Retail Spotlight

Meet the Shopkeeper: Coastal

Surf’s up in West Seattle.

By Caitlin Creel July 18, 2011

Coastal owner Sarah Steere looks on the sunny side at her surf-centric clothing boutique.

When we took a day trip to Coastal on Alki Beach and met shop owner Sarah Steere, we hadn’t planned to introduce her to you immediately following an October-like ‘summer’ weekend. But in a way, it’s fitting. You can’t peddle board shorts, flip flops, bikinis, and sundresses in Seattle if you’re scared off by a gray here and there. Life’s a beach at the surf-angled co-ed boutique. And if you haven’t been to Seattle’s Laguna lately, consider a trip some sunny Thursday night, when, from 5 to 7, Coastal serves wine and Hansen’s sodas and features something sunny, or maybe winter-y, on sale.

WWW: What song or album is playing on your store’s sound system right now?
Steere: Contra by Vampire Weekend, and lately the Ziggy Marley station on Pandora has been fitting the mood on Alki.

What was your first job in retail? What did you love or hate about it and how does it compare to what you do now?
My first job in retail was at the Foot Locker! Growing up I always wanted to start a business and sold cookies, tee shirts with puffy paint, or anything I could think of. It was fitting that my friend Christy Pudduck and I ran into each other at an industry trade show eight years ago and decided to start Coastal together in West Seattle. Now, I get to experience every aspect of retail and learn so much more about the business side of things. I love how my job is different every day depending on the shop’s needs.

What’s your favorite thing in the store right now?
This is way too hard, we have so many great things right now but on the top of my wish list are the women’s QSW Lorne Skinny Jeans, in the kelp colorway for $78. They are such a great neutral, fresh color; they go with everything and the fit is amazing, and they look like high-end denim but are so affordable. For men, I am loving the Billabong blinded pullover fleece. It is a light-weight, beachy pullover that’s perfect for our cool Seattle summer!

Where do you shop when you’re not at your store?
I like going to Nordstrom to window shop and see what they have for the season and I also love the local West Seattle boutiques because they are so close to home. Clementine, Carmilias, and Sweetie all have great styles right in the West Seattle neighborhood.

What do you love about your store’s neighborhood? What nearby restaurants, coffee shops, etc do you recommend?
We’re right across the street from the beach! I love being right on the water. Alki has so many great options for coffee and eats: Pioneer coffee is a favorite (right next door) and of course Duke’s Chowder House has the best seafood on the beach. We also have a great salon right behind us called Elliot Salon that we all go to. Wheel Fun Bike rentals and Pepper are right next door as well.

What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened in your store?
Last summer there was a lady who stole about five dresses off of our sale rack on our front porch—we couldn’t catch her—and then a couple of hours later Diana, our manager, walked right past her on the street and she was wearing every single one of the dresses all at the same time! Weird.

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