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Windermere's Gary Franklin reflects on April 7 fire

April 7, 2022, is a day that will be remembered for a very long time. The fire that razed through a portion of Spring Street in Friday Harbor and destroyed several historic buildings was a grim reminder of how precious so many things are that we often take for granted. The Crow's Nest will no longer be the early morning gathering place where we get our morning shots and catch up on the local gossip from neighbors. Herbs isn't there anymore and we'll have to shift our routine to find another great burger and beer spot. Crystal Seas Kayak Rentals and whale watch tours will continue to facilitate tours, but from a different physical location. While our Windermere Real Estate building was not entirely destroyed, it was damaged beyond repair. But all of our Realtors are accustomed to working and advising clients remotely and we will seamlessly continue our work from various offices until a new gathering spot can be arranged.

Windermere building's roof is ablaze as Crow's Nest sign's bird watches. Sharon Kivisto photo

Yes, we lost a part of our historical character yesterday. Yes, our hearts were heavy as we realized the loss that comes with a sudden, unexpected, devastating change. And yes, we felt the compassion of our community as it rallied for us with offers of help; counseling, office space, grants and love.

From our Realtor neighbors across the street, to other Windermere offices on Orcas, Lopez, Anacortes, Mt. Vernon and even Seattle, offers to provide assistance to our Windermere team here were coming in constantly, by calls, texts and emails. Although Windermere is a regional brand, the relationships we have in our company more than often transcend business and become personal. We all chose to live and work here because of this thoughtful and caring community. We know our neighbors and are extremely grateful for everyone who reached out during these painful moments. Windermere Realtors will continue to provide exemplary service to those who decide to sell their island property or those who want to become a part of this island lifestyle. But just not from the building we affectionately officed in for so many years.

While we may have become complacent with our daily office surroundings, we were shocked yesterday, and again realized that change happens, often when least expected. Our reaction to the change, and what we do now, will set the stage for what comes next. In the same way the Phoenix rose from the ashes; we will persevere and continue to serve others with their real estate needs, all the while surrounded by a wonderful, gracious community and relationships, which we won't take for granted.

Windermere Real Estate - 360-378-3600


Gary Franklin

Owner/Broker Windermere Real Estate- San Juan Island


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