Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

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January 17, 2013 at 4:58pm

Puyallup: The Spite Wall, firearms and the scary alley ghost

ACE PAWN AND LOAN: Home of friendly employees, jewelry and a ghost in the back alley. Photo credit: Mckenna Snyder

SOTA INTERN REPORT >>>

Downtown Puyallup is mostly known for its pretty parks and small town feel — and, of course, the Puyallup Fair. But, what is not known about Puyallup is some of its unique history, such as The Spite wall and the ghost that still haunts the area.

On a recent outing to Central Perk Espresso and Deli I dropped in on nearby Ace Pawn and Loan, which is owned by an acquaintance of mine, Eli Reed. Striking up a conversation with a customer at Ace Pawn — which the customer calls "The Pawn Stars of Puyallup — I inquired about the building's history. Apparently, the building was originally the site of "The Spite Wall." Ezra Meeker, a remarkable pioneer that is best known for his 25 year old struggle to interest Congress in marketing the Old Oregon Trail, built The Spite Wall to keep people away from his Meeker Mansion.

Today, the wall is the home to several businesses and office spaces, including The Pawn Stars of Puyallup. Ace Pawn is chock-full of electronics, tools, firearms, musical instruments, jewelry and ski gear.

My history lesson continued. ... I was told about the apparition people claimed to have seen on the stairs in the scary alley behind the building. People claim to have seen the figure of a person standing on the back staircase that would suddenly disappear. If that wasn't scary enough, the ghost can move things, such as shutting doors and windows, and in one case, actually poked someone.

The poking ghost hasn't hurt the businesses. People find the ghost more interesting than scary. 

Intrigued by the stories, I checked out the back alley. I didn't see any ghosts. Even if I did, I didn't have the proper ghost hunting equipment, such as a Ghostbuster trap.

I highly suggest you drop by Ace Pawn and Loan, and hear the stories first hand. Tell them "Mckenna sent me" and you could receive a Valentine's Day discount on their jewelry.

Happy pawning! 

ACE PAWN AND LOAN, 212 S. MERIDIAN, PUYALLUP, 253.848.4118

LINK: Hi, I'm Mckenna. I'm a student at the Tacoma School of the Arts. Thanks for following my Daily Trip

Filed under: Business, History, Puyallup,

January 17, 2013 at 10:26am

Q&A: Adam Hardaway discusses Rainy Day Record's 40 years

RAINY DAY RECORDS: So awesome. Photo courtesy of rainydayolympia.net

40 YEARS! FOR...TY YEARS! >>>

This Sunday, celebrate 40 years of records, skateboards, rock shirts and nag champa at Rainy Day Record's birthday celebration at The Brotherhood Lounge. We caught up with Rainy Day store manager Adam Hardaway to ask a few questions about working at Olympia's long-time record store.

WEEKLY VOLCANO: What's the best thing about turning 40?

ADAM HARDAWAY: To me, the best thing about turning 40 is that it gives everyone who has worked and shopped at Rainy Day and grown up with the store over all these years a good reason to reflect on what Rainy Day means to them, which is why we are having a party. It's for our extended family of longtime customers as much as it is for us. Rainy Day is an institution in our community that a lot of very different people love and go out of their way to support, which is why we have stayed in business for so long.

VOLCANO: What are some fond memories of time spent at Rainy Day?

HARDAWAY: My fondest Rainy Day memories are really all the times we've managed to pull off challenging customer requests, like when someone comes in and sings a tiny bit of a weird song that they heard somewhere a long time ago and they don't know any words, but we can still figure it out for them. Or when a loyal vinyl customer tells us they are looking for three specific records that we don't get in used very often and they all show up the very next week. I also really miss the old crew that worked at Rainy Day when I first started out in 2004. I still consider the people who worked at the store then to be major role models in how I approach my job to this day. I'm especially happy that Shannon and Chris are gonna be DJing at the Brotherhood party. Hopefully all the other folks from those days will be there too! 

VOLCANO: Why is Rainy Day such an institution in Olympia?

HARDAWAY: Rainy Day is important to Olympia for a lot of reasons. We keep cultural rituals like renting movies and listening to vinyl alive as a viable option for people who still love to do those things - even if those practices don't make us a lot of money. And I think that it is really grounding for people to have a constant like Rainy Day around to fall back on when times get tough or the winter days get boring. You always know that you can go to Rainy Day and find a new record to listen to or rent an amazing movie, and it's pretty cheap compared to other things you could be doing that probably aren't nearly as good for you.

VOLCANO: What's in the cards for Rainy Day?

HARDAWAY: A lot of what we do these days is helping diehard 20th century people - ourselves included - navigate the future that we all now live in. We are constantly finding ways to adapt and make subtle shifts in focus. We are doing everything we can to help folks who are interested in committing or recommitting to vinyl as a way of life, and we are also staying true to CDs, which are certain to be the hottest thing in five years. As long as Olympia and we stick together, Rainy Day is bound to make it to 50 and beyond.

THE BROTHERHOOD LOUNGE, SUNDAY, JAN 20, 9 P.M., $3, 119 CAPITOL WAY, OLYMPIA, 360.352.4153

Filed under: Music, Business, Olympia,

January 5, 2013 at 6:02pm

Distillery eyeing Tacoma with national distribution plans

THE BRIDGE TO BOOZE? >>>

Let's hope members of the state's Community Economic Revitalization Board enjoy booze. If the board approves a $300,000 aid package to improve the streets around East D Street adjacent to Tacoma's old waterfront fire station north of the Murray Morgan Bridge, then Riverhorse Inc. will erect its distillery in the spot and pump out brandy, vodka and gin for national distribution.

According to News Tribune Staff writer John Gillie, the start up company will tell Oregon, Kentucky and Virginia to take a flying leap and relocate to Tacoma - if the improvements are made. The new facility, called Copper & Kings Distillery, could bring 50 new jobs, and a future a bar with a large deck overlooking the Thea Foss Waterway and downtown Tacoma.

Tacoma's Community and Economic Development Department, which learned of Riverhorse's interest in the site in late November, has been working swiftly to prepare a presentation for the state board, said Elly Walkowiak, a city economic development official.

Riverhorse is considering both the availability of basic ingredients for spirits production nearby and the proximity to population centers in making its site decision, Gadel said.

"We're looking for somewhere with ready access to apples and grapes. Oregon and Washington win on that score," Gadel said.

Read the rest of Gillie's report here.

January 3, 2013 at 11:03am

Checking in on Tacoma Brewing Company's Kickstarter

CROWDFUNDING FOR BEER >>>

Kickstarter has helped many big thinkers get the funding necessary to make hopeful projects come to fruition. The crowdfunding model sprung up in part due to the squeeze of the financial collapse. Small business loans have become more difficult to get in the wake of the recession; even if a business does qualify, it can take a long time for it to see the money.

Morgan Alexander knows this. The burgeoning brewmaster operates his Tacoma Brewing Company out of his teensy-weensy coffee shop - the Amocat Café in Tacoma's Triangle District. His unique and experimental brews - such as Bloody Mary IPA and Bourbon Oaked Imperial Stout - are damn tasty. Problem is, his batches are small due to space confinement. Therefore, he has launched a Tacoma Brewing Company Kickstarter.

If he hits his Kickstarter goal, Alexander aims to upgrade his brewing equipment and secure a warehouse space. His goal is a measly and attainable $5,000. These funds will help Tacoma Brewing to brew more, maybe even making it accessible to local pubs tap list, which is a good thing.

Contributors will be handsomely rewarded with swag such as car decals, buttons and T-shirts. And for the high rollers awaits an invite to the exclusive VIP release party, and a chance to brew beside Alexander.

"The response has, overall, has been really incredible. It's great to see the community rally behind these really great projects like the South Sound Users Guide, Tacoma Makes Playing Cards and Libertine Salts. We want to be a part of that."

Tacoma Brewing Company has until Jan. 14 to fulfill its dream of large-space brewing. To donate visit the TBC Kickstarer.

Every Friday night Tacoma Brewing Company invites the public to whet its whistle and try new brew recipes at Amocat Cafe. Currently, Alexander is focusing on winter flavors such as a coffee stout and pomegranate porter, but there are light brews too.

Follow the Tacoma Brewing Company's Facebook for updates and event invites.

TACOMA BREWING COMPANY, 625 SAINT HELENS AVE., TACOMA, 253.242.3370

January 2, 2013 at 3:12pm

Olympia Coffee Roasting Company to open new cafe

OLYMPIA COFFEE ROASTING COMPANY: It's opening a new cafe in the South Capitol Neighborhood. Photo credit: Daniel Thompson of Button Down Photography

TODAY IN COFFEE NEWS >>>

Olympia Coffee Roasting Company - one of Olympia's favorite coffee roasters and winner of the 2013 Micro Roaster of the Year - will open a third location in the South Capitol Neighborhood in Olympia.

"I'm really excited to be in this neighborhood," says Sam Schroder, co-owner.

Nestled between Desserts By Tasha Nicole and Spud's Produce Market in the historic Wildwood building, Olympia Coffee Roasting Company will have roughly 1,000 sq. ft. of café workspace. Schroeder says he and co-owner Oliver Stormshak are using reclaimed lumber from Windfall Lumber to build a wrap around bar. The two owners envision customers sitting and engaging with the baristas - and, of course, drinking lots of coffee.

Schroder says the new cafe will seat approximately 22 coffee drinkers. He expects many of his future patrons to be students and parents from the neighborhood, which is highly walkable. The new Olympia Coffee Roasting Company spot also sits at a four-way intersection that should bring plenty of cars.

Schroeder expects a March 2013 opening. He hopes the café will "be a hubbub of activity for the South Capitol Neighborhood."

OLYMPIA COFFEE ROASTING COMPANY, 2824 CAPITOL BLVD., OLYMPIA

January 2, 2013 at 9:28am

Spotlight on Gray Lumber Company

GRAY LUMBER COMPANY: It's where Tacoma Food Co-op would buy its wood. Photo courtesy of graylumber.com

LIKING LOCAL >>>

Tacoma Food Co-op is a nifty member-owned food destination - a haven for those seeking all things local, organic, allergen-free, non-GMO and beyond.

On Fridays, this community-centric shop shines its Local Friday Business Spotlight onto other local companies, hoping to give them a boost and to raise consumer awareness of the businesses in our area. Businesses that the Co-op especially likes are featured in their newsletter, but they also enjoy mentioning other local businesses on its Facebook page.

"It is great if the business is doing something forward thinking, whether it be environmentally or otherwise," says Luke Byram, outreach member of the Co-op.

Friday, Jan. 4, Tacoma Food Co-op will feature Gray Lumber Company - a Tacoma-based lumber and building products company founded in 1903. Gray Lumber Company receives the spotlight because it participates in the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, which signals that the company buys its wood products from a certified source, backed by a rigorous, third-party certification audit, according to Gray Lumber's website.

Beyond this, Gray Lumber is a big proponent of buying local to strengthen local economies and community development. Forward-thinking for the win!

The Tacoma Food Co-op welcomes business suggestions. For especially forward-thinking businesses, email the newsletter editor at newsletter@tacomafoodcoop.com. For the Facebook feature, email Byram at media.tacomafoodcoop@yahoo.com.

December 26, 2012 at 8:09am

Wake up with Bar Francis in Olympia

BAR FRANCIS: Michael Elvin has a cup for downtown Olympia.

GOOD MORNING >>>

Just when you thought the coffee scene couldn't get any better in Olympia, in steps Bar Francis, a quaint little shop inside Northern, the all-ages venue and art gallery in downtown Oly.

Next to the Fish Tale Brew Pub, the 3-week-old Bar Francis sits inside a garage - the door open wide for walk up service. Behind the sweet bamboo counter sits owner Michael Elvin, all smiles and good conversation, with state-of-the-art espresso equipment ready to help you wake up.

Not only that scene in the foreground, but also good music from Elvin's iPod greets me too.

As I sip coffee and can see music equipment from last night's show, and local artwork decorating the walls.

While the vibe is very Oly, the coffee - in a sense - isn't.

Elvin, who is a self-proclaimed coffee nerd - and rightfully so, he's been in the beverage industry for over roughly two decades - tells me the hardest part of opening Bar Francis was selecting the espresso. He knew he wanted to bring diversity to Olympia's coffee scene. While he's for sourcing locally, "coffee by nature is not local to this area," he says. Elvin wanted to serve coffee "balanced and sweet that brings out the dynamics." After much consideration, he chose San Francisco's Four Barrel Coffee.

"They are awesome people doing good things," Elvin says of the coffee company.

After experiencing Bar Francis, enjoying an excellent cappuccino, and hearing the story of a man making his dream a reality, it's fair to say that Elvin is also one of those "awesome people doing good things."

Keep an eye on Bar Francis, not only for delicious coffee, but Elvin hints at providing a variety of different handcrafted and unique beverages down the road.

BAR FRANCIS, 7 A.M. TO NOON MONDAY-THURSDAY, 7 A.M. TO 2 P.M. FRIDAY, 8 A.M. TO 2 P.M. SATURDAY-SUNDAY, 414 1/2 LEGION, OLYMPIA

Filed under: Food & Drink, Olympia, Business,

December 13, 2012 at 9:46am

Tasting the goods at the new Port Steilacoom Distillery

PORT STEILACOOM DISTILLERY: Kevin and Jennifer Laughlin Stewart sell liquor in the town of Steilacoom. Photo credit: Jackie Fender

I LOVE THIS JOB >>>

In case you haven't notice I have bourbon fever. I've applauded local distillery endeavors and reported on bourbon dinners. Because the Weekly Volcano is an equal opportunity rag, I turn my attention to the translucent liquids.

No, no, not H2O silly. I'm talking to you vodka and gin.

As mentioned in my local distillery piece, there is a new distillery in Pierce County - Port Steilacoom Distillery. Kevin and Jennifer Laughlin Stewart opened the distillery Friday. Situated in the idyllic community of Steilacoom the Laughlin Stewarts are now concocting Chambers Bay vodka and gin from their charming distillery space.

PSD's vodka and gin have unique flavor profiles. Due to federal restrictions, craft distilleries are required to use 51 percent Washington-grown product. For most distillers, the products are grains. At PSD, Chambers Bay vodka and gin are distilled with blackberry honey and dark cane sugar. As a result, the vodka and gin are gluten free. You gluten-free kids on the crazy train can indulge with no negative consequence, ignoring bad dancing and wicked little hangovers from overindulgence. The honey and sugar combination also distinctly different flavors from many similar products. In other words, I think PSD's vodka and gin are tasty.

Chambers Bay Vodka carries a nice sweetness with a smooth clean finish. The honey and sugar lend this sweetness that is pleasant and light with just a hint of honey. The products are not syrupy, such as flavored vodka. It's mixer friendly, too.

Chambers Bay Gin also has this playful sweetness with a finish teasing with the herbal finish that lends itself to a nice aroma. I myself am not a fan of gin. Thankfully, Chambers Bay Gin lacks that uber-juniper berry flavor that can overwhelm some drinkers. Port Steilacoom Distillery uses a traditional London dry technique with its gin.

In six weeks, or so, PSD will add a rum type liquor to its product line. Though technically not rum since it's not produced from cane sugar Wicked Wind Spiced Rum will be made with Laughlin Stewarts' special recipe of spices and buckwheat honey, which consistency much like molasses.

PSD's tasting room is open Wednesday-Sunday, offering free two-ounce samples, by law, and a limit of two bottles per day.

When you visit the distillery be sure to keep a lookout for its mascot. "There's a tabby cat that is always nearby and on occasion will come in and take a seat. One day while I was labeling he jumped right up, I decided to read his little tag on his collar and get his name ... Martini," Jennifer Laughlin Stewart says with a laugh.

If that isn't a good omen, I don't know what is.

PORT STEILACOOM DISTILLERY, 3:30-6:30 P.M. WEDNESDAY-SUNDAY, 1601 LAFAYETTE ST., STEILACOOM, 253.212.0090

LINK: The scoop on local distilleries Heritage and Parliament

Filed under: Business, Food & Drink, Steilacoom,

December 13, 2012 at 8:46am

IN THEIR WORDS: T.C. Broadnax's nine priorities for a better Tacoma

A REPORT FILED TODAY IN THE DAILY JOURNAL OF COMMERCE >>>

Tacoma City Manager T.C. Broadnax explains his vision and strategies for boosting Tacoma's growth in the Daily Journal of Commerce. Broadnax lists nine key priorities his Community and Economic Development team will concentrate on over the new five years, including downtown development and revitalization, light rail expansion and attracting foreign investment.

Broadnax tells the DJC he wants to create a positive environment for start-ups and small business to flourish.

While the city values all business, it embraces a proud heritage of promoting entrepreneurship. Working in partnership with local technical colleges, Tacoma offers an array of services to start-up and existing small businesses, such as business planning, marketing, site selection and other key elements to help grow and sustain our small business community.

According to his last statement in the DJC piece, Broadnax is confident Tacoma will become a city of opportunities.

Read his full report here.

December 11, 2012 at 8:19am

What's shakin' Shake Shake Shake?

SAKE SHAKE SHAKE: Can't wait until it opens, opens, opens.

ASKING QUESTIONS >>>

There are many unanswered questions in this world. For example, why don't heavier things fall faster? How did Dale Washam stay in office so long? How do I stop the kid from reaching puberty? Why have they not given the guy (duh, you know it was a guy) who invented HDTV the Nobel Prize? Why isn't TMZ called TBZ (The Bikini Zone)? Why was I searching TMZ (to find something clever for this paragraph - BTW no Xmas rap album from DMX this year)? And finally, when will the Shake Shake Shake burger joint finally open in Tacoma's Stadium District?

For the last five months brothers Steve and Gordon Naccarato (Pacific Grill) and partner Robert Stocker have been shake shake shaking a hammer remodeling the space that will host their retro-style burger joint Shake Shake Shake. We grabbed a look of its aqua blue set against electric orange interior during the Stadium Art & Wine Walk. We grabbed another look at its oversized sign that reads "Eat" during last weekend's Dickens Festival. And yet, the '40s vintage diner remains quiet at 124 N. Tacoma Ave.

When can we chow down on hamburgers, fries and shakes on a regular basis?

"We will open after the first of the year," says Stocker.

I guess the only thing we'll be shake shake shaking before Christmas will be gifts.

About this blog

News and entertainment from Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s most awesome weekly newspapers - The Ranger, Northwest Airlifter and Weekly Volcano.

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