Articles by Laura Kostad

Laura Kostad is a freelance reporter for the Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business and Senior Times. After completing her bachelor’s degree in creative writing at the University of Washington in 2015, she moved to Kennewick to pursue new opportunities and launch her career. She has been with the Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business since 2017 and has enjoyed getting to know her new community through journalism. In her spare time, she enjoys working on the many book ideas she has and the occasional poem.
Ed and Moe’s Pawn Shop & Guitar Bar owner Russel Del Gesso, center, and employees Jay Valdez, left, and Lalo Ruiz, right, don’t run your average pawn shop. Their passion is for musical equipment. The shop is at 419 W. Entiat Ave., Suite C, in Kennewick. (Photo by Laura Kostad)

Tri-Cities’ own pawn stars find niche in musical equipment

In the market for music equipment? Ed and Moe’s Pawn Shop & Guitar Bar is a store you’ll want to put on your list. It has typical pawn shop items – electronics, power tools, jewelry, collectibles – but Ed and Moe’s puts special focus on providing a replete inventory of secondhand musical instruments, audio equipment…

Amelia Kittson and her father Gus Kittson stand inside KIE Supply Corp., which started in downtown Kennewick in 1955. It has expanded over the years to carry irrigation, plumbing, electrical, decorative lighting, bathroom fixtures and appliances. Amelia works alongside her dad to prepare for her future role as the next-generation leader of the company. (Photo by Wendy Culverwell)

Longtime Kennewick company begins transition to third generation

A third generation is poised to take over KIE Supply Corp., the iconic 67-year-old Kennewick business. KIE, established in 1955 by Augustan Kittson Sr., is a longtime supplier of irrigation, plumbing, electrical, lighting, appliance and bathroom fixtures for contractors and DIYers through stores in Kennewick, Hermiston, Sunnyside and elsewhere. Its gleaming fixtures sparkle on East…

Oscar and Lonnie Suarez, owners of Novel Coffee + Teas, recently celebrated one year at 710 George Washington Way, Suite B-B, in Richland. The Covid-19 pandemic shut down their shop inside the Richland Public Library for more than seven months. The café’s book walls are a popular spot for Instagrammers. (Photo by Laura Kostad)

The pandemic couldn’t close book on Novel Coffee + Teas

It’s not the typical narrative for small business owners. When statewide shutdowns in the wake of Covid-19 closed the Richland Public Library’s doors, its café, Novel Coffee + Teas, shut down with it. Though many businesses took advantage of the lull to re-imagine their brands, spaces and business models, few were faced with the unusual…

Residential construction near Ridgeline Drive and South Sherman Street in Kennewick. (Photo by Scott Butner Photography)

City of Kennewick: Forging forward to ‘normal’ despite pandemic

As the Tri-Cities negotiates its second year of the Covid-19 pandemic, cities and private developers alike continue to forge ahead with projects, bringing new services to the community. Despite state and federal level mandates limiting in-person business, tightened budgets and ballooning construction costs, Kennewick – the largest and most densely populated of the four cities…

Carmen Kane, owner of
Columbia Quail LLC, holds a Japanese
coturnix quail in front of a basket of
eggs. Her small fl ock supplies eggs by
the dozen to several Tri-City retailers. (Courtesy Columbia Quail)

Columbia Quail supplies bite-size alternative to chicken eggs

Fancy a fancy quail egg? A Pasco farm’s flock supplies them by the dozen to several Tri-City retailers. These quail eggs don’t come from the kind of wild quail commonly seen around the Tri-Cities. The small, speckled eggs are produced by their larger cousin, the Japanese coturnix. These quail look like a small female grouse…

Underground Creative of Kennewick provided a rendering of what Fresh Leaf Co.’s new logo and sign would look like on its new building. (Courtesy Fresh Leaf Co.)

Fresh Leaf Co. puts down new roots in Richland

 A forced move amid a pandemic may have been a blessing in disguise for one Kennewick restaurant. Fresh Leaf Co. is moving to Richland with plans to open in March and expand its menu and hours. The restaurant closed the doors of its bright green building after more than five years at 2617 W. Kennewick…

Pat Knight stands flanked by a sampling of the metal art creations for sale at his 4432 W. Clearwater Ave. shop in Kennewick. All of the pieces are designed, fabricated and finished by Knight, his brother Randy, and their father, Larry. (Photo by Laura Kostad)

Custom-made metal gallery find niche in Kennewick

Amid pandemic shutdowns and canceled art expos, Knights Welding retooled its business model and opened a Kennewick storefront. The custom-made metal art shop was grateful for a solid holiday shopping season. “Christmas was good for business,” said owner Pat Knight, adding that it’s the shop’s busiest time of the year, punctuated by an uptick in…

Alexa Orozco, owner of Polliwogs Children’s Boutique at 246 Williams Blvd., in Richland’s Uptown Shopping Center, hand selects and personally vets each brand the store carries for its commitment to ethical and sustainable manufacturing. (Photo by Laura Kostad)

Polliwogs Children’s Boutique’s niche is ethical, sustainable apparel

Polliwogs Children’s Boutique prides itself on offering an assortment of ethically and sustainably-sourced baby and children’s apparel, shoes and accessories. “I was actually really surprised that there were as many people who wanted that here,” said owner Alexa Orozco. Part of what motivated her to open the Richland store six years ago was her own…

Epic Trust Financial Group has formed after merging local businesses, Epic Trust Investment Advisors, Real Insurance Solutions and Burt Tax & Accounting. Owners Jeffrey P. Lewis, from left, Tyson Reil and Nathan Burt said joining their expertise under one company flag, in one location will add value and simplify financial management for customers. (Photo by Laura Kostad)

Epic Trust unites financial services under one roof

Three local financial professionals have launched a new business after merging their separate financial planning, investment management, insurance, tax accounting and bookkeeping companies. “We’re the only firm in town that has all of our disciplines together under one roof. There’s no competitor that we are aware of that can do everything we do, all with…

Diahann Howard, executive director of the Port of Benton, center, reviews sewer plans for an expansion of the north Horn Rapids industrial area with Miles Thomas, director of economic development, left, and Roger Wright of RGW Enterprises, right.
(Courtesy Ross James Photography/Port of Benton)

Port of Benton: Critical foundation in place for 2021 projects

The first months of 2020 welcomed new members to the Port of Benton “We were in the middle of a transition,” said Diahann Howard, executive director for the port, whose jurisdiction includes a population of about 56,050 and a budget totaling $14 million in 2020. Howard, who became executive director in December 2019, hired a…

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