By Maria Vigil
Between the hustling business of Downtown Spokane and neighborhoods on the top of the South Hill, that are filled with large houses and an air of higher society, lies a microcosm known as the South Perry District. About half way up the South Hill, this neighborhood spans about three blocks. The speed limit is 20 miles an hour; slow enough that you see all of the little shops lining the street as you drive through: South Perry Pizza, Veda Lux, Title Nine, The Shop, The Lantern. Walk with me through a few of these businesses to see what makes this area so unique.
Title Nine, the only chain store in the district, brings in out of town customers who frequent the store in their own town
With stores in multiple states, Title Nine is the only chain store in the Perry District. With women’s athletic and outdoor clothing, assistant manager Jacqueline says it is like a small scale REI. “We get a ton of traffic in here,” Jacqueline says, “Especially in the afternoons.” She says that the area is very popular as it gets later, mostly due to the little bars on the strip. “Its really a trendy little community up here. Everyone who sees it wants to be a part of it.” As Title Nine is the only chain store in South Perry, Jacqueline thinks it brings a good amount of travelers from out of town to South Perry. She says, “A lot of people usually go to Title Nine in their hometowns and are excited when they find out we have one here.”
The little coffee shop, going on fourteen years in business, has been in the Perry District longer than the rest of the businesses. The former owner and founder of The Shop, Mark Camp, was instrumental in the Perry District becoming what it is today. When he founded the coffee shop, the area was dodgy, says Justin, a barista at the shop. “He is a big reason that the district is the fun, unique place it is today. He fixed it up. He got the lights put in on the street. He is thought of as the “Mayor” of South Perry.” The Shop has and homey, rustic feel. Wooden chairs and tables marked with years of scratches stand next to a shelf full of board games. What makes Perry so special? Justin says, “It is really one of the only neighborhoods that has grown into what it is organically.” The Shop shares that organic feeling, from the tables to the employees.
South Perry Pizza
South Perry Pizza has been in business for six years. The manager, John, says that, other than The Shop, the pizza place has been there longer than the rest of the businesses lining South Perry. “This was the best possible location for the business,” John says, “There was a huge void here and we filled that void.” he says that the pizza place, like Title Nine, brings in visitors to the district. “When people google pizza in spokane, we come up first, and that brings people in.” John, like many people i talked to, views South Perry as a trendy, safe place to be. “It’s like Brown’s Addition only better.”
Like the barista at The Shop observed, South Perry became what it is organically and that can be felt everywhere on the strip. Unlike some places that were intentionally made to be hipster or vintage and the atmosphere feels forced, South Perry’s natural vibe is welcoming. Come grab coffee at The Shop, pick up a piece of handmade jewelry or a vintage dress at Veda Lux, taste some artisan pizza at South Perry Pizza and then move on over to Casper Fry for a drink. The South Perry district will give you a different look at Spokane that cannot be found Downtown.