BUSINESS PROFILE: Susie Graves of ‘What’s up Washougal’ blog radio

July 25, 2012

by Martha Martin

Susie Graves, owner of “What’s Up Washougal” (contributed photo)

Susie Graves recently granted an interview about herself and her new business “What’s Up Washougal“, an online blog radio show that features the community of Washougal.

Susie Graves, a Camas native, graduated from Camas High School in 1974.  At age 56, Graves seems full of ideas and energy, and demonstrates a witty humor.

In describing her past, she said she never ventured any farther than Vancouver, and her father has remained in Camas until he relocated to an east Vancouver retirement home a few years ago.

Seeking to keep her roots here, she sought a home for her own family in the Camas-Washougal area, and landed in an apartment in Washougal,  enrolling her daughter in the local school.  That was in 1998 (or 1999, she is not quite sure, quipping that at age 56 she already has memory loss).

Graves said she has been married twice, and has one daughter who now has two children of her own.  About 12 years ago, Graves met her current life partner, who has seven children from a previous marriage, and Graves describes them as being “truly a modern family”.   Her partner continues to raise his children, both with their mother and with the help of Graves.  She sees her own daughter and grandchildren reaping the benefits of a large family.  She admits to some adjustment at first, with a change in attitude that helped her “find a new friend and co-mom”.  Graves said proudly that she has “8 kids and 5 grandchildren.  You should see the 20 socks I hang over the fireplace every Christmas!”

Her education included a major in Business, and she reported that in 2012 she received a Certificate of Proficiency in Business Administration/Accounting Clerk.

Graves described her passions and hobbies,  her likes and dislikes, including her path toward her current business.

” I did recently learn to crochet.  I’m not athletic.  I’ve never skied; mountain or water, that’s one regret I have.  I guess you would say my passion is my work.  I worked over 20 years at a local credit union and then for a software company.  I have a tendency to throw myself into work.  If it’s a good product, I’ll let you know why. That’s why other sales jobs did not work out for me, it goes against my grain to sell someone something when I know it’s not what they want. You could say I am very passionate about customer service.”

She described some insights into herself.  “I also discovered that I am a people person. I love people”.

Graves started her blog radio show “What’s Up Washougal” while she was sitting in her living room, staring out the window.  She had been reading the Want Ads, and was pondering  “What can I do on my own that would involve the community?”.

The concept came out of what she saw as a need, stating that the idea hit her like a tower.

“If you live here, you probably work and have kids which leave you with little time to do other things. The city and the schools have websites and I encourage you to check them out, but if you don’t have time, my show gives you a brief overview of what’s happening. I researched Free Radio. Blog Talk Radio came up in the search and allows me to broadcast to you FREE of charge”.

Topics covered by Graves include City Business (Monday), School Business (Tuesday), Park Business (Wednesday), Live with calls taken (Thursday),  Little League Baseball (Friday; She said she was not sure what would be on Friday since Little League is over), and the Swap Meet next to Bi-Mart (Saturday).

Graves said her goal for the radio show is to have it be the “go to” place that people can conveniently listen to and learn what is going on in their community, and find it all in one place.  She encourages ideas for her shows, and people can email her at whatsupwashougal@gmail.com

At this time, Graves is doing her show for free.  She “peppers” the shows with advertising for local merchants, stating that she encourages people to let her know they would like to be included or have something to advertise.  She added ” If the show gets popular and I can count on listeners, then I will probably start to charge a monthly fee, but it will NOT be expensive”.

Her hope is that her show will bring more “togetherness” to the community.  Graves said she would like her grandchildren to have a “family friendly place to live where neighbors watch out for each other and support one another”.

Graves described Washougal as a beautiful place, with its location ” right at the mouth of the Gorge, close to beaches and mountains and usually four seasons.”  She added that it is “small enough to know you, yet big enough to offer a lot”.

She would like Washougal to become “the friendliest place on earth”.   She added ” In a selfish world where more and more people think about and keep to themselves only, I want to live in a place where people say ‘Hi’ and call you by name.  Kinda like that TV show ‘Cheers’.”

People can send stories and information to:  whatsupwashougal@gmail.com.   They can listen to her show at www.blogtalkradio.com/whats-up-washougal, where you can also send a message by clicking on “send a message”.  She asks that people leave a phone number.

Graves adds “And….my Live show on Thursdays at 1:00 pm; they can call me at (347) 996-3359. “