits, and individuals that use GIVINGtrax the ability to see their social impact in their community."

Already, several Tacoma businesses and nonprofits are on board, from the Harmon Brewery to Round Table Pizza to the Tacoma Art Museum.

Filed under: Business, Web/Tech, Tacoma,

January 21, 2013 at 8:07am

Welcome to Tacoma, where Shift Happens

TACOMA MAYOR MARILYN STRICKLAND: She delivered her 2012 State of the City Address at last year's Go Local Shift Happens event.


Monday, Jan. 28, Go Local's annual event Shift Happens 2013 will fill the Greater Tacoma Convention Center with local businesses, celebrating and reveling in the fact that Tacoma loves all things local.

And what's not to love? Tacoma's local business scene is rad.

Shift Happens is designed to give said local businesses a place to network, connect and grow, but also to get you - yes, you, every day citizens! - out to eat and drink local products, as well as tour booths representing local businesses. More than 100 local businesses of all stripes will be out in force. By day, the event includes the vendors-only Business to Business session, as well as Smart Lab that's free for vendors and $10 for the public.

After 4 p.m., the vendor showcase welcomes in everyone to experience the awesomeness that is the local business scene. At 6:15 p.m., the main event takes to the stage, including Go Local handing out their three annual Indie Awards for this year's Advocacy Champion, Community Steward, and Entrepreneurial Empowerment. Mayor Marilyn Strickland will also round up the night with her State of the City address.

This year, attendees also have a special announcement to look forward to - the date for when the new Loyalty Rewards program will launch. This program will allow customers to get rewards points at participating local businesses.

"We're drawing attention from regional chambers of commerce," says Go Local coordinator Patricia Lecy-Davis. "The mayor of Sammamish will be there. They're pretty excited about what we've done with Go Local and they see us as the leaders in the Northwest area of Go Local programs. They're looking to start one and implement rewards, so they're coming to see what we're doing at Shift Happens."

Shift Happens 2013 is free and open to the public, but organizers request an RSVP.

Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center, Monday, Jan. 28, 1:30-2:30 p.m. Business to Business, 2:30-4 p.m. Business Smart Lab, 4-6:15 p.m. local vendor showcase, 6:15 p.m. Shift Happens program, 7-8 p.m. prize giveaways, free admission, $10 for Business Smart Labs, 1500 Broadway, Tacoma, tacomashifthappens.com

LINK: Shift Happens 2013 schedule of events

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