Books, Plants, Records and More: Parable Tacoma

Co-owner LaKecia Farmer spoke about their new bookstore for all Tacomans.

Parable is a new bookstore within the Tacoma community. It sells new and used books alongside plants, records, clothing/accessories and local artisan goods. It is family-owned, community-owned, LGBTQ+, black-owned and woman-owned. Co-owner, LaKecia Farmer spoke to the Ledger about Parable coming to fruition with their family amidst the overturn and changes in 2020.

“We always wanted to start a business together, we have the entrepreneurial spirit. I was walking in our neighborhood and saw an empty space and we all dreamed of what it could be used for. We thought of multiple generations – from new parents reading to their toddlers to elders sipping tea – enjoying our space. So we started fundraising at the end of the year,” they said. 

Their early supporters included friends and family, but it very quickly expanded  from a viral post through Ijeoma Oluo on her account as well as through the News Tribune.

Before their opening, LaKecia and their family were met with challenges. The space they found was an older building,so while renovating they had several mishaps. However, this past month, LaKecia was finally able to open Parable with their twin, Le’Ecia Farmer (she/they) and cousin Deatria “DeeDee” Williams (she/her). 

“We kept getting derailed because of it, but it only proved our tenacity and gave us time to know our community more,” Farmer said. 

They named their bookstore Parable for its meaning and as a reference to Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower. Their books are centered around stories that most shops don’t generally focus upon.

“We look at local; queer and trans; Black, Indigenous, and/or authors and characters of color; and/or woman and non-binary identifying authors and themes. We also center social-justice and speculative oriented themes,” Farmer said. 

LaKecia’s favorite part about being a bookseller is learning and getting to read all the time and discover what people enjoy reading. Recently, a book they read that really struck them as something to share with others was “All We Can Save” by various authors. 

Climate injustice is already here, and these women inspire us to think big (and small) about ways to navigate, mitigate, adapt, and resist it,” they said.

Aside from this new find they have a plethora of other favorite books and authors. Including but not limited to “Parable of the Sower” by Octavia Butler, “Homegoing” by Yaa Gyasi, “Broken Earth Trilogy” by N K Jemison, “Braiding Sweetgrass” by Robin Wall Kimmerer and “Emergent Strategy” by Adrienne Maree Brown. Some favorite authors of theirs also include Toni Morrison, James Baldwin, Angela Davis and Bell Hooks.

For students, staff and faculty who want to get into reading but find reading difficult to do, LaKecia suggests reading a variety of genres.

“I’ve noticed over the years that I will get stuck on one genre or the next and then give up on reading. But when you mix it up every once and awhile, it will spark interest, I promise! Also, don’t knock Young Adult fiction. It’s probably my favorite exploratory genre,” they said. 

LaKecia’s passion for books and learning is a focal point of Parable in that they remember being an avid reader at an early age.

“My mom was a single mom raising 4 kids, usually working 2-3 jobs so I didn’t see her as much as I wanted to. But no matter what, whether it was working graveyard shifts into daytime, she would always read us a book before bed or tell her own story,” Farmer said.

Fostering education within the community is another central point to Parable. This is a top priority. They have only had their doors open for less than a month but they have already hosted community events in their space.

“We will be hosting other community events including book clubs and children reading circles but coming up in October will be our monthly Black Mamas Meetup, which I think is unique,” they said. 

These are some events for the future. They are planning on having a grand opening series in the next few weeks that include food and small shows of comedians, DJs and musicians. They have many future goals but current ones are to serve tea and possibly other food.

“We have such a beautiful space to just sit down, drink tea, and read a book. So we are currently working on getting the back space ready for that as well as the appropriate permits and such down the line,” Farmer said. 

If students, staff or faculty are interested in Parable, there are various things they can do. You  can donate to their venmo or  the shop as a community space for you, your friends and family. 

“Stop in and say hi! You don’t even have to shop, we have a low-pressure atmosphere. We just recently put up a bar you can sit at and there’s multiple couches so folks have been working from here, playing chess and checkers, and so on!”

3502 McKinley Ave Suite A, Tacoma, WA 98404
Sun, M, W, F, Sat 11am-7pm (closed Tu & Th)

Number: (253) 220-7393
Social Media Handles: @parabletacoma

Venmo: @parable