With a Little Help From My Friends

Alki Surf Shop

It’s been a year since my husband, Kahuna Dave, and I opened our store, Alki Surf Shop, in West Seattle. The past 12 months have been filled with lots of laughter and learning, and we’ve met thousands of great people from nearby and all over the world. We’ve made new friends, rekindled past friendships, and love being a part of the Alki Beach community.

It feels like we’ve been on a business “graduate school” crash course. We're smarter store owners now, and continue to evolve. Among some of the things we've learned: How to create a positive experience for people who visit; how to identify products that make sense; and how to work more effectively with suppliers.

My husband's vision of "Hawaii-Beach-California" is fun, and comes through clearly in our store, from the fixtures to the colors and raffia and bamboo trim.

One of the things I made a conscious effort to do is to incorporate my friends in the creation of our unique space. We’re constantly hearing from visitors that they love our store. Maybe one of the reasons is, there is so much love that has gone into making it special.

So, this blog post is dedicated to the people who have been supportive to me in myriad ways, and given me all sorts of wonderful presents that are now part of Alki Surf Shop. I like knowing they are there with us every day. Without them, Alki Surf Shop would be a much less personal and less eclectic place.


Italian Dish filled with Bracelets
My friend, Paula, has great taste. She’s given me a ton of wonderful things over the decades. Two I’ve incorporated into the shop include a narrow Italian dish, now filled with bracelets;

Palm Leaf Dish
and a palm leaf dish, used to display some of our brass items

Beach Bags
While I went through chemo in 2006, Mary, my bestie in the 7th grade and former roommate in college, gave me a basket she’d filled with indulgent lotions, fragrances and soaps. It’s now the home of our custom reversible Tyvek Alki Beach bags, popularized by Martha Stewart.

Coin Dish
Suzanne, a close friend since the 1970s and fellow animal lover, gave me this dish a long time ago. We use it to keep change left for/by our new friends.

Handmade Glass Vase
On our front counter you'll often see a pretty hand-made glass vase from good friend and fellow AirBNB host Jennifer. It works perfectly with a single bloom.

Handmade Ceramic
Jennifer also gave me this hand-made ceramic that holds pens for our customers to use. Alongside is an awesome Crane's note book from my friend, Lynne. We're using it as a guest book.

Charmaine, like Jennifer, goes back to what I call the “golden age” in Pioneer Square. Our husbands are close buddies, and she’s one of my favorites. This great Chinese bowl came from one of her trips.

Three long-time friends are called the “Killer Bs,” and include Sue, MR and Lynne. Together we formed a PR firm that handled the public relations for the Washington State Centennial. In our store: a fused glass dish from Sue;

Woven Basket
a woven basket from Lynne;

and a basket from MR’s recent trip to Africa.

My family has also contributed time and treasures to Alki Surf Shop. My sister, Melissa, stocks us with Alki earrings and gave me a stand to display them;

Hawaiian things
Carol, my sister-in-law, bequeathed some Hawaiian things from her mom, Melba (long-time West Seattle resident), including two large Tiki masks that flank the main table legs;

Palm Leaf Wall Hanging
a palm-leaf wall hanging;

and a portrait of Melba’s pug, by a Hawaiian artist.

Sea Glass
Wendy and I have known each other longer than I’ve known my husband (37+ years). When she moved to Hawaii from 10 years on Alki, she left us her beautiful collection of sea glass.

Carved Bowl
Linda and I began as work colleagues in 2007, and have remained friends ever since. She's a well-known expert in the field of Internet safety and made it her mission to educate people. The carved Indonesian bowl she gave me is currently the home to our plumeria clips!

Falsa Blankets
Cecile is a fascinating friend and former work colleague. When she moved from a Seattle bungalow to a cool floating home on Lake Union, she let go of some of her furnishings, including this cute table, now home to one of our most popular items — falsa blankets.

Basket of Shell Coin Purses
My friend Patt gave me this basket. The great shape and design make it perfect for almost anything. Right now it’s a nest for some shell coin purses.

Salt and Pepper
I’ve known Nena for five years. She's a fellow shop owner and has mentored me during the past year. I’m currently using this cigar box as a platform for shark salt and pepper shakers, but it's one of those cool things you can use for anything.

Whether or not they know it, my friends have been with me on this journey. It feels great when I'm in the store surrounded by their presence. If you stop by, you'll get to "meet" them, too!

If you're going to be in the area, give a call at 206.403.1901. If I'm there, it will be fun to see you!


My relationship with Verizon enabled me to acquire some fantastic technology that has supported our store, including a Nokia Lumia 2520 tablet, Nokia Lumia Icon, Belkin Netcam, and Canary. We frequently receive comments about our UE Boom speaker that powers the music for our store, and I wouldn’t be able to shoot such high-quality images for Instagram without the Samsung Galaxy Note 4.

Photos in this post were shot using the Galaxy Note 4. Lead image: What you see as you walk into Alki Surf Shop (featuring our #Verizon #Belkin HD Netcam on the top shelf, to the right)


  1. This post is so YOU! Thoughtful, warm and classy. It's a privilege to counted as your friend.

    1. Linda, you're such a kind and generous friend. I always feel you are there for me. Thanks so much for your support! ((HUGS)) Terri

  2. Fun to see your friend's gifts being used at the shop, it does bring in more special magic. Well done, and fantastic article, Terri!

    1. Dear P, Thanks for being a friend and for your support. I love having your things in the shop! XOX<T

  3. This feels like a time capsule of tenderness and friendship. I love it. Cecile

    1. Cecile, Thanks for reading and commenting. It's like there is a presence of people I treasure, and I love that you are part of it. Thank you! ((HUGS)) Terri

  4. Anonymous9:45 AM

    Wow, what a beautiful post, the loving care put into each photo and comment... I'll look at the store with new eyes knowing how so many pieces of it are from people who love you. Congrats on the terrific work you and David have done - Alki Surf Shop is the best! -- love you! -- Lissa

    1. Dear Lis,
      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. I guess I didn't realize just how many people are part of the store until I really took stock! Thanks so much for all the time and energy you've given! We appreciate you SO MUCH! Love ya, Tink

  5. A year!! You are such a special part of the community that it seems like you've always been here. I had no idea that you had these things at the store. I already feel tied to the shop but now even more so. Thank you for this wonderful post, Terri!!

    1. Dear Jennifer, As we make our way through this odyssey, it's nice to know we have such good friends supporting us. Thanks so much for being there for me. I love how we have myriad threads of connection now. But mostly, I love you for all you've done to help! ((HUGS))


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i'm a graphic designer who loves words. - terri nakamura