Tacoma Local Stories

Meet Jeff Graham of Fairway Independent Mortgage!

Meet Jeff Graham of Fairway Independent Mortgage. He is a proud member of our local Tacoma + 253 community and we were thrilled to catch up with him about all things reverse mortgages. In this interview, we break down what a reverse mortgage is, how they work, and if it might be right for you!

We sat down with Jeff to learn more about Reverse Mortgages, here's what we learned:


“I believe that God wired me to help people. I figured out at a young age that money touches all facets of our lives to a degree, and if I can help people make smart decisions about their money, then it’s very rewarding for me, very fulfilling for me, and I enjoy it. That’s what really gets me up in the morning and keeps me going when things get tough.”

Jeff begins our conversation with this. Jeff Graham has been in financial services for the better part of his adult career. He’s had his hand...

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Meet Nadine Kohler of Seabury School

Nadine Kohler is the Director of Institutional Advancement at Seabury School. Seabury is the only independent school in the South Puget Sound area with programs designed for intellectually advanced children in pre-k - 8th grade. Nadine sat down with us to chat about what it means to have a gifted child, how they approach education at Seabury School, and how to determine if it's time to seek a new approach to learning with your kiddo. We are huge fans of the mission at Seabury School and we are thrilled that they have planted their roots and flourished in the South Sound.

Learn more about Seabury School


We all want our children to have the best possible opportunities to learn and succeed in life. 

Finding a school that fits each child's unique needs plays a crucial part in that long-term success and happiness. 


Traditional schools do their very best to accommodate the educational needs of each child, but oftentimes end up offering a “one size fits...

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Meet Jenn Luna with Paper Luxe

In this episode of the Tacoma + 253 Business Spotlight, we had the pleasure of chatting in the studio with Jenn Luna of Paper Luxe!

Jenn Luna owns Paper Luxe, Curious Bear Toys, The Crest Home, and Little Luxe Baby Shop.

She is a proud member of our local Tacoma + 253 community and we were thrilled to catch up with her about all things business and life. She told us all about her journey since opening her business in 2012, her ability to pivot and grow during the pandemic, and her unique path to finding her passion.

Click here to visit her website and learn more.

Follow Paper Luxe on Instagram

Mike Skiff: All right. Well, hey, welcome Jen to the program. Glad to have you here.

Jenn Luna: Thanks so much for having me.

Mike Skiff: Yes. And we'll take a quick minute before we dive in and introduce you. It's Jennifer Luna, and you were the owner of multiple establishments. So just why don't you tell us first who you are and what you do?

Jenn Luna: Sure. So my name is Jen. I go by...

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Meet Dr. McKenzie Hollyoak with Grit City Chiropractic


In this episode, we had the pleasure to sit down in the studio with Dr. McKenzie Hollyoak with Grit City Chiropractic. This was a really fun and engaging conversation and you are sure to gain a few important health nuggets by listening in. Oh, and we geek out a bit about her super funny and witty Reels on her Instagram page as well (which you MUST check out for yourself.)

Click here to visit her website to learn more about her practice.

Go here to connect with her on IG and check out her brilliant Reels (as well as some great health tips and advice)

More about Dr. M:

Dr. McKenzie is the founding doctor of Grit City Chiropractic. Having been raised in and around the  Tacoma community - a Bellarmine graduate, Habitat for Humanity volunteer, and member of St. Leo’s Parish - she feels excited and blessed to give her energy and the gift of chiropractic to a community that has shaped her. Dr. McKenzie's passion for chiropractic began at a young age when she suffered multiple...

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Meet Bill Peach and the Team at Budget Blinds of Gig Harbor & North Tacoma

Bill Peach was born and raised in Berkley California and moved to the PNW when his job at a major printing company transferred him in 1982. After 21 years with that company, he left them in the year 2000 and started contemplating owning his own business and working for himself. After much consideration, Bill decided on owning a franchise and bought Budget Blinds in 2002 in the Federal Way/North East Tacoma Area, close to where he lives. Shortly after, he bought his second franchise, Gig Harbor/North Tacoma Territory, and has been serving most of Gig Harbor, Fox Island, University Place, and up North to the Point Defiance area for the past 18 years. Since 2012 he has focused on the Gig Harbor/North Tacoma territory.
Budget Blinds is the largest custom window covering company in North America, having over 1,000 territories in the U.S., Canada, and even in Mexico. Local owners with local franchises, but with the international reach of a larger company. The benefit of this is...
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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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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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