Alki Surf Shop: The Store Verizon Helped Build

A mini Statue of Liberty near the birthplace of Seattle

A mini Statue of Liberty near the birthplace of Seattle

Many people think of Verizon simply as a telecommunications company. But it’s much more. Because of its unique lens on its customer’s needs, it enables people to create, build, communicate and connect in ways you might not imagine.

After months of planning and renovation, in July we opened the legendary Alki Surf Shop in Seattle, home of original Alki-branded clothing and accessories.

Alki Surf Shop is a dream come true for both my husband and me. We’ve created a unique, fun and inviting experience in the Alki Beach neighborhood of West Seattle.

Beside the great “Genuine Alki”-branded clothing we’ve designed and produced locally, we identified and filled a need: There wasn’t a resource on the beach that offered essential things like towels, mats, sunscreen and other “oops, we forgot” items.  And we realized there isn’t a central source providing information on local businesses and services, so we started a bulletin board featuring business cards, menus and schedules to help support our neighbors, while at the same time helping visitors to the beach..

Tees, tanks and hoodies with the Alki Genuine brand.

Tees, tanks and hoodies with the Alki Genuine brand.

Colorful beach towels, sunscreen, sunglasses, beach mats, flip flops and more are available to beach visitors.

Colorful beach towels, sunscreen, sunglasses, beach mats, flip flops and more are available to beach visitors.

Also, there wasn’t a place on the beach that focused on Alki souvenirs, which is crazy since Alki is a “must see” destination in Seattle. People frequently tell us it feels more like southern California or Hawaii than a metropolitan city. In addition to the wonderful people we’ve met in our neighborhood, just this past week we had visitors from France, Germany, Finland, Denmark, Japan, Hong Kong, Canada, Mexico, The Dominican Republic, and states from all across the country.

Our first visitors from Germany and Arkansas

Our first visitors from Germany and Arkansas

Alki Surf Shop offers a clean, beautiful and inviting shopping experience with a friendly “island vibe.” We receive a lot of great comments in our guest book, and love the suggestions we receive from customers who help guide us as we add new products to our shelves. When a customer makes a purchase, they are treated like “Hawaiian royalty” by David, who blows a conch shell with a shout out to thank them. It makes for lots of laughter and applause.

From early in our journey, the Nokia Lumia Icon smartphone, and Nokia Lumia 2520 tablet played important roles. They allowed us to connect with, and stay on top of, correspondence with suppliers, manage our inventory, and source, as well as coordinate the procurement of important building materials. They were literally lifelines for us!

© Terri Nakamura Sweet! Nokia Lumia Icon and 2520

Verizon’s Nokia Lumia Icon smartphone and the Nokia Lumia 2520 tablet.

By storing important documents in the cloud, everyone with authority to share the files is able to access and update them using the 2520. The tablet is housed in a durable case with a built-in keyboard and touchpad—both beautifully designed for aesthetics and functionality. And it folds compactly for storage. And we often use the Icon to power the music in the store, or to take photos and videos of our visitors.

In addition to the Icon and 2520, we have Verizon cell-phone signal booster, and a Belkin HD Net Cam — essentials needed for staying connected.

© Terri Nakamura  Belkin Netcam HD for Alki Surf Shop Seattle

The awesome Belkin Netcam HD plus helps us monitor activity in the store, day and night.

The Belkin HD Net Cam offers amazing peace of mind. There are five sensitivity ranges for motion detection from “lowest” to “highest,” and depending on the setting chosen, we are sent alerts of movement in a given area, allowing us to immediately see and hear what is happening. There is also an option to store recorded video on a subscription cloud service. The night vision feature let’s us look in on the store at any time, which is amazing and cool.

Two other great add-on tools from Verizon include the Jawbone Era, a very small, light and comfortable headset, which makes it possible to talk, hands-free, while performing other work.

The second is the Jawbone Up Activity Tracker, which is basically a bracelet that monitors your movement. Since we began the process of building the store, it’s required so much in the way of physical exertion (demolition, stripping surfaces, scraping, speckling, sanding, painting, finishing, etc.), that I’ve lost 12 pounds! It’s been great to have the Jawbone Tracker as a positive reinforcer!

© Terri Nakamura  Jawbone ERA and Jawbone UP cropped

Terrific gadgets including the Jawbone UP and Jawbone ERA have enhanced the process.

It may take a village to raise a child, but it took Verizon to help our business get up and running. Thank you to @theonlinemom and #vzwbuzz for helping make our dream come true.

Follow us on Twitter: @alkisurfshop; Friend us on Facebook: or visit us at the store in Seattle, located at 2622 Alki Avenue SW, Seattle, WA 98116 near 59th and Alki Avenue SW. (206) 403.1901.

© Terri Nakamura Dashboard hula girl Alki Surf Shop Seattle

One of three dashboard hula girls you can find at Alki Surf Shop in Seattle.


14 thoughts on “Alki Surf Shop: The Store Verizon Helped Build

  1. What a GREAT post and testament to how mobile technology helps us in our lives! Congrats and Best Wishes for you, your husband and Alki! I hope to visit some day soon – it looks like a blast!


    • Dear Lin,
      GOSH, I’m honored you took the time to read this! Thank you!
      It really is amazing to think how difficult it was only 10 years ago when we had to physically drive to a store in order to see what was there. Now we can magically summon information on our mobile phones and devices in an instant. It boggles the mind!
      Thank you for your best wishes. So far, so good!
      We hope you can visit some day!


  2. Love the photos – they give a great sense of the Alki area and the absolutely fun shop — the cool merchandise and the terrific shopkeepers!!!! Cool tech stuff too! Hoping tons of people check it out — love the things you’ve stocked and the atmosphere you’ve created!


    • Dear Melissa,
      Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment! I’m very grateful to you in so many ways, and your feedback here is another on the list!
      David and I appreciate everything you did to make the store come to fruition. It’s gratifying to look around, remembering the piles of rubble, holes in the floors and walls, and general filthiness (and I don’t mean “filthy” in the “cool” sense!) and now see clean, bright and fun surroundings.
      And we love having our own branded “Alki Surf Shop” earrings! You did such a great job on them!
      Much love, Tink


  3. Terri! I love your beautiful, fun, creative, smart store! And I love this post outlining the process you went through – and continue to explore – to open the brick-and-mortar as well as keep it modern and connected! Well done, in so many aspects! And a heads up: I’m going to need to bend your ear about your expertise on branding merchandise. 🙂 I need some tips on finding good “blanks” for some branding we want to do here in our San Diego store. Visiting Alki Surf Shop is now HIGH on my list next time I’m in the Seattle area! Cheers and much happy success to you and David. Love, Gina


    • Dear Gina,
      Many thanks, dear friend, for taking the time to read and comment. YOU ROCK in so many ways!
      And sincere gratitude to you for talking me through your experiences with retail and POS systems. I learned a lot from you!
      There are many companies who will customize your goods, and it’s a great way to brand your business. We can talk further about it soon!
      Alki Surf Shop is tiny — probably 1/4 the size of Madison — so just know if you come to Seattle, you can walk through the entire store in a few minutes!
      Thank you again, Gina, for all of your support. You’ve been generous with your time and sharing your wisdom!
      I’m so very lucky to count you among my friends!
      Lots of love, Terri


  4. Terri, I was so happy to see this post today especially since we’ve chatted a bit over the past few months with all of the work you and your hubby have been doing. I promise to come in and meet you in person the next time I’m in Seattle! xoxo


    • Dear Michelle,
      I’m always so happy and honored whenever I see a message from you on Twitter. Thank you so much for your support and feedback over the past few months. You’re a positive presence in my life, and I’m very grateful!
      Thank you for reading and commenting. With the zillions of blog posts out there, it’s hard to stay on top of them. I can’t tell you how much it means to me that you took the time to check it out.
      You are definitely at the top of my list when it comes to social media friends I want to meet in real life! It would be beyond awesome to connect if you are ever in this neck of the woods!
      Warm ((HUGS))


    • Dear Robyn,
      Thank you for taking the time to check out this post. I have you to thank, in part, for lighting the fire to finish it!
      It would have been so cool to have you visit while you were in Seattle recently, but the truth is, it continually evolves and gets better. At the time of your visit, we weren’t fully stocked, (in fact, we getting close, at about 80 percent) but as each week rolls by and new inventory arrives, I feel it offers a more interesting experience for our customers.
      Hoping to see you again when you’re here!
      Cheers and hugs, Terri


    • Dear Rose,
      Many thanks for reading and leaving a comment here for me.
      It’s been a while since we last talked about your web sites and projects. I hope all is well with your endeavors, and that we have a chance to connect this year.
      All the best and happy Labor Day Weekend!
      Cheers and Hugs, Terri


  5. Leave it to you, Terri, to utilize all of those fabulous tools that Verizon has to offer. How great to have the net cam and be able to check in
    on the shop at any time! You’ve done such a beautiful job on the store. The decor and the items that you carry are really, really FUN and reflect who you are. Love what you and David have created together…kudos and love to both of you!!


    • Dear Jennifer,
      Thank you HEAPS for reading this and leaving such a sweet comment.
      The NetCam is one of my favorite tools, too. Can you imagine how great it is to be able to check your house any time you want? Or be able to turn on the microphone to talk to your pup? That’s part of what the NetCam can do! Another nifty Verizon item from Belkin is the Wemo, which allows you to turn things on and off in your home, using your phone.
      You’ve been such an amazing support to me and David. Thank you for coming to the store, shopping, and lending your “designer eye” to questions we’ve pondered about signage and giving us other feedback. We couldn’t get to where we are without the encouragement we receive from family, friends and customers.
      Lots of love to you!


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