El Sarape: Spicing up the Community since 1979

There’s a good reason that El Sarape has four restaurant locations. The food is authentic and delicious, and the service is consistently inviting.

When the Mexican restaurant first opened in Olympia in 1979, its owners believed that local and fresh foods shouldn’t be hard to come by. With that philosophy in mind, they have since opened in Tumwater, Lacey and Shelton as well. The chefs and team at each location are dedicated to providing customers with tasty food and quality service. El Sarape uses locally sourced grass-fed beef and free-range chickens.

The menu is extensive, from appetizers to quesadillas to sizzling fajitas. Diners will recognize most items on the menu, but they’ll also see a few special traditional dishes and dishes that present new flavors to a well-known cuisine. Chile a la Tinga is a traditional dish with a chicken and olive stuffed poblano pepper served with fresh salsa and jalapeño dressing. Baked Avocado Fries are spiced up with seasonings and lime juice and dipped in panko batter before baking to deliver a perfect crunch to each bite.

The street tacos are another part of the menu that can’t be ignored. Each one is topped with fresh onion, cilantro and cotija cheese. The Tinga street tacos are filled with shredded chicken cooked in a chipotle pepper salsa. The owners suggest pairing these tacos with a Cabernet Sauvignon from the wine menu.

Each restaurant location has secluded booths that are perfect for social distancing. They offer authentic and bold flavors of Mexican cuisine to the community for dine in and takeout.

Check their website for the latest information.

EL SARAPE | elsarape.net


Capitol City Honda – A Family Tradition

Kelly Leavesque, owner of Capitol City Honda, understands better than most what it means to do business in your hometown. According to Kelly, “It means your neighbors are buying from you and it is so important that they walk out of our dealership feeling great about their purchase. Our reputation depends upon it.”

At Capitol City Honda, that reputation was earned by Kelly’s father, Ed McCarroll, who opened the dealership in 1971. Impressed by the quality of the Honda motorcycles, Ed took a risk on a relatively new car brand to the US as a leap of faith. Through his industry knowledge of car sales and service, he built it into a thriving dealership, winning national awards from Honda.

Kelly purchased the dealership from her dad in 2017. Serving as the dealership manager since 2000, she and her husband Chris knew she was buying a legacy. The couple share the workload of running the dealership with Chris serving as General Manager and Kelly as the Principal and President.

With Ed McCarroll’s passing in June at the age of 94, the dealership where Ed had still kept an office is adjusting to a life without him. But Kelly learned from her dad that your reputation is built through relationships.

Like Ed, Kelly and Chris continue to build relationships through their support of the community. Whether it is the Boys & Girls Club, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, or their newest commitment to 4 the Love Foundation that donated Thanksgiving meals to more than 500 local, school-age children, the couple picks charities in the most need.

A strong reputation with customers extends to their employees as well, with several of the staff at the dealership, including the office manager and sales manager, boasting a tenure of several decades. “Employee morale is important to us. It starts from the ground up. Customers feel that morale and it sets the tone for the store,” said Kelly.


Continuing a Legacy—Panowicz Jewelers

Founded in 1948 by Anton Panowicz Sr., the local, family-owned jewelry store recently celebrated its 72nd anniversary serving the Thurston County community. After seven decades, Panowicz Jewelers still holds true to its founding: a legacy of quality, integrity and value — helping our customers commemorate the celebrations of life is our purpose, our reason for being.

“Twenty-twenty has been a year like no other,“ Leslie Panowicz laughs. “The silver lining is a renewed appreciation for family, home and the small joys in life. Most of us have slowed down in some way; enjoying more quiet moments with family, meaningful conversations with friends and thinking about how to celebrate those we love.”

“Throughout the years, we have helped many nervous individuals find that perfect engagement ring. Be it a proposal or another special moment, it is such an honor to help our customers find that special gift that is a tangible reminder of the love and appreciation they share.”

While many things have changed, there is much more that has remained constant at Panowicz. Their entire team has remained together, working both from home and in the store, helping customers through this time with continued commitment to outstanding service and care for their customers.

Leslie shared that customers will often recount a memory of when her grandfather or father helped them choose a special piece of jewelry. “These memories are so special and help us remember why we are here.” Leslie said. Panowicz Jewelers prides itself on helping create those memories.

For more information or to schedule an appointment visit:

Panowicz Jewelers
111 Market St NE, Olympia


Thurston County Shopping Guide


222 Market
222 Capitol Way North

Archibald Sisters
406 Capitol Way South

Belleza Ropa
101 Capitol Way North
360.352.ROPA (7672)

Capital Mall & Promenade
625 Black Lake Blvd

Compass Rose
416 Capitol Way South

Courtyard Antiques
705 4th Ave East

Drees of Olympia
524 Washington St SE

Lost and Found
2316 4th Ave East

Olympia Bed Store
113 Thurston Ave NE

Panowicz Jewelers
111 Market St NE Ste 104


Linnea’s Unique Boutique
6715 Martin Way E

Merle Norman Cosmetics
3925 8th Ave SE Ste F

Wood Shed Furniture
6127 Martin Way E


Gracie’s Boutique
120-A South Tower Ave

Holy Lamb Organics

Holy Lamb Organics has been making natural bedding products locally by hand in the small town of Oakville, Washington for 25 years. The South Sound community can access a “touch and feel” experience in Olympia. The company also has a sister retail showroom in University Place. The two stores are the only all-natural bedding stores between Seattle and Portland, according to owners Jason and Mindy Schaefer.

The showroom is relatively “new” for the company and the community, but “old” for a building. It occupies the lower floor of the historic Olympia Steam Plant. “We’re excited to be part of the downtown Olympia neighborhood, and the Steam Plant building is a great fit for our business,” says Mindy Schaefer.

Holy Lamb Organics’ manufacturing plant is located in what was once Oakville’s historic Little Bit General Store, which served the community in eastern Grays Harbor County for over 85 years. Built in 1902, the building also includes a showroom that is open to the public.

According to the Schaefers, Holy Lamb Organics bedding is handmade using the highest quality materials and forward-thinking design and innovation. Made in the USA, the products are natural and certified organic. The Schaefers add that replacing the bedding of an allergy sufferer with natural products can reduce or eliminate the effects of allergies.

Besides promoting health and well-being, the Schaefers’ vision is to strengthen the local economy using sustainable and ecological practices in their manufacturing and selling. “We bring distinctive, comfy, healthy goods to the marketplace without ever compromising our commitment to sustainability and the environment.”

The Schaefers’ showroom has become a welcome space for the community and they do their part to support the community. They invite you to the showroom to touch, feel and experience the difference all-natural bedding offers.

Holy Lamb Organics
113 Thurston Ave NE, Olympia


Getting Settled into a New Home

After the last box is moved into your new home, you might think the hardest part of moving is over. And you’re right, but there are still things to take care of before you can relax completely.

Get Your Utilities Set Up

You don’t want to arrive at your new place, late at night, and find that the lights don’t work. Before you move, arrange for the utilities to be set up there. Make sure all of your services are up and running so you can check your electronics and appliances.

Check Major Appliances

If you moved major appliances, such as a range, dishwasher, washer or dryer, check to make sure nothing was damaged during the move. This is particularly important if the mover prepared your appliances for the move. Your insurance policy may have a limited time in which to make a claim. Since these are big-ticket items, you want to make sure they’re all working.

Check all Boxes and Furniture

Make sure all boxes and furniture arrived and that nothing is damaged. If you’re missing something or you find damage, contact the mover and your insurance company to submit a claim. It’s important to do this immediately after moving in or the insurance company may not reimburse you.

Save Receipts

Keep all receipts and documentation related to your move in one file and store the file in a safe, secure place. Make sure you have your bill of lading and payment receipt. You may be able to claim your move on your next tax return, and you’ll need all the necessary receipts to make your claim.

Make Sure You’re Getting Your Mail

Check with the post office about mail forwarding. Update all important files and documents with your new address and notify everyone who needs to know about your move.


Cultivating Kindness Landscape & Design

Some things are just meant to be. As L.J. Cirilo describes how she started Cultivating Kindness Landscape & Design in Olympia, you are definitely left with the impression that her rapidly growing business is one of those “meant to be” things. “Cultivating Kindness was born from my love for gardening and desire to help people, realizing that by being kind to one another we can all make this world a better place to live,” she explains.

In 2016, Cirilo was working at a local garden center when her landlord asked if she would take on the landscape maintenance of his 20 properties in the area. With a lawn mower and a few basic tools loaded in her truck, Cirilo jumped at the opportunity. It wasn’t long before she realized she wanted to expand her client base and take on more meaningful projects. “I made up a simple flyer,” she reflects with a laugh, remembering how simple it looked. Between word-of-mouth, advertising and client recommendations on social media, Cultivating Kindness has blossomed into serving 171 clients, offering an ever-expanding list of services, and showcasing completed projects on her website with an updated logo.

“I believe that love makes everything grow and I apply that philosophy in everything I do,” says Cirilo. “I enjoy building relationships with my clients and collaborating with them to create a landscape that is unique and personal.” As each project concludes, her most satisfying moment is the smile her work has earned from a client.

Cirilo has taken her love of gardening a step further by starting Eternal Harvest, which builds community gardens, the first of which was at the Providence Community Care Center in downtown Olympia. “Having my hands in the soil is like therapy,” she notes.

“I wanted to give others, especially the homeless, a chance to grow food and build community.” The bounty of the garden was given away at the Center. Cirilo hopes to build more gardens in the future with the help of community support and donations.

Cultivating Kindness Landscape & Design


Olympia OB/GYN Heroes

Babies are born when they are ready, not when a pandemic says so. Dedicated medical personnel tackle coronavirus challenges to deliver them safely. That’s true of the team at Olympia Obstetrics & Gynecology (OOG) as they work with patients at the office and welcome babies at the Family Birth Center at Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia.

“We love moms and babies,” said Dr. Darrel Bell. “The virus hasn’t changed how special each delivery has been. I thank all those who protect mothers and babies by wearing masks and practice social distancing.” Providence welcomes moms and an essential support person in the delivery room which, for many patients, creates an intimate experience. These individuals are screened upon entry; moms are also tested. Masking goes without saying…

Expecting a newborn during the COVID-19 pandemic adds stress to an already challenging time in a family’s life. As they care for moms and their babies, OOG and Family Birth Center staff work together to maintain the highest standards of care and safety for their patients and families. The goal is to keep newborns with their mothers in their rooms, as a basic tenet of infant and family-centered care.

Occasionally, separation is necessary because infant care cannot take place safely in the mom’s room. This is rare. An average of 100 babies a month are delivered by OOG’s medical staff with positive patient feedback.

OOG is using technology in positive ways to keep everyone safe. Carie Bussey, certified nurse midwife with the clinic, said, “We’ve discovered a lot of silver linings. Health care workers have been forced to hop on the telemedicine effort. We’ve been able to quickly adopt what works for us and patients enjoy some benefits while remaining safely distanced. OOG utilizes a telehealth system that ties the visit to the patient’s electronic health record. Patients receive a link via email or text and can access us through their mobile phones, iPads and desktops.”

Deb Cannon, practice manager at the clinic, said, “We are a big family, and maybe none of us really understood what it means to be an ‘essential worker’ until now. We have been proud to have maintained a safe environment for everyone; that includes the babies.” OOG anticipates continuation of masking and social distancing until we have fast, accurate testing and a widely accepted and utilized vaccine.

Olympia Obstetrics & Gynecology


Health & Wellness Close to Home

Moving to a new community means finding new healthcare providers for you and your family. Thurston County offers a wide variety of independent health practitioners and large healthcare systems to meet the needs of every member of your household. You’ll find high quality services, which rival larger communities, conveniently close to your new home.

Thurston County’s Public Health & Social Services department provides a wealth of information online about services and programs to achieve and maintain a healthy, active lifestyle. A list of community gardens, helpful information and resources for quitting smoking, first-time pregnancy support, and much more is available on their website.

When you’ve finished lifting moving boxes and are ready to get back to lifting weights, Thurston County is home to several national gym franchises, in addition to locally-owned facilities and YMCA branches. You won’t have to look very far to find options for cardio, strength training, yoga, or aquatics. Recreational leagues for both youth and adults are offered seasonally through city parks and recreation programs for football, soccer, baseball, and volleyball.

Health and wellness resources are abundant and convenient in Thurston County. As you meet your new neighbors, ask for recommendations about their favorite healthcare practitioners, recreational activities, and wellness programs. It won’t take long to find the right combination of care providers and healthful activities that are the best fit for you and your family.

Health & Wellness Resources

Thurston County Public Health & Social Services

Hospitals & Emergency Departments
Capital Medical Center | capitalmedical.com
Providence St. Peter Hospital | providence.org/swsa

Urgent Care Clinics
MultiCare Indigo Urgent Care | indigourgentcare.com
Providence Immediate Care
Rapid Orthopaedic Urgent Care
UW Neighborhood Olympia Clinic | uwmedicine.org

Dental Care
Thurston-Mason Counties Dental Society | tmcdental.org

Mental Health
National Alliance on Mental Illness/Thurston-Mason
Chapter | namitm.org

Parks & Recreation Programs
City of Lacey | ci.lacey.wa.us
City of Olympia | olympiawa.gov
City of Shelton | sheltonwa.gov
City of Tumwater | ci.tumwater.wa.us

Senior Centers/Resources


Service & Convenience at Light Dental Studios

We can all agree on the qualities for the ideal dental provider: round-the-clock service, free consultations, same-day appointments, entire-family bookings, empathetic service and affordable care. It’s nearly impossible to find a full combination of such attributes. But then there’s Light Dental Studios.

The dentist-owned company—with 16 locations in the South Puget Sound—has customer service at the core of its mission.

“We try to treat people the way we would want to be treated,” says owner and CEO Dr. Steven Broughton, who bought his first office from a former dentist in 1997. “People say our practice feels like we’re all neighbors, like they’re just going down the street for friendly dental care.”

With hours from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. including Saturdays, doctors available 24/7, free consultations, same-day appointments, and entire-family same-day care, Light Dental Studios has solutions patients need.

“We’re trying to make dentistry effortless by making it about our patients, not the dentists,” says Broughton. “Our schedule accommodates their schedule, not the other way around. Our doctors are always available, and almost all procedures are done in-house.”

Besides standard dental checkups, treatments and other services, Light Dental Studios offers on-site orthodontics, implants, surgeries and dentures. Children’s dental care is also offered. In fact, the offices frequently schedule care for entire families side-by-side on the same day to save time.

Light Dental Studios also gives back to the community at the annual South Sound Free Dental Day. That’s when the staff donates its time and skills to give away more than $90,000 worth of dental work—including fillings and extractions—on a first come, first-served basis.

“We want patients to feel comfortable,” Broughton says. “Our first goal is to provide same-day treatment.”

Broughton notes that Light Dental Studios will continue to add offices over the upcoming years in growing neighborhoods.

Light Dental Studios