For customers in the Puget Sound or Midwest who are starved for great food, beer and atmosphere, chances are the letters “R,” “A,” and “M” will beckon to their calling.
The RAM Restaurant and Brewery has more than 30 locations in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Colorado, Illinois and Indiana. Soon, the folks in Ohio will get a RAM of their own.
The restaurant has grown into a semi-national brand on the strength of its award-winning beer, great cuisine and 2,000-plus team members/owners who take pride in serving guests.
But for those of us in Lakewood, there’s another sense of pride - one that comes with knowing no matter how popular the RAM ultimately becomes, it all began here in our community.
“The whole thing started in Lakewood,” said Mark Patterson, who started out as a server at the Lakewood location in 1989 and today is a Regional Leader for the company. “It’s our home.”
Few people – let alone businesses – can say that they’ve laughed, cried and celebrated with an entire community for nearly half a century. In Lakewood, however, Crane’s Creations has the mementos, “Thank You” notes and pictures to prove it.
Since 1970, the family owned-and-operated business has provided countless prom-goers from Clover Park, Lakes and Steilacoom High Schools with corsages and boutonnieres. It has saved apologetic husbands and boyfriends by offering an array of bouquets for their wives and girlfriends. It has done everything it can to allow grieving families to worry about one less thing after the loss of a loved one.
As owners Bob and Roma Crane explain it, they have helped generations of Lakewood residents during their most important life moments. “Whatever they’re going through, we’re not numb to it,” Roma explains. “Sometimes we’re crying with them.”
The family business began with Bob’s parents – Marvin and Joanne Crane. Marvin was enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, and the college sweethearts had been stationed in Germany and Texas before being assigned to Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska. It was there that Joanne first planted the seeds of what would become Crane’s Creations, so to speak. She became a self-taught florist, working out a deal with a florist in nearby Fairbanks to sell flowers on the base. Joanne operated one of the first flower shops in the military services at Eielson.
Lakewood Hardware and Paint has been part of Lakewood for more than 65 years, ever since Russell Fry opened the first store on Gravelly Lake Drive. The building the community frequents today is actually the store’s third incarnation.
The father of the current owner, Donn Tyler, bought Lakewood Hardware and Paint from Fry in the 1950s and later moved to a building more than twice its size on 105th Street and Bridgeport Way. In 1983, five years after purchasing his father’s share of the company, Tyler moved to its existing 12,000-square-foot spot on Lakewood Drive.
Over the years, Lakewood Hardware and Paint has continued to expand and grow. The original store sold hardware, paint and a few plumbing tools. These days, Lakewood Hardware and Paint’s selection includes home appliances, STIHL power tools, home and garden, plumbing, electricity and lumber. It even sells doors. And if customers can’t find what they need, the store will order whatever they request—and keep a stock of it in the future.
The Lakewood office of MACNAK Construction provides a glimpse into owner Terence “TD” King’s tenure as a pilot and flight instructor with the U.S. Navy, as well as the incredible team of employees with which he has been able to stock his business.
On the veteran’s back wall is a framed picture of a VF-32 F-14B Tomcat aircraft flying over Iraq, the photograph bordered by signatures of his squadron mates. Below that is another framed image, this one of the USS Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier. He knows the U.S. aircraft carrier well, as he took off and landed his fighter jets on the Truman during numerous missions between 2001-2004 in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
King, 41, learned plenty during his military flying days, which included lecturing fighter squadrons from Japan to the East Coast as the Navy’s threat missile Subject Matter Expert and flying as an Adversary Instructor pilot in support of SFARP, Airwing, TOPGUN and FRS fighter classes from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
The “History Room” of Allen Realtors’ office in Lakewood is stocked with mementos and reminders of the company’s deep roots in the South Sound.
There’s the black-and-white photo of its original location in Downtown Tacoma, where Harold Allen Sr., established the company on Oct. 1, 1940 under the banner of “Allen’s Finer Homes.” In another picture – the small Lakewood branch the company opened eight years later. Patterned among the pictures are recognitions from groups like the Washington Association of Realtors, “thank you” letters and other reminders that Allen Realtors has been in Lakewood since shortly after the end of World War II.
One face sticks out more than others in the company’s historical exhibit – that of Harold Allen Jr. After attending Stanford University, enlisting in the Navy and serving in the war, Allen Jr., joined the company in 1946 and took over management duties three years later. It was Allen Jr., who recognized the future of Lakewood and suburban Tacoma.
“Harold Allen Jr., was the face of the company for seven different decades,” explains President/Designated Broker Mike Larson, who’s also Allen Jr.’s son-in-law.
What exactly happened? Allen Realtors became one of the most successful and longest-running realty companies in the South Sound. On Oct. 1, 2015, Allen Realtors will celebrate its 75th anniversary. It has created a legacy built on its strong relationships – both with customers and the company’s employees who cater to them.
It also the reason the City of Lakewood is proud to recognize Allen Realtors – a Lakewood institution as much as its distinctive red and white signs – as the City’s Business Showcase.
These days, Boo Han Market’s aisles are lined with authentic Asian foods and goods.
From soft tofu to spicy kimchee to cuts of beef and fresh seafood, the specialty grocery store’s selection has attracted shoppers from throughout the South Sound and beyond for nearly four decades. After years of expanding and adapting to meet the needs of customers, Boo Han Market continues to thrive in Lakewood’s International District – a remarkable feat given its humble beginnings as a rice cake and tofu factory in owner Boo Han’s garage.
The market’s story begins with Han, whose father ran a grocery store in Korea. The younger Han emigrated from Korea to the U.S. with his family in 1973 and bought a 400-square-foot home in Lakewood near his sister-in-law’s. He and his wife worked for five years and saved up enough money to start a rice cake and tofu factory in their garage—a garage that Boo Han himself built. The family devoted countless hours of work to their dream. Jae Han, Boo Han’s son, says his father slept about three hours a night during the early years.
The Original House of Donuts continues to do what it has done for decades: Make the best donuts in the world.
And where are the best donuts in the world made? Why, right here in Lakewood, at the same spot where generations of locals have trekked for sweet, sugary goodness.
In 1959, the Original House of Donuts (OHOD) started with a secret recipe guarded heavily by owners, Bob and Marilyn Cheatham. When Bob passed away in 2003, Marilyn carried on with the tradition. As time passed, and through a number of managers and staff, things took a donut downhill, and the products and property slipped. Then, in late 2012, Mrs. Cheatham decided it was time to pass the torch.
Enter longtime donut-lover Tom Peterson. This Lakewood native, who moved out of state for a bit but returned and was looking for an opportunity, purchased the business, property and neighboring parcel in December 2012. A local with big dreams, Tom was looking for a new challenge, a way to make a difference for the community.
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.