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2011 Superheroes for Washington families: Ron Sher

Ron Sher, local retail centersRon Sher, local retail centers

He’s a successful developer and the creator of vibrant local retail community centers, including Crossroads Shopping Center in east Bellevue, and Third Place Books and Third Place Commons at Lake Forest Park Towne Centre. The 68-year-old Bellevue grandfather also earned a Ph.D. in agricultural economics from Washington State University. He bikes thousands of miles each year and describes himself as an environmentalist. He says when he was young, he learned, “People should respect each other and treat each other well.”

In a time of an abundance of empty retail spaces, Sher is still building community, recently landing a large new tenant for Crossroads: Stone Gardens, an indoor gym for climbers. He’s also transforming the old J.C. Penney building in Bremerton into a new residential and retail center.

“My work is inspired by Ron’s approach that being a good community steward can also be good business,” says Karen True, a community engagement consultant and Sher’s friend and frequent collaborator. “He is a community builder, creating places where children and families can discover ways to participate in their communities. Families can have fun without spending lots of money and experience firsthand what it means to be a part of a thriving, respectful community.” — KFM

Get to know Ron Sher...

Personal heroes: Lawyer and civic activist Jim Ellis, founder of Preston Gates & Ellis and “father” of Metro, the Lake Washington cleanup campaign and the Forward Thrust public works program. Sidney Harman, the 93-year-old new owner of Newsweek and innovative business leader and social activist.

Pet peeve: People who only think of themselves.

Best recent reads: Bob Woodward’s Obama’s Wars and Ray Oldenburg’s The Great Good Place.

Best way to get kids involved in giving back: Modeling how you wish them to serve their community by volunteering with them.

Up Next: Rebecca Mallos, Attachment and Trauma Specialists >>

Flip ahead to meet the rest of our 2011 Superheroes:
Mike Heinisch, Kent Youth and Family Services
Karen Bryant, The Seattle Storm

Flip back to see previous 2011 Superheroes:
Dr. Beth Harvey, pediatrician
Karen Kodama, Seattle Public Schools
Estela Ortega and Roberto Maestas, El Centro De La Raza
Shandra Benito, Reach Out
Michael Schindler, Operation Military Family
Sebrena and Rena Mateja Burr, Wellspring Family Services
Dan Savage, It Gets Better Project
2011 Superheroes: Home

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