The Teal Box shows you exactly what it is from the moment you walk in the door. The first thing you see upon entering is a sign that reads:
“A wise woman once said ‘Fuck this shit’... and she lived happily ever after.”
“I alway say that the sign serves two purposes: a welcome and a warning. If the sign offends you, it’s definitely your warning,” says The Teal Box owner Teresa VanDoorn. “I just want people to come in and laugh, forget their worries, and know that they can kind of let their hair down and just be”.
“I want this to be a welcome and safe space for everyone. All you have to do is look around and you’ll see that this space is inclusive of the LGBTQ+ community.”
Teresa created The Teal Box independently, and her friend Ember runs the Flower Bar — kind of a shop within a shop. Before subleasing space inside The Teal Box, Ember mostly did flowers for weddings and other events. “I said, I think flowers need to be here, because flowers and gifts are a perfect combination,” says Teresa. “So that’s how that came to fruition. We each own our own business independently, and we run them cohesively.”
But The Teal Box is more than a shop. Having it be a community space is of the utmost importance to Teresa. She has an open invitation to other local business owners to host classes and workshops in the space. The Teal Box recently hosted a workshop on floral design (which they are about to do again) and one on macrame, and they also have an upcoming painting class on the schedule. Even though they’ve only been open a few months, the shop has already gained a lot of buzz.
Teresa and her husband moved to the Tri-Cities at the end of 2016. She knew she wanted to take her online shop and turn it into a retail space. “Honestly, I just love human interaction,” says Teresa. At that time, the only interactions she was having with customers were at local events and pop-ups, and she knew she really wanted a brick-and-mortar shop.
So she opened The Teal Box at the start of 2023, a “sassy to classy” gift shop that carries a little bit of everything. Teresa says her aim is to find “hidden gems” and to support other small businesses — many of them also women-owned — that make unique, high-quality products.
A lot of the gems you’ll find are full of snark! For example, you might see a tea towel that reads: “Don’t ever let a recipe tell you how many chocolate chips to use. You measure that shit with your heart.” Or a mug that says (in teeny, tiny letters): “Nosy little fucker, aren’t you?” Or maybe a broccoli sticker that says: “I don’t like you, either.”
There are plenty of ‘nice’ items, as well — candles, cards, magnets, keychains — anything you might put in a gift box. There are plenty of items for kids, babies, and pets, too. Pretty much anywhere you look, you’ll find something special.
You can put together gift boxes with any items in the shop, or you can just buy what you like separately. You can even rent out the entire store in a ‘Closed Door Event’ so you and the rest of your party can have the place to yourselves.
So what does Teresa want for The Teal Box? “I really just want people to know we’re here,” she says. “I want it to feel natural in a community to have spaces like this.”
The Teal Box and The Flower Bar are open 7 days/week at 741 The Parkway, Richland.
The Teal Box: 509-713-7001
The Flower Bar: 509-438-6983
Also look for The Teal Box at farmer’s markets and pop-up events throughout the year!