Gabi Trautmann (1993)
When you are looking for comics, graphic novels, toys, games and more, there’s only one place to go and that’s Olympic Cards and Comics. Owner, Gabi Trautmann, and Timberline graduate, began working at the store in 1990 at the age of 15. When the store threatened to close in 1993, Trautmann purchased the business and has since been thriving among comic, gaming and collectible enthusiasts in Lacey.
While attending Timberline, Trautmann also participated in Running Start. Her class was the first to partake in the program. “I enjoyed Running Start as I liked that I was more challenged and loved the idea of going to college early and potentially getting through my education tract quicker,” she explains. Trautmann then went on to receive her undergraduate degree at The Evergreen State College and attended Antioch University for her graduate program.
She played soccer and was part of Students against Drunk Driving (S.A.D.D.). “I was a ‘rocker’ with big hair and black eyeliner and I was a nerd. I actually got teased a lot because I worked at the comic shop,” she said.
Trautmann’s soccer coach, Rob Walker taught her that working hard is at the crux of success. “Most importantly, he taught me that more often than not, skill is not what wins a game, its heart.”
Trautmann reminisces, “There was a moment when Rob asked the soccer team who turned the game around to help the team win and that one player made all the difference. Of course everyone thought it was the player who dug deep and managed to score, but it wasn’t. It was me! He told me I did not give up, I did not let the defense give up and I did not let the team give up. My heart won the game. I will never forget that moment as it has taught me to fight and to never give up.”
Olympic Cards and Comics is a lot like a community center. There’s a game room and café. Lots of couches and tables. “We try and make it as welcoming to come and hang out as it is to come and shop. There are a lot of kids in this town that don’t have anywhere to be and need a safe place to hang out and be a part of something,” Trautmann explains. “I love that I have kids from all walks of life that come in here and are instantly accepted and welcomed. I love how protective these kids are of each other and how that translates when they go to school and see each other in the halls.”
In her free time, Trautmann enjoys soccer, comics, Lego Bricks, reading, crafts and eating her favorite food mac and cheese.
“My advice to students is if you work hard and care more, there is nothing you cannot solve or accomplish, both in life and in business. I think honor is the one thing no one can take from you. Only you can give up your honor. If you give your word, you keep it. If someone needs help and you are in a position to give it, it is your responsibility to do so,” explains Trautmann.
“Doing what I do for a living is a privilege. I am afforded the ability because my community rallies and helps me when I need it. I always liken the shop to a ship. I am just the captain; everyone else helps make sure she sails.”