West Seattle – We Have That! 10 reasons to shop offline

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!

16 Replies to "West Seattle - We Have That! 10 reasons to shop offline"

  • franklin December 11, 2013 (3:55 pm)

    Hmmmm…..seems like a PR stretch…maybe 3 of these are worthwhile but jeez

  • Anne December 11, 2013 (4:27 pm)

    I really believe in shopping locally & always try to do that before shopping online- or going to the malls. I LOVE that merchants are open late on Thursdays- but would love if more were open a bit earlier during the holidays– at least December. Tried going to Fleurt & Magic Mouse at 10:30 am
    last week & neither were open yet.

  • Eugene December 11, 2013 (4:49 pm)

    #6 none of the packaging waste.

  • Tonari December 11, 2013 (5:52 pm)

    Also business begets more business and I would like to have a robust shopping area here at either junction. I don’t have to take a lot time to drive or bus out of the area and save gas and time.

  • West Seattle Hipster December 11, 2013 (6:11 pm)

    Any merchant in WS selling the PS 4?

  • Mike December 11, 2013 (10:46 pm)

    Sadly the only local business I am buying gifts from is Alki Bike and Board. They are open when I need them to be and they carry the items I would not buy online.

  • Rod December 11, 2013 (11:32 pm)

    So far, no online shopping for me…PLUS all shopping was done in WS, I think first time ever. Lots of great shops in the hood!

  • Anne December 12, 2013 (7:20 am)

    Don’t know how many folks read the Sunday Times- but they have a section that showcases new, fun, popular items- from perfume to toys- clothes to tech stuff — great gift ideas for all ages- & they tell you where locally or online you can buy them.Twice items that caught my eye were at Click in the Junction & last week there was clothing available at Coastal on Alki. If you are looking for fun- “in” clothing, bags, shoes, jewelry, sunglasses- you need to shop there. Seattle – 206- Seahawks-logo t-shirts & hoodies-socks- Toms shoes & boots( on sale right now). If you’re stumped for ideas- the sales people have great ideas for what’s in for all ages( I was shopping for a ‘tween). This store is a gem- before you go to a crowded mall or shop online check them out!

  • Al December 12, 2013 (8:27 am)

    I did as much shopping as I could in West Seattle this year – on purpose. I found almost everything I needed (except for some specialty items I had to go online for) and rode a bike for almost every trip. Next up is grocery shopping for treats and fun stuff at the Farmer’s Market and the Champagne Tasting at West Seattle Cellars this Saturday!

  • Lina Rose December 12, 2013 (9:38 am)

    We love shopping locally and can often find everything we want, or we adapt our lists to be able to support local businesses. I am wondering if anyone knows where I could find craft supplies like pom poms, googly eyes, sequins, craft buttons etc. fun things for a toddler to glue on paper. That is the one thing I am having trouble finding – and DO NOT want to go down to Joanne Fabric down at Southcenter. Thanks!

    • WSB December 12, 2013 (10:06 am)

      Lina – have you looked at Northwest Art and Frame and also possibly West Seattle Fabric Company? Just a guess, prior to comments from anyone with firsthand knowledge of what you’re looking for …

  • West Seattle Huipster December 12, 2013 (6:33 pm)

    Yay, got my PS4 at Gamestop in Westwood Village.

  • Mike December 12, 2013 (9:51 pm)

    Lina, much of that is at Bartells. Northwest Art and Frame has some. West Seattle Fabric didn’t seem to have that stuff when we were there last but you never know, they might now. There’s always Daniel Smith just off the West Seattle bridge, they have a ton of art supply, although mostly expensive high end stuff.

  • gina December 13, 2013 (8:34 am)

    Everyday underwear? Everyday shoes? Better quality than at Target?

    Yup, Zappos, Playtex and Jockey online rule. Because “oh, leather stretches” about shoes in the wrong size just isn’t true. And “we ran out of that size the first day it came in, we’ll be getting more next spring.”

    All told to me repeatedly by the major department stores downtown over the years. Even that legendary customer service store that moved into the Frederick and Nelson building.

    If major department stores with larger inventories were unable to meet my cotton content and other fussy needs, I certainly wouldn’t expect a small shop to.

    Online is the place for that, And I appreciate amazon prime.

  • raybro December 16, 2013 (7:06 pm)

    Shop locally as much as you can. I just got married and we managed to put almost all of it together with the help of junction and other WS merchants. Just before the wedding, my sister had a wardrobe crisis, and with about an hour to go, Carmilia’s came to her rescue. Shopping online is convenient, but local is best. Support your community as much as you can. It’s good for you!

  • sam-c December 17, 2013 (9:16 am)

    I wish the stores were open later!
    maybe in the week before Christmas. not just Thursdays! especially places that sell toys.

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