Lacey MakerSpace Awarded $1M Grant

Lacey MakerSpace will receive a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, thanks, in part, to support from U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, Chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. 

In partnership with the Thurston Economic Development Council Center for Business & Innovation (CB&I), the City of Lacey, and Saint Martin’s University, LMS operates as an innovation lab for small business owners, artists, and entrepreneurs in Thurston County and the greater Southern Washington region. 

“Most of the federal grant funds are earmarked to purchase advanced fabrication equipment and software and to develop skills-based training programs in high demand by industries in the region,” said Michelle Pope, LMS’s director. 

Grant funds will be dispersed over three years. Much of the larger fabrication equipment will be purchased later in 2022 as the space needs upgrades in utilities and size.

“This $1 million grant will help spur innovation and support small businesses in South Puget Sound. The Lacey MakerSpace aims to build a diverse entrepreneurial ecosystem that provides local artists, and small businesses access to highly technical fabrication tools and educational resources,” said Cantwell (D-WA), who wrote a letter in August 2020 in support of Lacey MakerSpace’s grant application. “This grant will allow the Lacey MakerSpace to purchase state-of-the-art equipment to continue providing workforce training to help workers and small business owners gain the skills they need to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

“The pandemic showed just how overdue investments in our workers and local economies are, which is why I am so glad to see this critical funding go to innovative training programs in Western Washington that will promote job growth, get people back to work, and ensure that we have an economy that works for everyone,” said Senator Patty Murray. “Building back stronger and fairer means prioritizing local workforce development – and I’m going to keep working to secure investments like this one in Washington state’s workers and businesses.”

“We want to build back better and do it inclusively. It’s why we must invest in workers and families right here in Washington State,” said Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland (WA-10). “Thanks to the work of the US Department of Commerce and the Thurston Economic Development Council, this injection of federal dollars for Lacey MakerSpace will have a meaningful impact on our growing and diverse community to create jobs, support innovation, and expand the base of our economy.”

“We expect to keep growing on two tracks. The first is supporting community members, budding artists, future makers and innovators in learning new skills and the other helping to attract more industry to the region by creating a pool of skilled workers receiving up-to-date training on modern fabrication and technical equipment,” said Pope.

Anyone can participate in Lacey MakerSpace programs by enrolling in a skill-building class or becoming a member, giving users access to over 3,600 square feet of workspace filled with fabrication and prototyping equipment and the support of talented staff to help bring ideas into reality.

Classes regularly offered include woodworking, welding and CNC fabrication, 3-D printing and design, laser engraving, stained-glass construction, resin molding and more. 

LMS is raising funds separately to make utility upgrades required for the added equipment and extend hours of access and increase quality programming, work not covered by the grant.

According to Pope, this award is a result of the intense and committed partnerships – all focused on supporting our region, our employers and communities.  Learn more about Lacey MakerSpace by visiting:

Lacey Maker Space – Create. Innovate. Inspire.

Olympia Harbor Days Changes Course

The South Sound Maritime Heritage Association Board of Directors announces a late schedule change for Olympia Harbor Days Lite, a scaled-down version of its popular 48 year-old tugboat festival.  The event will now be offered as a 1-day only event on Saturday, September 4, from 10 am to 5 pm at the Port of Olympia’s Port Plaza Park, with companion online safe at home activities on their website running from 8/28 through 9/6, according to SSMHA President Don Chalmers. Note that Sunday, September 5 has been cancelled and is replaced by Olympia Harbor Days participation in the LoveOly Summer Fest finale on Saturday, August 28 with a booth, displays and mini tugs on.  All events are free, donations accepted, and organizers request all attendees to be masked and adhere to social distancing for the safety of the community.

The September 4 event will feature a few information booths, mini tug displays, a hands on LEGO Harbor Build Activity for the kids including the professional building and display of a 5’ by 4’ LEGO tugboat, a free custom LEGO Tugboat giveaway drawing, some live music and plenty of photo ops.  The award winning Hands on Children’s Museum will also host a booth offering a make, race and take tugboat activity.  And be sure to catch the display and demonstrations in a 30’ x 24’ pool of remote controlled tugboats.  This year’s event will not include any tugboat touring, tugboat races, vendor or food booths.

Members of SS Maritime Heritage Association will be on hand to share the restoration history of Tugboat Parthia, a new attraction and shelter coming next year adjacent to the Farmers Market.  This display will be part of the National Parks Service state designation of Maritime Washington – National Heritage Area opening in 2023.

The Washington’s Lottery Tower Stage at the Port Plaza will feature local musicians on September 4 including Choro Tomorrow, Cool Breeze, Cosmos Dream, the Terry Ness Band and the Samba Olywa troupe dressed as pirates.  The music schedule is posted at

All events will offer maps for the year-round Maritime Heritage Self-Guided Tour along Olympia’s boardwalk, including the Olympia Arts + Heritage Alliance “It’s the Water” outdoor exhibit on the windows of the old city hall and fire station.  A one-time only narrated tour by local historian and author Chuck Fowler and City of Olympia Arts and Events Program Manager Stephanie Johnson is also offered on September 4th starting at 10 AM at the Port Plaza.  Again masking and social distancing required.

The Olympia Harbor Days Lite online event features at home self-guided activities including how to build a LEGO Tugboat, historic photos, an at home sing-a-long and more at starting August 28.  

“SS Maritime Heritage Association, despite a number of continuing challenges, is pleased to present these community health-conscious Lite events, with special thanks of support from our community sponsors” said Chalmers.  “As the founding organization, we want to keep this nearly 50-year working waterfront-focused festival alive in preparation for a full version in 2022.” The maritime heritage nonprofit is continuing to operate the event after the Olympia Kiwanis Club had presented it from 2012 – 2019.

For almost a half century, Olympia Harbor Days has been a locally-sponsored free family friendly maritime themed festival with tugboats, historic ships, booth vendors, food, music, educational classes, children’s activities and more, held each Labor Day Weekend.

From Homeless Backpacks to All Kids Win

Homeless and hungry children and teens are an existing, exponential problem in our country. It may not cross one’s mind that the student they see walking down the school hallway or sitting at the bus stop will be struggling to find a meal that weekend. However, there are many people, such as the members of the All Kids Win organization (formally known as Homeless Backpacks), that recognize this issue and are working effectively to feed hungry students and end the cycle of homelessness.

For the last seventeen years, 100% volunteer-based Homeless Backpacks has helped homeless teen students in Washington State. Over the years, the number of teens this organization has fed grew as schools and counselors reached out consistently. In the beginning, Homeless Backpacks quietly donated packed bags filled with foods like tuna, granola bars and instant oatmeal to schools requesting assistance, and the counselors would give the food to the students in need through confidential avenues. Up until last year when COVID-19 hit, Homeless Backpacks was helping over 600 students a week. However, as pandemic restrictions changed the way students were attending school, it also changed the way the organization was giving — big time.

The number of students Homeless Backpacks helped per week went from 600 to over 2200 almost overnight. The operation no longer functioned as it had originally; instead of counselors calling for the delivery of 10 or so bags, school districts began picking up food by the truckloads! The pandemic brought on huge transitions for the organization. It was time to expand their vision and their brand.

At the beginning of 2021, Homeless Backpacks became All Kids Win in reflection of this evolution. Stephanie Hemphill of All Kids Win says, “We rebranded and renamed our nonprofit because we are not only serving homeless students but also serving food-insecure students. They could be kids living with a family below the poverty line, a kid who is couch surfing to escape an abusive home, or any other situation that would put them in a position to not know where their next meal is coming from. Our vision is that hunger never stands in the way of education, so we want our name to reflect our mission and vision.”

Right now, the number of teen clients is up to around 1300 a week. As schools go back to a “normal” routine, All Kids Win plans on adopting their previous model again, although their organization will never be the same. With the overwhelming influx of volunteers stepping in, All Kids Win anticipates a smooth transition and looks forward to the growth. Their hope is to relieve some of the pressure so that kids can simply worry about kid things.

All Kids Win


Elise Landry wins “Chopped Next Gen”

As a contestant and winner on the first season of the Food Network’s show “Chopped Next Gen,” Elise Landry became the chef on everyone’s mind in Olympia almost overnight. Her new restaurant, Chicory, which she co-owns and runs with her husband Adam Wagner, went from just getting open to having to close down online orders to focus on in-restaurant diners in a time when most restaurants were struggling to make it during the COVID-19 health restrictions. 

“It’s been amazing. We’ve had such support from the community,” noted Landry when I caught up with her on a warm summer Monday watering the plants in the restaurant. “In a small, tight-knit town like Olympia, not only does everyone feel connected, but there is already a deep appreciation for sustainable and locally sourced food. We felt like we fit in.”

Growing up in Kansas City, Landry loved her upbringing and region, but wanted to be closer to nature. After a quick scouting trip to the PNW, the couple retrofitted a motorhome, drove West, and spent two summers working in restaurants on Orcas Island. The dream was to open a restaurant of their own and everything came into alignment just when the pandemic hit. 

The process of opening Chicory started long before the pandemic and included navigating new building owners, leases, small business loans, and lots of renovations. Landry shared that, for a while, every day began by watching YouTube demonstrations and learning by doing. From hanging drywall to replacing a water heater, they had to figure it out. “There was no turning back.”

Veterans of many restaurants and kitchens, Landry and Wagner see Chicory as a platform to talk about sustainability and food systems, but also to rewrite the rules and create a truly healthy work environment for staff. “We want to create a place where our staff feels respected and valued.” 

They are walking the talk. In addition to showing care by baking a staff member’s favorite cookie on their birthday, bigger changes have been made at Chicory. Instead of customers leaving tips for their individual server, a 20% service fee is added to the bill which is shared by all employees. This new norm shifts some of the financial inequities experienced by all staff in the restaurant industry and has become common practice in restaurants in major metropolitan centers like Seattle and San Francisco, but has yet to be more widely adopted. In addition, they will be offering a special class with a personal trainer to learn stretching exercises to help alleviate some of the physical stress created by restaurant work. “It’s important to encourage both physical and mental health for our staff,” noted Landry. 

As she finished up watering the plants, Landry paused. “We have amazing light in the restaurant in the mornings when we are closed. I can just imagine a floor of yoga mats and potentially offering wellness classes to others in the restaurant industry,” she said. It might be a dream right now, but this next-generation chef is about more than an amazing menu or time in the spotlight. With Chicory, she is here to change restaurants one small step at a time. Hilary Ryan

Team — CHICORY (

Boys & Girls Clubs of Thurston County: Youth Inspiring Youth

Boys & Girls Clubs of Thurston County inspire youth to realize their greatness. Boys & Girls Clubs fill the gap between school and home by providing a welcoming, positive, out-of-school environment. Kids and teens have fun, participate in life-changing programs, and build supportive relationships with peers and caring youth development professionals.

From homework help to tutoring, art to sports, and STEM activities to gaming, the Club experience prepares kids and teens for future success. By focusing Club activities on academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles, youth are better prepared to graduate from high school, have a plan for their futures, and thrive as adults.

Nearly 3,000 kids and teens find safety and support annually at Clubs in Lacey, Olympia, Rochester, Tenino, Tumwater, Yelm, and new this year, a second Lacey branch located in the Raj Manhas Activity Center (RMAC). Low membership fees and scholarships keep the Club accessible to youth who need them most, thanks to 76% of funding coming from generous individuals and community supporters.

Visit or contact one of the seven Thurston County Club locations to see if the Club is the right choice for youth in your care:

Lacey Branch
1105 Tracey LN SE
Lacey, WA 98503
Facebook: @LaceyBGCTC

Olympia Branch
Jefferson Middle School
2200 Conger Ave NW
Olympia, WA 98502
Facebook: @OBGCTC

Rochester Branch
10140 Hwy. 12 SW
Rochester, WA 98579
Facebook: @BGCTCRochesterRocks

Tenino Branch
Tenino Elementary School
301 Old Highway 99 N
Tenino, WA 98589
Facebook: @BGCTCTenino

Tumwater Branch
600 Israel Rd. SW
Tumwater, WA 98501
Facebook: @TBGCTC

Yelm Branch
105 W Yelm Ave
Yelm, WA 98597
Facebook: @BGCTCYelm

NEW! RMAC Branch (Next to North Thurston HS)
200 Sleater Kinney RD NE
Olympia, WA 98506
Facebook: @ @BGCTCRMAC

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.

Capitol City Honda
Olympia Auto Mall
2370 Carriage Loop SW, Olympia


Olympia Farmers Market

Shopping at the Olympia Farmers Market can be a great way to get to know your community while supporting your local economy. Open year-round with three distinct operating seasons, it’s a great addition to your weekly shopping routine. The market is open Thursday to Sunday, April through October for High Season, Saturday and Sunday in November and December for Holiday Season, and every Saturday in January through March for Winter Season, always 10am to 3pm. (Please check for current hours due to pandemic restrictions.)

Founded in 1975, the Market has been in its current location at the top of Capitol Way in downtown Olympia since 1996. With four dedicated full-time employees and a volunteer board of directors comprised of vendors, they are committed to their mission “to promote and encourage the development of local, small-scale agriculture and ensure a dynamic market balance for small, local growers and others to make available their products to residents of this community.”

The open-air, barn-inspired building provides protection from the weather and space for over 100 unique small businesses from the South Sound region to connect directly with customers in the community. Visitors to the market will find fruit and produce, artisan foods, wine, plant starts, cut flowers, pasture-raised meats, dairy, baked goods, seafood, jams and preserves, confections, handcrafted gifts including jewelry, woodworking, textiles, ceramics, glasswork, photography, local art and more. Free daily live entertainment can be enjoyed at the Market main stage with ample seating and space to enjoy delicious foods from the eight restaurants. The Market also has over 200 free two-hour parking stalls, accessible restroom facilities, and three ATM’s for customer convenience.

The Market accepts new farmer and food processor applications year-round and new crafter applications annually from December 1 through December 31. Visit the website for more information at

Merle Norman: More than a Cosmetic Store

Even though it’s been reopened since June 1 of last year, the owner of Lacey’s Merle Norman Cosmetics, Wigs and Day Spa, Madelin White, answers phone calls every day asking if they are open. Approaching five decades in business, White proudly says yes and encourages people to visit. “We are open, and we also ship out product every day,” said White in a recent interview.

White’s father first brought up the idea of starting up a beauty related business those many years ago because he viewed it as having the ability to withstand the downturns. He was right.

“I’ve owned this Merle Norman business for 47 years and survived eight recessions. And, we will make it through this too,” White proclaimed. This, of course, refers to the pandemic and all the issues it brought with it.

Diversification has also proved to be a strong strategy that has sustained the Lacey location when others around the state and country have fallen. What started out as a beauty endeavor grew into so much more.

The store, of course, sells a wide variety of Merle Norman cosmetics, and the namesake company is the last remaining cosmetic producer to manufacture in the United States after 90 years. White’s store provides personalized services including free and specialty makeovers, but goes many steps further by offering facials, including a wide variety of masks from Miracol to Charcoal to Bubbly, waxing services, massage therapy, and hair care/styling.

According to White, “We have three amazing hairdressers, each having well over 25 years of experience.” To add to the ambiance of the salon, all three stylists have private rooms. Additionally, the Spa houses a large room to try things on and a secluded area to try on wigs.

With a huge offering of wigs varying in price points, styles and materials, the Spa offers discounts for people going through chemotherapy and cancer treatments. They sell turbans and head coverings as well to assist people in camouflaging their treatment’s side effects.

Merle Norman Cosmetics, Wigs and Day Spa
3925 8th Av SE, Lacey


Holy Lamb Organics: Natural Bedding

Holy Lamb Organics has been making natural bedding products locally by hand in the small town of Oakville, Washington for 18 years. The South Sound community can access a “touch and feel” experience in Olympia. The company’s retail showrooms are the only all-natural bedding stores between Seattle and Portland, according to owners Jason and Mindy Schaefer.

The showroom is a great way for customers to experience the products. “We’re excited to be part of the downtown Olympia neighborhood – it 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. They invite you to the showroom to experience the difference all-natural bedding offers.

Holy Lamb Organics
418 Washington St SE, Olympia, WA


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.