Pac Nor Westy, an apparel and home goods store in downtown La Conner, is holding strong despite the setbacks of COVID-19. The store has an appealing, user-friendly online store, making it easy to shop from home as well as in person.
Owner Richard Murphy works in IT consulting by day, but uses Pac Nor Westy as a way to express his creative interests. He designs all the store’s T-shirts and hoodies.
“We started Pac Nor Westy in 2017 mainly as a creative outlet, and I just couldn’t find specific northwest T-shirts that resonated with me,” Murphy says.
Describing his designs as minimalist, he initially designed products for himself; soon after, his friends wanted designs, too. From there, he created an e-commerce store in late 2017. In June of last year, he officially opened up shop in a 400-square-foot cabin in La Conner.
The T-shirts and hoodies are designed with clever puns and sayings that pay homage to the Pacific Northwest. Everything is made in the United States and 90% of the apparel is eco-friendly. In addition to comfortable loungewear, you’ll also find beanies, tote bags, stickers, and notebooks, all inspired by the Pacific Northwest.
While the business did move into a larger space right before the pandemic, Murphy only recently opened the new store to the public. Murphy says the temporary shutdown was easy for his business.
“For us it was [easy] because we had our e-commerce channel, so that provided us with an opportunity to think creatively,” he says.
To increase the store’s scope, Murphy partnered with local artisans to carry items like pillows, candles, and greeting cards. Everything is still rooted in the concept of the Pacific Northwest, a theme also reflected in the storefront’s vibe.
“It’s almost like walking into a cabin, and you really get that feel and sense of what it is like to live that outdoorsy Pacific Northwest life,” Murphy says.
As for his favorite design, it’s a T-shirt that says “Fir Real”, but with a fir tree graphic in place of the i.
Murphy’s vision doesn’t stop in La Conner. Once the pandemic is over, Murphy plans on opening another store somewhere in the Pacific Northwest. 105 South 1st St., La Conner, pacnorwesty.com
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