In The Spotlight: Teal West on Shopping Local
Teal West - perhaps one of Sitka’s foremost advocates of “Shopping Local” - is a Sitkan through-and-through, having been born here in 1985 and living here ever since.
Teal West – perhaps one of Sitka’s foremost advocates of “Shopping Local” – is a Sitkan through-and-through, having been born here in 1985 and living here ever since. The daughter of a longtime Sitka schoolteacher, West is also herself a Sitka business owner, operating The Sitka Lighthouse (and The Lighthouse Company Store), since buying the popular landmark from Burgess Bauder in 2017. Full disclosure: West is also a member of the Sitka Chamber of Commerce “Shop Local” Committee.
West spoke about “Shopping Local” from the vantage point of both shopper & merchant.
What I remember from growing up in Sitka is that on Saturdays I enjoyed going downtown with friends and family and seeing the window displays. Sometimes I’d be carrying an ice cream cone. I actually come from a family of people who enjoy shopping local.
Sitka has a long history of beautiful storefronts. I have traveled and shopped all over the country, and I have to say that Sitka is truly competitive with bigger cities – in terms of product lines, window displays, customer service.
Our businesses, in general, provide excellent service. Customer service in Sitka is the best that you will find anywhere. And the variety and quality of goods offered here is excellent. I would not classify myself as a “bulk shopper” or a “thrift shopper” but am more of a “quality shopper.”
I think we have the best holiday shopping in the nation. I can always find a gift in Sitka, and there are many ways to “Shop Local” creatively for gift-giving, especially at holiday time. Our stores do an especially great job with their holiday sales.
While Covid has certainly brought a lot of challenges, I also think that Covid has inspired us to “Shop Local.” If anything, there has been increased local shopping during Covid because people want local businesses to succeed.
The biggest challenge to Covid – I am speaking here as a merchant – is that we were having to shut down. When we were allowed to re-open, people flooded into the stores again and were so excited to see each other! And we are still excited!
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