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The Indoor Sun Shoppe has brightened dark Seattle days for half a century

Located in the Fremont neighborhood, the indoor plant store first opened in 1970. #k5evening

SEATTLE — For nearly 52 years, The Indoor Sun Shoppe has been an oasis in the Northwest.

The plant store specializes in tropical house plants, but customers often come in just to enjoy the atmosphere.

"It's a fun place to come and 'be',” said regular customer Molly Reagan. "When I come in typically I'm listening to a lecture for school and I come here because it's bright and nice and not Seattle-y in the weather."

Shaun Murphy owns the store, carrying on a legacy his parents created when they opened the small business in October of 1970. It was one of the first shops of its kind in Seattle.

"Not many (others,) if any,” he said. “My parents were kind of pioneers in a sense.”

Credit: Shaun Murphy
In 1970, Shaun Murphy's parents opened the original store in the University District - one of the first shops of its kind in Seattle.

Originally located in the University District, the shop outlasted its building and moved to the Fremont location roughly 20 years ago. It’s known for the unusual planter parked out front: a bright yellow Volkswagen.

"A handful of years ago we planted it full of succulents during the Fremont Fair and it was a fantastic hit, so it's kind of become iconic for us,” Murphy said.

But despite the store’s long history, people are still discovering it exists.

"It's shocking, every day we get new people that come in! And of course, we get old people, too. Recently we had someone who hadn’t been in since the old location, so after 20 years they rediscovered us,” Murphy said.

Credit: Kim Holcomb
A wide range of succulents, cacti, and carnivorous plants are available at The Indoor Sun Shoppe.

In addition to the tropical selection, the store carries a wide array of succulents, cacti, carnivorous plants, air plants, seeds, gardening tools, pots, and lights.

“I always learn something. The staff is very knowledgeable and I'll ask them, ‘I killed this at home, what did I do wrong?’” Reagan said. "It's an absolute experience, you're always going to find something new that you haven't seen. And because it's so old, you can find bigger plants that you may not see at other nurseries."

From the houseplant craze of the 1970's to the modern greenery, The Indoor Sun Shoppe has proven there's lasting joy in bringing the outdoors in.

“It's just a pleasure to be here and create such a nice space for people to enjoy,” Murphy said.

The Indoor Sun Shoppe is located across from the Fremont Canal at 160 N. Canal St. and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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