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Web Extra: Kitsap Bank, community mark 100 years together
Kitsap Bank's centennial took over the Port Orchard waterfront on Friday.
Kitsap Bank celebrated its 100th anniversary on Friday, bringing local dignitaries, long time customers and an estimated 2,000 onlookers to celebrate its century of service to the community.
“This is a great day for Kitsap Bank,” said Kitsap Bank President Jim Carmichael. “We have benefited from the growth of our community, and the community has benefited from the growth of Kitsap Bank. It has been a two-way street.”
“I don’t think that any of the founders of this bank expected that we would be standing here 100 years later celebrating their wisdom and foresight,” said Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola.
Bremerton Mayor Cary Bozeman lauded the bank for its steadfast path and its unwillingness to sell out when many other banks have done so.
“You have stayed the course and stuck to your principles,” Bozeman said.
The bank created a small waterfront park for the occasion, with a commemorative plaque that notes the anniversary dates. Additionally, Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed presented a certificate that recognized the bank for its “outstanding customer service, integrity and innovation.”
North Kitsap Commissioner Steve Bauer said any company can survive, but it is unique to see one that has contributed to the community.
“When I look at a company, I go beyond the business model and look for its soul,” he said. “Kitsap Bank has been true to its roots. It has grown, but its headquarters are right where it started — in Port Orchard. ”
Since the bank’s uniqueness comes from its family ownership, several descendants of the founders were on hand.
“Eight eight oh-eight, what a date to celebrate,” said Chairman of the Board Helen Langer Smith, whose grandfather was one of the bank’s founders.
“It has been a heartwarming experience putting this together and having so many people respond from the community. We are looking back on solid growth and looking forward to a future full of opportunies. You have been wonderful. Without the community’s support this would never have happened.”
Langer was dressed in a 1908-style dress that she found in a Redmond shop, that required no alteration.
The celebration was organized by a bank vice president and marketing director Shannon Childs, who said the idea of the centennial “was always on my radar screen” since she started in her current job five years ago.
Childs said centennial events will continue all year, and will be tied to similar events throughout Kitsap County. “This celebration continues,” she said. “And every one of our employees has been involved in some way.”