KENNEWICK, Wash. — It’s a place for plant lovers and bookworms, or anyone who just wants to stop by. Attached to a business nearly a century in the making, Slate and Aloe is bringing some green to downtown Kennewick.
“We are standing inside of Slate and Aloe which used to be the parts and service counter for Farmer’s Exchange, it is now a plant, tea and bookstore,” Co-Owner Nikki Ingersoll.
Farmer’s Exchange, located on the corner of West Canal Drive and North Benton Street, was founded in 1924 in Kennewick. Years later is when Nikki’s husband’s great grandfather bought into the business.
“My great grandfather Emerald Silliman bought in, and then it’s been in my family ever since then,” Chris Ingersoll said he started working for Farmer’s Exchange when he was 13 years old.
Chris said he worked under his grandfather, then his uncle; when he retired, Chris took over.
“We wanted to do something new and fresh with this space because it’s right up against Fountain Square where a lot of the downtown events are,” Chris said about the space Slate and Aloe is located in.
Nikki said the building required some cosmetic TLC like a deep clean, peeling off old layers, a fresh coat of paint in addition to hand painted, stencil prints on the floor.
She said there was a growing demand for a plant and bookstore in downtown Kennewick.
“House plants were growing over in the main store, and then we were talking with the Downtown Association, and they said there was some expressed desire for a bookstore. So those are two of my favorite things, so I thought let’s put them together and so that’s where this came from,” Nikki explained.
The store inside is lush with green house plants, fanciful displays, bookshelves and a DIY terrarium station.
“Slate’s kind of like a book, like a school slate, and our daughter’s nickname is Aloe and we wanted to keep it as part of a family business,” Nikki said that’s how they came up with the name.
It’s a business that’s the first of its kind in downtown Kennewick, and Nikki hopes people feel at home when they visit.
“Well, we just wanted to create a space that is relaxing, inviting; people felt like they could just come and linger, we wanted to build a sense of community and just be somewhere that people could come downtown and spend some time and enjoy themselves.”
Slate and Aloe is open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10 am to 6 pm, and is located at 19 North Benton Street in Kennewick.
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