Colfax business owners hope for new restaurants in town

Town has multiple open spaces, supportive business community



“We’re going to host music and giving out free bike helmets and just encourage people to come out to the Perkins House,” said Nancy Rothwell, Perkins House coordinator and Whitman County Historical Society member.


Colfax — Pullman’s neighbor to the northwest — is in dire need of new business owners to serve the town’s weekend visitors. 

While existing businesses in Colfax are running well, the town is in search of new businesses with extended hours to fill open retail spaces, said Molly Keogh, Colfax Chamber of Commerce director. 

“One of the things we do need in town are more restaurants and daycare,” Keogh said. “There’s always gaps that could be filled in and straighten [out] our town.”

There is an open space at the end of town, and Keogh said she would love to see a pub or a brewery come in. 

Whitney Bond, Colfax Downtown Association executive director, said Colfax is currently in a restaurant crisis.   

“We’re pretty heavy with retail and service,” Bond said. “But food is always a point of gathering for everyone, so if we had more dinner restaurants, then we could retain the people who are coming to shop here in town and not make them go to Pullman or Moscow … for dinner.”

Even though the town needs more restaurants, Keogh said she will welcome any type of business coming in. 

If someone wanted to start a business in Colfax, now would be the time to do so, she said. A lot of people have been working from home lately, so the town has multiple offices and workspaces to rent.

Keogh said she encourages businesses to have longer hours and stay open on the weekends to cater to people coming through for tourist attractions. 

One of the best ways for people to support businesses in Colfax is to go into town and interact with them, she said. A lot of people come to town to tour the Perkins House, which is only open on weekends. 

“We would love to have a business that would be open longer hours and serve families over the weekends, and more evening hours and things like that,” Keogh said. 

Bond said if someone is looking to take over a space to start a business they can reach out to her or Keogh. 

“Myself and Molly have a pretty good relationship with most of the business owners or property owners in town,” Bond said. “We could help them get in touch with the property owner for the property that they’re hoping to open a business in.”

Keogh said the businesses currently in Colfax are doing well, but they can always be better. 

“It’s always a perpetual effort to grow and evolve and expand those markets,” she said. 

Bond said Colfax is a good place to start a business because the square footage rate is cheaper than Pullman or Moscow.

Colfax has a good business community as well. Bond said she is a business owner and has only had positive experiences with other owners. 

Everyone supports each other, she said. She will send people to other businesses if she does not have what a customer is looking for, and other business owners will do the same.