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Blog Category - Seattle

Builder Partnerships Names American Classic Homes Winners of Customer Satisfaction Achievement Award for a Third Year in a Row

Categories: American Classic News, Home Builder Awards, New Homes, Recognition of Home Builders, Seattle | Posted: March 21, 2017

Denver, Co. – American Classic Homes, a New Home builder based in Mercer Island, Washington was awarded Highest Distinction in Customer Satisfaction in the Builder Partnerships Achievement Award for Customer Satisfaction for the third year in a row.

“In these days of increasing demand for homes, builders must be focused on customer satisfaction, and the best builders are,” says Monica Wheaton, CEO of Builder Partnerships. “The Builder Partnerships Achievement Award for Customer Satisfaction recognizes those companies that have high standards, company culture, and processes in place to deliver what is most important to home buyers—quality construction and a great buying experience. American Classic Homes certainly fits that bill.”

To assure a high integrity process, Builder Partnerships put together a team of industry experts, including Chuck Shinn of Builder Partnerships, Littleton, Colorado; Charlie Scott of Woodland, O’Brien and Scott, St. Paul, Minnesota; and Carol Smith of Home Address, Colorado Springs, Colorado to be part of the Evaluation Committee for the award. To be considered for this recognition, applicants needed to have at least 88% of its home buyers say they were willing to refer the company to friends or family. Once clearing that hurdle, the company’s customer service and referral rate were further evaluated in an in-depth review of its processes and documentation. Builders scoring at least 100 points on their evaluation scores earned Highest Distinction.

American Classic Homes has built a strong culture focused on customer satisfaction that permeates the company. In addition, it has worked hard to build processes that encourage suppliers and trade contractors to support that effort, and the final beneficiary is the home buyer.

The Builder Partnerships Achievement Award differentiates itself from other recognitions in two key areas. First, it is an independent and cost-effective customer satisfaction measurement that is available to all builders, not just those in certain markets or of a certain size.

Second, the award does not rank one builder against another but recognizes all builders who achieve a benchmark of customer satisfaction, which gives home buyers a truer measure of a company’s quality.

 


About Builder Partnerships: Builder Partnerships is a member organization focused on providing management training and consulting to help builders improve their performance and profit.  Currently we represent approximately 550 builders in the United States and Canada who have projected about 75,000 homes built collectively this year.  With over 75 manufacturer and service providers associated with our group, Builder Partnerships also manages streamlined, competitive incentive programs and works to strengthen relationships between builders, manufacturers and other service providers in the industry. www.BuilderPartnerships.com

About Woodland, O’Brien & Scott: Woodland, O’Brien & Scott is one of the housing industries original customer satisfaction survey and consulting firms. The Principal Partners of Woodland, O’Brien & Scott have more than 60 years of first hand homebuilding experience and utilize this experience along with proprietary surveys, and software to identify client strengths, weaknesses, provide benchmarking services, and identify client performance improvement opportunities. Learn more about Woodland, O’Brien & Scott at www.woodlandobrien.com or by contacting Charlie Scott at CharlieS@woodlandobrien.com.

About Home Address: For more than 30 years, Carol Smith and Home Address have provided home builders with practical insights and proven techniques that cut to the heart of any service issue. Smith’s methods have helped hundreds of builders develop better service expertise, establish a stronger position in a challenging market and win genuine customer loyalty.

For more information or media inquiries about the Builder Partnerships Achievement Awards, please contact Monica Wheaton, CEO, Builder Partnerships, monica@builderpartnerships.com Phone: 800-456-7865. Web:  www.BuilderPartnerships.com

Hot Spot Home Buying Map

Categories: American Classic News, Seattle, Washington | Posted: January 16, 2017

Here at American Classic Homes we know that making a move can be a big decision. Some of the biggest details to consider are things like the average cost of either purchasing or renting a home (depending on which is a better option of you), the ability to commute, and the cost of living. Using data from Trulia and Expatistan, we took a look at some of the biggest US cities with major appeal that are considered ‘Hot Spots’ to live in and then we created this map portraying where those cities rank within these major decision factors. We hope this tool helps you decide what the next place you should call “home” is!

Coffee Shop Favorites That Will Keep You Coming Back For More

Categories: American Classic News, Community Spotlight, Renton, Sammamish Plateau, Seattle | Posted: December 28, 2016

Renton, Washington

It’s hard to compete with the coffee capital of Seattle, but Renton, Washington has been stepping up its game to provide coffee favorites for its 97,000 residents. Whether you are a local or just visiting, a city-guide for coffee is always necessary. Ranked based on coffee quality, accessibility, and creativity, below are the top three choices for your daily java fix.

liberty cafe renton

#1 Liberty Cafe: From the outside, this small cafe in Old Downtown Renton doesn’t look like much. Papyrus font gold lettering, a liberty bell decal, and a couple of metal chairs. But step inside and the taste of a creamy chai latte on a gray Seattle morning will quickly transport you to your happy place. Liberty Cafe, on Main and South Third Street, is known for it’s open mic nights, fast wi-fi, and fun drink creations. In addition to the vocal artists that come through the door, Liberty also invites the expressions of photographers and other visual artists to display their creations. The artists don’t only come through the door as guests, they work behind the counter too. With holiday drinks like an eggnog chai tea latte, there’s no question that the creative juices are always flowing.

 

#2 Black Bear Coffee Company: Let’s face it. Most days we are in a rush. We press snooze one (or two or three) times more than we should, just to avoid stepping out of our warm beds and onto the never-ending to-do lists we’ve created. Coffee is a necessity, but once we move from the warm bed into a (finally) warm car, we aren’t always ready to get out. Thankfully, there’s a delicious coffee drive thru that won’t disappoint. Black Bear Coffee Company offers just what you need to get your morning fix. The well-known experience of a Cafe D’Arte espresso, flavored with Torani syrup, and a milk of your choice is what you can expect to find. For the mornings where you just need coffee to be predictable, Black Bear will deliver every time. Feeling a little adventurous? Try their Grizzly Mocha that includes a “top secret” ingredient that will keep you guessing. Espresso not your thing? Try one of their many Red Bull drinks, guaranteed to wake you right up and spice up the flavor of an ordinary can.

 

renton vinces coffee#3 Vince’s Coffee: For the students out there, Vince’s Coffee is a welcoming place for getting cozy and studying the day away. No need to read in a stiff metal chair, at Vince’s you are invited to stretch out your legs in their comfy leather arm chairs or plush couches. You’ll feel like you are in your own living room with a walk up coffee counter. Where many coffee shops lack in the food department, here you’ll find breakfast and lunch panini’s that will help soak up some of the caffeine to keep away those afternoon jitters. Is your day off to a rough start? The friendly staff will help turn that around by not only providing you with your morning fix, but with customer
service that is on point. Another advantage? It’s not overly crowded. You’ll most likely always find a spot to curl up with your book and cup of joe, without being too disturbed. Bring a set of headphones to play your favorite tunes while drinking a delicious cup of coffee, and rest in the comfort of a place that can quickly become your second home.

So whether you are looking for the creativity of Liberty Cafe, the convenience of Black Bear
Coffee Company, or the comfort of Vince’s Coffee, these shops are sure to quench those coffee
cravings and keep you coming back for more.

 

Sammamish, Washington

The beautiful city of Sammamish is tucked between the trees to the East and Lake Sammamish. It’s proximity to Issaquah and Downtown Seattle makes it an incredible place to call home. Here are the top three places to enjoy the bold flavors of rich espresso and sweet vibrant syrups used to enhance the coffee in this charming town.

Sammamish Cafe

Pull right up to Sammamish Cafe and enjoy a gritty American feast with the locals. This cute diner was modeled after a 1940’s fishing lodge and has a bar counter tables and booths inviting you to sit and stay awhile. There are seven cafes throughout Washington that are linked to this one, including Saw Mill Cafe and Issaquah Cafe all serving hearty American meals. Each location carries a special blend of Village Cafe Coffee roasted on Camano Island. If you show up on a Sunday morning expect to wait a while but don’t be disappointed–they will offer you free coffee Bringing your kiddos along. They will fall in love. The cafe offers an M&M hot cocoa that is insanely delicious. Whether you are meeting a friend for coffee and a slice of pie in the evening or bringing your family in for brunch on the weekend this local spot can’t be beat.

Mercury Coffee Co

Enjoy an Eastside favorite when you walk into to get your latte at Mercury Coffee Co. Their standard brewed coffee is a combination of bold rich chocolaty flavors with a fruity finish. Nothing is more satisfying for the days when you’ve decided it’s time to “treat yourself” try ordering a Hawaiian Silk Latte. This special treat contains white chocolate, macadamia nut, coconut, espresso, and milk that feels like velvet. If you’re feeling a little spicy, they also offer a Mexican Mocha with spiced chocolate and espresso. Mercury Coffee Co first opened in 1998 in Woodinville and has been expanding over the last several years. They’ve won awards for their coffee since 2012 naming them “best” on several occasions. Their Sammamish store is scheduled to open in late 2016 early 2017 and you won’t want to miss it. Until then their nearby Redmond store is ready for you to dive in and start becoming familiar with their drinks that will soon become your favorite.

Starbucks

Only 20 miles from the flagship store, there is no doubt that Starbucks holds its own in any neighboring Seattle town. There are two Starbucks locations in Sammamish one drive-thru and one walk-in storefront. If you’re looking for a space to spread out and work the drive-thru location a tad bit closer to Eastlake High School might be your best bet. If you are a teacher or a parent of students at Eastlake High¨ the convenience of having two Starbucks locations so close is unmatched. Whether you are

craving one of their signature holiday drinks such as the Fall-favorite Pumpkin Spice Latte or a grab-and-go warm bacon gouda sandwich it is hard to compete with the predictability of stepping into a Starbucks. If you find yourself in Sammamish it is highly likely that you enjoy spending time outdoors. Take any coffee to go and enjoy it on a beautifully-paved Lake Sammamish trail or with a pastry as you sit alongside the lake. Invite your friends and family to join you for breakfast at the Sammamish Cafe become a regular at the new Sammamish branch of Mercury Cafe or celebrate the holidays with a Starbucks classic drink as you curl up next to the fireplace.

No matter how you enjoy your coffee, enjoy it in Washington.

Drive Me Yummy: Food Trucks of Seattle

Categories: Seattle, Washington | Posted: December 27, 2016

Ever since food trucks became a craze in 2008, mobile food options have continued to make a presence all over the country. They are the perfect lunch option for business men and women on the go, offering delicious options without the wait of a restaurant. For the college and young adult crowd, they provide the adventure and excitement of unique food in unique environments. Whether you are looking for something sweet, savory, simple, or complex, Seattle’s food truck scene has it all.

 

Best Food Trucks by Category

Dessert

Who says you can’t have dessert first? The Seattle Cookie Counter hand-makes 100% vegan ice cream sandwiches out of a VW Bus. Can you get any cooler than that? (Pun intended). This food truck pops up in rotating locations and was just saved by the community because it is so well loved. Support this local business when they reopen in January and experience the creamy goodness of a milk and cookies happy hour yourself!

 

Mealtime

If you’ve had the opportunity to try any of Marination’s restaurant locations, you won’t be surprised that this made the list. A Hawaiian-Korean fusion might be a new combination for you, but try telling me a Kalbi beef taco with Asian slaw doesn’t sound amazing. Another favorite?

Kimchi fried rice. The flavors are unmatchable and the prices reasonable. The only problem? Once you try it, the cravings won’t stop. Find their truck, Big Blue, hitting the streets again in 2017. Find them on twitter: https://twitter.com/curb_cuisine.

 

Best Food Trucks by Location

Eastside

If you live and work on the Eastside and are looking for somewhere new to check out, try The Peach and The Pig. This gourmet food truck is often parked in Bothell, Shoreline, and Redmond and offers an amazing pulled pork sandwich, apple bacon brussel sprouts, and fried green tomatoes. Find out where they are: https://twitter.com/peachandthepig.

 

South Lake Union

Meet the staff that everyone raves about at Tacos El Tajin. This South Lake Union food truck is known for their smiling faces, extra avocados, tender meats, and unbeatable prices. It can be hard to find a great Mexican food option in the Pacific Northwest, but quench those cravings at this local hotspot on your next lunch break. Check out their menu here: http://eltajintacos.com/.

 

Dealer’s Choice

Nosh: Fish and chips, fried rabbit, bone marrow, these are just some of the amazing things you can find on the Nosh truck. They bounce around from Westlake to Fremont to Downtown

Seattle Fun For Everyone: A Family Guide to Seattle

Categories: American Classic News, Seattle | Posted: December 15, 2016

If you are looking for the perfect vacation spot that is fun for the whole family, Seattle is hard to beat. The city is always alive with events, outdoor and indoor activities, restaurants and coffee shops, and the never-ending people watching. No matter what time of year, you will never run out of options. See our top picks for places to take your kids!

 

The Seattle Children’s Museum at The Seattle Center

It’s not surprising to see why this made the list, it’s right in the title! The Seattle Children’s Museum was created with your kids in mind, bringing education and encouraging wonder for the future leaders of our world. Located in Seattle’s central hub, The Seattle Center, The Children’s Museum is a great place to spark imagination in kids of all ages. Throughout the Museum there are chances for the whole family to interact with what they are seeing, including adding a piece of their own art to the monthly community piece in the Imagination Studio. Check out their website for their seasonal calendar events and rotating exhibits: www.thechildrensmuseum.org.

 

Stadium Tour at Safeco and CenturyLink

Let your kids be your excuse to explore the behind-the-scenes of your favorite venues. Both Safeco and CenturyLink Stadiums offer stadium tours that give you the opportunity to see the fields as the players do. The tour not only offers incredible views of the surrounding cascades and city skylines, but an education and history of Seattle’s famous teams. Are your kids enrolled in a sports team of their own? A stadium tour might be the best way to open their eyes to their potential and encourage the dreamer inside. They also offer group tours for teams and birthdays! Whether you are a Sounders, Mariners, or Seahawks fan, this is the place to be.

Find more on pricing and packages here: http://www.centurylinkfield.com/tour-centurylink-field/ and http://m.mlb.com/mariners/tickets/info/tours-details.

 

Local Cultural Festivals

Every month Seattle hosts a plethora of festivals, from International Film to the Seafair Navy Fleet Arrival to the Olympic Music Festival. They also host a number of festivals celebrating cultures and nationalities from around the world. What better way to help your children experience a new people group than bringing them to a Hmong New Year’s Celebration?

Booths filled with food, music, and handmade goods, the festivals of Seattle are definitely unique. Check out the calendar to see where you might want to take your family: http://www.visitseattle.org/things-to-do/events/festivals/.

 

Seattle Children’s Theater

Are you ready to introduce your kids to the world of theater? Allow your kids to experience the magic of a professional theater production that was designed with them in mind. The Seattle Children’s Theater offers productions that inspire wonder, breathe beauty, and have quality acting that the whole family can appreciate. They offer classes for young thespians, school tours for field trips, and even active audience guides to keep your children engaged throughout the production. This isn’t your ordinary theater. For current shows, visit: http://www.sct.org/.

 

Tidepooling at Local Watering Holes

Looking for something free? Put on your rain boots or water shoes and start exploring! The Washington Trails Association shares about various places around the Puget Sound to take your kids on a sea adventure. Find a tidepool guide online, or let your bodies do the learning. Teach your kids how to see how different species are clumped together, get a feel for the different textures, and soak in the smells of the ocean. For a list of some of their favorites, go here: http://www.wta.org/hiking-info/children/how-to/tidepooling-with-kids.

 

Education, imagination, exploration, and wonder. Now the only question is which one to go to first

A Guide to Exploration on a Rainy Seattle Day

Categories: American Classic News, Community Spotlight, Lifestyle, Seattle | Posted: December 2, 2016

The Seattle climate can be overwhelming for visitors. The rain falls almost every day for several
months out of the year, but that’s part of the beauty. In Seattle the rain invites discovery, so we
wanted to share with you the top five places we would recommend for you to explore on a rainy day.

1. Pike Place Market
Whether this is your first time to Seattle or you come on a regular basis, Pike Place Market is
always a town favorite. The storefronts are lined with street performers, providing their talent for
a donation. People are gathered, shoulders together, as they look at the hundreds of handmade
items, fresh grown flowers, and chocolate pasta samples. Stand in line for a warm cup of coffee
at the iconic flagship Starbucks location. Put on your hood and rain boots and stroll over to the
grass area on the North side of the market to get a great view of the water. Grab a bite to eat in
the multi-level market with restaurants, food stands, and fresh produce tables. The Market is a
great place to visit on a rainy day because it is covered and is big enough to spend a significant
amount of time walking through.

2. Space Needle
Standing 605 feet up in the air, the Space Needle is a cherished piece of art in the Downtown
Seattle Skyline. In addition to its Observation Deck, which allows you to see a panoramic view
of the entire city, the Needle’s restaurant, SkyCity, cannot be matched. If you’re looking for a
warm place to be on a rainy Seattle night, this is it. Each restaurant reservation includes a free
trip to the Observation Deck, which is the best bang for your buck. Bringing your kids along?
They have a great selection of American cuisine that is sure to please even the pickiest of kids.
If brunch is your weekly highlight, their malted buttermilk waffle or classic benny will make your
mouth water. Looking for the perfect date night? Pair a glass of your favorite wine (they have
quite the selection!) with a vanilla bean creme brulee. You won’t regret it. Whether you are
staring out while enjoying a fantastic meal, or making your rounds on the Observation Deck, you
will not find a better view of the city anywhere else in Seattle.

3. Chihuly Garden and Glass
If you’ve been to Vegas, there is a good chance that you’ve seen Chihuly’s work. The iconic
ceiling display, “Fiori Di Como”, in the front lobby at the Bellagio, is one of his most famous
pieces, causing passer-by’s to stare in awe. In 2012, the Seattle Center was privileged with the
opportunity to open a long-standing exhibit featuring the masterpieces of Dale Chihuly. If you’re
visiting Seattle, this needs to be on your short list. The glasshouse displays are breathtaking,
with colors changing based on the natural light. The outdoor garden combines the natural with
the created, inviting your mind to escape into its whimsy. Interested in learning a little more
about the pieces? The museum offers an audio tour. And there’s even a cafe with art adorning
the ceiling and walls, but don’t forget to make a reservation!

4. Experience Music Project Museum/Museum of Pop Culture
The Experience Music Project Museum, or EMP as it is often referred to, recently changed its
name to MoPOP-Museum of Pop Culture. It is a one-of-a-kind museum that the whole family
can enjoy. It features interesting music and pop culture history, phenomenal exhibitions, and
fascinating educational opportunities. The building itself is a visual representation of what you
can expect to find inside. With its various textures and colors, the steel frame portrays the
energy and fluidity of music. MoPOP is different than other museums, because their intention is
that you experience music and culture, not just observe it. If you’re looking for an experience
that will cause you to pause and engage with music and pop culture in a new way, look no
further.

5. Museum of Flight
Create a field trip for you and your family with a planned visit to the Museum of Flight. They offer
a wide variety of classes on aviation, space, robots, and more. The Museum originally was
located in the Red Barn that served as the birthplace of the Boeing Company in 1975. It has
taken on many new shapes since then, but is currently the largest independent non-profit air
and space program in the world. The museum contains over 175 air and spacecrafts, articles,
photographs, and ongoing exhibits that are sure to teach you something new. Take the time to
explore the history of aircraft that has significantly transformed our culture, communication, and
ability to travel all around the world.

 

So on your next visit to Seattle, let the rain be an invitation to rub shoulders with other visitors at
Pike Place Market, eat a great meal while looking at the Skyline at the Space Needle, be
amazed by the combination of glass and light at Chihuly Garden and Glass, experience the
intricacies of music and pop culture at MoPOP, and learn the rich history of travel at the
Museum of Flight.