Parkway gift shop fueled by sarcasm and sass
A new shop in Richland’s Parkway is filled with snarky gifts, fresh flowers and a few four-letter words for good measure.
“I call it a sassy gift shop with a twist,” said shop owner Teresa VanDoorn. “Life is better with sarcasm.”
The Teal Box opened in January as a storefront, replacing a business model that included pop-up locations at farmers markets, school bazaars and other outdoor events during the pandemic.
Make no mistake, this is a unique shop designed to make you laugh, using items curated from other small businesses, including many that are women-owned.
But it’s not for everyone, as a couple curse words are printed in large size right on the sales stand as you enter the shop at 741 The Parkway.
“I wasn’t always super sassy to begin with, but I found those were the items that were consistently selling out, and I realized, people need this humor, they need to laugh,” VanDoorn said. “They’d walk in with their girlfriends and just start laughing. So my customer base helped me really develop the need for this, and that it was OK.”
There are a range of items for women, men, babies, work buddies, self-care and more, featuring “zero sass to 100.”
There’s also a shop within a shop as VanDoorn partnered with her friend, Ember Long-Anderson, who has a space for her business, The Flower Bar.
It offers grab-and-go bouquets typically priced up to $50, or the option to pay for individual stems and have the florist arrange the flowers for no extra charge. Long-Anderson also uses the Parkway storefront to meet directly with her clients for larger bookings, including weddings.
The Teal Box started as an online business and still offers virtual shopping opportunities.
VanDoorn was used to sending care packages to her kids in college and found limited options at the time. Her idea was to provide personalized styling of a gift box, or the option to do it yourself with just a little encouragement.
Her signature offering is, quite literally, a teal box that can be filled with items for local delivery with a $10 flat rate or through shipping services for those out of the area.
If shipping out of town, the customer can select a carrier at the point of sale, making it seamless to get a personalized gift while skipping the packaging and trip to the post office.
VanDoorn took the leap to open the shop after finding online sales weren’t as fulfilling. She wanted a more consistent opportunity to meet with people.
“I know myself, and I’m a people person. I was loving the pop-ups way more than sitting on a computer, and I enjoyed all the interaction. I’m just a very genuine person. I’m not trying to sell you something; that’s never been my goal. I just want to enjoy people, and I want people to enjoy my humor and what I bring to the table,” she said.
When VanDoorn wasn’t at an event, other vendors would often share that shoppers had come by looking for her, and this pushed her to consider opening in the marketplace being built in Pasco. Then she stumbled on the vacancy at The Parkway.
“I’m 51. It’s kind of like, if you’re going to do it, do it. I’m not in the grave yet. My kids are grown, and it’s time for mom to have her own thing,” she said.
She hasn’t ruled out a second location at Pasco’s Osprey Pointe when it eventually opens. “I knew this would be a good location right now. I love being in the Parkway. I feel like it’s really like reinventing itself,” she said.
VanDoorn’s looking ahead to when the Richland Farmers Market reopens in the spring and the additional foot traffic it will provide as people discover her uncommon offerings.
So far just one customer has turned on their heels after reading the sassy phrase emblazoned on the check stand: “A wise woman once said ‘F— this sh–’ and she lived happily ever after.”
“I know it’s not for everybody, right? And that’s OK. I’m not here to appease everybody.”
The Teal Box and The Flower Bar: 741 The Parkway, Richland. Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sundays. Contact: thetealbox.com; 509-713-7001.
The Flower Bar: 741 The Parkway, Richland. Contact: 509-438-6983; theflowerbarontheparkway.com.