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Best New Businesses in the Inland Northwest

In the midst of challenging times, a wave of new businesses has emerged in the Inland Northwest, reshaping the region’s culinary and recreational landscape. These establishments, all created within the last five years, stand as testaments to resilience and innovation. 

In the face of adversity, these businesses not only survived but thrived. They highlight the best of the Inland Northwest, proving that dedication, innovation, and a sprinkle of sweetness can turn challenging times into opportunities for growth and community building. If you haven’t visited these Inland Northwest businesses, make sure to put them on your list and visit their websites.

Zozo’s Sandwich House

Zozo’s Sandwich House, open since March in the former Azar’s building at 2501 N. Monroe, is the brain child of Jennifer and Aaron Hesseltine, who named the new eatery after their pit bull Zoey. Jennifer, who was laid off from a corporate restaurant job during the pandemic, says the 40-something-year-old couple decided to launch the new restaurant originally for lunch and dinner but changed up the times after the first eight weeks.   

Photo from Zozo’s by Spokane Eats

“People were coming in for lunch but not for dinner,” Jennifer Hesseltine says. “So we changed the hours to provide breakfast and lunch.” These days Zozo’s is open Monday — Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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While very large sandwiches, both hot and cold, are a mainstay of the lunch menu, smash burgers, hand-breaded cutlets (chicken and pork) and most menu items, including soup, are all made from scratch. One of the most popular sandwiches is the Cray-Zo Cuban made from ham, roast pork, pork cutlet, pickles, swiss cheese, garlic aioli, and mustard. 

Breakfast offerings include the ‘Hot Mess” made with two smash patties, shaved ham, American cheese, runny yolk, Booery’s hot sauce, shreddy lettuce, and mayo. 

Zozo’s also offers healthy salad options, and homemade sides like a pickle pasta salad and a potato salad. 

Most menu items can be made vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free, and house-made dips and a jus sauce are available. Beer and wine are offered as well. 

Hesseltine says she and her better half are having a ball running the restaurant. “I have to pinch myself every morning when I wake up,” she says. “We learn something new every day we’re here. This has been super fun for us.” Visit their website for more information.

Mulberry Market – Spokane Valley

Nominated by our publisher, Erin Peterson

Looking for a great place to get beautiful gifts for a friend, or some inspiration to spice up your home decor? I just found my new favorite spot to shop for home decor and gifts, and it’s absolutely ADORABLE. Check out @mulberrymarketco in the Spokane Valley if you’re into the “Joanna Gaines but make it local vibe”, and be sure to say hello to the super sweet owner, Hannah. She might even give you a cup fresh chai for free while you shop!

Hannah explains her journey to owning Mulberry Market, “I’ve always had the heart of an entrepreneur and wanted to run a business of my own.  My mother owns her own company and I plan on following in her footsteps, just in a different industry.  I got started by selling jam at small local farmers markets.  People loved my jam and had kept asking for me to start selling it.  My small jam biz grew like crazy, we were selling hundreds of jars a week.  Slowly, I started adding more products to my booth, such as locally made soaps, various bath products, etc.  Eventually I outgrew my farmers markets and moved onto craft shows, then larger vendor shows.  Once I was consistently going to vendor shows I saw other vendors selling home decor.  They appeared to have so much fun staging and creating beautiful vignettes.  I decided to give decor a try and it was a huge hit! So much so, that I completely changed the whole focus of Mulberry Market Co.”

In 2024, they plan on adding fun workshops and events in their burgeoning event space behind the shop, which is a beautiful blank canvas for anyone wanting a modern and industrial feel to their venue space. I got a sneak peek at it during a quick tour by Hannah, and I can’t wait to see people connect and celebrate there.

You can find Mulberry Market at 17325 E Sprague Ave. in the Spokane Valley and on the web at www.mulberrymarketco.com

Birdie’s Pie Shop – Spokane

If you know, you know, as they say. And everyone knows good pie is always about the pie crust. Customers in Hayden, Post Falls, and now Spokane know that Birdies Pies are some of the best in the area. 

Sharee Moss opened the first Birdie’s Pie Shop in 2019 right before Covid hit in Post Falls where she lives with her husband and six kids, who range in age from 3 to 13. 

“That was crazy, but the unique thing we did was to give away pies because we wanted to lift other people’s spirits,” Moss says.

“Our business was already a take-and-bake model and a small dining space, so it helped us stay open when lots of other places closed.” The Hayden Birdies location opened in 2021. 

Photo by Erin Peterson

In mid-September, Moss opened the third Birdies Pie Shop in Spokane at 712 N. Monroe, offering handmade, from scratch both sweet dessert pies and savory pie options. 

Moss was inspired by her grandmother, Birdella (Birdie), who taught her everything she knows about pies. “I baked with her when I was little,” Moss says. “She did a pinch of this and a dash of that, so the recipes took some tweaking. She was amazing and such a great example of great service and love for others. She exuded that kindness and became the community’s adopted grandma.”

The daily menu at the shops includes several staple pies, including key lime, chocolate cream, classic pecan, apple and triple berry. Savory pies include quiche, Shephard’s pie, spaghetti pie and Italian deep dish pie. Prices begin at $7 and go up to about $34. Pies are available in three sizes – the personal pie slice, the 11-inch whole pies, and Birdie’s Bites, which are sold in boxes of eight. Special orders are also available. Visit their website for more information.

Brick Buy Brick Lego Resale Store

Legos are making a big comeback throughout the United States, and it’s no different here in the Inland Northwest! Whether you played with them as kids or are getting into them as an adult, there’s a type of Lego set for everyone. Spokane now has its very own Legos Resale store in Spokane’s Garland District, where you can buy, sell and trade Legos. 

Brick Buy Brick owners Bryce Colvin and Frankie Foote in their store in the Garland District. Photo from Brick Buy Brick.

Frankie Foote and Bryce Colvin opened Brick Buy Brick at 3915 N. Monroe, across the street from the historic Garland Theater last April. Colvin says the idea for the store was his after he started playing with Legos again after becoming an adult, and he was looking for a change of pace to his job as a chef. Foote, who is currently still working as an administrative assistant, handles the business side of the store while Colvin manages day-to-day customers.  

Colvin says when customers enter the store, they usually gravitate to one of the big dump tables full of random Legos where they can play, build, and look for their favorite figures. “There is no fee to play at the table,” Colvin says. There are three sizes of bags to purchase the Legos, from $10, $18 and $25 for a gallon-size bag. 

In other areas of the shop, customers can search for mini-figures, or accessories, as well as new or used sets. 

Colvin says the store has been extremely well supported. “We have tons of regular customers and lots of families. And that’s what we wanted was to become a staple place that feels warm and safe for families.” 

Brick Buy Brick also provides a dedicated room for birthday parties. Colvin says they purchase Legos by appointment. “There is a website section to fill out an application for evaluation,” he says.  The store is open every day except Monday. Visit their website for more information.

Tre Palline Gelato Napolitano 

If you’ve ever tried gelato, you know how hard it is to go back to ice cream. Since gelato is made with less milkfat, it is arguably less fattening but tastes more intensely because it’s served at a lower temperature, at least according to the Food Network.  

Mr & Mrs Napolitano. From from Tre Palline Gelato Napolitano

Marco Napolitano and his wife Ashley opened Tre Palline Gelato Napolitano at 159 S. Lincoln St., Ste 161 in the Steam Plant building in 2022, making authentic Italian gelato in more than 30 made-fresh from scratch flavors as well as unique gelato cakes. 

Ashley says she and her husband co-own the gelato store in Spokane as well as two other shops in Cheney and Spokane Valley. Napolitano has been making gelato for 39 years and previously had stores in Germany. The couple, who have five children ranging in age from 11 months to 17, share many areas of the business from making the gelato to running the business. 

“I help make the gelato and come up with many of the flavors,” Ashley says. “I’m so grateful we have the knowledge to do this. And we are very natural, we have no fake flavors. We make fresh fruit sauces ourselves, and that’s really important to us … what we’re serving.”

The store offers dessert menu options, including dietary restrictions such as vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free. Dine in or take out options and catering are available. Visit their website for more information.


The selection of the following businesses as the Best New Businesses in Spokane was a meticulous process, with each establishment earning its place through careful consideration by the Trending Northwest team members. Nominated for their contributions to the community, innovative business practices and commitment to leadership, these businesses stood out for their remarkable achievements as trailblazers in the local business scene. 

Art Salvage

Art Salvage is Spokane’s very first creative reuse center, all about sustainability, community vibes, and unleashing your inner artist. It is your go-to spot to donate those art materials gathering dust, snag affordable supplies for your next masterpiece, and just soak in the creative atmosphere. 

We all have those project leftovers or saved materials that are begging for a new life. Businesses, too, are tossing out seconds, damaged goods, or stuff that’s so last season. But guess what? Art Salvage is swooping in, gathering all these goodies under one roof, and turning it into an art material haven. 

And the best part? Since Art Salvage runs on donations, the materials won’t break the bank. It’s like a constantly changing, ever-surprising art supply wonderland. Forget the usual art store routine – Art Salvage’s got the hook-up for all your creative needs.

Rebel Hart Boutique

Rebel Hart opened a brand new brick-and-mortar store in downtown Spokane this year, where they feature a curated selection that not only stays on top of current trends but also speaks to the unique style and personality of each individual. The store motto, “I hope you feel pretty today,” is more than a slogan for Rebel Hart; it’s a daily affirmation extended to every woman who enters their physical store or explores their online offerings.

The goal is not just to make customers feel pretty but to empower them, instill a sense of value, and encourage pride in their unique identities. Rebel Hart is committed to providing a positive and inclusive shopping experience, where women of all shapes and sizes can discover clothing and accessories that promote confidence, beauty, and comfort. The brand strongly believes that fashion serves as a reflection of individuality and self-expression, striving to create a space that encourages authenticity and appreciates the beauty of every body.

Cafe Coco

If you’re a fan of Chaps, (like everyone else in Spokane) you’ll love Cafe Coco. Owned by the beloved local entrepreneur, Celeste Shaw, this spot near Saranac Commons is your new go to. You’ll get to savor menu items like the rich and decadent bread pudding with almonds and pecans, topped with cream cheese frosting, quiches, or their famous Chaps pastries. It’s also an easy spot to grab a tea or coffee on the go. 

The ambiance is gorgeous – with exposed brick, rich velvet chairs, vintage lighting, and rich wood details. It’s a great place to meet up with a girlfriend or take the family on your way to an activity downtown. 

Judith Spitzer

Judith Spitzer is an independent journalist living in the Pacific Northwest. 


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