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PupJoy! Premium, Delivered Dog Goods on a mission.

You may have seen the below video that we put together in collaboration with PupJoy (www.pupjoy.com), who has the best dog subscription boxes and premium dog goods of all time! We wanted to dive a little deeper into who they are, what they are doing, and how they are doing it! 

A video posted by pnwonderdogs (@pnwonderdogs) on

PupJoy was created to give dog parents like us a better experience in treating our best friends, with equally great quality and service. Similarly to us here at pnwonderland, they also help connect a community by working with and supporting independent artisan businesses. The handpicked and packed subscription boxes are full of natural, customizable, and healthy items you will not find in big stores. Meaning if your dog has any kind of allergies or dietary restrictions... They can of course still be a part of the fun! There are actually up to 28 customizable options - something that you won't find anywhere else. How awesome is that?

Here at pnwonderland, we are also incredibly passionate about animal rescue. As you know, we have three rescue animals of our own: Evergreen, Fink, and Hobbs, all of which have added to our lives immensely. We are big advocates for local shelters and helping them in any way that we can. In the future, we have big plans on making an even larger impact in this area as well. This is why we were very excited to learn about PupJoy's partnership with the BISSELL Pet Foundation. PupJoy's Helping Paws Program helps give shelter animals a chance at life by donating $2 of every PupJoy Box purchase. BISSELL Pet Foundation exists to assist animal welfare organizations, providing resources to reduce the number of animals in shelters and rescues through pet adoption, spay/neuter programs, microchipping and foster care.

Just like you, our animals are a huge and important part of our family. We are very conscience of what they eat and how it will impact their overall health, energy, skin, and more. That is why PupJoy has been the perfect addition to our routine. So where can you learn more? Be sure to follow along on Instagram, on Facebook, and visit their website (those are all clickable!). 

PS - want to hear more reviews before trying it yourself? Visit their reviews section to hear from one happy customer after another. They take a very personal approach with their customer service and with their business as a whole. Thought and care goes into every item in every box. Give them a try, we are confident in saying that you will not be disappointed! You will also be helping animals in need and supporting a small business that in turn supports many other small businesses as well. 

Local Spotlight: Tiny Heirloom, Luxury Custom Built Tiny Homes

A few months ago, I had the pleasure of connecting with the great people behind Tiny Heirloom, who make the highest quality and most custom Tiny Homes that I have ever seen. You may even remember a couple of Instagram posts that we created together! We quickly realized that we were very likeminded in the ways that we approached our respective businesses, how they are operated, and the passion behind them. Ever since then, we have spent a great deal of time bouncing ideas off of one another on how we could creatively collaborate further. In fact, looking back at our latest e-mail chain… There are 74 messages going back and fourth between their social media manager, Jessie Lewis and myself.

When we began to feature some of the great, local businesses here in the Pacific Northwest, we knew that we needed to team up! My dog Evergreen and I loaded up our car at about 5:00 AM in order to get down to their beautiful property outside of Portland by 8:00 AM. We really wanted to meet them in person, hear their wonderful story, and share it with the rest of the community.

One of my wife’s biggest dreams is to own a small Christmas tree farm. Just big enough to be able to have both of our families come over every year for a big Christmas party, chop down a few trees together, and create a fun, family tradition. We are always drawn to larger properties and would love to have some acreage, gardens, and be near some water. Having both been born and raised in the Willamette Valley, I believe it reminds us of our roots. Pulling into Tiny Heirloom’s property for the first time seemed to bring all of those elements together, and more. It creates an inspiring atmosphere for the 20+ employees and the incredible amount of work that they are taking on at the same time.

Jessie and I walked throughout the large property and talked about the great deal of creative freedom that comes along with her position. She runs all aspects of their social media and has particularly found success with Instagram (which is how we connected too!). Tiny Homes were planted throughout the property like seeds and I had the opportunity to see how they creatively utilize each nook and cranny of the different homes. They truly customize each home and do not have “standard” models or styles. Each one comes with a unique vision and top quality craftsmanship.  Jessie coined the phrase “if you can dream it, we can build it,” while we were talking and it really stuck with me. It seemed to describe their style and approach to a tee. Gorgeous loft spaces, hidden storage, accordion doors, custom decks, claw-foot bathtubs, even fully attached solar energy systems... Each custom detail makes the dream of tiny living possible for anyone in only a matter of weeks.

After exploring multiple Tiny Homes and their property, we wandered into their production area, met more of their team, and discussed more aspects of their growing business and brand. A large part of what they are doing right now is their TV show on HGTV, Tiny Luxury. As someone who admittedly does not have cable TV, I found out you can stream it through Amazon! The TV show documents each step of the process from conception to completion and even brings the home buyers out to their gorgeous property for a big reveal. I actually have an episode streaming right now as I write this… but more on the show soon!

We talked about how hard it is to keep things balanced, in and out of the workplace, with how much they have going on at the same time. They keep communication with employees and buyers as streamlined as possible. Jessie has personally found success in scheduling social media posts through Hootsuite across multiple platforms. Naturally, some content has to be posted live, but it can help a lot to plan out your weeks and content in more depth, in advance.

We discussed what being based in the Pacific Northwest means to them as a company and Lindsay, their digital designer, added that she “Believes it goes hand in hand with the lifestyle and freedom of the region.” They believe that creating a high quality product, by hand, goes a long way.  Having the opportunity to simply escape the city and build these homes amongst beautiful nature also adds to the overall experience and inspiration; they start to simply become a part of their surroundings.

I then had the opportunity to sit down with the three owners and founders of Tiny Heirloom, brothers Zach Francis and Jason Francis, and brother-in-law Tyson Spiess. I was eager to learn about how this all began, where it started, and how it has evolved. Jason discussed the first Tiny Home that they ever built, which was out of their garage in Portland about two years ago, and how it all sparked from an idea from their mother-in-law. He added, “We put a luxury twist on it. At the time no on was doing a really high quality Tiny Home. We put it on social media and it spread like wildfire.”

We discussed the level of customization and quality that they put into their products and how it differentiates them from any other Tiny Home builders. Jason added, “Each project starts with a blank page and they can literally customize just about anything. We add top of the line construction materials and finishes.” After seeing quite a few of the Tiny Homes myself earlier, I could absolutely see what he was referring to.

We discussed the lifestyle that comes along with living in a Tiny Home and any advice that they may have for someone who is considering purchasing one. They suggested staying in a couple and personally testing them out. You can frequently find them for rent on AirBnB. Sometimes, people can be attracted to the lifestyle but not fully understand the commitment and sacrifice that it takes, so make sure you do your homework!

So more on that TV show! We talked a lot about their partnership with HGTV to create their show, Tiny Luxury and the logistics behind it. In fact, while I was interviewing them, they were getting fitted for microphones and were heading straight into filming after sitting down with me. They are currently filming 13 episodes that will start airing on Monday, July 25th at 9PM (on HGTV). Combined with 5 episodes from their previous season, there will be 18 total. Each episode features a different completed, customized, and staged Tiny Home. The turnaround time from beginning to end on an episode is oftentimes just two or three weeks and each one is a race to the finish line. They are hoping to sign on for a more long-term partnership, but for now, have to focus on making each episode and home better than the next. 

I asked what their favorite part of the entire process was for them and loved the answers. Jason talked about seeing the finished product and having their clients fly in for the big reveal. Seeing their reactions, joy, and excitement for their new homes has been incredibly rewarding. They also really enjoy having the ability to be inventive and creative with their designs. Zach added that he “really enjoyed how every single day was a different challenge. Part of the challenge is brought on by us and part of the challenge is the nature of what it is.”

My favorite part of the entire conversation was when I asked them what it meant to work alongside family, because all three of them lit up. Their wives have collectively collaborated on the interior design of past units and now each couple takes on a specific design together. “It makes it more fun,” Tyson added.  We talked about how partnering with your significant other on projects like these can be so rewarding, because oftentimes, you think and see things in completely different ways. When my wife and I work on photography campaigns together we will often use her images instead of mine in the end, because she sees different angles and shots than I do. “That’s the way it is supposed to be,” Tyson said.

Photos via tinyheirloom.com. From left to right, Zach and Hannah Francis, Jason and Brianna Francis, Tyson and Michelle Spiess.

Photos via tinyheirloom.com. From left to right, Zach and Hannah Francis, Jason and Brianna Francis, Tyson and Michelle Spiess.

After that, they really wanted to know more about myself, my wife, how we had met, and learn more about our story as well. With the many things going on around them, it meant a lot to know that they were genuinely interested in me as a person more than anything else. It was clear to see that what motivates them most is sharing the experience with the one’s that they love – and that is an incredibly powerful thing.

After an early wake up, a long drive, and awesome morning with Tiny Heirloom, Evergreen and I packed up the car and headed back out. Meeting and learning more about who they are, what they are doing, and how they are doing it was a really wonderful experience. Deeply rooted in the Pacific Northwest, they took a small idea and dream…  and have turned it something so much bigger. They are taking on each and every step with family by their side and at the end of the day, are helping turn other people’s dreams into reality as well. From the quality of the people to the quality of the product, Tiny Heirloom is doing it right.

For more information about Tiny Heirloom, please visit their website and links below. Be sure to follow them on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook too!

 

www.tinyheirloom.com

www.instagram.com/tinyheirloom

www.facebook.com/tinyheirlooms

www.twitter.com/TinyHeirloom

 

Signing out,

PNWonderland / Tommy Blades

@pnwonderland / @mrtommyblades

Local Spotlight: Olympia Coffee Roasting Company

Capital.

Capital.

Before my wife and I moved to Olympia, I would definitely have considered us “coffee people.” We loved getting a great cup of coffee together and really valued the quality and the people behind the process as well. Living in Albany, Oregon, we would actually frequently drive all the way over to Corvallis just to grab a cup from our favorite shop. It became much more than just coffee and really turned into an experience; a way to slow down, disconnect from distractions, and connect with each other.

When we moved to Olympia we were honestly sad to be leaving our favorite coffee spot because, like I mentioned, it was much more than coffee for us. We landed just a few blocks away from one of the three Olympia Coffee Roasters locations and thought that we better give it a try. We found great reviews online and the atmosphere looked like it could be right up our alley. What we stumbled upon was something really special. A coffee that is second to none, people full of genuine passion for what they do and the people that they serve, and a relaxing environment.

Capital

Capital

Capital

Capital

Since that first visit about a year ago, Olympia Coffee has become our “go-to” place to grab a cup and get back to “us”. My wife has worked nearly 80 hours a week since as a first year resident since we arrived and our time together can be limited, so finding a place like this has been really important to us.

Over the months, we have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the employees and learning more about their brand, mission, and products but have always wanted to learn more – which is where things get even better! I recently had the opportunity to sit down with co-owner Oliver Stormshak to get a more detailed look into their who they are and what they are doing.

Oliver Stormshak, downtown

Oliver Stormshak, downtown

We met at their downtown Olympia location (600 4th Ave East), which combines their roasting and production facilities with a large coffee shop. You can peer through their large windows and see how they make it first hand while you sip on your coffee. “When you come to Olympia Coffee, you can see the whole story. You can see the roasting, the sample roasting, and learn a little bit about how we buy coffee,” Oliver added. You truly get a unique and memorable experience.

They roast four days a week for upwards of 8 hours a day, starting very early in the morning. You’ll never find a bean that is over a week out of one of their roasters at any of their three locations.  They even have an area where they test, taste, and create profiles for sample coffees that they receive from around the world.  

Downtown

Downtown

Downtown

Downtown

Downtown

Downtown

When discussing the difficult process of finding great beans and farmers throughout the world, Oliver stated, “It’s not the coffee that I am looking for, it’s the person.” They value creating long term and personal partnerships, helping farmers improve their processes, and helping one another consistently reach new heights. They began a partnership in Burundi, Africa three years ago, and through this ongoing, full circle partnership, some of their best coffees today are from there. “It was investing in the people there and working on our quality standards,” Oliver stated.

What was once their small, original coffee shop is attached to the back of this downtown location; a piece of their history that is being converted for their employee training. Staff goes through an extensive three-week training that focuses on not only quality, but experience as well. When asked what type of traits they look for in individuals when hiring, Oliver stated, “First, we look for someone with a strong work ethic. We also want someone who is passionate about coffee. In our company, we have about 35 employees and we are all different, but the thing that all connects us is that we are all super passionate about coffee. Third, we look for someone who specifically wants to be a part of Olympia Coffee. There are a lot of coffee shops and jobs out there, but we look for someone who specifically wants to join Olympia.”

Capital Blvd.

Capital Blvd.

Oliver has been in coffee his entire life and started as a barista when he was sixteen. He has held every job in coffee industry for both large and small businesses and fell in love with the product, story, and community along the way. Through the years of working for other companies, he started feeling stronger about taking on his own shop and brand, “I have more ideas that I want to express and in order to do that, I need to do my own thing.” Paired with his passion for people and making an impact, Oliver and his business partner Sam Schroeder purchased the already existing Olympia Coffee about six years ago and have completely transformed it. It was a big, scary change and challenge, but has developed into something incredible.

We discussed how people connect with the deeper meaning and passion behind the Olympia Coffee brand. Oliver added, “I think there is something in everyone that can find inspiration in what we do.” Their mission is to improve the lives of the farmers they work with, the staff that they employ, and the customer that they serve. Every decision that they make as a company comes back to those three focus points. Oliver has seen farming families send children to school, own cows for milk and meat, and have the opportunity to re-invest in their own farms and communities - all for the first time, ever. In an industry where many coffee farmers are exploited or taken advantage of, Olympia Coffee takes a powerful, ethical, and meaningful stand.

When thinking about the customers, Oliver hopes to “Give them peaceful moments in their day. To provide one of the best consumer experiences that they may have in a year… and potentially allow them to have that feeling every day.”

Downtown

Downtown

Downtown

Downtown

We talked about the overall quality of the final product, why it is so important, and how they accomplish it. It is a full circle process for them. Like I mentioned before, this all begins with the relationships with their farmers. They help them improve their growing processes, which then results in a higher quality bean. Alongside Oliver’s first-hand experience in roasting and food-science, that bean is then roasted in a completely unique roasting process they call “caramelization,” which elongates the strands of sugar and makes them much more soluble when it hits the water. “So when you taste our coffee it is much sweeter, the flavor is much more stable and transparent, and you get a juicy pop of what the fruit once was.”  Oliver is even one of the very few people in the world who has a perfect score on the sensory analysis test, allowing him to leverage a skill and trait most others cannot.

Olympia Coffee is constantly pushing to become better. They won their regional barista competition amongst thousands of other coffee shops. They even came in sixth place in the entire United States barista competition. Oliver added, “We know that we do not deserve first place right now, but that is what we are pushing for.” I have no doubt in my mind that you will be there soon, Olympia.

Westside

Westside

Westside

Westside

Beyond coffee, Oliver has a six-year-old daughter and balances family life with the constant demands of work and international travel. Now that things are more stable with business, he has taken a vacation for the first time in a long time and has had the opportunity to invest more in himself as well. Being a small business owner is oftentimes a difficult and stressful journey, and taking a little time to slow down can be so important.

After spending the morning with Oliver, it was clear that Olympia Coffee and the people behind it are taking on something much larger than just coffee. His excitement and passion was behind every question and he believes that right now is the most exciting time to be in the industry. “The coffee industry is amazing because the coffee that you are drinking right now is better than it has ever been in the history of coffee. We are just now learning so much about how to produce, grow, pick, and roast. 30 years from now, you will be drinking a cup of coffee that you will never believe.”

As a fellow, passionate small business owner I left this interview truly inspired. One small thing that I believe I can do in our community that will impact others, just as Oliver is doing every single day, is share stories like this. He is thinking outside of the box, working incredibly hard, and driven by the people and relationships around him.  He is a positive force in our community and my wife and I look forward to supporting their business for as long as we possibly can.

Oliver Stormshak, downtown

Oliver Stormshak, downtown

If you are in Olympia, head to one of their locations and experience it for yourself!

Capital Boulevard:               

2824 Capital Boulevard                   

 

Downtown:

600 4th Ave East

 

Westside:

1706 Harrison Ave NW

 

You can also find many of their products and additional information on their website, www.olympiacoffee.com.

 

On behalf of the @pnwonderland community, I just wanted to say thank you Oliver and the Olympia Coffee team! We look forward to watching you progress as a business and positively impact the world.

 

Signing out,

PNWonderland / Tommy Blades

@pnwonderland / @mrtommyblades 

Tommy Takes On: The Oregon Coast Day Seven

The final day of our epic adventure! This bittersweet and final day was half adventure and half driving back home to Olympia, Washington. It was hard to believe that over the course of two legs, we had seen the entire Oregon coast from north to south. Truly a dream trip and I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to take it on with The Peoples Coast (@thepeoplescoast).

We knew that we needed to go out with another gorgeous morning - so you guessed it, we were up before the sun! We left Bandon and headed north to Cape Arago, Shore Acres, and Sunset Bay State Parks outside of Coos Bay. We had all of Cape Arago to ourselves and I enjoyed a gorgeous overview while I called home to my wife and wished her a great day. One thing that is tough about these trips is being away from her - especially this time because she was sick. Having the opportunity just to say hello in the mornings with a view like this meant a lot.

The air was cooler this day and the sun was not breaking through quite like it had during the rest of the trip, but as we know, the Oregon Coast is absolutely gorgeous no matter the weather.

 

After enjoying the gorgeous views from above, Evergreen and I hiked down to the bottom to enjoy yet another beach entirely to ourselves. We found the perfect piece of small driftwood to play fetch with and Evy got a lot of excited energy out of her system. 

We made out way back down to Sunset Bay so Evergreen could enjoy some less rocky, more playable coastline. I wanted to make sure that she was nice and tired because we had a big drive ahead of us that day... She thought it was a great plan too.

After thoroughly enjoying our morning on the water, we headed back over towards Charleston Harbor. As I mentioned before, we were always on the hunt for crabbing boats and unloads - there was once again nothing going on though. We still enjoyed getting out and exploring the docks and the small harbor town. I personally love the small detail you can find in all things nautical.

And just like that... Our journey had come to an end and we had a long, but gorgeous, drive back home.

I just wanted to say a very sincere thank you to The Peoples Coast (@thepeoplescoast) for partnering with us on this adventure. As someone who was born and raised in Oregon and frequented the central and northern coast... This trip and this coastline holds a very special place in my heart. It was amazing to be able to experience it from top to bottom and to also meet many great people along the way. This was a "dream" trip for me and I am so fortunate to have been able to take it on.

Until next time, Oregon Coast! Which will definitely be soon.

Tommy

@mrtommyblades @pnwonderland @thepeoplescoast

 

 

 

 

Tommy Takes On: The Oregon Coast Day Six

And the adventure continues!

Tommy here to cover day six of our Oregon Coast adventure in collaboration with The Peoples Coast (@thepeoplescoast)! Today was also action packed from sunrise to sunset. As always, we woke up bright and early to enjoy sunrise. We left our hotel in Gold Beach (Pacific Reef Hotel, awesome experience right on the water!) and went a few miles south to enjoy as much of Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor as we could. This is a linear state park that runs 12 miles long and has some stunning views. I enjoyed a few short hikes and soaked up the expansive beauty.

After enjoying these gorgeous views, Evergreen was dying to run on the beach. Most areas of Samuel H. Boardman have huge overlooks and areas that weren't necessarily safe for her so she had to hang back in the car. It was her turn to play! We cruised over to an awesome beach called Whaleshead Beach. This place ended up being on of my favorites from the entire trip. We only ended up running into one other person and their dog during our entire morning there and Evergreen ran and played her heart out as the first morning light came down on the rocks. As you can tell from our blogs... We are big fans of that early morning light.

After thoroughly enjoying all that this morning had to offer, we hopped in the car and continued north. We checked in at Charleston Harbor to try and catch some more crabbing but unfortunately came up empty handed again. We decided to head over to Coos Bay and enjoy their Boardwalk and check out the History Museum. That's one thing about the Oregon Coast... If plan A doesn't work out, there are still a million different directions and places to go.

After hanging here for a while we headed over to Bandon, which was our final destination for the day. We stopped and explored at the Cocquille River Lighthouse which was a lot of fun. This little lighthouse was first built in 1895 and the adjoining beaches are covered in beautiful driftwood. There was a lot of space here to hang out, relax, and re-charge.

After soaking up the beauty here, we headed over to our hotel and checked in for the night. We stayed on the Best Western at Face Rock and had another awesome experience. They are a great, pet friendly, hotel that is less than a block away from a beach entrance. We relaxed and went through the day's photos for about an hour before getting back out to enjoy sunset along the water. Evergreen ran and had the time of her life and we caught the well known "Wizard's Hat" rock.

Exhausted from some very action packed days, we retreated back to the hotel. We went out briefly and grabbed some food to go from The Loft Restaurant so we could get back to the hotel and relax. This restaurant was awesome though - great food, atmosphere, and service. It was small and quaint, had a great wine list, and views of the water. Somewhere that I would absolutely re-visit with my wife. After grabbing the food, we went back and promptly fell asleep. This was was one of the most active days of all time for Evergreen, and as you can see here, she was out hard with her favorite toy, Teddy.

And that was a wrap on a very active day six! Thank you for following along on this journey, more to come soon!

@mrtommyblades @pnwonderland @thepeoplescoast