River House, French Hen open at old Roxy theater in Kennewick

The old Roxy theater is evolving along with downtown Kennewick.

When Ann Steiger opened the Roxy Theatre Antiques & Gifts nine years ago, her stock mostly was antiques and collectibles.

Now you can find contemporary and country French furniture and decor along with books, jewelry and more from over 20 dealers.

"Our downtown's eclectic, and so is the Roxy," said Steiger.

The latest addition to the mix is the River House and the French Hen from Yakima.

After 12 years in Richland, River House owners Tara and John Erben sold their storefront in The Parkway and moved to Kennewick.

Kennewick's historic district is home to art studios, antique and collectible shops, restaurants, a clock shop, a glassblowing studio, wine bars, a comedy club and handful of bars and tattoo parlors.

"You can buy just about everything here and have a wonderful meal all within a few blocks. Plus, you're in a safe place and that's important," said Steiger.

Tara Erben said her business was doing great where it was but her husband is retired and wants to travel. "I love what I'm doing but I want to go with him," said Erben, who also helps her husband and Dani Smart manage the Richland Farmers Market.

Moving into a shop with other dealers seemed like a good answer for that.

Not having her own storefront also frees her up to visit individual customers' homes with catalogs and swatch books. She's usually at the Roxy now Thursdays through Saturdays.

She said her new furniture and decor blends well with the antiques.

"Even in my own home there's a mix of antiques and contemporary pieces, and I love the look," she said.

"So this is perfect for me. It gives me the flexibility to leave when I need to so I can be gone for two days or two weeks if necessary. And it gives Ann the same freedom," Erben said.

Also new to the Roxy is a mix of old and new country French furniture and decor from French Hen, owned by Kay Anderson of Sunnyside.

"It's mostly new made to look old with genuine antique and collectible pieces added to the mix," Steiger said. "People love it."

And when you need a break from shopping, you can stop in at the Kennewick Coffee Co. at the Roxy.

Steiger put the coffee shop in four years ago and it's now run by her friend, Tracy Pennington.

Pennington expanded the menu a bit, adding a limited selection of sandwiches, soup and salads. She also offers fresh baked scones, cookies and sweet rolls.

"They're all made on site, and they're often warm because I only bake a few at a time so nothing is ever more than a few hours old," Pennington said.

"I'm a coffee shop which serves a little lunch, not a lunch shop which serves a little coffee," she said.

Her hours are different from the rest of the Roxy businesses. The coffee shop is open from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., weekdays and from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.

Steiger said the mix of businesses at the Roxy is a reflection of what's happening to downtown Kennewick.

"People want to have fun and want to explore. And the variety of shops downtown offer that," Steiger said.

Roxy Theatre Antiques and Gifts -- on the corner of Albany Street and Kennewick Avenue -- is open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday to Saturday and from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

-- Loretto J. Hulse: 582-1513;