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.
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;
and a palm leaf dish, used to display some of our brass items
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.
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.
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.
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;
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;
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;
a palm-leaf wall hanging;
and a portrait of Melba’s pug, by a Hawaiian artist.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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)