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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Family friendly Greenacres Vendor Mall expanding in its new space on East Sprague Avenue

Greenacres Vendor Mall owners Genesis Finley,left and Carla Klauder pose for a photograph at the location in Spokane Valley on Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)

Greenacres Vendor Mall, with goods from more than 160 different vendors, could be Spokane Valley’s best kept secret.

There’s antiques, artwork, jewelry, crafts, clothing and other handmade goods sold by vendors under one roof at 16814 E. Sprague Ave.

Now, the Greenacres Vendor Mall is embarking on a 3,500-square-foot expansion that will feature a café/bistro, art gallery, more vendor space, a mezzanine and a proposed salon. The expansion will also include a kids area.

Carla Klauder and business partner, Genesis Finley, initially opened the Greenacres Vendor Mall in 2015 at the former site of Shele’s Bargain Barn, a thrift store owned by Shele Lutz at 17909 E. Appleway Ave.

“I love people naturally, so this business worked out for me,” said Klauder, who had organized community yard sales for several years before opening the vendor mall.

The store site – also Lutz’s home – was at risk of foreclosure. Klauder and community members held a fundraiser and sold the remaining merchandise, raising more than $25,000 to pay off Lutz’s debt.

Klauder opened Greenacres Vendor Mall on a portion of the site but was forced to relocate in 2017 when the property foreclosed a second time. A company purchased the building and gave Klauder 20 days notice to vacate.

“We worked 17, 17-hour days and got everybody in here,” said Klauder, referencing the current location of the vendor mall.

At Greenacres Vendor Mall, each vendor is essentially their own business and rents out 10-by-10 booths.

“Vendors decorate the space and price their own goods,” Klauder said. “We give them guidelines to create exclusivity for unique booths and allow them to work together with each other. We all support each other.”

Vendors are able to see their transactions in real time via special software created by Spokane Simulators. Klauder and Finley pay the vendors once a month and collect a small commission from sales.

The vendor mall, which also offers an outdoor flea market May through October, draws about 40 to 100 customers a day, from locals to people who recently moved to Spokane from other states.

Klauder said she often will help customers find particular items or services through the Vintage Directory, a guide for repurposed shopping that’s published annually.

“We’re not just a retail store. Not only can (customers) find something cool for their home, but we can also help them find services,” she said. “I will pull out the directory and say, ‘These are all the stores that have what you are looking for.’ ”

Finley said operating the business isn’t so much about making money, but about creating a community for vendors and customers.

The vendor mall plans to have the additional retail space ready by March and the cafe-bistro open by May 12 in time for Mother’s Day and the establishment’s fourth annual Mother’s Day Flea Market, which features more than 200 vendors, a beer garden and cash giveaways.

As more big box stores close, it’s important to retain local businesses, Klauder said.

“We want to be the funnest place to shop in Spokane Valley,” she said. “We want everyone to feel like they are coming into their best friend’s house when they come in here.”