When entering Edline-Yahn & Covington Funeral Chapel (27221 156th Ave SE, Kent, WA 98042), you are greeted with a beautifully decorated, soothing atmosphere and caring staff, who are on call 24/7 to help families after the passing of a loved one. Located just outside of Covington, the facility is managed by Igor Tupikov, a licensed funeral director, who provides personalized service, tailored to each individual’s needs. They provide everything from funeral and graveside services to pre-arrangement and celebration of life services.
Igor, a frequent attendee at Covington Chamber events, wants people to know that Edline-Yahn & Covington Funeral Chapel is not a scary place, and it isn’t about death and despair. It is about honoring loved ones with dignity and respect and about being part of the community.
“Our industry secret is we are all about service,” Igor said. “We’re here to help.”
There are different ways to deal with grief, and there is no right or wrong way to do a funeral, Igor added. They can accommodate a family’s wishes through their wide range of products, services and budgets.
“It is not about us. It is how we choose to memorialize those that go before us,” he said.
Igor talks to families to make preliminary arrangements after a loved one’s passing, followed by additional planning when the family is ready. Though the topic is a somber one, Igor enjoys speaking with families to help them through difficult times. He wants them to have a good experience and leave them with a positive experience in the midst of losing a special person in their lives.
Born in the Ukraine, Igor was raised in Vancouver, Washington. He moved to the area in August 2022 to work for Edline-Yahn. He has been in the funeral business for 10 years. He originally wanted to be a pathologist and has an applied science degree for medical assisting. Igor lives in Tacoma with his wife and his two-and-a-half-year-old son. He said having a child of his own opens a new door of connection, helping him better relate to parents who have lost a child.
Igor is often asked how he can do the work that he does. He said he is passionate about people and service.
“Our purpose is solely to provide help during the worst experience you’ll ever have,” said Igor.
In addition to funeral services and related products and services, Edline-Yahn has a beautiful event venue, complete with high ceilings and windows that let in the sunlight and views of the sky and trees around the funeral chapel. They can serve up to 50 at a seated function or more for a more informal function. They work with a catering company to provide a wide range of meal options for every budget. The venue is available for private events.
Edline-Yahn is hosting our Member September luncheon on September 14. Please join us to see the facility firsthand and to celebrate you and your business with fellow Covington Chamber members. Seating is limited to 50, so RSVP today!
Meet the team at Meridian Valley Property Management.
Meridian Valley Property Management is owned and operated by Susan Willadsen, who has been in property management in one capacity or another since 2000. She initially served as a receptionist and she really wanted to help tenants. That’s when she first embraced property management. The agency itself has been around since the 1970s. Susan bought it in 2016, and she has three part-time employees.
They work with clients locally as well as those who don’t live in the area. Susan said many of their clients are homeowners who are renting their homes out for the first time. Some are investors, but most are not. Meridian Valley Property Management finds quality tenants for rental homes, and they prepare the contract and (a) either take over to manage the property on behalf of the homeowner, or (b) after a tenant has been found, the property owner takes over.
When Meridian Valley Property Management is managing the property, they do site inspections and initial walk-throughs to check on the property for owners. The Covington-based property management firm also works with contractors (e.g., plumbers, electricians, handymen, deck and fence builders and repairmen) to handle any service needs.
Susan is passionate about her business, her clients and her staff.
“This company started from the Lord,” Susan said. She wanted to serve and sought guidance from God. “Everyone here is a blessing from the Lord.”
Susan says her agency is hands on. They represent their business and their clients with integrity and excellence. She believes in communicating with her clients and their tenants.
“We want tenants to know they can call with problems right away,” Susan said.
Tenants can also submit maintenance requests online. Another service Meridian Valley Property Management provides is annual inspections of rental properties, even when a home is occupied. They want to spot problems before they get bad. They encourage tenants to participate in this process, and if they cooperate with the annual inspection, they get a chance to win a prize for taking good care of the property.
Learn more about Meridian Valley Property Management by calling 253-630-0123 or visiting them online here: https://web.covingtonchamber.org/Real-Estate-and-Property-Management/Meridian-Valley-Property-Management-219.
More Than Tires
Did you ever wonder who Les Schwab is? This well-known, family-oriented businessman was born in 1917 in Bend, Oregon. He came from humble beginnings and created an independent, family-owned tire business through hard work and determination. Starting with one store in 1952, Schwab expanded to hundreds of stores across the western states, becoming one of the largest, independent tire businesses in the entire country.
And he did it all with a strong work ethic, family values and a love for community. Schwab was married to the same woman for more than 70 years before his passing in 2007. Schwab leaves behind a corporate culture that rewards employees for their expertise and hard work, while treating them – and their customers – like family.
One of those employees, Garret Melton, is the general manager of the Covington shop. Garret has been with Les Schwab for 27 years, including two in the Covington store (17235 SE 272nd St.). When asked what he wants customers to know about Les Schwab, he said, “We are more than tires.”
Did you know that Les Schwab offers these products and services too?
The store offers free flat tire repairs, regardless of where you bought your tires, and they do free trip-safety checks. Les Schwab in Covington is open Monday – Friday, 8 am to 6 pm, Saturday, 8 am to 5 pm, and closed on Sundays. Stores operate by appointment only, except for flat tire repairs which they try to squeeze in between appointments.
“Any store will treat you like you bought your tires from them,” Garret said.
Les Schwab supports a wide range of local and national causes including Valley Girls & Guys, Kentlake and Kentwood High School athletics and activities, Meeker Middle School activities, King County Fair 4-H, Boy Scouts of America, youth car wash fundraisers, and holiday food drives, just to name a few.
Garret lives in Covington with his family. When not working, he is an avid outdoorsman. He enjoys clamming; fishing for lake cod, halibut and salmon; and digging for geoducks. He once ate a scallop underwater while scuba diving! He has also been a guest on Outdoor Line, a podcast on 710 am radio on Saturdays at 6 a.m., so tune in to hear his outdoor expertise and adventures.
The Covington Les Schwab store is participating in Ready Set Play this year, so be sure to stop by for the Auto Artist activity – coloring a car or truck in the Les Schwab coloring books in the waiting room!
Learn more about Les Schwab in our online directory: https://web.covingtonchamber.org/Automotive-Products-Services/Les-Schwab-Tire-Center-143
Where in Covington can you enjoy restaurant-style dining, nature walks, chair yoga, a theater and outdoor patios? Vineyard Park! Located on Wax Road, this vibrant retirement community provides independent living, assisted living and memory care for older adults who need assistance. Vineyard Park offers all the comforts of home – residents can even have pets!
Here are just a few of the amenities and services you’ll find at Vineyard Park:
The Cottages of Covington, located adjacent to Vineyard Park and part of the Care Partners family, is a secure memory care facility. Each cottage has its own staff who specialize in memory care. Nestled in a serene setting, the cottages feature beautiful gardens and birdhouses to attract their winged neighbors.
Learn more about Vineyard Park here: https://web.covingtonchamber.org/Healthcare/Vineyard-Park-of-Covington-132
This year, the Covington Library celebrates 30 years in the community, providing a wide range of books, resources, programs and activities, as well as access to social services. This is particularly impressive coming out of the pandemic when so many people accessed books, research and entertainment materials, and participated in classes, activities and programs online. People are starting to come back to libraries for face-to-face interaction again.
Philis Ann Bodle, librarian and information services manager at the Covington Library, likes to look at the positive effects of COVID. The King County Library System was able to put a lot of their services online – programs, story times, homework help, world languages, etc. – during the shutdown.
“We reached people we wouldn’t otherwise reach,” said Philis Ann, who has worked for the library system for 22 years and in libraries for 35 years.
With a degree in secondary education, Philis Ann was drawn to library work because she loves books and connecting with people. She particularly loves giving kids their first library cards because she wants to share her love of literature and writing.
“Working at the library is the best of all worlds,” Philis Ann said. “It’s like a community living room.”
What many people don’t know about the Covington Library and other libraries within KCLS is the vast range of resources they make available to the community at no cost. Here are just a few:
In addition to these resources, the Covington Library connects people with community services including access to resources like Recovery Navigator and Worksource.
Fun facts about the Covington Library:
The mission of KCLS is to inspire the people of King County to succeed through ideas, interaction and information. Their vision is a world where knowledge allows diverse communities to prosper and grow. To fulfill their mission, the Covington Library and all of KCLS serve audiences of all ages and backgrounds.
The Covington Library is part of the Rainier region which includes Covington, Algona-Pacific, Auburn, Black Diamond, Enumclaw and Muckleshoot. The region has about 70 to 75 employees who rotate among the different libraries with about 12 to 15 working at the Covington Library.
Whether you are looking for small business resources, story time for kids or grandkids, or access to social services, the Covington Library and KCLS are here to help! Visit KCLS.org for more information.
We want the best healthcare possible for those we love, whether they are family, friends or fur babies. That’s why we are proud to have had VCA Covington Animal Hospital as a member since 2008. What better way to celebrate National Pet Month than to give a “shout out” to VCA Covington!
Treating dogs, cats and other small animals, VCA Covington is open six days a week. They offer a wide range of services including primary care, preventative care, advanced care, pet counseling, and treatment for canine and feline diabetes. Some of their services include:
What really makes VCA stand out is that they are a Fear Free Certified and a Low-Stress Handling Certified Practice. Their veterinary professionals and support staff have received special training and have been certified in techniques that help reduce the fear, stress and anxiety of vet visits for pets and their owners.
When registering a new pet, the team at VCA asks about a pet’s specific preferences and anxiety issues to be sure they treat pets safely and in a way that makes them more comfortable and less anxious. For example, has your pet had a traumatic experience the vet should be aware of? Are there parts of the pet’s body the pet doesn’t like to have touched? Are they afraid of other animals or people? The VCA team then tailors their treatment protocols to fit the pet’s specific needs.
In addition to their services, VCA Covington offers pet products for sale online and at the clinic, and they have a Care Club membership program to make vet care more affordable for pet owners. They also partner with local businesses like Jean Wall Insurance to offer pet insurance to pet owners who are interested.
Learn more about VCA Covington at https://vcahospitals.com/covington.
If Tamara Paul looks familiar, you may have seen her on grocery carts in Covington, at community events or fundraisers, or picking up trash on the side of the highway. Tamara Paul, a REALTOR® and the owner of The Tamara Paul Group, is a fixture in the Covington community, and she is proud to have been born and raised in the area. In fact, her parents still live in the home where Tamara grew up.
“I consider it my community,” Tamara said. “It’s home.”
For 16 years, Tamara has been a full-service real estate agent, serving buyers and sellers. Prior to that, she was a primary school teacher in the Kent School District. When making the career switch from teaching to real estate, Tamara was inspired by her parents who told her to “always own, never rent.” She followed that advice and bought her first home at 23!
She also considered that advice when deciding what she wanted to do after teaching. Tamara took a leave of absence from school to try out real estate, and she’s never looked back. Despite getting into real estate during a recession, Tamara wasn’t discouraged.
She is a people person, detail oriented and her work with clients is relationship-based. Tamara is also a connector and a resource for her clients, so real estate is a good fit for her. She loves working with clients and really getting to know them.
“I want to hear just as much about you as I want to tell you about me,” said Tamara. “My clients become family.”
Tamara offers real estate services A to Z, providing her clients with whatever support they need. Some need more support than others, but she is there to help however she’s needed. Working mostly by referral, Tamara primarily serves King and Pierce Countries, but she can serve the entire state.
But wait, there’s more! Tamara is not just a REALTOR®. She is very active in the communities she serves. Here are just a few of the organizations she belongs to:
In addition, Tamara supports The Storehouse, Maple Valley Food Bank, Backpack Buddies, and she helps with three separate Adopt-A-Street programs through Rotary, Seahawkers and BNI. The active REALTOR® also sponsors Shop-with-a-Cop, Backpack Kids and Vine Maple Place.
Fun facts about Tamara:
Tamara: “I’m an open book!”
Learn more about Tamara and her real estate business at TheTamaraPaulGroup.com!
Did you know that Covington Water District was started in 1960 and had fewer than 100 customers? Sixty-three years later, the district delivers clean, safe, quality drinking water through 322 miles of pipe to more than 50,000 residents and businesses through about 19,000 connections! The Covington Water District serves a 55-square-mile area including parts of Covington, Maple Valley, Black Diamond and unincorporated King County.
The district employs about 40 people and is governed by a five-member Board of Commissioners who follow regulations implemented and enforced by the Washington State Department of Health. The organization’s mission is, “Serving quality water with excellent customer service, commitment to strategic and emergency planning, fiscal responsibility, regulatory compliance, stewardship and partnerships since 1960.”
The Covington Water District joined the Covington Chamber in October 1992, shortly after the chamber was founded. They have been a strong partner ever since, sponsoring events, serving on committees and our board, and participating in programs like Ready Set Play. Some of the water district’s other area partners include the City of Covington, the Maple Valley-Black Diamond Chamber, and the Regional Water Supply System (RWSS).
Three important facts to know about the water district:
Fun facts about the district
We are proud to have the Covington Water District as a long-time member of the chamber and Denzel Jones, business analyst, as a member of the Covington Chamber board. Previously, Tom Keown, P.E., General Manager, of Covington Water District served on our board for a number of years, including serving as board chair. Learn more about the Covington Water District at CovingtonWater.com.
Thank you to the Covington Water District for supporting our residents and businesses with their services and by doing so with integrity. We appreciate you!
Meet The Howard Team -- Walter and Emily Howard -- of Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation. This incredible couple has 32 years of combined mortgage experience. Walter has 26 years, and Emily has 6. Prior to doing mortgages, Emily was a special education teacher for the Kent School District for 15 years. The Howard Team offers all residential housing mortgage loan products, and they serve 26 U.S. states and most of Washington State.
"We love helping families buy their dream homes and build generational wealth through investing in real estate," Walter and Emily said.
Here are just a few ways The Howard Team differentiates themselves:
Walter and Emily are very involved in the communities they serve, giving back and helping make their communities better. The organizations they support include Auburn Humane Society, Covington Storehouse, Vine Maple Place, Metro Animal Services, Treehouse, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, Autism Society of Washington, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), and Cell Phones for Soldiers, just to name a few.
On the personal side, if you’ve ever met Walter or Emily, you know they live full lives, making the most of each day, and their positive attitudes are contagious. Married for 11 years, the couple loves animals and critters of all kinds including contact companion Yorkie Frank, tropical fish, frogs, and a chameleon that showed up mysteriously in their yard on Halloween two years ago. Walter and Emily love to be outside, gardening, doing yardwork, traveling, or playing volleyball and disc golf.
“We love animals and gardening,” Emily said. “We enjoy creating relationships with all kinds of people and learning about other cultures.”
If you haven’t met Walter or Emily, look for them around the community or at a Covington Chamber event. Their outlook on life and their hard work and professionalism are inspiring!
Learn more about them here: WalterHowardLoans.com
“Where it’s home and you’re family.”
Owned and operated by three generations of family since 1958, Larry Bunn, DDS and his wife Nancy Koelsch Bunn Munro opened the Weatherly Inn in Tacoma next to the Auto View Drive-In Theatre in 1989. In 1999, Larry and Nancy, along with their five children, opened the Weatherly Inn Kent, and earlier this year, they opened Weatherly Inn Renton. The company is currently overseen by Alex Bunn, president and CEO.
A Covington Chamber member since 2002, Weatherly Inn Kent provides memory care and day and respite care. In addition, the two-story facility near Lake Meridian provides all the comforts of home including companion and private suites, family style dining, regular activities like bowling, bingo and barbecues, a beauty and barber shop, field trips like shopping, and live entertainment.
Along with all the fun activities, Weatherly Inn has a wonderful nursing staff, including having an LPN on staff 24/7, something that not all senior care facilities offer. All the Weatherly Inn’s care staff are certified nursing assistants (CNAs). The facility also provides specialty care from a medical team including a medical doctor, psychiatrist, podiatrist, phlebotomist, dentist, occupational and physical therapists, and hair stylist. The facility is proud of the longevity of their staff with some having worked at the facility for 20 years!
Weatherly Inn Kent has a new general manager, Sabrina Selden, who worked at the facility in other roles prior to becoming the GM. She loves the fun, lively and caring atmosphere at Weatherly Inn, which provides residents with the care they need while also giving families peace of mind that their loved ones are being well cared for.
“Our philosophy is making each day a resident’s best day and figuring out ways to help residents connect,” Sabrina said. “We want to show them grace, treat them with dignity, and help them feel human when there is so much that’s beyond their control.”
Sabrina also said it is important to them to take over the caregiving responsibilities so that families can come and enjoy their time with their loved ones.
“My reward is making residents laugh and smile and really living in the moment. We want to be here for them and their families,” said Sabrina said.
On the personal side, Sabrina gave us some insight into life away from work:
Favorite vacation: anywhere tropical and warm
Favorite dessert: brownies with chocolate chips and a scoop of chocolate ice cream on top
Favorite pastime: RVing with her family
Family life: Sabrina’s home includes two adults, two kids, two dogs (a German short-haired pointer and a coon hound) and two cats.
Fun fact: Sabrina’s mom Julie also works at the Weatherly Inn and is often the first person to greet visitors and guests with a smile. Among her other duties, Julie manages the Weatherly Inn’s activities for Ready Set Play, an annual summer kids’ activity program the Covington Chamber runs in partnership with the City of Covington.
Learn more about the Weatherly Inn Kent at https://www.weatherlyinn.com/kent_community.