Tacoma Local Stories

Meet Carlos Taylor-Swanson & Madera Furniture Company


Located in Tacoma’s vibrant Brewery District, Madera Furniture Company has been a longtime fixture of the Tacoma community. For almost 15 years, this locally owned and operated furniture and cabinetry company has been in the business of providing high-quality, custom woodworking to commercial and residential clients in Tacoma and the surrounding region.                                                    

When Carlos Taylor-Swanson founded Madera Furniture Company in 2006, his mission was two-fold. First and foremost, Carlos wanted to fulfill his dream of going into business for himself. A lifelong maker and craftsman, Carlos arguably began his woodworking career at just 12 years old when he constructed a clubhouse in his parents’ backyard, followed by 30 years of experience doing rough and finish carpentry and luxury yacht interiors. It was...

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Meet Christy Barnes of Carpe Diem Massage & Spa

Christy Barnes is a Tacoma native and the owner of Carpe Diem Massage and Spa. She is married to Richard Barnes and has three children and a dog named Lexie and a cat named Kitty Loggins. Christy grew up in Tacoma and went to Stadium High School. She can literally walk from her home to her (very historic) business location in Stadium District.  
Christy has been a massage therapist for 22 years. She became interested in massage when she saw a friend who had gone to a massage therapist school, and she now got to choose her own hours and earned good money. Christy at the time was a stay-at-home mom with three kids and was working at a clothing store called the Bon Marche (you might remember that store). At first, she wanted to own a clothing store, but then she decided that she wanted to be a massage therapist, and she graduated from massage school in June of 1999 and started her business that September. 
Her first location was in a little one-room studio above...
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10 Fun Things to Do During Spring Break in Tacoma

Uncategorized Mar 19, 2021

After a year plus of quarantine and a cold winter of being cooped up inside, many families are feeling the need to get outside and do fun activities together, safely! Here are 10 ideas for things to do over Spring Break, and they all follow the state’s current guidelines to keep your family healthy.

  • Take a Drive on the Wild Side 

Northwest Trek Wildlife Park is just 45 minutes south of Tacoma and offers unique experiences to allow your family to get up close to animals like American bison, mountain goats, caribou, bighorn sheep, Roosevelt elk, black-tailed deer and trumpeter swans. The 50-minute Wild Drive allows families to stay in their own car while driving through the park’s 435-acre Free Roaming Area past serene meadows, shady wetlands and green forests. Or, if you’re feeling even more adventurous, sign up for a Keeper Adventure Tour and go off-road in an open-air Jeep with a keeper to search for any hidden animals. Both experiences include admission to...

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005 - The Power of The Needle with Acupuncturist Jeremy Frieling

talking-shop-show Mar 04, 2021

We had the privilege of sitting down for a great chat with local acupuncturist Jeremy Frieling. 

Jeremy operates out of Serenity Spa in Tacoma, WA  -- www.serenityspatacoma.com

Jeremy talks about some of the benefits of acupuncture, when to seek this particular therapy, and how it fits into overall wellness and relief (hint: it should NOT be a last resort!)

Jeremy is an expert in his field and has won "Best of South Sound" as an acupuncturist in Tacoma for the past 2 years!

Listen Right Here:

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Wren & Willow's new Carriage House Project

Historic Tacoma Living recently sat down with Laureen Skrivan, president of Wren & Willow, a contracting company in Tacoma that specializes in design-build, custom homes, home remodels, commercial, architecture, and interior design. Laureen says, “It’s really a one-stop-shop. We have our own architect, Stacy Ostlund, and can start designing a project from the very beginning. It then goes over to our construction division and interior-design team. We can do it all. Nobody has to go anywhere but here.”
Laureen and her partner and project manager, Cliff Kendall, opened the doors of their new company in 2008, right in the middle of an economic crisis, which Laureen laughs about now. “It was probably not the best time to start a contracting company, but we made it through and are very proud of where we are now.”
And where they are now is growing. With 15 employees and over a decade of experience, Laureen and her team are expanding, building...
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004 - Meet eliseo - a New Name for a long-time Tacoma Community

Tacoma Lutheran Retirement Community was founded in 1938 and has been a long-time staple in the greater Tacoma community, and they plan to continue that tradition for decades to come.

During its 82-year history, they have provided exceptional 5-Star service to more than 375 residents who call eliseo home. 

Listen in as we talk with Alexandra Vick about the new name, and what this means for the future of eliseo in terms of how they plan to continue to serve our community.


Listen Right Here:


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Meet Giampaolo Falchetti and Kathryn Philbrook - Owners of Crudo & Cotto

Kathryn has been a native of Tacoma dating back to 1987. Giampaolo grew up on a farm in Umbria, where the family food traditions were a large part of his upbringing. One step inside Crudo & Cotto and you’ll feel the welcoming, familial environment.
After studying Irish Theater at the University of Puget Sound, Kathryn traveled to Ireland on a 4-month work exchange program at a youth hostel in Dublin. Giampaolo was in the United Kingdom at the time, working on his English and studying the language. He traveled to Ireland and ended up staying at the same youth hostel where Kathryn was working. They actually met on Halloween and a relationship sparked. 
After Kathryn left Ireland to come home to Tacoma and Giampaolo returned to Italy, they maintained a long-distance relationship before Kathryn decided to move to Italy in 2004. They lived together in Italy for just over 2 years before moving to Tacoma together. They eventually married and have a wonderful...
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Meet Mason McCleary of Spartan Plumbing Inc.

As we sat down to talk to Mason, owner of Spartan Plumbing Inc., we could tell that he takes great pride in the company that he honestly helped build from the time he was 16 years old. Mason grew up in Bonney Lake, Washington, and spent a lot of his time with his dad, whom he credits a lot of his knowledge and work ethic to in regards to this same business. Mason’s father, always having a construction business, did some work for Spartan Plumbing putting in all of their sewer lines. He built a strong relationship with the owner at the time, and when it was time for the owner to retire in 2004, he approached Mason’s father and offered him the company.

Mason started working for his dad at this time, digging water lines and ditches after school and in his spare time, eventually working full time after graduating high school. The fact that his dad was the owner did not keep Mason from the hard work of completing an apprenticeship, learning how to lead a team, and slowly...

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003 - Finish Well | An Interview with Ross Hjelseth

talking-shop-show Jan 29, 2021

In this episode, we welcome our very first guest to the show, Ross Hjelseth.

Ross is a former collegiate football coach and head of school for a local Christian School in Tacoma, WA. He recently wrote and published a book entitled "Winning Words" which is also the name of his podcast.

Listen in as Ross shares insights that will not only help you in business but in life as well.

Connect with Ross:



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Budget Blinds of Puyallup - Interview with Dusty Elliott


Budget Blinds of Puyallup offers extraordinary window coverings, and a lot more, at reasonable price points for any budget. Listen in as Dusty shares with us what Budget Blinds has to offer, as well as how they are keeping the community safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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