New Colfax business opens its doors

Mercantile allows several vendors to sell products, share cost of rent, utilities

The Leif opened on Oct. 10. Owner Valoree Gregory said she wanted to open a second mercantile to promote business in Colfax.

COURTESY OF VALOREE GREGORY

The Leif opened on Oct. 10. Owner Valoree Gregory said she wanted to open a second mercantile to promote business in Colfax.

HANNAH FLORES, Evergreen reporter

The owners of the Colfax Mercantile opened another shop on Oct. 10 to provide space for local vendors, build community and fill storefronts.

Co-owner Valoree Gregory said a benefit of opening The Leif includes allowing more space for different vendors. The Lief has space for 13 vendors while the Colfax Mercantile has space for seven.

“Early after we opened the Colfax Mercantile, there was a waiting list of vendors who wanted to join the community,” Gregory said. “Everyone at the Colfax Mercantile really clicked, so we thought it would be best to open a new location.”

The Leif is a shared space, which allows the vendors to choose what hours they want to sell in the shop. The business owners also split the cost of expenses, such as rent and electricity, which is something that business owners would usually have to cover themselves.

“The Leif enhances what we started down the street [the Colfax Mercantile],” Gregory said. “Now there are more shopping options in Colfax, and we are able to provide the opportunity for people who work full-time or part-time to own their own business.”

As a single mother, Gregory said owning a business was something she never thought would be a possibility for her. But, thanks to the supportive community in Colfax, she can work at a business she enjoys.

Gregory works closely with co-founder and longtime friend Allie Cofer. The duo attended high school together, collaborate at the Colfax Chamber of Commerce and are neighbors.

“When we got together to open The Leif, she brought some people to the table, and I brought some people to the table so through our combined efforts we’ve been able to make things work,” Gregory said.

More than anything, Gregory said she enjoys seeing the growth of Colfax as a community. Customers, locals and visitors alike stop in to say hi, while others have commented that Colfax is a great town to be in.

“It’s so nice to see their friendly faces and to know that we’re making an impact on the growth of our city,” she said.

Errin Nelson, a vendor at The Leif, said she enjoys working with her mother at their shop, Two Tired Traders.

“At our booth, we sell high quality used items,” Nelson said. “Right now we have a lot of Seahawks merchandise and things like skis. We always have a variety of different items.”

Nelson said she and her mother thought joining the community at The Leif would be a good alternative to the swap meets they used to frequent in Spokane before the COVID-19 outbreak. Their work does not feel like a formal business because they have a great time socializing with shoppers and other vendors.

“It’s so fun working with Val, she is a great friend of mine,” Nelson said. “She has done so much work to help the town and it’s great to see [the town] thrive because of it.”