Paula Burrows Shares Fondness for Tiny Lewis County Town

Windermere Centralia agent and recent Centralia resident Paula Burrows has a secret. It’s one word with three syllables and rhymes with torpedo.

“Toledo is kind of a hidden treasure,” said Burrows of the small town bordering the Cowlitz River. With a population of 725, this southwest Lewis County town is host to a Bluegrass Festival, Cheese Days, a Pow Wow, and an annual Fishing Derby. It even houses one of the late Dominic Gospoder’s sculptures of the American eagle.

windermere centralia
The Cowlitz River is Paula Burrows’s favorite feature of the Toledo area.

“There are a lot of people wanting to move to Toledo for the lifestyle it offers and to raise their kids in a small community,” Burrows said. “I think it’s a hidden, little secret.”

Burrows knows firsthand of the charms of Toledo. Raised in a small town, Burrows graduated from Toledo High School in 1980. Prior to becoming a real estate agent, Burrows owned Paula’s Gifts, a gift shop in the small town, for ten years.

“We had a Beanie Baby account,” said Burrows. “People would come from all over to buy Beanie Babies. The gift shop was the place to go.”

Over time, her business ran its course and the market changed. As she looked at what she might do next, she realized that real estate would be a career path that would fulfill her needs. “I was looking into a career change for the future,” said Burrows.

She moved to Centralia in February 2015, but she still spends time in Toledo regularly. She is particularly fond of the natural beauty of the area. “I just love the Cowlitz River,” said Burrows.

windermere centralia
Paula Burrows, a real estate agent with Windermere Centralia, has a special place in her heart for the people of Toledo.

“It’s a caring, nice, little community,” described Burrows. “The elders in the community support the young people.” Burrows shared how her father, Richard Hayes, splits his time between living with her and an aunt in Florida.

Although Hayes now resides with Burrows in Centralia, he drives to Toledo on the weekdays. “My dad gets up and goes to Toledo,” Burrows said of her father’s weekday ritual. His destination is usually the Napa Auto Parts Riverview store, a hang out for locals who can have a cup of coffee, play table games and chat.

Supporting Toledo

Burrows is part of Vision: Toledo, a grassroots network of individuals and organizations, actively promoting the town.

“The mission of Vision: Toledo is to efficiently utilize resources, to enhance the quality of life for the greater Toledo community,” shared the organization’s Marketing and Communications Coordinator, Sheila Richardson. “Our vision is to promote and maintain the quality of living for our citizens through preservation of our past and development of our future.”

With Burrows’ financial support, ToledoTel, Toledo’s local phone company and fiber optic Internet service provider, is making a commercial to endorse the veiled community.

Relocating to Centralia

Prior to becoming a real estate agent, Paula Burrows owned a gift shop in Toledo. It's now the home of a Farmers Insurance agent.
Prior to becoming a real estate agent, Paula Burrows owned a gift shop in Toledo. It’s now the home of a Farmers Insurance agent.

While a fan of Toledo, Burrows moved to Centralia and found a new passion – working out at Fitscape. “I chose to join a smaller gym so there were less people working out around me,” said Burrows. She was prompted to look into a Fitscape membership by a fellow real estate agent.

“My designated broker had gone to Fitscape for five years. I hired a trainer, lost weight and feel great,” said Burrows.

As her real estate business blossomed, she also realized that it would be a beneficial time saver to be closer to the Windermere Centralia business office.

Real Estate as a Career

“I love helping buyers and sellers reach their real estate goals,” Burrows said who averages 25,000 miles a year supporting her business. While she specializes in representing properties in the Toledo/Winlock area and throughout Lewis County, “I go wherever I’m needed.”

A stunning aerial view of Toledo and the Cowlitz River. Photo credit: Sheila Richardson.

“We have a really good office,” Burrows said of working at Windermere Centralia. She joined the real estate firm in 2009 because she appreciates the tools and technology offered by the agency. “This technology helps me meet the goals of my buyers and sellers.” (Watch a video about Paula’s real estate career.)

“I am very thankful for my clients and the trust they give me to represent them as their Realtor,” Burrows added.

To learn more about Toledo, the Cowlitz River, and Lewis County real estate, visit Paula Burrows’ website. You can also get to know Paula through this video. To contact Paula, call 360-520-4810 or email

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