In April 1991, Cynthia LeCompte started C and B Awards at her kitchen table. Thirty-three years later, she is retiring and passing the Covington-based business down to her son Michael and daughter-in-law Kathryn to run.
“It’s been quite the ride,” said Cynthia.
C and B Awards (27635 Covington Way SE #6, Covington, WA) originally started with youth awards and has since added a wide range of products and services to serve youth, businesses, fire and police departments, electrical contractors and others in Covington, Maple Valley, Black Diamond, Enumclaw, Kent and other neighboring cities. Some of their products and services include:
Kathryn loves being creative on the job, particularly with design and helping turn a customer’s vision into a reality. She tries to think outside the box to create unique items. She loves the variety of tasks.
“There’s a lot of diversity in the job,” Kathryn said. “I never do the same thing every day.”
Cynthia is staying on for a bit to help impart her decades of knowledge in the business to Michael and Kathryn. Michael does screen printing and handles the finances and organizational tasks. Kathryn does the design, website, embroidery, laser engraving and sand carving. In her retirement, Cynthia and her husband hope to do more camping, fishing and playing with their four grandchildren who range in age from 7 to 18.
“It’s a year of change,” Cynthia said, confident that her family will continue her legacy.
C and B Awards does everything in-house. This means a faster turnaround time and customers get to work directly with the designer to bring their ideas to life. Stop by and say “hi” or browse their catalog online to see a sample of their vast product line. They are your local one-stop show for awards, signage, screen printing and more!
The Covington Chamber uses C and B Awards for our new member plaques, name tags and awards. Their pricing, turnaround time and customer service are excellent!
Meet Alexandria (Alex) Hinkson, who joined Red Canoe Credit Union in October 2023 as the Covington branch manager. If she looks familiar, Alexandria was the big winner of the Ugly Sweater contest at our nonprofit fundraiser. (Rumor has it, she made the sweater herself.) Alexandria and her husband moved to Washington from San Diego, where she had worked for another credit union for 16 years.
“I love working with credit unions – the community involvement and always putting our members first,” Alexandria said.
Red Canoe Credit Union (27022 176th Pl. SE, Covington, WA 98042) opened its Covington branch in October 2017. Celebrating six years in Covington, Red Canoe has been active in the community and with the Covington Chamber ever since. Bridget O’Connor, community engagement officer, is a local favorite, supporting community events including litter clean-up, Covington Days, Kids’ Fest and local career fairs as well as supporting nonprofit fundraisers including See Ya Later Foundation, Eileen & Callie’s Place and Vine Maple Place, to name a few.
One of the organization’s biggest annual initiatives is their Fill the Canoe school supply drive, done each summer to ensure all kids have the school supplies they need to start off the school year right. Bridget has also served as the Covington Chamber’s board chair since October 2022 and has been instrumental in helping the organization grow.
Originally launched in 1937, Red Canoe Credit Union is a non-for-profit financial cooperative, owned by its members. They are a full-service institution offering a range of products for individuals and businesses, including free financial wellness products for families and businesses. Some* of their products and services include:
Individual products include these products and more:
Business products include these products and more:
*This list of products and services is not exhaustive. Check with your local Red Canoe branch for more information.
Red Canoe Credit Union has 11 locations across Washington and in Oregon (in Linn, Benton, Lane, Marion and Polk Counties). This member-focused credit union is FDIC insured. To learn more, stop by and say “hi” to the friendly staff at the Covington branch or visit their booths at local Covington events. You’ll be sure to see them!
“We value our members, and our goal is fitting them to the best product for their needs,” Alexandria said. “Our employees really focus on educating our members on the products we have.”
The Covington branch has a team of six employees, including Alexandria, plus regional support from other branches and managers.
Thanks, Red Canoe, for all you do for the community.
If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it. Cheryl Hurst is one of those busy people. If she sees a need, she fills it. In 2014, while volunteering at DAWN for Federal Way Rotary, Cheryl saw many moms, babies and toddlers come through the door. Yet DAWN’s supply of diapers was minimal, adding further stress to families in crisis.
Cheryl said, “I can fix this!”
That’s how the first March of Diapers diaper drive got started in King and Pierce Counties. The first year, with the help of the 751 Machinists Union collected 15,300 Diapers and nearly 3,000 wipes for four nonprofits, DAWN, Multi-Service Center and Mary’s Place, Two Hearts Pregnancy Aid,
As the diaper drive grew, in 2018, Cheryl founded Do The Right Thing as a 501(c)3 nonprofit. Though the organization is all volunteer run, it has continued to grow. Last year, 80 businesses in 15 cities collected 412,019 diapers and 137,125 wipes. Businesses and organizations in the following cities participated:
The goal for 2024 is 500,000 diapers! Businesses sign up online in January and early February each year to be a collector location for the March of Diapers diaper drive. They collect diapers (for infants, toddlers and seniors) and wipes throughout the month of March. During the first week of April, Cheryl and her husband John go to each of the collector sites to pick up the diapers and take them to their storage facility where they are counted and sorted by countless volunteers.
The diapers and wipes are then distributed through various nonprofits like the Maple Valley Food Bank, Brooklake Church, Children’s Home Society, Communities in Schools Federal Way/Highline, Foster Champs, Pediatric Interim Care Center, Mother Africa, DAWN, Foster Champs, Carenet of Puget Sound, We Love Kent (who helps multiple organizations), Nourish Food Bank, Auburn Food Bank, Federal Way Senior Center, Fusion (helping Families with Children into homes), Parent Child Assistance Program & Prepares.
Why is Cheryl so passionate about this cause?
“Babies didn’t ask to be born to people who can’t afford diapers,” Cheryl said.
She said the need is great for infants, toddlers and older adults, and resources are limited. Kids need 8 to 10 diapers a day to take to daycare before a daycare will accept them, so not having diapers is a dealbreaker. Having diapers can help families get back to work.
The most needed sizes are 4, 5, 6, 7 and pull-ups for kids and any for seniors. The diaper drive will accept opened packages and loose diapers. Baby and hygiene wipes are also needed.
In addition to the diaper drive, Do The Right Thing is hosting its first gala on Sat., March 9 at the Federal Way Community Center. The goal of the gala is to provide funding for the organization, so they can pay a Diaper Bank Director in the next year, cover costs that Cheryl and her husband are currently paying out of pocket, etc.
Here are some ways you can help Do The Right Thing:
In addition, the Covington Chamber will host a diaper drive at our March 14, 2024 networking luncheon. We’ll accept diapers and wipes for kids and seniors. You can also make a donation directly to Do The Right Thing.
A big thank you to Cheryl, the Do The Right Thing board, volunteers and participating businesses and donors! It takes a village to raise a child. It also takes a village to keep a child or older adult in diapers.
Looking for a staycation or need extra room for guests? LaQuinta Inn of Wyndham (225 6th St. SE, Auburn, WA 98002) is just 8 miles away from Covington on Hwy. 18. This newly remodeled hotel is conveniently located and includes all the amenities you need at an affordable price:
Stay in comfort while just minutes away from neighboring cities, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, accesso ShoWare, Emerald Downs, Muckleshoot Casino Resort, and more. As an added bonus, scan the QR code on the flyer to receive a special Covington Chamber discount!
La Quinta Inn joined the Chamber in January 2023 and, in September, hosted our first morning coffee meet-and-greet featuring free breakfast and a tour! The rooms were spacious, tastefully decorated, modern and clean while being convenient. The staff was very warm and friendly, and we recommend LaQuinta Inn as a great local lodging option.
In August 2022, Jaime Monje and his brother Jesus ("Jesse") Monje embarked on a new adventure, bringing their years of restaurant experience to the Covington community. They purchased Nikki's Restaurant & Lounge and have been making it their own ever since. Some of the many changes include:
If you haven't been to the new Nikki's yet, check it out for breakfast, lunch, dinner or happy hour. Say "hi" to Jaime, his daughter Monse and Jesse and tell them the Covington Chamber sent you!
In 1932, at the height of the Great Depression, Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission got their start as a soup kitchen, feeding and caring for those who were suffering. Their programs have evolved in the 91 years since they began, but their mission and vision are unchanged.
UGM’s mission is to bring the love of Jesus and hope for a new life to their homeless neighbors. Their vision is to see every homeless neighbor – beloved, redeemed and restored. They support the greater Seattle area – including South King County – in a variety of ways.
This is the most visible stage where we see people living on the streets, in the midst of addictions and barely surviving. The volunteer-driven Union Gospel Mission provides Survival Programs to proactively offer lifesaving assistance through:
UGM meets basic needs as people work through detox and try to move forward with their lives. UGM does this through Stabilization Programs:
UGM offers long-term residential recovery programs to support their clients with counseling, relapse prevention and more. Their recovery programs include:
Once an individual has graduated from a recovery program, the mission helps with housing, job training, continuing education, connecting with a church community, and more. Post-graduation programs include:
In 2022, UGM’s 90th year, the 501(c)3 nonprofit:
The majority of UGM’s funding – 64% – comes from individual contributions. In 2022, the organization received total contributions of $35,519,975, including $22,565,755 from individual contributors. UGM also received support from local churches, companies and organizations, foundations, estates, in-kind contributions and events.
Seattle's Union Gospel Mission tells their story this way:
"We search. We listen. We walk alongside. We offer hope. We work to break the cycle of homelessness and addiction. It all starts with dignity — in the form of a blanket, a hot shower, a home-cooked meal, a warm place to sleep, and friendship. It continues with addiction recovery, one-on-one counseling, and long term solutions."
Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission joined the Covington Chamber in August 2023.
To learn more about Seattle’s UGM, or to learn how you can help, visit UGM.org online.
(Photos courtesy of Seattle's Union Gospel Mission.)
"Homelessness is not a resource issue. It is a relationship issue."
Founded by Weidi Shen and wife Yoyo, Glow Tea started doing pop-up events as a side gig. The couple had always wanted their own restaurant, and the idea to expand Glow Tea was born. Why Glow Tea? The light bulb design was inspired by an uncle who lived in poverty in China. When a light bulb burned out, he hollowed it out and used it for glassware. The light bulb design honors his legacy.
The couple opened the first Glow Tea store at the Auburn Outlet Collection in 2019, using all their savings to fulfill their dream. They developed a following from their pop-up events which helped keep them afloat and eventually grow. In August 2022, Glow Tea opened their Covington location outside Fred Meyer, and earlier this year, they opened a third location in the Tacoma Mall.
They are still doing events, including the Covington Makers’ Market, and are considering possible expansion and offering franchise opportunities. At their Covington location, they hope to add seating to encourage people to come and hang out while enjoying their favorite Glow Tea beverage – Boba milk tea, real fruit tea, Boba smoothies and lemonade splashes. Visit their website for flavors and availability.
The most popular Glow Tea drinks are:
The Glow Tea team makes Boba fresh daily. In addition to their delicious drinks, Glow Tea offers waffle cones with ice cream, macarons, cream puffs, frosted cookies and Boba cookies.
Besides the wonderful flavors and light bulb designs, something else makes Glow Tea unique. They want to help save the world. They encourage customers who buy their drinks in the environmentally friendly light bulb to reuse them. They can bring it back for $2.99 refills which saves the customer money and keeps plastic out of landfills. The refills are very popular among Glow Tea fans.
David Okamoto, director of business development for Glow Tea, told us they just launched a monthly membership – Glow Tea Club. For a limited time, the membership is $12.99 a month, and members can get up to 12 refills a month! And Glow Tea is now offering catering. Stay tuned for more announcements!
Weidi is a proud Navy veteran, so Glow Tea offers a military discount. They also offer a 10% Covington Chamber member discount with the promo code CP9C0N2023, so stop in and try a fresh, tasty, healthy organic tea beverage!
And be sure to say “hi” to the Glow Tea team at the Covington Makers’ Market on Saturday, October 7 (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.) at Real Life Church (26201 180th Ave SE, Covington, WA 98042).
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
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P. O. Box 8041, Covington, Washington 98042
Phone: (253) 780-1555 | email@example.com