Wednesday, July 19, 2006

In the beginning...

It all started back in 2003. We (Eric and I) were at a point of transition. We were waiting on some things to come through, and we needed a new living situation. We heard a guy named Paul talk about Apartment Life, and as he described it, we knew it was for us. It was everything that we were passionate about and loved to do: make people feel welcome, host parties, and help people get to know each other. We had been doing this since we got married back in '95.

So I guess you could actually say that it started even farther back for us personally. When we first got married, we lived in a 27' travel trailer in Ellensburg, WA. We were finishing our Bachelor's degrees at Central Washington University. Sundays in particular were our days for having people over, but due to space, we could only have two at a time. Our favorite people to invite were other college students, partly because they were our friends, and partly because they didn't mind that we were serving Hamburger Helper.

Every apartment that we moved to, we made it a point to host people in our home. We never saw a space as too small. We just wanted people to feel welcome. Our cuisine has vastly improved, and we have now served groups as big as 150...quite a step up from Hamburger Helper and two at time.

So back to the Apartment Life situation...We applied and were accepted as the very first team placed in Seattle. We served as the team at what is now The Reserve at Town Center (formerly Jefferson at Mill Creek) for almost 3 years as the Community Team. We even survived through an ownership change.

Apartment Life decided at the end of 2003 that the Northwest just wasn't the best market for them. They completed their contracts through 2004, and then pulled out of the Northwest. Eric and I really felt that there was still potential and a great need for this program. We both grew up in the Northwest and know that quite frankly, our area needs help when it comes to the concept of community. After the two of us spent much time in prayer and talking with trusted advisors, including Stan Dobbs, President of Apartment Life, we decided that we would continue by creating a new company.

Community Northwest launched in January of 2005, just six weeks after the birth of our son. Yes, two new ventures of this magnitude were a little bit crazy, but we had peace that this was the path for us.

We have learned some tough lessons as anyone in management or leadership can attest comes with the territory. I'm sure we still have plenty of lessons to learn. But we survived what one of our advisors called "The Bruising Year", and I'm still thrilled to be on this journey with CNW.

In January of 2005, we started with two properties. One in Portland and one in Seattle. You could call them our seed properties. Since then we have quadrupled in size; most of that growth has come from word of mouth. We are proud of our teams, and have striven hard to be a blessing to all of the residents and management teams we have served so far. It has been a joy, and we look forward to the future.