Tabitha Schmer describes herself as an “avid reader.” If anything, that might be a little bit of an understatement.
“I’ve read 75 books for the year so far,” Schmer, an agent for the Clark County-based Cascadia Northwest Real Estate firm, recently told The Post-Record. “I’m a fairly quick reader, and I don’t go anywhere without a book. I have a Kindle in my purse at all times, and (I listen to) audiobooks when I have to drive for any length of time.”
It’s no surprise, then, that Schmer is relishing her role as the coordinator for her firm’s first Washougal-based event, which will raise money for Fort Vancouver Regional Library’s Washougal library project.
The event, to be held at 3:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 29, at Cascadia Northwest Real Estate’s Washougal office, 1887 Main St., Ste. A, will feature a “happy hour open house” format, with food, drinks, “mingling,” and a gift-basket raffle, according to Schmer.
The gift baskets will include a wide variety of items, including wine, candles, gift cards, blankets, and, of course, books.
“Anyone is welcome to come to our event,” Schmer said. “We’ll have (raffle) tickets available, as well as a donation jar for anyone who wants to just throw in a few dollars to (go to) the library.”
FVRL is planning to build a new library facility on a 17,424-square-foot parcel of downtown Washougal land near the intersection of “C” and Main streets, donated by Lone Wolf Development’s Wes Hickey in 2020.
The FVRL Board of Trustees has committed approximately $3 million to the project, and The Friends of the Washougal Library and the FVRL Foundation groups have raised $431,000 via various fundraisers for the new library.
“I know our little fundraiser’s not going to be huge,” Schmer said, “but every penny adds up. I’m at a point in my life where I buy most of my books because I (read) digitally, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate a library. When my daughter was little, we went to reading groups and ‘story time’ (sessions) all the time. I like to see those things, for the kids especially. I have spent many a day lost in a library.”
Cascadia Northwest Real Estate is asking community members to drop off gently-used books at any of their three Clark County locations during September, which has been designated as National Literacy Month in the United States.
“We will be giving the books to the Friends of the Washougal Library (fundraising group) during the event,” Schmer said. “Right now, I have a pile (of donated books) sitting on my husband’s poker table at home; he’s been giving me dirty looks about that.”
Schmer credited Cascadia Northwest Real Estate owner Shana O’Brien for the firm’s community-oriented mindset.
“I grew up in a family that was very community minded — we were involved in a lot of community stuff, so for me, it’s always just been, ‘This is what you do. You are involved in your community. You help your community prosper,’” Schmer said. “Part of why I’m at Shana’s brokerage is because she’s very like me in that way. She gives a lot back, and in turn she supports us in (our efforts to give) back to our communities.
“But in real estate, if you don’t have to have a healthy community, people don’t want to live there. They want to live in healthy communities. It helps with the home values, and it helps with the general desirability of the area. Truly, it’s a good position to be in in our industry. And it just feels good to get back.”
O’Brien opened the firm’s Washougal office in January, joining locations in uptown Vancouver, Ridgefield and Tualatin, Oregon.
“The main reason (we chose Washougal) is that we are growth oriented, and the vibe I get is that so is the whole city of Washougal,” O’Brien told the Post-Record earlier this year. “If our goal is to grow, it seems like that’s a great place to do it, because the whole town is doing it. It just made the (most) sense. There’s a lot of great things on the docket for Washougal, so that made the decision really easy.”
Schmer said the Washougal office has been “a good thing” for the firm in its first nine months of existence.
“It gives our agents another place to go to work, and it gives us more of a presence on the east side of (the county),” she added. “A lot of real estate is name recognition. If you give great service, you’ll get repeat clients, but having a little bit of name recognition never hurt anybody. It’s been a great little adventure for us. We have an amazing space. Washougal has been very welcoming and definitely embraces having us.”
For more information about the event, visit facebook.com/CNWRealE state.