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.
Photo by Kristina Lord

Restaurant owners feel pinch of
food inflation

Price inflation has spiraled upward in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Fallout from lockdowns compounded over the intervening months with the effects of other unexpected events on the world stage is leading to shortages and subsequent price hikes. Though inflation is felt by everyone across all sectors, perhaps nowhere does it hit harder than…

Tapteal Native Plants founder Ann Autrey and her assistant Kelsey Kelmel stand in the shade house full of plant starts, most of which will be sold at their annual fall plant sale. Autrey runs the nursery out of her multi-acre backyard, selling over 10,000 plants per year to home gardeners and professional landscapers looking to bring a touch of shrub-steppe to their landscaping. (Photo by Laura Kostad)

Tapteal Native Plants offers drought-tolerant landscaping alternatives

Tucked into a pocket of West Richland is a native plant haven.It’s a nursery in Ann Autrey’s backyard called Tapteal Native Plants. Her business is a grassroots effort to raise awareness about the value of native species, as well as to supply the Columbia Basin with region-specific varieties from its unique shrub-steppe habitat. Demand for…

Courtesy ET Estate Sales

Estate liquidation professionals help Tri-Citians clear out clutter

Have unwanted stuff lying around? Perhaps a whole houseful? Tri-City estate liquidators can help, offering a variety of selling formats including traditional tag sales, auctions and direct purchases. Estate sales aren’t just for the elderly, or even estates. Rick Craig, owner of Craig Estate Sales, has been running in-home tag sales throughout the Columbia Basin…

CODA Alternative Cremation and Funeral, located at 2909 S. Quillan St., Suite 104, in Kennewick, offers a modern, comfortable environment to explore streamlined, affordable, mid-range funeral arrangements. (Courtesy CODA Alternative Cremation and Funeral)

Einan’s launches alternative funeral home to bridge gap in death care

The funeral industry can be slow to change. But that didn’t stop Einan’s at Sunset Funeral Home in Richland from offering the alternatives customers were seeking. “The majority of people want customization, and they want unique options. The percentage of funeral homes that actually provide that is less than it should be,” said Holley Sowards,…

PNNL chemical engineer Jian Liu observes laboratory equipment used to extract rare earth elements from various water sources. This magnetic separation loop system works in tandem with tiny, magnetic particles that are added to the water, quickly drawing out the element for easy extraction. (Courtesy Andrea Starr of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)

PNNL patents method of extracting lithium from water

The alchemists of yore sought to convert low-value lead into high-value gold. A solution to that puzzle remains elusive, but researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have discovered something more applicable to present-day challenges. The lab has patented a game-changing new method of extracting lithium from water. There is a lot more suspended in H2O…

Expectant parents can choose one of three rooms offered at Columbia Birth Center. The River Suite, pictured, is the largest and features pops of warm color. (Courtesy Columbia Birth Center)

Columbia Birth Center offers alternative to hospital at new location

Columbia Birth Center pulled up roots this spring. The hospital and home birth alternative for those seeking more holistic health care services moved to an updated and more spacious location in Richland next door to the Kadlec Regional Medical Center campus. The birth center’s new home at 948 Stevens Drive was formerly occupied by Washington…

Great harvest of ripe red cherries on a tree branch. Selective f

Growers report good volumes despite chilly spring

It’s hard to say how 2022 will play out for Washington’s cherry growers. “It’s always a weather-vulnerable crop, and there are many ways the cherry crop can be sabotaged by weather,” said Jon DeVaney, president of the Washington State Tree Fruit Association. “The joke is that cherry growers don’t have to travel to Las Vegas…


Apple industry renews focus on domestic market

As summertime approaches, consumers begin to look to local markets for the parade of fresh fruits, and apple orchards buzz with preparations for the late summer harvest. Last year, 122 million bushels were harvested in Washington, the nation’s leader in apple production. It was a moderate crop compared to past years that have seen totals…

Doctor’s Pharmacy team members were hand-picked for their passion and enthusiasm for serving patients. The Richland pharmacy offers an array of services free of charge to customers, including delivery and medication sync dispensers that combine all routine medications into one box with individual dose packets grouped by the date and time to take. (Photo by Laura Kostad)

Richland pharmacy redefines customer service

Doctor’s Pharmacy has been making steady inroads within the Tri-City community through its customer service-focused business model since opening last year. The pharmacy, at 65 Columbia Point Drive in the strip mall adjacent to Winco, joins only a handful of other privately-owned pharmacies in the area. Over the years, privately-owned pharmacies have given way to…

Sisters-in-law Julie Dawes and Julie Zirker teamed up to open a Nothing Bundt Cakes franchise at 110 Gage Blvd., Suite 200 in Richland. The bakery makes nothing but Bundt cakes, though an array of decorations and small gifts also will be available for sale. (Photo by Laura Kostad)

New franchise owners want to bake joy into their Bundt cakes

Tri-Citians need a little more cake. That’s what Julie Zirker believes. She’s the co-owner of the first Nothing Bundt Cakes franchise in the Tri-Cities. It’s opening at 110 Gage Blvd., Suite 200, in Richland at the end of June. “We need a little more joy and a little more cake. They’re interchangeable,” she said. Zirker…

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