Many customers of the Country Mercantile north of Pasco are visitors who say they can't pass through town without stopping in to pick up some homemade goodies.
The gourmet and specialty food shop off Highway 395 is hoping for the same popularity with travelers along Interstate 82 in Richland.
The business featuring homemade chocolates and ice cream, a bakery, gift shop, deli, Mexican cuisine and fresh produce is planning to break ground at the end of October in the South Badger Mountain area.
"We've become a destination point," co-manager Max Uriostegui said about the Country Mercantile's current store. "Customers often tell us they've planned their vacations around a trip to the store."
He said 76 percent of the store's customers describe themselves as travelers.
Now plans are under way to build a 14,000-square-foot building on about one acre near the heavily traveled Interstate 82 and Dallas Road interchange in Richland.
In addition, co-manager Monique Kaas said developers are expecting to build about 5,000 new homes in that area in the next 15 years.
The new store will be about the same size as the location five miles north of Pasco.
Customers will be able to buy the same specialty and gourmet foods, ranging from hot sauces and salsas to jams and mustards.
"We plan to carry the same things we offer at the Pasco store," Kaas said.
The current store, owned by Basin City farmer Jay Wood, opened in 1996 and expanded in 2002.
Wood said he doesn't yet have a value for his building project but will have a better idea after he finishes buying the land in about a week.
"Actually it's going to be a little different for us because we're going to have neighbors," he said.
"It's been fun to watch (the current store) grow over the years with support from local people and travelers. We appreciate it all," Kaas added.
The store's popular Harvest Festival, featuring a pumpkin patch and children's rides held each year in October, will remain at the original store.
The new location doesn't yet have a formal address but it also will be called Country Mercantile and is expected to open next June.
w Bob Brawdy: 509-582-1548; email@example.com