Parable Shop Aims To Bring The Tacoma Community Together

A new store on McKinley Avenue in Tacoma is a dream come true for a local family.

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

The family secured 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 factories.

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

They also applied for loans and grants from 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 states that it is a “family business, community-owned, LGBTQ-owned, black-owned, women-owned.”

The store will feature plants, books, clothing, products from local artists and more. The family also plans that the store will become 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’ve 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. And so as a family we’ve always thought that’s what we want to do. We ultimately 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. … But we’re just like, ‘What if we have this space? What would we do? What would that be? ‘ And we just started, like, dreaming about the potential business that this could be. And then the more we talked, the more excited we were.

“And we applied to that 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 finance and then they find the space, where we just found the space and we’re like, let’s do it. “

Lakecia Farmer said the dish will be community driven.

“You know, we say it a lot, ‘community, community, community’, but it just means a lot to us to have a 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 was amazing was how the community comes together for the McKinley Street Fair, 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 shop, maybe just participate in the community.

Deatria Williams said: “We were walking one day and it was empty, and it felt like everything was in 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 boutique,” ​​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 kind of a mix of those two sides too, where it’s like we want to showcase independent designers and local artists. And we’re looking at a space where they can host events for us, they can have pop-ups, if they’re trying to get started as a small business owner … “

The store launch 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 be to open the store to the public and focus on launching the community phase into its full vision when it can be done safely in the face of 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 stages. And I think that builds resilience … we’re innovative in selling online, ”said Lakecia Farmer. “This is the story of the parable as an adaptation. We adapt.

“I don’t know if you are familiar with Octavia Butler’s ‘Parable of the Sower’. That’s where we got the name from. But it’s all about resilience during hardship. It’s all about community, community building … just being resilient.

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

“I also have a feeling that 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 a sense of security. Even though it seems really wild to open up during a pandemic, I think it seems like the best option for our family right now.

“I’m very excited about this,” said Deatria Williams. “I can not wait to be there. And not only that, we are leaving something for generations to come.

For more information, visit parabletacoma.com.

Debbie Cockrell has worked for The News Tribune since 2009. She reports on business and development, local and regional issues.


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