Best of 2019

Join the party as ShowCase Magazine celebrates the BEST that Puget Sound has to offer at the 2019 Best of ShowCase Magazine Party, August 16th, 6pm-8:30pm at the Museum of Glass. We congratulate organization’s in categories from services, cuisine, health, shopping to destinations and more.

The excitement began in March of 2019 when readers submit online votes for their favorite organizations.. The votes were tabulated and top nominees are featured in the year’s most highly read issue -August’s Best of ShowCase Magazine – where we announce the 2019 nominees.

Purchase tickets to the celebration at: ShowCase Magazine’s Best of Awards Party

Proudly sponsored by:

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Hardcastle AV

Asian Influence

Indochine (Click for story)
1924 Pacific Ave, Tacoma
253.272.8200 [Read more…]

Asian-Inspired Food, Beautiful Ambiance

From the moment you enter Indochine, you feel as though you have been transported to an exotic locale. The indoor water feature fills an unassuming fish pond surrounded by rich wooden tables and benches. Warm lighting and Asian-inspired décor help set the mood. And an open floor plan invites guests to interact with one another.

While the ambiance is certainly a draw, it is the food that keeps guests returning time and time again. Known for its fusion of all Asian cuisines, Indochine creates dishes that are inspired by Thai, Chinese and even Northwest cultures. Toasted seasame wraps, a mouth-watering Indochine favorite, features chicken caramelized with roasted cashews, peanuts, sweet mango and aromatic basil served with flaky flatbread. This interpretation is requested by guests over and over. Each menu item is carefully constructed by the chefs to be not only delicious but visually stunning, says Becca Bergstrom, assistant manager. “There is a lot of heart and soul on these plates,” she says. Gluten-free options are available too.

An attentive and knowledgeable staff greets you at the door and answers questions about the current menu, potential wine pairings and popular cocktails. The environment seen in the front of the house is echoed in the kitchen, where staff members are always experimenting with new ideas. “We have quite a few ethnic backgrounds in our kitchen and it really shows in the amazing food we put out every day,” says Bergstrom. She notes that all of the desserts are handmade each day, ensuring a fresh ending to each incredible meal.

Perfect for banquet parties, date night or a late lunch, Indochine offers beautiful dishes that will please palates of all preferences.


1924 Pacific Ave, Tacoma

Homeless Backpacks

How often do you consider whether the homeless person sleeping in an exposed area is an adolescent? Or that it may have been awhile since that homeless adolescent had a decent meal?

That’s where Homeless Backpacks comes in. The nonprofit organization provides weekend food to homeless students. According to Kelly Wilson, Homeless Backpacks chair and founding board member, the program serves more than half a dozen school districts in Washington.

The organization began with a group of women getting together in the early 2000s to discuss what they could do for the homeless. The discussion led to the plan for each person to bring a “survival” item to the next meeting to fill 20 backpacks. The program’s focus evolved to provide food on the weekend for homeless middle school and high school teens.

“Back in 2006 when we started the meal program, the food was put into plastic grocery bags,” recalls Wilson.“It was obvious that there was food in the bags, so we provided each student being served a backpack to put the weekend food bag into. The student would walk into the counselor’s office with an empty backpack and walk out with a bag of food inside.”

When plastic bags were banned in Thurston County, Wilson and her team invested in an alternative bag that is thicker and heavier. “The cost of that bag is covered by bag sponsors who pay to put their logo on the bags,” Wilson explains. “These bags are much thicker, so it is not obvious that it is a bag of food.”

Homeless Backpacks serves 573 students per week at $8 a bag. The organization doesn’t receive government or grant funding. Instead, it relies on schools, churches and businesses. It also hosts two fundraisers each year to raise money and awareness.

“Our goal for Homeless Backpacks has always been to inspire and mentor other communities to produce a similar program,” says Wilson. “We are proud to say that through our mentorship and support, there are now similar programs in Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason and Pierce counties. We hope to reach more communities in the coming years.”

Homeless Backpacks

Mud Bay Pet Stores

Pet lovers across Pierce and Thurston counties are familiar with the locally owned Mud Bay Pet Stores for their all-natural food, toys, and health products for our furry friends. But are you familiar with how it all got started?

Back in 1988, Elsa Wulff bought a tiny, struggling farm store known as Kellerman’s Corner in west Olympia on Mud Bay Road on the southern end of the Salish Sea. Wulff was determined to make the little shop thrive with her indomitable spirit and years of practical knowledge from caring for goats, geese, dogs and donkeys. Joined by her son Lars and daughter Marisa, Wulff rolled up her sleeves and started transforming the tiny store into her dream, a shop focusing on healthy and natural foods for dogs, cats and other animals.

With limited access to the high-quality products that they wanted to sell, the Wulffs got creative. When the organic chicken feed couldn’t be found locally, they worked with a local farmer to produce their own. A local bagel bakery was rented on Friday nights to make organic dog cookies. By making new connections in the community to develop new products, Mud Bay began establishing itself as a company that took its products and customers seriously. This expanded into providing customer education about the wide variety of ingredients and types of foods available for pets. Mud Bay developed a series of booklets to help pet owners make informed decisions about what to feed their dogs and cats.

In the summer of 2000, Wulff and family found out that Seattle’s largest chain of small-format pet stores was going out of business. The Wulffs knew that people were going to lose their jobs and that the eight neighborhood stores wouldn’t be easily replaced by big-box pet stores. They decided to take their approach to healthy nutrition for dogs and cats to metro Seattle. The leap paid off. Now their selection of wholesome dog and cat foods has grown to more than 450 unique formulas. It continues to grow every year with many new products from Pacific Northwest vendors.

Mud Bay has been an active supporter of Puget Sound animal shelters by providing free food to thousands of adopted cats and dogs as well as donating significantly to organizations that contribute to the welfare of animals.

A lot has changed since the first shop opened 30 years ago, but Mud Bay continues to be dedicated to helping customers find the best natural foods for their dogs and cats. They know that a happy pet means a happy person, and that helps make the world a better place for everyone.

Mud Bay Pet Stores

Heidi Duncan of Duncan Insurance, Olympia

It could be that some superheroes come into being from a toxic spider bite, but other superheroes are just born into their roles as descendants of “do-gooders” before them. That’s the case with Heidi Duncan of Duncan and Associates Insurance Brokers, based
in Olympia.

From the time she was young, little Heidi dreamed of following in her father’s footsteps and becoming an insurance agent. When other kids set their sights on becoming a doctor, professional ice skater or architect, Heidi was interested only in insurance.

Her father, Russ Duncan, founded Duncan Insurance 50 years ago. When Heidi was 3 1/2 years old, she started going to work with her dad to give her mom a break with her newborn brother. Her first job was to pick staples out of the carpet, but that soon progressed to more complex tasks. By kindergarten she was using the office typewriter like a pro.

Heidi knows exactly when she knew that she wanted to be an insurance agent. When she was 4 or 5, the phone rang at home in the middle of the night, awakening everyone in the Duncan household. It was a client. His house had just burned down and he was calling his insurance agent for help. Heidi’s father leapt to action. He let his client know that he was completely taken care of and that he would be there for him every step of the way.

The superhero was revealed. Russ Duncan demonstrated to his daughter how important it is to take care of people in stressful times. It should be no surprise that when Heidi turned 18, she was one of the youngest people in Washington state ever to take and pass the insurance agent licensing exam.

Since then, she has been working diligently to help her clients. “Listening to the needs of my clients and helping them understand all the options available to them is the center of all our work,” notes Heidi. “Our agency may be small, but we have a huge range of expertise and since we operate like a family, we work to provide seamless wraparound insurance coverage.”

Being available to clients for emergencies continues to be a cornerstone of Duncan and Associates Insurance Brokers. “We are like financial first responders,” says Heidi Duncan. “We provide calm and comforting expertise for people who are dealing with major issues. We want to be superheroes.”


Duncan and Associates Insurance

New Owner of Olympic Landscape

Olympic Landscape has been designing, building and servicing outdoor residential and commercial spaces in the South Sound for more than 40 years. As an expert landscape contractor, the company creates beautiful outdoor living spaces, unique gathering spaces and specially-themed gardens for homes and businesses. Now the new owner and CEO, Joe Areyano, plans to continue that legacy. He is also adding new services and products that will carry Olympic forward for at least another 40 years.

“My family started a landscape company in 1980, so I’ve been around the industry for the majority of my life,” says Areyano. “At age 16, I started learning every division of the company, from landscape retaining walls to irrigation.” After about five years, he was promoted to field manager and continued to work his way into greater responsibilities. He’s now a certified landscape professional. This hands-on experience, he says, helps him ensure that customers receive the highest-quality service.

Areyano purchased Olympic Landscape from founder Neil Hedman last fall and has already started expanding. The new owner intends to grow the company into a regional leader expanding service area and the services and products offered. Olympic has added divisions
for synthetic turf, landscape maintenance, snow and ice removal, and small works. It is also planning to take on more projects throughout Western Washington.

The growth of Olympic Landscape is good news for the community as well. The company is on target to increase the number of employees to about 50 by the end of June. Additionally, Olympic donates 10 percent of net profits to local charities and events. St. Francis House, which eases the hardships of those in need in east Pierce County, and Homeless Backpacks, which provides food to children in need for weekends and school breaks, are two that Areyano says the company is particularly proud to support.


Olympic Landscape
5620 112thSt E, Puyallup

Throwing Mud Gallery – A Place to Create, Learn and Connect

In January 2011, Mark and Eileen Hudak opened Throwing Mud Gallery in Tacoma’s historic Old Town neighborhood with the hopes of sharing their passion for pottery with the community. Over seven years later, they have a thriving business built on helping people create art and connect with one another.

Mark found his passion for pottery in college. In 1977 he moved to Tacoma and began teaching before he began making and selling his pottery full time. Throwing Mud allows Mark to teach, and it’s a gallery for his work and the work of other local artists. “We love the creative community that has developed through our pottery classes,” says Eileen. “We have a growing group of people who take pottery classes from us year round that have become our friends.”

Besides classes, Throwing Mud offers drop-in studio time to anyone wanting to add their own creative touch to existing bisque pottery pieces. Classes mix beginners with advanced students and hold up to 10 students. Those interested are encouraged to take a Try It class first. Students spend an hour learning the basics and then they “try it” before committing to a full course.

Mark and Eileen have observed that as adults, we don’t always take time to have fun, learn something new and be creative. Throwing Mud Gallery, they say, has become a place where people can learn a new skill and make something beautiful from a literal lump of clay.

In addition to taking classes, customers can shop the gallery for gorgeous, one-of-a-kind art pieces. The gallery carries the work of over 100 artists, in pottery, jewelry, wood, glass and more. The Hudaks say it is very important to them that the items in their gallery are handmade by the artist.

In a world of mass-produced, factory-made items, Throwing Mud is a place where shoppers can buy a special item that is handmade.

Throwing Mud Gallery
2212 North 30th St, Tacoma


Rock the Foundation

Rock the Foundation is MultiCare Health Foundation’s annual party with a purpose. That purpose is supporting health and healing for South Sound families. This September, partygoers will be swingin’ the night away with a headlining performance from Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.

Event proceeds and fund-a-need donations from Rock the Foundation 2018 will benefit the MultiCare Regional Cancer Center. It’s the only comprehensive cancer center in the South Sound.

Rock the Foundation 2018 offers an opportunity for the community to support advanced technology to help treat cancer faster. Then cancer patients can spend more time healing, more time with loved ones and more time living their lives.

Thanks to generous donor contributions, the MultiCare Regional Cancer Center provides more than just cancer treatment. For the more than 9,000 patients treated every year, MultiCare also provides the compassionate care and support that cancer patients need, beyond the actual treatment period. Because cancer isn’t just an illness. It’s a journey. It touches every aspect of a patient’s life, as well as the lives of their friends and families.

Rock the Foundation 2018 will take place Saturday, Sept. 15, at the Greater Tacoma Convention Center.


Rock the Foundation

Spend the Day in Awe: Northwest Trek Wildlife Park

nw-trekHop aboard a tram and take a narrated tour through forests and meadows teeming with American bison, Roosevelt elk, moose, bighorn sheep and woodland caribou. Stroll along forested and paved pathways past natural exhibits that are home to a grizzly bear, two American black bears, a cougar, Canada lynx, bobcats, wolves and foxes. Marvel at the antics of beavers and other wetland animals as they splash and explore a river area.

Northwest Trek Wildlife Park near Eatonville is first and foremost a place to see native Northwest animals and enjoy nature.

But it also has a very wild side for humans who want a bit of adventure. For an extra charge, visitors can test their mental and physical agility on the Zip Wild complex of thrilling zip line/challenge courses.

Plus, there’s the newly opened half-acre, nature-inspired playground for kids, from toddlers to tweens. The $1.9 million Kids’ Trek is a wonderland that combines a replica of a hollow tree with nets inside for climbing, a net staircase, three fabulous slides, a meandering stream and a toddler zone complete with a sand play area and more. A “construction zone” allows bigger kids to build forts and other imaginative structures. The playground encourages kids to explore nature and learn more about the world around them as they play. Admission to Kids’ Trek is included in each ticket to the wildlife park.

Northwest Trek recently celebrated its 40th anniversary and has long been a leader in the care and conservation of Northwest animals.

Seasoned visitors know that the best way to savor the wildlife park is to see it several times a year, appreciating the changing seasons and the life cycle of the animals. Spring, summer and early fall are great times to see bison, elk and caribou calves, deer fawns and bighorn sheep lambs as they grow.

Animals, adventure and a natural setting make Northwest Trek Wildlife Park a must-visit day trip. It’s an easy drive from anywhere in the Puget Sound area. When you enter the tree-lined drive, you just want to say “ahhhh,” slow down a bit and enjoy a day in nature.

Northwest Trek Wildlife Park
11610 Trek Dr E, Eatonville