‘End of an era:’ Pasco Ceramics shop searching for new home after eviction notice

PASCO, Wash. — If you’re driving down Columbia St. in Pasco, you might notice a nondescript tan building with a simple blue banner.

While the 4,000-square-foot building may not seem like much on the outside, the inside paints an entirely different story — literally.

It’s the home of Pasco Ceramics, a staple of the community for nearly 50 years, serving anywhere from children to retired seniors.

The longtime owner, Pat Diaz, has spent decades creating what she believes is her home away from home.

“I’ve been in business for 44 and a half years,” Diaz said. “I’m down here seven days a week. I come to work between 6 and 6:30 in the morning. My husband passed away three and a half years ago and my brother asked me, ‘are you going to remarry?’ I said, yeah I already did. I’m married to my ceramic shop.”

She works tirelessly, manufacturing and creating her own greenware for customers. Between 15,000 and 20,000 ceramic molds fill what seems to be an endless amount of shelves. Hundreds of painted figurines decorate what free space remains.

But just recently, Diaz came to work to find something she never thought would be possible.

A 30-day eviction notice was taped to the front of the door.

“The owner, which has passed away, told me I could stay as long as I wanted to stay and that I didn’t have to move,” Diaz said, noting that the agreement is not being honored by the late landowner’s family who is in charge of selling the building.

“I moved here to 616 W Columbia St. and now I’m being forced to look for another building,” Diaz said. “July 31st I’m supposed to be out of here. Truthfully, it’s like a death to me.”

Surrounded by new and old friends, Diaz sits in what she calls “her spot” at the ceramics table in the center of the painting area.

“I’d walk through the door and Pat would always say, ‘oh, I’ve been waiting for you to come in,'” recalled Jayne Robbins, a close friend of Diaz’s for 38 years. “She has people who keep coming back because of her. She supports them.”

Robbins said the news of the eviction is devastating.

“I love coming in here and my kids did and my grandkids do now,” Robbins said. “It’s not Pasco Ceramics. It’s Pat.”

Janet Shelton, a retired paralegal who has known Diaz for nine years, said the friendships she’s been able to make at the store are one of a kind.

“I make sure I’m out of the house every single day doing something and this ends up quite often being one of the somethings,” Shelton said with a laugh.

Connie Morelock, who started coming to Pasco Ceramics about a year ago, said she now attends between three to five days a week.

“Pat is amazing. She just welcomes everyone. She’s just a warm human being,” Morelock said. “I’d be just devastated.”

If the eviction notice goes through, Shelton added that other ceramics shops in the region will also feel the effects.

“She supplies product to individual ceramics shops throughout Eastern Washington, Northern Idaho, and Northeastern Oregon, so if she does have to shut down, it’s not just her… it’s all the other little businesses out there that are going to lose a supplier,” Shelton said.

Diaz’s love for her art and her clients is why she is working to locate a new building before the impending deadline — one that is fire-safe, has an outdoor space, and can hold her four kilns and other necessary equipment.

“It’s hard to think I might be forced to close because I can’t find a building,” Diaz said.

Currently, she has her eye on a property on Lewis St. but is still open to any and all options.

To contact Diaz, click here.