A Woodland entrepreneur is betting that free coffee and tea is a good retail mix with home goods, gifts, clothes and art.
Janine Slayton opened Rivers Edge Boutique and Coffee Lounge on Feb. 1 in one of Woodland’s commercial districts on Lewis River Road. Trinkets and necessities from local vendors line the store in rows. Most of the goods are from south Cowlitz County and north Clark County.
“I love all of it,” she said of the merchandise. “It’s like walking into a candy store for me.”
Slayton said although she only had a couple vendors at first, recently, “everybody’s started rolling in.”
Some of the items available for purchase include antler art, produced by Slayton’s son; children’s dresses; locally-made bath bombs and soap; hand-painted art and photography; and Slayton’s own space of nautically-themed gifts, many moved from her vendor space at Forgotten Treasures, a store in Ocean Park.
There’s also a small consignment corner in Rivers Edge, where anyone can donate old, gently-used clothes for resale.
Thanks to its rustic log-cabin decor, the store has a cozy aesthetic, which Slayton supplements by providing free coffee from her roasting company, Long Beach Coffee Roasters.
“I roast the coffee and I’m proud of it, and I want to share it with people,” she said. “It also helps with my sales, because I offer the coffee for sale. People try it, they say, ‘Wow, we really like this coffee,’ and then they can buy it.”
Rivers Edge’s name is accurate: The store’s back deck features close-up views of the Lewis River and surrounding wildlife. Slayton said the location of the store prompted her to lease the building.
“This space came up for rent, and I always loved it here, along the river,” she said. “So the minute it came up for rent, I decided to lease it, and it just rolled from there. It was a snap decision.”
Although there’s only a couple tables on the deck right now, Slayton said she plans to make sure the area is ready for visitors once the weather picks up by adding some bistro tables and snacks.
“People can come in, they can have a cup of coffee, and we can offer some little eats where people can come and relax,” she said. “It’s beautiful out here. You see the birds and the little animals and stuff.”
Slayton said she plans on expanding into other avenues beyond retail and food with Rivers Edge too, such as hosting art classes and wine tasting in the summer. She’s currently in the process of getting a liquor license for the store.
According to Slayton, business is “starting to pick up” in Rivers Edge’s first month and a half, but she’s hoping for even larger crowds once outdoors enthusiasts start coming through Woodland in a few months.
“In the summertime, it’s going to be even better,” she said. “People are driving up to (Mount St. Helens) to do recreational stuff up there, and I’m pretty sure they’ll stop.”