EDITOR’S NOTE: Earlier this year, WSB started a series of stories about independent local businesses and why they matter more to a community like ours than you might realize. Then, the “West Seattle: We Have That” campaign launched at midsummer. Now, we’re continuing to publish stories as part of the series – and inviting you into the conversation. Many of the reports are being underwritten by the West Seattle Junction Association, but not as ads – it’s their contribution to an issue of importance from Alki to Admiral to Westwood, Fauntleroy to Highland Park to North Delridge, and all over WS.
By Keith Creighton
Special to West Seattle Blog
Tomorrow night is the next Shop Late Thursday in The Junction, one of many ways West Seattle shopkeepers – outside The Junction, too – are hoping to attract your shopping dollars this holiday season. As we have noted before in the ongoing series of West Seattle: We Have That! stories, they are also very aware that competitors are literally at your fingertips. So here are 10 reasons to consider shopping in person instead of/in addition to online:
#1 – Super-cute shops, great personalities
Shopping alone in your pajamas has its benefits, but there’s nothing like the personal connection you get in a boutique. Independent local retailers are your neighbors and they really know their stuff. They’ll answer your questions, serve as your personal shopper, tell you about the latest trends and offer a second opinion whenever you need one.
#2 – Seeing is believing
Has this happened to you? You click on an online clothing item because it looks amazing. Days or weeks later when it arrives, you open the box to find buyer’s remorse. The item looks cheap, easily frays, and for some reason, it doesn’t look as good on you as it does the model. When you enter a store in West Seattle, nothing is Photoshopped. When you see something you like, you can touch it and try it on!
Beyond the clothes rack, to the beds at Sleepers in Seattle and the chairs at Village Woodworks, you can sit in them, stretch out and relax. Artisan-gift stores like Click! (WSB sponsor), Wild Rose, and Zamboanga are like pop-art museums where touching the merchandise is encouraged.
#3 – Stand Out in the Crowd
When I was younger, fitting in meant dressing the same — be it Jordache Jeans, the United Colors of Benetton, or those “Frankie Says” tee shirts. Today, individuality is celebrated, but it’s harder to stand out with major chains owning much of the retail apparel turf. Boutique shopping is a great way to express your personal style. West Seattle has you covered from head (the hats, tops, and skirts at Funky Jane’s and Many Moons) to toe (the socks and shoes at Edie’s and Sneakery). As for tees, there’s nothing like celebrating West Seattle with the wide variety of West Seattle tees at stores including Seattle Logo Pro’s expanded shop in the Junction.
#4 – Immediate Gratification
What’s better than next-day shipping? Immediate delivery. Check it out, take it home, or wear it straight from the store to the nearest happy hour with your friends. Plus, in this condensed shopping season, why fret if the package will arrive in time when you can guarantee it will by delivering it yourself?
#5 – Don’t Attract Criminals
Just like food scraps will attract raccoons, delivery-service packages left on the doorstep will attract seasoned thieves and opportunists. Packages left overnight are a sure sign to others that you’re not home. Ship online purchases to your employer or a neighbor if you’re not home — or better yet, shop at a local store and bring it home with you.
#6 Recycling: Good for the environment, great for your closet!
Many West Seattle retailers don’t just want to sell you treasure, they want to buy your unwanted goodies. Easy Street Records will buy your used CDs, records, and movies. Cherry and other consignment stores can turn last season’s outfit into this season’s shopping money.
#7 – Spending in West Seattle is Investing in West Seattle
More pennies from every dollar spent at a local retailer will stay in West Seattle. That money gets reinvested with other stores, property rent, sales taxes, donations to local schools and non-profits and fund to buy the services of other businesses — perhaps yours! (The next article in this series will discuss the many ways donations driven from your local shopping dollars help our local schools fill critical budget gaps.)
#8 – Season’s Meetings
What’s more fun than shopping while you eat lunch alone at your desk? Meeting a friend for lunch in person and then hitting a store or two before you head back to work. Happy Hour shopping is even better — especially once a month when West Seattle hosts its Art Walk. Throughout the Holidays, many Junction retailers will participate in the Shop Late Thursday program.
#9 – You Can’t Unwrap a Digital File
While you can slip a gift card into a greeting card (especially a gift certificate from a local retailer), a real gift has weight and texture and shows you took the time to think about the recipient.
#10 – Honesty
Just because you found an item online doesn’t mean the seller can deliver — you have to trust your gut, read reviews, and be careful about who you give your credit-card information to. Not so much with a West Seattle retailer. If you’re not happy with your purchase, you know where to find them, which is precisely the point. They want to impress you, so that when you come back, it’s for more!
Anything you would want to add to this list? Please write a comment below!