The Mystical Mermaid gift shop in Friday Harbor has been around for more than 25 years, passing through the management of several owners. One thing that hasn’t changed in decades is the eclectic and rare treasures you’ll find inside, as well as the store’s loyal followers. “There are people who stop here first when visiting the island, with their luggage, before even going to their hotel rooms,” said current owner Brian Moore. We can attest: Mystical Mermaid is a memorable store with something for everyone and well worth the visit.
A spicy scent of incense welcomes patrons into the space. Bright teal walls highlight paintings, photographs, and wood carvings. Trinkets are organized neatly on shelves and tables. Though there’s a lot to look at, generous shelf and floor space help prevent feeling overwhelmed. Moore, a father who’s experienced shopping with a stroller, ensured a stroller —
and wheelchair — friendly floor plan.
Moore and wife Rebekah are owners of this shareholder business. In a former life, Brian worked as a research scientist at the University of Washington. He and Rebekah honeymooned on Friday Harbor almost 16 years ago, deeming Mystical Mermaid one of their favorite stores. They returned to Seattle with fond memories of the island, and life continued.
Around the time of the 2008 economic crisis, funding for research projects took a nosedive, resulting in Moore’s termination from UW. Destiny stepped in and, as Moore describes it, “Things fell into place.” The Moores moved to Friday Harbor and took over Mystical Mermaid.
WHAT YOU’LL FIND
Moore’s goal with Mystical Mermaid is to sell items that visitors can’t find at home, but also things that locals can’t buy online. As a result, he’s curated a collection of singular finds and pieces made by local artists. About 50 percent of the goods come from on-island artists, like Joan Mann the Woodwizard. Mann arranges pieces of multicolored wood into one-of-a-kind wall hangings in the shapes of hummingbirds, whales, and snakes. Except for the black in her orcas, she doesn’t paint any of the pieces, just adds a clear sealant. This writer fell in love with the Sasquatch hanging. It’s now in my son’s woodland-themed nursery. There’s not just artwork in Mystical Mermaid, you’ll find functional items as well. Decorated Czech glass nail files from Portland artists sit beside a bowl of glass heart paperweights. Sturdy metal mermaid bottle openers will make any party more fun, and hefty amethyst slabs are beautiful and functional as bookends. Music lovers should check out the stone guitar picks made with Montana agate. Stone, unlike plastic, doesn’t absorb sound, allowing for crisper, cleaner notes. Dreamcatchers line the doorway into a room displaying incense and mermaid decor. Further back you’ll find a room filled with cacti, succulents, and air plants. Moore repurposes objects like porcelain statues and radios into air plant holders, making for unusual additions to any decor. There’s enough to keep a shopper happily browsing and coming back for more. Mystical Mermaid’s appeal lies in its ever-changing store front and inventory. Said Moore: “We don’t want to be predictable.”
Mystical Mermaid has a large following of rock and mineral enthusiasts. “There’s a special energy [on the island],” said Moore. “Many people connect with rocks and minerals that contain that energy.” Moore himself is drawn to the energy and beauty of these various rocks and minerals. There’s the deep purple sparkle of amethyst, the incredible black shine of obsidian, and the unique color and reflective properties of labradorite, believed to have strength and protection energies. Moore is working to set up crystal healing light therapy by the summertime. It’s a bed of crystals and a healing light bar that will realign and energize chakras. This way patrons can leave Mystical Mermaid with their new purchases in hand, feeling energized and refreshed.
270 Spring St., Friday Harbor