OLYMPIA - Janis Dean, the longtime owner of The Popinjay, is the Olympia Downtown Association's 2010 Person of the Year, the organization announced as part of its annual meeting Monday.
Also winning awards were Daniel Furrer, the ODA’s Volunteer of the Year, and KXXO 96.1 FM, the ODA’s Business of the Year. Business of the Year is a new award for the organization now celebrating its 20th year of representing downtown’s interests, executive director Connie Lorenz said.
Dean was selected by the past winners of the Person of the Year award, including downtown business owner Jeanne Carras of Bonaventure, who said the group spent all of 30 seconds nominating Dean.
“Every one of us sat down and said Janis Dean,” Carras said. “It’s high time that it’s Janis Dean.”
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Carras called Dean a calm voice of reason on the Parking and Business Improvement Area board and a great supporter of downtown. She also credited Dean as the driving force behind the flower baskets that are hung downtown every year. “She’s just amazing, and I don’t know where we would be without her,” Carras said.
Carras said Dean got her start in business by opening a store years ago on Yelm Highway, but today is focused on her location downtown on Capitol Way. The Popinjay is a fun, unique store for gifts, Carras said.
Past winner Ray LaForge, who used to own Olympic Outfitters downtown before selling the business to Alpine Experience, said Dean has been active in promoting downtown.
“Her business has evolved and proven that someone who is actively involved can survive through thick and thin, good times and bad,” LaForge said.
Furrer, the Volunteer of the Year, was picked by Carras, who also is the ODA board president. She said Furrer was the clear choice, calling him a phenomenal volunteer and someone who has taken over downtown cleanup efforts with fervor.
“I didn’t have another person in my brain at all,” Carras said about her decision to pick him. Furrer also manages the downtown business Archibald Sisters.
As for the business of the year, KXXO owners Toni Holm and Dave Rauh were chosen for “their stellar support of downtown with the ‘buy local’ holiday campaign,” Lorenz said. “The radio station is a great community supporter of many nonprofit events and causes.”
The awards were announced Monday night at downtown’s Capital Playhouse.
Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403