Building the Legendary Alki Surf Shop
When I first tell them, friends look at me with a confused expression. But for many, the more they learn, the more excited they are for this next daring step in my life.
This month, my husband, David Horsfall, and I have been consumed with demolishing a former tattoo shop, seven steps up from Alki Beach, and rebuilding it into what we hope will be part of the vibrant Alki Beach and West Seattle communities.
Alki Surf Shop began last fall as David’s dream. Years ago after seeing an episode of the Real Housewives of New York City, I noticed something interesting: All the women were very wealthy, and they all SOLD things. David ruminated about my observation, and several years later came up with the concept of Alki Surf Shop, and began work designing t-shirts, branding, and the marketing communications needed to launch www.alkisurfshop.com.
Ty and Katie near the Seattle Statue of Liberty
We will be selling our Alki-branded clothing as well as beach accessories and Seattle gifts. That being said, the name “Alki Surf Shop” is tongue-in-cheek. Our good friend Jack Higgins (@jackandpele) dons our shirts all over the world, and has been stopped by Seattle people who say, “Hey, there is no surfing in Seattle!” To which Jack responds, "Oh, yeah? What about the backwash from the ferries?!" There are people boogie boarding and paddle boarding, so, per Jack’s suggestion, expect to find a display of Sexwax!
Our friend and supporter, Jack Higgins
David and I both have extensive backgrounds in advertising, writing, graphic design, branding, production management, marketing, and communications. David is a former advertising writer and creative director with brilliant strategic vision. I’m a graphic designer by profession, but I’ve spent the past 7 years in a sort of “graduate school,” earning my “masters” in social media. With luck, our combined areas of expertise will lead to a successful venture.
Beside renovating the space, we have had to learn about every aspect of running a retail business including obtaining licenses, reseller permits, insurance, setting up accounts with wholesale suppliers, merchant services, establishing service with business internet, phone and the like.
David wrote The Alki Song,” which was professionally recorded and copyrighted, and Cindy Sangster, one of the best video editors in Seattle took our guerilla-style iPhone and Samsung Galaxy 4* recordings and crafted a terrific video.
The Alki Beach Song from - Alki Surf Shop
With the exception of hiring an electrician, and Peter Butzerin, the best plumber in Seattle, David and I, along with my sister, Melissa; Dave and Carol, my brother, and sister-in-law; our youngest son Charley; and David’s brother-in-law Bill, have done all the work on the space. Dave, Carol and Melissa have spent the past 4 weekends there with David and me, working 7-8 hour days. Without their help, we’d most certainly be toast.
Dave, David, Melissa, me and Carol
There is an amazing sense of satisfaction as we see the place take shape. Gone are the garish colors, decor and jury-rigged cabinetry, lighting, floors and physical configuration. The space itself has been transformed from what I would describe as a patchwork of incongruent rectangles into an a retail store as optimized as existing pipes and structural supports would allow. When we are open, I'll post an updated photo.
The tattoo shop — where we began
The next step will be installing store fixtures and shelves and arranging inventory. I imagine four more weeks of hard work before initiating a soft-launch, opening the store quietly while we get used to our point-of-sale system, tweaking the interiors and have our exterior sign completed.
Earlier this year I read a post about second-degree connections, and how they often are more supportive than your closest friends. During the course of building the e-commerce site as well as the brick-and-mortar store, we’ve found distant friends, and friends of friends to be among our most amazing supporters. To everyone who has visited the web site, and to our many customers who have purchased on our online store, please accept our sincere thanks.
In addition to spending time at the Legendary Alki Surf Shop, I’m continuing my graphic design business which is now in its 38th year, and I'll continue to offer social media consulting to individuals and businesses. Last week was a big week. Beside attending the Verizon Brand Influencer's Summit in San Francisco, I was named to Business Insider’s Top 100 Women in Tech on Twitter. (I can be found: @terrinakamura)
Alki Beach, in my opinion, is Seattle’s BEST beach. I hope you will stop by and visit when I’m there, working. As a social-media aficionado, there are few things more fun than pairing a real face with a moniker, and I’d welcome the chance to make your acquaintance.
Across from our store, Alki Beach earlier this spring
You're invited to follow us on Twitter @alkisurfshop, like our Facebook page, or visit our blog!
POSTSCRIPT 20 July 2014:
Click the link for a virtual tour of the store in 360° — Tour
Alki Surf Shop — 2622 Alki Avenue SW — Seattle, WA 98116 — (206) 403-1901
*Thank you Verizon and @theonlinemom #vzwbuzz for the Samsung Galaxy 4 used to create our video and shoot photos for our website!