New store aims to bring Tacoma community together

April 7 — The arrival of a new store on McKinley Avenue in Tacoma is a dream come true for a local family.


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Parable is a family business, with Deatria (Dee Dee) Williams and her cousins ​​Lakecia Farmer and Le’Ecia Farmer all co-owned.

The family got the space last fall. Raising over $ 11,000 through crowdsourcing, they were able to pay for initial start-up costs and secure inventory to launch online sales, including books and plants.

Their goal is to raise $ 50,000 in total to renovate the interior space so that Parable can move from selling online to opening its doors in the summer of 2021.

They also applied for loans and grants for small businesses.

The location is 3502 McKinley Ave., Suite A, the former Tacoma Lamp Repair site.

The company’s bio on the company’s website indicates that it is a “family, community-owned, LGBTQ-owned, black-owned, female-owned.”

The store will feature plants, books, clothing, products from local artists and more. The family also plans that the store will also serve as a community space for live events, children’s programs and workshops.

The owners recently sat down with The News Tribune to describe their dreams for the store.

“We all had different entrepreneurial ideas, separately and together,” said Le’Ecia Farmer. “A long time ago, Lakecia and I were talking about opening a cafe. I know, I heard Dee Dee talk about some entrepreneurial activities like interior design or different services for people. always been the case our mind is what we want to do. We eventually want to work for ourselves and build our family and future generations.

“And then during the pandemic, a space opened up in front of where Dee Dee and Lakecia live, and where I lived.… Do? What would it be?” And we just started to dreaming about the potential business that it might be.And then the more we talked, the more excited we got.

“And we applied to this space and got it.”

She added: “I feel like companies usually do it the other way around where they have this fleshed out business plan and all the finances and then they find the space, where we just found the space and we’re like, let’s do it. “

Lakecia Farmer said Parable will focus on the community.

“You know, we say it a lot, ‘community, community, community’, but it means a lot to us to have space for people,” said Lakecia Farmer. “Dee Dee and I have been in this neighborhood for four years, so one of the things we just saw that was amazing was how the community comes together for the McKinley Street Fair, and the Farmers’ Market. and all these different things… But there’s not, like, a huge space where you can just, like, come with your family… come like yourself, and you know, maybe go shopping, maybe just be participating in the community. “

Deatria Williams said: “We were walking one day and it was empty, and it felt like everything had come into place like it was lined up for us. So it was pretty exciting.”

They envision reading circles and craft sessions for kids, poetry nights that people can join in, with seating areas to come in and read or listen to records and music, each member of the family will love. particularly interesting in every aspect.

“Technically, as an LLC, we are listed as a shop,” Le’Ecia Farmer said. “But we really want to… focus on a more lively space where people can interact. And so in addition to music and children’s programming, educational workshops… we have our business side. And then there’s the business side. kind of a mix of those two sides too, where it’s like we want to showcase independent designers and local artists. And we imagine a space where they can host events with us, they can have pop-ups , if they’re trying to start a small business … “

The launch of the store will take place in three phases. The online part expanded with sales focused on books and plants. The next phase is the interior renovation. The final phase will open the store to the public and focus on launching the community phase into its full vision when it can be done safely in regards to the pandemic.

While opening a business during a pandemic might seem daunting, the phased approach has given them a head start, Lakecia Farmer noted.

“We are developing our business in phases. And I think that builds resilience… we are innovative in selling online,” said Lakecia Farmer. “This is the story of Parable as an adaptation. We adapt.

“I don’t know if you’re familiar with ‘The Parable of the Sower,’ by Octavia Butler. That’s where the name comes from. But it’s all about resilience during hardship – just being resilient.

“And I think that’s… one of the reasons, ways that we can show ourselves in the community like, ‘Hey, that’s hope. It is strength. It is resilience. We can do it. You can do it. And we’re all in the same boat. ‘”

“I also feel like we are able to look ahead and be like, we want things to be different for future generations,” said Le’Ecia Farmer. “We don’t want them to have to fight tooth and nail to just have some sort of sense of security. Even though it seems really wild to open up during a pandemic, I think this seems like the best option for us. family right now. “

“I’m pretty excited about this,” said Deatria Williams. “I look forward to it. And not only that, we are leaving something for generations to come.”

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