From the moment they arrived, Kiss the Sky Books owner Jim Tinney and his daughter Michelle have immersed themselves in the Sultan community, volunteering on numerous projects and initiatives. Their volunteerism has been tackled with enthusiasm, performed in addition to the mammoth amount of work they’ve undertaken to prepare Jim’s dream business for its Sultan debut.
In fact, Jim engaged in his first volunteer effort before he became a permanent Sultan resident. He was staying at the Dutch Cup Motel last year waiting for the sale on his property at 401 Main Street to close, when he began attending Coffee with the Mayor. While there, he heard about an annual city cleanup event called Project Main Street, and decided to lend a hand. He figured the event would be a great way to become acclimated to the community and connect with likeminded individuals.
Jim’s philosophy is simple – communities are built by those who live in them.
“If you want to live in a nice town, you have to make it a nice town,” Jim said. “That’s it. That’s all there is to it.”
He closed on the Main Street property on July 5, 2016. His daughter Michelle moved to the area in September, to help him with renovate the building and prepare Kiss the Sky Books for its grand opening. Once open, Michelle, who lives in Startup, will help manage the store.
As far as finding a home for himself and his book store, Sultan was everything Jim was looking for.
“I wanted a funky old building,” Jim said. “I didn’t want a piece of new construction in a strip mall. I wanted an old, funky building in a cool, old logging town, and I found it.”
Together, Jim and Michelle have engaged in multiple volunteer initiatives, including the installation of new LED lightbulbs in the City’s 10-foot lighted Christmas train, which had been shelved for years due to fuse issues. Michelle helped organize the effort to return the train to its rightful place atop the awning at Sultan City Hall, recruiting numerous volunteers to change out the bulbs. They also teamed up to serve hot chocolate during the Christmas Tree Lighting celebration, an annual Sultan tradition.
As Jim’s renovation work intensified, Michelle moved more into the role of community liaison. They’ve employed a divide and conquer technique, each tackling different volunteer committees and projects. Michelle has taken on the responsibility of planting and caring for two Main Street islands, as well as the gardens on the west side of the post office. She is part of Sultan’s Business and Tourism Group, serves on the Traveler’s Park Committee and was a Project Main Street “Sparkle Captain.”
“It’s been really cool to be able to make a difference so quickly,” Michelle said. “It’s shocking how something so little really can make a huge difference.”
Jim serves on the Sky River Rock Festival Committee, a group of folks working to organize a rock show to commemorate the 50-year anniversary of the original Sky River Rock Fest, which took place in 1968. The group is holding a fundraiser show this year, which takes place the end of August.
One of Jim’s favorite volunteer efforts so far was painting a rain barrel at the Sky Valley Senior Center, a fundraising initiative where volunteers could pay $50 to paint their own original design on a rain barrel. The two further support the senior center by patronizing its pancake breakfast every month, with Michelle going out of her way to advocate for the morning meal on social media.
The two plan to continue volunteering even after Kiss the Sky opens its doors. And if there comes a point in time where Michelle is able to take on more, she wants to focus on supporting the youth in the community, as that is where her heart lies.
It’s all about being invested in their community, they said.
“Making our mark just by opening a business is not what the goal is,” Michelle said. “The goal is being a part of this community.”