Tag Archives: 5 Question Friday

5 Question Friday With Alex Ziegler From Northwest Float Center

open tank

One of my favorite things about 5 Question Friday is that I occasionally get to interview people who talk about things I know nothing about. Alex from the Northwest Float Center is one such individual. He contacted me a while back and asked if he could be a part of 5 Question Friday. Having no knowledge or experience with float tanks, I was eager to learn. Alex even offered me a free float. (I’ll be talking about that particular experience on an upcoming podcast.)Here’s Alex:

1. What is the North West Float Center?

Northwest Float Center is a 4 tank float center that offers a clean & comfortable environment for each of our floaters to help them achieve complete mental and physical relaxation.  Each tank is filled with 10 inches of water and 1000 pounds of Epsom salt. In that environment your body is completely weightless; you are gravity free. Inside the tank it is dark & quiet, allowing your body and mind to completely unwind without any distractions. We think of the float tank as the only place you have your brain & your body to yourself at the same time, and being in that environment, without your brain having to process any sensory information & without there being any pain in your body, great things happen.

2. How did you get started in the Float Tank industry?

We heard about floating through Kriss’ brother who floated for his first time at a float center in Arizona. He suggested flotation therapy to Kriss as he had injured his back while working. We both took a float during the Float Conference in Portland in 2012 & immediately knew this was a form of therapy we needed in our lives, and in our area where there was nothing like it being offered. We pooled all of our resources and hit the ground running so to speak, and couldn’t be happier to be where we are today; growing as a business while serving our community.

3. What’s the most misunderstood thing about using float tanks?

Very commonly our clients are concerned with feeling claustrophobic or being faced with claustrophobia issues during their float. In over a year of business, not one client has gotten out of the tank because they were feeling too “claustrophobic”. When you check in to the shop, you will be escorted to your private room where you have your float tank & private shower. So, during the float you can leave the door open if you would like. Most commonly, people start floating with the door open & soon realize that they don’t need it open at all. There is air that comes through vents in the tank, and while floating you are in such a state of openness & calm that it’s almost impossible to feel “closed in”.  It is also worth mentioning that you can exit the float tank at any time during your float. You are in complete control of your entire experience.

4. What advice would you give someone thinking about their first float?

If you’re thinking about floating we advise you to try it!! Come in anytime to take a tour of our center. This helps to get you more comfortable with the experience.  Choose a time to float that you don’t have to rush off to the next task on your list, so that you can truly connect with how floating has benefited you.

5. What makes your float center different than others?

Being Tacoma’s first float center, we have had some time to work out the kinks of a new business. We recognize that floating itself is a new concept to many people, and we feel confident that not only our facility is first class, but our owners & staff are all avid floaters who are here to ensure that your float is nothing but perfect. We love the float community that has been created and we guarantee you won’t find a group of people more relaxed and unique than you will at our float center.

I’d like to thank Alex and everyone over at the Northwest Float Center for being completely awesome. The Northwest Float Center is located at 3907 6th Ave., Tacoma, WA 98406. Their phone number is 253-212-0360.  You can also find them online at http://northwestfloatcenter.com/

If you or someone you know would like to participate in 5 Question Friday, email me at jackcameronis@gmail.com

– Jack Cameron

5 Question Friday with the Sixth Ave. Yarn Bomber

yarnbomber

If you spend much time on Tacoma’s 6th Ave. you’ve probably seen her work. If you’re lucky you may have even seen her in the process of covering a bike rack with yarn. Often the yarn will be colored in themes that reflect nearby businesses. For a while, I had no idea who was doing it or why. Recently I got in touch with the self-described 6th Ave. Yarn Bomber and she agreed to participate in this week’s 5 Question Friday.

1. How did you start being the Sixth Avenue Yarn Bomber?

I started yarn bombing about a year and a half ago after not such stellar sales at Art on the Ave where I was selling my Original Growler Sweaters.  I noticed that people we’re draw to the yarn the bright colors really attracted them. However many had no clue what a growler was. It was after that I decided to take it to the street. I had no idea how I was going to do it until I saw the bike racks. It just struck me, they would look awesome covered in yarn. So it began my yarn awareness.

2. Why 6th Ave?

Why sixth ave, because its my home. I have lived on 6th Ave (or just a block or two off) for the past 25 years. Also in my teenage years I went to Stadium and we regularly hung out on 6th ave. I just love this neighborhood and want to do my part to help make it as awesome as it can be. I recently had to move from my home of ten years on 6th and Fife but quickly found a new place just two blocks off sixth Ave. I feel very fortunate to have found a place so close to the Ave so I will be able to continue my bombings.

3. Where is the one place you’d like to yarn bomb that you haven’t?

I have one place on 6th Ave I have planned on bombing for over a year. I just haven’t gotten around to it yet. But I will.

4. What can those who want to support your yarn bombing do to help?

I welcome any donations yarn or money. This year has been a real struggle.  I am now single and fully supporting my self working a full time and part time job, I also sell hats and growler sweaters.  I have a lot of bombs out there and plan more. They also need to be replaced on a regular basis and the costs add up. So I am extremely happy for any donations big or small, they all help keep it going. I have started a go fund me for anyone wishing to help out.

5. What’s next for the Sixth Ave Yarn Bomber?

Currently I am one of the artists featured in episode 4 of TV Tacoma ‘ s show “Art Town” (now airing) for the future,  I am presently working on getting a project for kids together for Maritime fest coming up this summer,  I also have plans for some new installations for Art on the Ave and am continuing to replace wore pieces.  I also want to hit up some other Tacoma neighborhoods too.

The Sixth Ave. Yarn Bomber’s work can be seen all over 6th Ave. You can donate to her yarn bombing fund at this link: http://bit.ly/1OOxf1J I’d like to thank her for taking the time to join me on 5 Question Friday. If you or someone you know would like to participate in 5 Question Friday drop me a line at jackcameronis@gmail.com.

– Jack Cameron

5 Question Friday With Tacoma Brewing’s Morgan Alexander

Morgan

I first encountered Tacoma Brewing Co.’s place while looking for somewhere to have a drink before I went to see a movie at the Grand. Morgan’s brother, Tristan was working. Lately, craft brewers have been popping up everywhere in and around Tacoma.

 Most of them make an IPA, a Stout, and maybe something slightly different. The choices at Tacoma Brewing were strange and exciting. I ordered a honey/strawberry beer. After that, Tristan let me taste a few others. Not one of these beers seemed like a safe bet to me. Each seemed to be pushing the envelope of craft brewing. Sure, they had a stout but it was a cherry/pomegranate stout.

As I talked to Tristan, he told me about his brother, Morgan. He said, “He’s been brewing stuff practically since high school when he learned you could turn sugar into alcohol.

A few weeks later I got a tour of Morgan’s operation and got to talk with Morgan. When I tried to describe the experience and the type of adventurous drinks that Morgan is making to a friend after the thing, I said, “When it comes to brewers, where others are professors, this guy is Indiana Jones.”

I’m happy and honored that Morgan agreed to join me this week for 5 Question Friday. Here’s Morgan:

1. How did Tacoma Brewing get started?

It got started out of an obsession to make flavor-forward beers for the masses… or at least Tacoma! It was some years in the making but after getting feedback from dropping samples off at my favorite watering holes, I decided to go for it and file for a commercial beer making permit.

2. What’s your favorite brew you’ve made so far?

My favorites are the Penalty Kick Double IPA (11%) – it drinks like a 7% and is very citrus hoppy – very juicy! On the darker side I like the Kentucky Bourbon Stout… because I love bourbon and it’s very bourbon-forward.

3. What’s the most misunderstood thing about craft brewing?

I’m not sure about that one!

4. Where can people get your beer?

People can get my beer at the taproom and as of this week at the Red Hot and Parkway – and soon other fine beer places.

5. What’s next for Tacoma Brewing?

Next is scaling up production and moving to a larger space. That’s the two year plan, at least. I am also one of the only breweries making a “pre-prohibition style ginger ale” line (contains alcohol) and I hope to start bottling them by this fall to get it out to local grocery stores and bottle shops.

I’d like to thank Morgan for participating in 5 Question Friday and I’ll say right now that his ginger ale is amazing. You can try his continuing changing selections yourself at Tacoma Brewing Co. at 625 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma, WA 98402. They’re open 5pm – 9pm Mon-Fri and 3pm – 9pm on Saturdays.

If you or someone you know would like to participate in 5 Question Friday, drop me a line at TacomaStories@gmail.com
– Jack Cameron

5 Question Friday With Designer Danille Ulvila from D & D Design Resources

A friend of mine suggested I contact Danille Ulvila. He told me she was a designer and an artist in Tacoma whose work he admired. I got in touch with her and found that she’s starting up a new venture called D & D Design Resources. She was gracious enough to take the time to join me for 5 Question Friday this week. Here’s Danille:

1. How did you get started in design work?

In some ways it was destiny as I developed a love for good design from my Mother.  She has great design sensibilities that go beyond just having good taste.  I think I picked that up from her.

That said, I sort of stumbled into design when I met a local artist and Giclee printer, Joe Palcich in 2007.  I bought some really interesting vintage Giclee prints from him to help my friends merchandise their wine shop on Sixth Avenue.  At the time I had a bunch of my kids’ art posted on the refrigerator and I was contemplating an interesting way to showcase it without being too saccharine.   I visited his studio, and saw his printers and had an “Aha moment” thinking there might be a market for printing children’s art on large format stretched canvases.  I pitched him on the idea and he was on board.  From there I started my own business, Prints Charming, and I began developing a local clientele of families who wanted to do the same thing with their children’s art and family memorabilia.

My Prints Charming business was largely supported by my network of friends, and friends-of- friends with children.  As time passed my very talented Interior Designer friend, Dawn Bloemers, began working on a large interior design project for DaVita.  She knew in a previous life, before motherhood, I had a career in Marketing Communications and she thought I might be able to help her accommodate DaVita’s request to have their corporate culture reinforced  visually in their office space.  I put together some large scale canvas collages together for her and they liked it.  From there we moved beyond canvas and started working with several local vendors using all sorts of new materials to develop design and décor projects for their offices in Tacoma.

2. What projects have you worked on?

Beyond Davita I had the privilege of working with the Children’s Museum of Tacoma on their new space. Most recently I had the opportunity to work on some really fun memorabilia display cases for the Space Needle’s 50th Anniversary of the World’s Fair.

3. What’s the most misunderstood thing when it comes to designing for a business?

I think the most misunderstood thing about design and décor is that you just have to have good taste, or that you are just there to make things look pretty.  In fact it really has nothing to do with your personal taste at all.  Successful design projects require you to translate clients’ needs into something that positively represents their aesthetic.  Beyond aesthetics you have to source the best vendors, the latest materials and you have to know how to move their concept from paper to installation which requires a lot of coordination and massive attention to even the smallest details, like where to place the screw holes.

4. What’s a project you’d love to to but haven’t had a chance to do?

You know I have never actually thought about this.  If someone had told me 5 years ago that my work with children’s art would have led to work with the Space Needle I would have laughed out loud.  I’ve been really fortunate to work with a wide variety of interesting clients and I am looking forward to whatever the next phone call brings.  I always enjoy projects that allow me to meet and promote local artists, so I would like to develop a few more projects in that direction.

5. What’s next for your design career?

I sincerely love what I do and the really interesting businesses I get to work with.  Dawn Bloemers and I are joining forces to expand our offerings to businesses large and small all around the Puget Sound.  Through installations and experiences (good and bad) we’ve developed a wealth of resources.  Her deep knowledge of all things interior design; like lighting, textiles and finishes combined with my understanding of fabrication and branding will allow us to offer a unique range of services. It’s going to be an adventure.

If you or your business has a project you would like Danille to help you with, you can contact her at dnddesignresources@gmail.com or by phone at 253-677-9931.

I’d like to thank Danille for participating in 5 Question Friday. As always, if you think you or anyone you know would be a good subject for 5 Question Friday, email me at jackcameronis@gmail.com and tell me why.

5 Question Friday With Patrick Smith From Splatterhouse Wreckords

Tacoma has always had a constantly changing music scene. If you go to a random bar in Tacoma on a weekend, you don’t know what sort of music you might find. It could be one lone girl with an acoustic guitar or it could be a full on punk band with a style all their own. Patrick Smith knows that Tacoma is full of great musicians. That’s why he started Splatterhouse Wreckords. He took some time out of his schedule to join us for 5 Question Friday and tell us a little about himself, his label, and his bands.

1. How did Splatterhouse Wreckords get started?

Splatterhouse Wreckords has been a work in the making for a while. The label got its official start in September of 2011 when my buddy and I finally agreed on a name. The first band to release an album on Splatterhouse Wreckords was Tacoma’s own Sok and the Faggots with their release “Shit Happens When You Party Naked.”

2. What makes your record label different from others?

I try to run Splatterhouse Wreckords band friendly. I choose bands that I like.  Having bands on my label that I personally enjoy motivates me to do as much as possible to help that band succeed.  I also don’t believe in changing the direction a band wants to go with their albums. If I trust a band enough to offer them a contract with Splatterhouse, I trust them to make the right decisions in the studio.

3. Who are some of the bands on your label?

Sok and the Faggots – Tacoma

facebook.com/sokandthefunguys  

reverbnation.com/soknthefaggots

Bass Line Bums – Austin

facebook.com/basslinebumsstin

reverbnation.com/basslinebums

Load Levelers – Seattle

facebook.com/pages/The-Load-Levelers/262768289879

Angie and the Car Wrecks – Centralia

facebook.com/angiecarwrecks

angieandthecarwrecks.com

Latex Willer – Croatia

facebook.com/Latex.Willer 

wix.com/latexwiller/goinpsycho

Here are some of our upcoming projects:

Live split with Angie and the Car Wrecks and the Hard Money Saints.  The album will be recorded on May 19th at the Grayland Community Center. Come check out the show and party with the bands.

We will be teaming up with Psycho a Go Go Records to release a split EP. The album will consist of a band from their label and a band from my label. Both bands will record 5 new songs for the album.

We are also working on our second compilation album. The album will be called “Splatterhouse Massacre 2, Sloppy Seconds” and it will include bands from Splatterhouse Wreckords and other bands from around the world.

4. What excites you about the Tacoma music scene?

Tacoma has a great music scene. I think the thing that excites me the most about the music here in Tacoma is the support bands get. There are some great venues in the Tacoma and greater Tacoma area that know how to treat a band while they are playing. Bands in Tacoma also get a lot of support from the fans. Show goers in Tacoma know how to have a good time.

5. In your opinion, what’s the most underrated band in Tacoma?

I think underground music as a whole is underrated or unrated. Some of the best musicians in the world play in underground bands. That’s why I do what I do. I love underground music and I want people to hear it. I will continue putting out music till I am dead and my ashes are in a PBR can on someone’s shelf.

 

You can find Splatterhouse Wreckords at:

splatterhousewreckords.com

facebook.com/pages/Splatterhouse-Wreckords/235553086463584

dyingscene.com/labels/splatterhouse-wreckords/

 

I’d like to thank Patrick for joining us. And as always, if you or someone you know wants to be part of 5 Question Friday, write me and jackcameronis@gmail.com and tell me why.

–          Jack Cameron

5 Question Friday One Year Anniversary With Ken Thoburn From Wingman Brewers

One year ago next week I started TacomaStories.com and 5 Question Friday. During that year, this site has had over 30,000 visitors. People who have participated in 5 Question Friday include street poet, David Fewster, Pierce County Prosecutor and author, Mark Lindquist, The Voice contestant, Vicci Martinez, and the Mayor of Tacoma herself, Marilyn Strickland. But it all started with 5 questions for Ken Thoburn, co-owner of a ‘nano-brewery’ called Wingman Brewers. At the time, they hadn’t even released their first beer. I decided there was no better way to end the first year of 5 Question Friday than to catch up with Ken Thoburn and see how he and his brewery are doing.

Here’s Ken:

1. How has Wingman Brewers changed in the last year?

Over the course of the last year we’ve spent most of the time getting our bearings.  None of us had worked professionally for a brewery before we opened our own so there has been a lot to learn as we’ve negotiated the industry.  We are constantly growing, adapting and trying to give our customers the best beer we can.  We still have so much to learn on every front so we’re very thankful for the awesome supporters we have.

 

2. What is your favorite brew you’ve made so far? 

Stratofortress is a Belgian Specialty Ale.  I originally made it as a one time thing but it was so good I had to make it again and again.  People have responded to it in the same way clamoring for it everywhere so we’re really happy with the response.  The beer itself is huge at 11.4% ABV and we age it on rum soaked cedar planks.  The spiciness of the dark rum and the spiciness of the esters present in the beer play extremely well together.  The added complexity that the cedar brings to the fruitiness of the malt background makes the beer one of the best out there in our opinion.  It’s wild to us that Stratofortress has such a great reputation after we’ve only released 5 barrels of it in the last 3 months.  We’re very excited to continue making Stratofortress and to continue making more unique beers like it in the future.

 

3. What was the most surprising thing that’s happened to Wingman in the last year?

The rate of growth and the demand for our beer really surprised us.  We’ve had to be really careful about expanding our client list at all because we have trouble keeping up with the clients we have.  We thought it would take multiple years before we got to this point but the industry moves fast and people want their beer.  Coming up on our 1 year anniversary here in April we’re very excited to be expanding and hopefully we’ll be able to bring our beer to 10 times the amount of people who tried it over the last 12 months.

 

4. What have you not yet been able to accomplish that you’d like to?

We can’t make enough beer.  I wish I had the beer and the time to deliver it to all the people that want it.  Coming from a customer service background it’s hard not to be able to give people what they want.  It’s also hard being a small business owner and wanting to grow but not having the resources or time to grow as fast as you want to.  Everything takes time.

 

5. What’s next for Wingman Brewers? 

There are a ton of nexts for us in the coming months.  We’re hoping to open in our new location toward the end of April.  We’re moving our brewing operation down there so we can expand it.  We’re going to have a taproom so folks can fill growlers and drink pints 3 days a week as well.  That’s the news for April, but in May we’re going to start putting our beer in cans so we’ll be in places all over Tacoma in 16oz cans.  From there the next jump will be the biggest we’ve made so far since we will have to pony up and buy a larger brewing system and all the accouterment.

You can find out more about Wingman Brewers at http://wingmanbrewers.com 

I’d like to thank Ken Thoburn and all of my other 5 Question Friday participants from the last year. This has been an enjoyable experiment. I’m hoping that the next year will be even more interesting and enlightening. Who would you like to participate in 5 Question Friday? Let me know at jackcameronis@gmail.com

5 Question Friday With Summer Briggs From Millesime Designs

A sculpture made out of recycled gun parts

I almost bought this piece. Created out of recycled gun parts, it's a perfect example of the sort of thing you'll find at Millesime Designs.

Antique Row is one of my favorite places in Tacoma. Back in the late 1990s, I used to live just a few blocks from Antique Row. I’d spend my Saturday mornings going through the various antique and curio shops. It was a good time even when I didn’t buy anything.

Millesime Designs is one of the newest additions to Antique Row. I stopped by a couple of weeks ago. It’s a small shop packed with things you won’t find anywhere else. I also met Summer Briggs who was nice enough to participate in this week’s 5 Question Friday.

1. What is Millesime Designs?

Millesime designs is a home boutique located in downtown Tacoma. We specialize in a mix of vintage furnishings and accessories alongside upcycled creations and handcrafted paper items.

2. What makes Millesime Designs unique?

One of the things that makes Millesime designs unique is our Collections. About every 8 weeks we completely transform the store. We change the paint colors and bring in all new furniture and accessories. This allows us to introduce new styles and themes 6 times a year. It also helps us keep the space fresh and allows us to keep the space intentionally designed instead of just packed. I love providing a space where people can visualize how they will live with the items. Our core aesthetic is consistent but we delve into new colors and periods. We love it and our customers seem to have as much fun with it as we do.

3. How did you get started selling these unique items?

Opening the store has been a journey. I’ve had a love for all things vintage since I was a child. My Mom would take us to rummage sales and flea markets regularly. I’ve never lost that love of the hunt and love the sharing and selling of my finds. When I was living in San Francisco I started making one of our core products, our Notebooks. I quickly learned there was a market for them and began selling them at a boutique on Sacramento street. When we moved back to Washington the job market was tough and I wasn’t finding a position that excited me. So I wandered into Sanford & Son Antiques, saw their incredible deal on retail space. Met the owners, believed in their business model and plunged into our first location head first. Bringing my two passions together, vintage items and handcrafted items, into one store that has evolved to what we are today.

4. What’s your favorite item you’ve come across and why?

I’ve had so many favorite finds over the years. One of my top favorites ever was the Booze Hound Bar. We found a dog grooming station that was built from the base of an antique barber chair. We upcycled it into a bar. A bar that lifted and lowered on hydraulics, that spun around, that had a cabinet to house liquor and glasses. That we topped off with vintage dictionary pages all featuring dog images and finished with a dog chain that dropped down the door to the cabinet to make a shelf. It was amazing. It found a home with one of our favorite retailers up on 6th Ave. A personal favorite find was stopping at an Antique store on my honeymoon and finding a Fisher Price tick tock clock that was exactly like the one I played with at my Grandparents house. Turning it on instantly transports me back to afternoons with my sisters and cousins at family gatherings. That’s one that won’t be making it into the store inventory.

5. What are your future plans for Millesime Designs?

Our future plans for Millesime designs include expanding our custom lines and expanding our retail presence with more wholesale opportunities. Very soon we’ll introduce an offshoot brand focused on vintage baby items we are really excited to launch. Short term we’ll keep settling into our new space (which we love!) with our next Collection premiering in May. Long term we plan on staying in this space for 1-2 more years and then relocate to a larger space where we can continue to grow, change, and with our loyal customers support, thrive.

Thanks to Summer Briggs for joining me for 5 Question Friday. You can find her shop down on Antique Row at 745 Broadway in Downtown Tacoma.

If you or anyone you know would like to participate in 5 Question Friday, send me an email at jackcameronis@hotmail.com