For Kris and Andy Dinnison, it’s always been important to support local artists through their businesses, Boo Radley’s and Atticus Coffee & Gifts.
The Dinnisons opened Boo Radley’s in 1993, which quickly became a popular store for unique gifts.
When the couple took over the former 4 Seasons Coffee Co. shop and transformed it into Atticus in 2009, they saw an opportunity to carry items different from the fun, pop-culture gifts at Boo Radley’s.
“At Boo’s, whenever there was somebody local with a good product, we tried to carry them,” Kris Dinnison said. “So, when we came over here, we were like, ‘Yeah, we’d like to get local potters and local artists’.”
Atticus sells ceramics from local artists Chris Kelsey and Autumn Bunton, owner of Goblin Pottery. The gift shop also features artwork from the late Harold Balazs with a percentage of sale proceeds going to his widow, Rosemary.
The couple forged a partnership with Spokane native and artist Chris Bovey several years ago to sell vintage prints of Riverfront Park’s Garbage Goat and U.S. Pavilion.
“We started carrying those and did very well with them,” Andy Dinnison said. “We encouraged him to do more and (the partnership) just kind of evolved from there.”
The Dinnison’s longstanding partnership with Bovey has led to items available exclusively at Atticus, like his Vintage Spokane calendar – which sells out every year – and book of Spokane-related prints, “Vintage Spokane – Art of Chris Bovey.” The Spokesman-Review’s Northwest Passages Book Club will celebrate Bovey and his book with a gathering on Tuesday at the Montvale Event Center.
“We work in partnership with him in producing them,” Andy Dinnison said. “He’s very good about taking our ideas from a retail standpoint and we let him take the artistic angle, and it has worked very well.”
Kris Dinnison conducted historical research for several Spokane landmarks in Bovey’s book, which was released in September and also available through The Spokesman-Review’s Northwest Passages Book Club.
“We’ve learned over the past year is Chris’ appeal has continued to grow. We know that there are going to be people who collect his posters, or who are going to give that book to people who moved away from Spokane as a way to remember their city,” Kris Dinnison said. “There’s all kinds of people that are going to look at it and go, ‘that’s the perfect gift’.”
When deciding to buy local goods to sell at Atticus, the Dinnisons carefully consider pricing and if the items will fit into the shop’s aesthetic.
The split floorplan at Atticus – which contains both a coffee and gift shop each with separate entrances – contributes to its success, Kris Dinnison said.
“People come in for one thing, but they have to walk through the other space, so they see things they didn’t even know they wanted – like a cup of coffee, or a Spokane sticker,” she said.
Spokane-centric items are not only popular with locals, but tourists, too, she said, adding a recent sustainability conference in Spokane drew several visitors to Atticus.
“We sold so much merchandise in the last three days because people were like, ‘I enjoy the city. I had a great experience. I want something to remember it by,’” Kris Dinnison said.
Spokane has always been supportive of its local businesses, she added.
“We have done well because Spokane has embraced local business,” she said. “So, if we can also give some space to other people in the community that are doing good work, for us, it’s a no-brainer.”
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