Lakewood might not have realized it, but Alicia Barrett knew that the community needed Tuladhara Yoga.
According to Barrett and the millions of other people worldwide who practice it, yoga is fun and offers mental, physical and emotional benefits. Increased energy, cardiovascular and strength-building, improved focus and concentration – the list goes on and on.
But for newcomers, yoga can be intimidating, especially given some widely held stereotypes and misconceptions of the ancient Indian practice.
That’s why Barrett, a Lakewood native, chose this particular community when she opened her studio – located at 7304 Lakewood Dr. W, Set 12, next to H&L Produce and Casa Mia. She envisioned a place where anyone could practice yoga and feel comfortable and welcomed.
“A community like Lakewood that’s diverse and has people of all backgrounds may not be using yoga to its fullest,” Barrett says. “We want to be a studio that’s inclusive. People have these perceptions or stereotypes about yoga, and we’re really trying to dispel all that.”
Few things are guaranteed for small, independent business owners.
But in the case of Lakewood’s Diamond Designs Unlimited – where each piece of jewelry is unique and crafted to the finest quality - owner Shawn Luvaas keeps a promise for new and longtime customers.
It’s a promise that has helped Diamond Designs build and maintain a loyal following for nearly 25 years.
“I guarantee you’ll see something you’ve never seen before,” he said recently during a break from a steady trickle of walk-ins.
If all of the shoes that have been given new life at Ardesson’s Shoe Repair & New Shoes could talk, they would have nearly 70 years worth of stories to tell.
Of course, shoes can’t talk. Luckily, Alex Bennett can. He can do it well, in fact. He can speak about the intricacies of the shoe repair industry – how most shoes these days are molded directly together, rather than the old days of welts. That’s where the leather rim is sewn around the edge of a shoe top, attaching to the sole.
Bennett - who began working at Ardesson’s in 1970 – has seen the store change, along with the community around it. A lot of the shoes that the store originally sold were more orthopedic in nature, but over the years they began to also emphasize a sense of style.
He can recall generations of families walking through the doors at 9635 Gravelly Lake Dr. SW, in need of a shoe fix. Often, a nice pair of shoes they had purchased was starting to hurt, and that’s where Ardesson’s earned its dollar.
The story of Greer Steel, Inc. began 61 years ago and 2,200 miles away in a garage in Fairbanks, Alaska.
At the time, Glenn Greer recognized the need in his community for consistently built, quality steel fuel storage tanks. Using a small set of plate rolls to bend the steel, Greer began making 100-, 200- and 300-gallon tanks.
In the following decades, Greer built a shop suited for welding and earned a license to build UL listed tanks. In 1972, Greer expanded to Anchorage – Alaska’s largest city – to meet a growing a demand. Still, that state’s geography and lack of roads meant Greer couldn’t reach Alaska’s southeast coastal region.
That’s when the company decided to open a location in the South Sound, where barges could originate and navigate to the regions in Alaska that were difficult to reach via land. The company started on the Tacoma Tideflats but realized it needed more space to operate.
The sweet, buttery, melt-in-your mouth creations of Bite Me! Inc. can be found in grocery stores and shops nationwide.
But the passion that goes into every cookie – from Flower Power shortbread to Butter Grahams to football-shaped Seahawk cookies - can be found nearly every day here in Lakewood. That’s where owner Deborah Tuggle and her staff of nearly 20 people produce the treats that many of us buy at Metropolitan Market, Whole Foods and other popular stores.
Bite Me! specializes in sweet and simple. Currently, crews work with three different cookie companies that she owns. However, each cookie is then specialized for the customer. According to Tuggle, that simple approach is the foundation of her company’s quality.
“We don’t skimp on anything,” she said recently while chatting with the City of Lakewood in her office at 3827 100th St., Bite Me’s headquarters since 2015. “We use only the best domestic nuts. We use only the best butter. We use only made- from- scratch cookie dough.”
“I won’t compromise the product.”
Tijuana Taco is as much Lakewood as lakes, oak trees and the military.
Sure, to someone new to the area, the connection might not make sense. The South Sound is located some 1,200 miles from Tijuana, Mexico, after all.
But talk to any longtime Lakewood resident, and he or she likely can recount fond memories of the family owned-and-operated restaurant that opened its doors in 1969.
The Tijuana Taco brand originally began in Scottsdale, Ariz., and thanks to a Northwest businessperson with franchise visions in mind, there were plans to open multiple locations in the South Sound and Portland, Ore., area.
The Lakewood restaurant – located at 10005 Bristol Ave. SW – opened and was an immediate hit with locals, who could order and munch on anything from tacos to bean tostadas to burritos.
From one-hour film development to digital cameras and lenses to cell phones, technology has revolutionized the art of capturing still images in recent decades.
But for Lakewood’s own Robi’s Camera Center, Print Labs and Custom Framing, qualities such as a camera’s price, release date or ability to post quickly to Facebook don’t define the quality of a picture.
It’s more than that – much more, actually – according to Operations Manager Tod Wolf. He has witnessed countless examples of people who, despite buying an expensive camera or lens, still produce a less-than-ideal picture.
“I do so much one-on-one coaching when they come in,” he says of frustrated customers seeking photography help. “To me, it’s mind-blowing how much difference a quick lesson in the basics can make."
The City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin is a roundup of news items, happenings and other items of note for the City of Lakewood.
Lakewood's recognizes strong and longstanding local businesses with its Business Showcase.