downtown davis

Mi casa es su casa

Last October we relocated our practice to 909 Fifth Street, contiguous to Indigo Architects’ office (aka, the old Dairy Queen; click here for a few pics). It’s a terrific place to hang our hats: 20-foot ceilings, abundant natural light, radiant heating and cooling, and an occasional symphonic greeting from a passing train. We love it.

In addition to be enamored with the workspace, there’s an unforeseen virtue: After-hours, our office hosts numerous nonprofits and their events. To date, we’ve had the pleasure of hosting meetings, educational sessions and social events for Toastmasters, Cool Davis (and its myriad tentacles), Valley Climate Action Center and the Sacramento Entrepreneurship Academy, among others.

John and I serve and have served on the boards of numerous nonprofit organizations. All share two characteristics: they have a great purpose, and they scrap to stay afloat. Nonprofits need help, be it contributions of money, time, or space. Through YoloShines, we help local nonprofits raise money; as volunteers, we contribute our time; and, with our office, nonprofits have a place to host membership events, retreats, board meetings and fundraisers.

Importantly, there’s no cost for nonprofits to utilize our space -- we can host up to 40 seated folks and 80 or so standing people, or employ our conference room for a small gathering. If you’d like to learn more, please contact us today.

The Extraordinary Ordinary: Wilson Lam

[Originally published August 5, 2015]

Walk into Copyland on G Street here in Davis and, chances are, you'll see blueprints rolling out of the printer, students on the computers, business people making copies and others discussing their visions with Wilson Lam. The shop can get pretty busy, but amidst the positive maelstrom of the thriving business is Wilson, the epitome of "calm, cool and collected." Wilson is all about service, but what makes him so special is the way he goes about serving...quietly, expertly, responsively. 

When I asked him how he came to be who and how he is, he replied without a second's hesitation, "My mom, the way she raised me to always respect people and treat them the way you want to be do what you can to help them." 

Wilson became aware that he wanted to help people in middle school. After high school, he became a Nurse's Assistant and loved it. Then he attended Unitek where he earned his Vocational Nursing License (LVN), but the increased stress and bureaucracy that came with the job didn't click with him. After a brief stint as an LVN, he got a job working at T-Mobile. When T-Mobile closed, he walked next door to Copyland and asked owner Paul Wang for a job. Paul gave him the job on the spot. 

Seven years later, Wilson still likes his job. "People come in with an idea and we help give it a physical form. It makes me feel happy that I am creating something out of nothing." 

Turbo, Wilson's dog, also likes his job at Copyland. On Wednesdays or Thursdays, depending, Turbo greets customers and gives them the joy of petting him. Wilson said, "Turbo likes to come in and relax, and enjoy the customers." The Lams are bonified Davisites. Wilson's mom works at the United States Post Office on Fifth Street and his older brother is a doctor here.  

Wison, thank you for making people's experiences at Copyland seamless. Thank you for your positivity, promptness and patience. You are extraordinary. (And, by the way, we'll be sending you a print job later today.)

The Extraordinary Ordinary: Terence and Janis Lott

[Originally posted July 8, 2015]

Davis is reflected in the glass of the large New York Times clock in Newsbeat's window, the perfect juxtoposition to describe Newsbeat'sowners,Terence and Janis Lott, and how they conduct their business. (The clock was given to them by the New York Times for being "the perfect newstand.")

Newsbeat is a Davis institution. Janis and Terence are bright lights in our community. They embrace their customers with respect, kindness and care. And they never waver. I've experienced and observed the love they express to everyone who walks into the Newsbeat, regardless of the person's station in life. 

"We're all in this together, people," said Janis. "Being kind is not hard to do. It's all about relationships, about being kind to one another." 

Janis is deeply touched when customers--even from their Sacramento store, which they've since closed--come in to see how they're faring or to show them their new puppy or meet their new baby. Terence and Janis cherish their regulars, too. The eighty-year-old men who come in regularly for their morning newspapers and to talk, for example, and the people who bring in their dogs, well-knowing that Janis and Terence have dog treats at the ready. 

"It's the kind of store that welcomes people from every walk of life with humanity, kindness, and great regard," said Terence. Janis refers to the Newsbeat as "a nice, visceral experience, a little mental health break for people. They can buy or not buy."

Janis is especially grateful for all the quiet support she received from customers and vendors when she was going through chemo. Years later, people are still checking up on her. 

In 25 years of business, they've never had to advertise. "We feel like Newsbeat is special because we're in a special place," said Terence."Yes," chimed Janis, "We're a college town, but we're not hoity-toity like some university towns. There's a bucolic quality here in Davis, the kindness and warmth of an agricultural community...that connection to earth and water and growing things." 

Janis and Terence ardently support local artists and authors in their store, too, which brings us back to our town reflected in Newsbeat's New York Times clock. Sophistication without pretension. Intelligence, not intellectualism. And an awareness of what people want and need. First and foremost, though, is love. Plain and simple. 

Janis and Terence, you are rays of sunshine who brighten all our lives. Thank you for being so extraordinary.