50 Years of BMW Northwest

From a young age, Manfred Scharmach learned about work ethic and building a business from his father, Werner. “I started out playing around the repair shop on Saturdays,” recalled Scharmach. “As I got older, he put me to work with a broom and later washing cars.” The elder Scharmach, who was reported to be the best German car mechanic around, owned European Motor Service in Olympia. His reputation led to an invitation to become Olympia’s official BMW dealer and in 1968 the repair shop evolved to include a showroom.

Manfred continued learning from his father, working as a technician, in parts sales, and eventually vehicle sales, which is what he enjoyed most. “My dad and I got along great, and customers respected us because they recognized that we were technicians,” said Scharmach. The growing business relocated to Tacoma in 1979 and to its present location in Fife in 1988.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of BMW Northwest, making it one of the oldest BMW dealerships in the nation and the only original family-owned dealership remaining in Western Washington. The achievement was recently commemorated with the presentation of a Monument Award from BMW of North America. In addition, the dealership is celebrating by donating $50,000 to local non-profits chosen by BMW Northwest employees. The missions of a few of the recipient organizations include supporting military veterans, providing food for children and seniors, and sheltering homeless youth.

“I watched my father set an example for how to run a business, which centered on taking care of the customer,” reflected Scharmach. That focus remains strong today and is being passed on to a third generation. Scharmach’s daughter, Madeleine McEntyre, works on special projects for BMW Northwest and the family’s two MINI dealerships in Tacoma and Seattle.

Learn more about the history of BMW Northwest and the Scharmach family by visiting www.bmwnorthwest.com.

JULIE LEYDELMEYER

For more information:

BMW Northwest
4011 20th Street East
Tacoma, WA 98424
866-843-3706
visit www.bmwnorthwest.com

Doing Business with a Philanthropic Heart

Philanthropy isn’t as simple as monetary donations. At the core of philanthropic acts is a desire to improve the human condition—to make the world a better place. In Thurston and Mason counties, you need look no further than Olympia Federal Savings to find a local business with a philanthropic heart.

Oly Fed, as the financial institution is commonly called, believes in preserving, protecting and enhancing the community to improve quality of life. One way it achieves this is through its commitment to donate at least 5 percent of its revenue to local nonprofit organizations. For the last several years, it has reached 10 percent. In addition, its employees have logged countless hours volunteering their time and talents.

Secretary of State Kim Wyman recognized Oly Fed for its efforts by awarding it a 2017 National Association of Secretaries of State Medallion.

“Washington is fortunate to have so many caring companies that give back to their communities in a variety of ways,” Wyman said. “This awards program is a great way to recognize companies like Oly Fed that go above and beyond to make a difference.”

The strength of Oly Fed’s commitment to its philanthropic mission is rooted in each of its eight branches and more than 110 employees. Its innovative, people-first approach to business earned it a spot on Seattle Business magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list, for the third year in a row.

Moreover, recent federal corporate tax reductions have allowed the organization to increase profit sharing for employees, raise its entry-level wage to $15 an hour, and add new positions to better meet customer needs.

“By making these changes and investments, our hope is that we continue to create a lasting legacy that has a positive impact for everyone,” says Lori Drummond, president and CEO of Olympia Federal Savings.

JULIE LEYDELMEYER

For Additional Information
Olympia Federal Savings
360.754.3400
olyfed.com

Exposing Children to Arts With a Matinee

What began as bringing kids to matinee performances at Federal Way Performing Arts and Events Center turned into a program dedicated to children engaging in art, called Arts 4 Youth.

“School-day matinées for students are quite common in performing arts centers,” says Kate Dorr, arts education coordinator for PAEC. “So it was a natural fit. On a larger scale, engaging students in the performing arts is good for their intellectual and emotional development, as well as the larger community’s development.”

Schools and individual students can sign themselves up. According to Dorr, PAEC’s Performing Arts Foundation, a 501(c)(3), supports ticket price discounts and bus grants for schools that qualify, based on their free and reduced lunch percentage.

For the past year Dorr has been involved in the program, designing guides and programs for schools. “My background is in museum education and classroom teaching. I am a lifelong lover of—and child participant in—the performing arts.” Witnessing children’s excitement when they get to see a play is “truly heartwarming,” says Dorr. She adds that research reveals how participation in the arts encourages success in other areas of education. “Everyone deserves access to these benefits.

This year alone PAEC is offering nine matinee performances for schools. The shows include New Chinese Acrobats, Toying with Science, Mariachi Sol de México and more. Dorr notes that she’s created study guides for each show for teachers to use before and after they bring their students, as well as lesson plans and guides on theater arts and PAEC in general. These study guides and lesson plans can be found online at fwpaec.org.

The matinees offer an educational experience different from what happens in the classroom, says Dorr, and exposes them to a new art form. She hopes students who attend these matinees will have an emotional connection to what they see on stage and will have their intellectual curiosity stimulated. From such experiences, she says, students gain the knowledge that there is a wide variety of ways to express yourself.

JORDAN MARIE MCCAW

For Additional Information
Federal Way Performing Arts Center Arts 4 Youth
fwpaec.org/student-matinees

A Half-Century of High-Performance

For almost 50 years, Desco Audio and Video has been a one-stop shop for high-performance audio and video. Based in Olympia and serving Tacoma, Gig Harbor and surrounding areas, DescoAV provides custom home entertainment and smart home solutions.

DescoAV is a second-generation family-owned business. In 1969, two friends, Dick Scott and Gene DeRousie, discovered a shared passion for electronics and dedication to customer service. At that time Scott owned and operated a TV repair and rental shop at Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base. DeRousie was a technician with the phone company.

What started as a TV retail and repair shop has evolved over the years and remained at the cutting edge of technology. Today DescoAV takes the best of modern technology and creates custom audio-video systems to suit your unique home and business needs.

Scott is still active in the business he helped found, while his son Jeffrey Scott, now owner and vice president, manages the day-to-day operations. DeRousie retired in 1993 and died in 2014.

“We’re proud to continue to grow and to carve out our niche as a premier custom integration house,” said Jeffrey Scott. “Our passion for technology and the relationship we develop with our customers is what sets us apart. We do more than install AV systems. We make customers for life.”

DescoAV specializes in distributed audio and video systems—music and video that play throughout your house, cinema-quality home theater, smart home technology, security, and networking solutions.

According to Jeffrey Scott, his in-house design team will work with you to identify your needs and turn your wish list into reality. Desco makes the system easy to use, and all systems are backed by the highest level of technical support, giving you peace of mind.

DescoAV is a Certified Control4 showroom—one of just two in Washington state. You can visit its Olympia showroom and experience smart home living for yourself.

BETH GARSON

For Additional Information
Desco AV
descoav.com

Hands On Children’s Museum, Summer Splash!

Summer Splash guests mixed and mingled throughout the night at the Hands On Children’s Museum. They enjoyed signature cocktails and gourmet bites while bidding on exceptional silent auction packages. They played like a kid again inside the museum, silk-screening koozies and T-shirts, tasting liquid nitrogen ice cream, and capturing memories in the photo booth. And they danced under the stars to the Craig Lawrence Band.

The Summer Splash Festival and Gala raised nearly $300,000 for summer programs, access programs and a new exhibit. The Hands On Children’s Museum stimulates curiosity, creativity, and learning through fun, interactive exhibits and programs for children, families and school groups.

The Center Stage Awards & Gala

The Washington Center for the Performing Arts had a record 232 guests for its third annual Center Stage Awards & Gala. Guests enjoyed a staged street-side cocktail hour with live music in anticipation of the big reveal inside the Main Stage. One of the many highlights of the evening were the awards for Excellence in the Arts. This year the awards were presented to Olympia Family Theater for Achievement in the Arts and James L. This for Commitment to the Arts.
The evening event raised over $113,000 in support of the Center and bringing interactive entertainment to our region.

Savings Made Simple: Wa. College Savings

In today’s world, where the price of a bachelor’s degree can rival that of a single-family home, having a 529 college savings plan can offer young parents peace of mind. It’s easy to enroll, either on your own or through a financial advisor, and once you’re signed up you can set up automatic contributions to fund the account. Your investment grows tax-free, and won’t be taxed when you withdraw, as long as the money is used to pay for qualified education expenses.

Beyond the double benefit of tax-deferred investment growth combined with tax-free withdrawals for qualified expenses, there are a number of advantages to saving in a 529 account. A brand-new benefit as of January 1, 2018 is you can now use 529s to save for private school tuition for kindergarten through 12th grade. This provides tax savings for parents who plan to send their kids to private school. You can withdraw up to $10,000 per year, per student for this purpose. Additionally, you can set up an unlimited number of plans, and there are no rules on who the beneficiary can be. This means you can create an account for a relative, friend, or yourself. The gift of education is one that will open doors to a world of opportunity and is sure to last a lifetime.

For many new parents, receiving a college fund as a baby gift packs a stronger punch than a new toy or baby bib. “Giving the gift of higher education is really amazing,” says Lucas Minor, Interim WA529 Director. “An entire family can participate. When someone is saving for your child’s future and cares about your child’s success, it reduces barriers and encourages kids to grow up with the incentive and expectation to attend college.” When opened for a newborn baby, the account has 18 years to grow, with interest compounding on interest, making it an especially savvy present for money-minded gift-givers. by Kelly Lenihan

RESOURCES

Compare Washington 529 Plans

There are two types of 529 plans: prepaid tuition plans and education savings plans. Explore both options to find the right plan for you.

wastate529.wa.gov

GET 529 Prepaid Tuition Program

The GET prepaid tuition plan lets a saver or account holder purchase units or credits at participating colleges and universities (usually public and in-state) for future tuition and mandatory fees at current prices for the beneficiary. Enrollment period: November 1, 2018 through May 31, 2019.

get.wa.gov | 800.955.2318

DreamAhead 529 College Investment Plan

The DreamAhead education savings plan lets a saver open an investment account to save for the beneficiary’s future qualified higher education expenses – tuition, mandatory fees and room and board. Withdrawals from education savings plan accounts can generally be used at any college or university, including some non-U.S. colleges and universities.

dreamahead.wa.gov | 844.529.5845

 

Oly on Ice

A new way to celebrate the holidays is gliding into Thurston County this winter. Oly on Ice will open on Friday, November 16 in downtown Olympia at Isthmus Park. The entire family can come out to enjoy ice skating at Olympia’s first-ever seasonal ice rink. Skaters of all ages will enjoy the warm glow of activity during the busy rush of the holiday season at the tented rink.

“Bringing structured seasonal programming to the Isthmus Park builds community, supports local business, and increases the health and well being of our citizens by providing the opportunity for physical activity during the winter months, “ notes Anna Uyeda from Olympia Parks, Arts and Recreation. “Not to mention, it’s going to be fun!”

The grand opening will take place after the Downtown for the Holidays tree lighting ceremony on November 25. Live music, special guests and more will kick of the most wonderful time of the year.

In addition there are six unique family-friendly events planned with local partners. The line up of special themed rink time includes:

Nutcracker on Ice- November 29, 4-7
Skate along side some Sugar Plum fairies or some mischievous mice when Ballet Northwest’s Nutcracker cast joins the fun. Cast members will be available for selfies.

Pride Night- December 6, 4-7
Not just limited to celebrations in June, don your rainbow attire and join Pizza Klatch for an evening welcoming everyone.

Wizards on Ice- December 13, 4-7
Certain to be popular, this event focuses on a Harry Potter theme. Community partner, South Sound Reading Foundation, invites wizards and muggles alike to a night of magical treats including trivia and prizes.

So bundle up and head down to Oly on Ice with family and friends and makes some great holiday memories.

For information on dates, times and pricing, check out www.olyonice.com

HILLARY RYAN

 

Experience the Wonder of the Nutcracker

As the holiday season gets under way, families are often looking for fun experiences that can become annual traditions. Going to see The Tacoma City Ballet perform The Nutcracker & The Tale of The Hard Nut can be a great way to build enthusiasm for the holidays, while also introducing children to the joys of a live show experience.

The Tacoma City Ballet, under the leadership of Miss Erin Ceragioli, Executive and Artistic Director, is celebrating its 35th production of one of the most famous ballets in the world, The Nutcracker & The Tale of The Hard Nut. This timeless holiday classic, first presented in 1892 in St. Petersburg, Russia, has entertained generations for well over a century.

The story of The Nutcracker, told in its entirety with the addition of The Tale of The Hard Nut, features the historical scenery and costumes first seen by audiences in 1892. Tacoma City Ballet creates a magnificent production filled with spectacular dancing, live orchestral music by the Tacoma City Ballet Orchestra, grand scenery and lavish costumes, sure to enchant your entire family this holiday season.

If taking kids to the ballet where the story is told entirely through dance – no talking or singing — seems daunting, here are a couple ways to prepare. The Nutcracker ballet is based on the story written by E.T.A. Hoffmann in 1816 and there are plenty of picture books. Head to your local library or bookstore and find a version you like. Making The Nutcracker part of your bedtime story routine in the weeks leading up to the show will help your child become familiar with the story and be ready to see it interpreted through dance. Another thing you can do before you go to the show is to familiarize your child with the musical score. The Nutcracker ballet music was written by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, a Russian composer renowned for his ballet scores. Download the soundtrack and play it often – in the car or during playtime.

Take your child to a Sugar Plum Tea prior to the performance for a snack and an opportunity to interact with dancers in costume — bring your camera — creating a connection that carries over to the performance and adds to the enjoyment of the experience for your child.

Plan to arrive to the ballet early so you can look through the program together and read the synopsis. This will let you know exactly how the Tacoma City Ballet is interpreting and presenting the story. Getting there early also allows you to enjoy the atmosphere of the venue.

Who knows, this could be the start of a magical holiday tradition to be carried on for generations to come. Happy holidays!

KELLY LENIHAN

Six performances 

  • Sat, Dec 15, 2pm
  • Sun, Dec 16, 2pm
  • Thu, Dec 20, 7:30pm
  • Fri, Dec 21, 7:30pm
  • Sat, Dec 22, 2pm
  • Sun, Dec 23, 2pm

Sugar Plum Teas

  • Sat, Dec 15, 1pm
  • Sun, Dec 16, 1pm
  • Sat, Dec 22, 1pm
  • Sun, Dec 23, 1pm

tickets

Federal Way Performing Arts & Events Center (PAEC)

31510 Pete von Reichbauer Way South, Federal Way, WA 98003

box Office: 253-835-7010, online: fwpaec.org

 

Nutcracker Suite for the littlest ones

December 8 and 9, 2pm

Broadway center for Performing Arts

901 Broadway, Tacoma

Box office: 253-591-5894, online: tacomaartslive.com

 

 

Encore Chocolates & Tea

Strolling along Fifth Avenue in downtown Olympia, you come upon a unique sight: a magnolia tree nestled within a beautiful, airy atrium inside a building. This 1875 building has a storied history. It was once home to a mercantile store, followed by numerous nightclubs. And it has a distinct claim to fame from the more recent past. It hosted Dave Grohl in his debut in the band Nirvana.

With a past as colorful as this, it is no wonder the space is now sanctuary to a delightful store that caters to more subdued pastimes: Encore Chocolates & Teas. Owners Dean and Carla Jones enjoy whisking patrons away to lands of terraced mountainsides, spice markets, and forested regions through the sheer variety of chocolates and teas they have on display.

In the space since 2015, the Joneses offer over 215 varieties of teas sourced from 12 different tea purveyors. It is easy to get lost in the scent jars, which are arranged on the wall in black, green, white and herbal sections. This way patrons can determine for themselves which particular tea is just the right one. Once the desired tea has been selected, the friendly staff portions out the loose-leaf tea, including proper brewing instructions.

The chocolate selections are no less varied and scrumptious. Samples are ready for the tasting on request.

While the chocolates and tea alone are a compelling reason to shop at Encore, Dean Jones adds to the experience by bringing humanity to the products. A natural storyteller, he provides patrons a glimpse into the journey the chocolate and tea have gone through to become the exceptional finds they are. Visitors leave feeling a little more connected with the world, one chocolate bar and tea cup at a time.

KATHLEEN THOMAS

For Additional Information
Encore Chocolates and Teas
116 5th Ave SE, Olympia
360.350.0833
facebook.com/encorechocolatesandteas