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

Gardening: Northwest Seed and Pet celebrates longevity and new ownership

By Pat Munts For The Spokesman-Review

“I have ants getting into my house,” the customer said as he approached Laylah Gibford, general manager of Northwest Seed and Pet on Sprague Avenue.

Gibford began asking him questions about where the ants were showing up and what he had tried to use to get rid of them as they walked to the ant control section in the chemical department. After some discussion, Laylah suggested a control product and explained what it would do and how to apply it. The customer accepted her information and headed for the checkout stand.

Such is just another daily encounter with a customer at Northwest Seed and Pet, the venerable garden and pet supply located in Spokane that has been the go-to place for folks looking for information and products for their gardens and pets for generations. This year marks their 80th anniversary of serving the community and the next iteration of local family ownership. Last July, another local family – Aubrey, Crystal and Darfus Moore – took over ownership from Bob Mauk.

Northwest Seed started in 1944 as a tool store in Harry Gross’ house along a much quieter Sprague Avenue. When Ken and Frieda Hester took over Northwest Seed & Insecticide in 1954, they added onto Harry’s house and eventually added pet supplies and animals to the inventory. The animal inventory included exotic animals like a chimpanzee, wallaby and a caiman, a member of the alligator family. As the Hester sons joined the company, the store was renamed Northwest Seed and Pet.

In 1983, they opened the North Division store to meet the increasing customer demand. In 2003, Mauk, who had joined the Northwest Seed staff in 1978, took over ownership from the Hester brothers. Mauk is continuing at the store to help the Moore family transition into ownership. The store is not only family owned, it has several long-term employees including Gibford, whose mother and daughter work for the store.

“We want to provide leadership in organic and conventional garden chemical products, soil amendments, seeds and pet supplies to the Spokane community,” Aubrey Moore said.

She added that their overarching goal is to support the local community and provide outstanding customer service. Along with a diverse inventory of garden supplies, they purchase their plant stocks from local growers who know what grows well in our climate.

“We feature pet foods with a minimum of ingredients and specialty foods for animals needing special diets,” Moore said.

The store also specializes in tropical fish, reptiles, pond supplies and plants, and small animals and birds.

As the Moores settle into ownership, they are planning several events to celebrate the store’s 80th anniversary, including a Reptile Expo & Summer Event on Aug. 3 and the Northwest Seed and Pet Fall Festival on Oct. 19, both at the Sprague store. The Moores soon plan to add community workshops, a soil bar for repotting plants and opportunities that will engage kids. Check out their website for details ; nwseed.com.