Local Treasures with Pia: Palouse, Washington

About 1000 people call Palouse home so it’s a small town by most measures other than the size of its huge heart and fighting will to stay alive.

To reach this eastern Washington town, just a stone’s throw from the Idaho border and a brief commute north of Pullman, you have to drive across the actual Palouse – the gently rolling farmland that is considered one of Washington’s seven wonders.

When you pull into town you will find a neat main street with well-preserved older, red brick buildings.

Known for its many festivals and celebrations all year long, COVID limitations presented new challenges for Palouse businesses that rely partially on the events to bring in shoppers and diners.

“I am so impressed with how creative our businesses are and how they find new ways to stay open,” said Beverly Pearce, librarian at the Palouse Library. “People here really do what they can to support our local businesses so when COVID is over, they will still be here.”

Pearce said there are several places to get a meal in Palouse: The Palouse Caboose, a great homemade barbecue joint; The Congress (previously known as The Green Frog) has a popup coffee shop, and the grocery store has begun to do carry out dinner five days a week.

“And Bank Left Gallery has done Saturday breakfast and baked goods,” Pearce said. “Everyone is trying new things to make it work.”

When Pearce is not managing the stacks at the library, she sorts through stacks of donated stuff at the thrift store, Needful Things. Staffed by volunteers, Needful Things has been in business for 18 years and all its proceeds goes to the Palouse Community Center.

“All the items we sell are donated,” Pearce said. “Sometimes we get odd things that we don’t know what are, but we sell them anyway.”

Popular items are baby and women’s clothes, books, puzzles, glassware and kitchen things. Saturdays features a fill the bag for $5 sale.

Needful Things was closed for part of 2020 because of COVID restrictions, but reopened in June and is now open Thursday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The store is located at the Palouse Community Center, 220 East Main.

“People are comfortable shopping with us,” Pearce said. “I’m really appreciative of this town.”

Here at local treasures, we think you’d be appreciative, too – so get in that car and take a good old drive down to Palouse. There’s no knowing what adventures you may encounter along the way.

Learn more about the city of Palouse.

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