The owner of an upscale clothing boutique can’t help but gush when she talks about her new storefront, a well-known corner spot in the Richland Parkway, once home to Ariel Gourmet & Gifts.
“I cannot wait. I’m super excited to be down here. It’s charming. I love all the eateries and the bakeries. I just love everything about it. It feels alive down here,” said Deane Duncan, owner of Hotoveli Boutique.
She opened her store in March 2020 at Queensgate Village at 1950 Keene Road, right at the beginning of the pandemic. The shop specializes in unique clothing, accessories and gifts that “can’t be found on Amazon,” she quipped.
Duncan said she didn’t think she’d survive the year, let alone be expanding into a new, larger store.
“I’m surprised I’m still here because of Covid actually,” she said.
She has spent more than a month renovating the space at 617 The Parkway and opened in early April.
The new location nearly doubles her space, from 2,300 square feet to almost 5,000 square feet. It occupies the area once home to Ariel Gourmet & Gifts and Cheese Louise. The entryway separating the two former businesses has been removed.
Cheese Louise closed in 2018 after the death of its owner.
Ariel Gourmet & Gifts, founded in 1977, quietly closed in February.
Joy Slone bought Ariel’s from Ellen Hunter in 2014, after working there for more than two decades – since her senior year of high school.
Ariel Gourmet & Gifts specialized in selling kitchen ware and other gifts. The shop has moved its inventory online at ariel-gourmet.com, with offerings ranging from cookware and bakeware, to gadgets and tabletop items. Slone could not be reached for comment.
Duncan said she had to leave Queensgate Village because the rent was too high. She said she applied for relief aid but wasn’t successful.
“I had no walk-in traffic whatsoever, and, especially during Covid, it hurt me,” she said. “When you don’t have any new people coming by to come in, it’s hard to grow.
“I did launch right in middle of Covid. I couldn’t be open for how many months, and people didn’t know about me at the time. If they did find me, they’d say, ‘That’s cute, but I have nowhere to wear it.’ ” she said.
She’s excited about the extra room and all the natural light at The Parkway store.
“I also do formal dresses and didn’t have any room there. It’s going to be amazing. I’m not going to lie,” she said.
Duncan has been doing all the renovation work herself, with help from 24-year-old Blake Loera of Moses Lake, a former employee and longtime friend. She’s saved costs by stretching paint, creating her own décor and recycling wood and other items.
Duncan felt rushed to open, as customers were calling and stopping in as she worked on the shop.
“That’s what sucks right now. People are starting to get out and wanting to shop,” she said.
The long hours spent renovating and preparing the store will be worth it though, she said.
She’s also excited about the opening of Park Place apartments off George Washington Way, across from Howard Amon Park. The complex includes space for retail shops.
Duncan originally opened Hotoveli Boutique in her hometown of Moses Lake in 2013. She and her husband then moved to Lake Havasu, Arizona, and she moved the shop there.
They spent about three years in the Southwest but missed family and returned to Eastern Washington in winter 2019. The Duncans have a son in the Tri-Cities and more family in Moses Lake.
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