Courtesy of the Northwest Room, Spokane Public Library
The ad in a 1911 Spokane Chronicle declared that the market at Second and Stevens was built for the “economical housekeepers of Spokane” in the first decade of the 20th century. The 25,000 square foot market held up to 24 different stores and busy shoppers trekked to town on horseback, in buggies and on foot to buy mutton and fish from John Lewis, freshly dressed turkeys and chickens from Welch’s Market, hot bread from Lane’s Table Exchange and coffee from James Johnston, “The Coffee Man”. Java snobbery was new to Spokane when James and Alice Johnston created a following for their roasted and blended coffees, teas and spices a century ago. Johnston offered daily lessons to busy housewives on how to brew coffee properly. The Johnstons later ran a coffee shop at 710 Main, now the Apple Store, which became a gathering place where strangers chatted about civic life and were never hurried to leave. The Johnston family, which served more than 25 million cups of coffee, ran the shop until 1959.