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When I first met William Manzanares, we spent a long time talking about employees – not just his employees, but the whole concept of what employees mean to a business. I’ve worked for a few companies that focused primarily on the more tangible aspects of business, like sales and expansion, while disregarding major issues, like poor retention and low morale. In other words, employees were treated more as a means to an end, rather than the core of the company itself. When we started talking about the employees of Smokin’ Willy’s, I couldn’t believe how passionate he was about them.
I mean that literally.
I could not, at that point, imagine how the owner of a local chain of drive-through smoke shops could genuinely care that much about the staff. It’s not that I assumed a business owner would be indifferent to the… Read Full Story

It’s Just Business: The cost of being cheap

In a lot of ways, service industry businesses – restaurants, auto repair shops, beauty salons, etc. – are unique ventures with their own set of challenges and rewards, and number one among these is the people who walk through the door. Service industry businesses depend on the lifeblood of interacting face-to-face every day with a constant flow of customers – the people who decide whether you make it or not in your business. You have a product or a skill that they don’t have and so they need you. They have the capital you need in order to operate your business so you need them. Sounds simple, but there is more to it than meets the eye.Read Full Story

Business Spotlight: Throwing Mud Gallery

Not only does Throwing Mud Gallery have a cool name, it’s located right in the center of the Old Town Tacoma business district at 2212 30th St. Offering pottery classes, paint your own pottery and fine handcrafted art pieces for sale, Throwing Mud Gallery is unique in that it provides to the public an avenue for artistic expression found nowhere else in Tacoma.

Owners, and husband and wife team, Mark and Eileen Hudak opened Throwing Mud Gallery in January 2011. The idea to open a gallery first sparked two years earlier when Eileen, a… Read Full Story

Emerald Queen Casino Crime Stoppers
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Lyla’s Room now open for business
William Manzanares

A fact of life that all new parents soon learn is that kids grow out of clothes – quickly. So what do you do when your little one’s collection of too-small sizes starts to pile up? You can give things away to friends and family – if you just happen to know someone with a child that fits the…

Secret family recipe cooks up success for Mrs. Pickles Gourmet
William Manzanares

Ever watch “Antiques Roadshow” and wish you had some super valuable family heirloom tucked away? You might consider looking through your recipe box rather than your attic. For Aly Cullinane, her family treasure turned into an entrepreneur’s dream. More than 100 years ago, Cullinane’s Great-Grandmother…


It's a bird, it's a plane... it's a tweet! Yes, we're going to talk about Twitter today. It seems like most people are already a whiz at Twitter or they don't know anything about it. And if you're wondering if you should take the Twitter plunge, the only thing you really have to consider is that every…

Michaels Marketing Minute

YouTube! So fun! We spend hours watching videos of our favorite bands, how-to videos on getting the garbage disposal working again, and funny cat videos (my personal favorites – have you seen the ones with the cucumbers?). But what if all the millions of people on YouTube were watching your videos…

It’s Just Business: When I Work app makes employee scheduling easy
William Manzanares

While on vacation a while back, my girlfriend was trying to solve a problem and she said wouldn’t it be cool if there were an app that you could use to schedule your employees and all that it entails without having to call everyone and take hours away from managers’ time? I did some research and…

It’s Just Business – American Retail Supply owner Keith Lee
William Manzanare

“Do what you do so well that people can’t help telling others about you.” – Walt Disney Keith Lee is the embodiment of customer service. I say this because I have enlisted the help of Keith and his company, American Retail Supply, for my own businesses and from the moment of first interaction…

Michael Marketing Minute

Ever have trouble being creative? I mean, how many new ideas can someone reasonably come up with every day? We all have times when we're more creative and less creative and whenever I have an inspired moment, I'm always trying to figure out how to bottle that juice or vibe or whatever it is and reproduce…

Business Spotlight: Holloway Home Maintenance
Derek Shuck

While spring is bringing warmer weather to University Place and Tacoma, it’s also reminding citizens of outdoor work to be done around the house, much to the annoyance of kids on spring break no doubt. One of the priorities for a lot of homeowners is the state of the home’s roof. While completely…

It’s Just Business – Dealing with difficult customers
William Manzanares

Because they range in degree from the most pleasant people you’ll encounter to the most difficult you’ll ever face, customers will test every level of your business acumen. That doesn’t mean that you have to react to them differently, however. In fact, keeping an across-the-board policy of courteous…

Michaels Marketing Minute
Michael Harris

Email etiquette. Nowadays, a vast amount of our business communication happens in the realm of electronic mail. And often, we never even get a chance to meet face to face with the people we email. That's why it's so important that we realize it's not only the words we write in emails that matter,…