May 2017

Coastal Treasures: “Elegant Living, Thoughtful Giving”

Author: Linda S. Hopkins | Photographer: M.Kat Photography

Much like a woman who has undergone an extreme makeover, Coastal Treasures is flaunting her brand-new look along with her recent name change. When Jack and Joan Shea purchased the store, previously known as The Island Gift Shop, they sent her to charm school! No strangers to retail or to the iconic Harbour Town venue, the Sheas (who also own Nell’s Harbour Shop and Knickers men’s shop) closed the gift shop for major remodeling just after Christmas 2015, reopening in April of 2016, right on time for a spring fling. They have been wowing customers ever since with a stunning new appearance, updated merchandise lines, a few familiar favorites, and the same friendly faces at the door.

According to store manager and buyer Kathy Kaess, the new look and feel of the store is best described as “coastal chic.” The Sheas worked closely with Sea Pines Resort management to create a shopping experience to complement and reflect the major upgrading of facilities throughout Sea Pines, enlisting J Banks Design Group to create the plans and manage the remodeling effort, she explained.

Joan Shea came up with the tagline, “Elegant Living, Thoughtful Giving,” entrusting Kaess to complete the vision, allowing her a free hand in buying decisions and design selections for the store. “Watching the renovation was like building a dollhouse,” Kaess said. “I feel like a princess. Every morning, when I walk in, I smile. I love every minute of being here.”

While the cosmetic differences are dramatic, Kaess, who worked at the previous establishment for five years prior to the new ownership, pointed out a few other significant changes. “You can see that it’s a very different store than The Island Gift Shop, which was more nautical and beachy,” she said. “The way I see our new direction is less emphasis on home décor and table top and more emphasis on gift and jewelry—with a price range suitable for everyone. We also enjoy creating pretty packages with bows and girly-girl touches to complete the gift experience.”

Making fine jewelry a niche, the anchor is John Medeiros, a collection of high-quality, handmade, intricate and long-lasting jewelry. Kaess has since brought in a half a dozen more jewelry designers including Meghan Brown Style, a line she describes as “trendy, cool, hip and happening,” Lizzy James, Catherine Canino, Little Fish Boateak, Gardis Originals, and Katie Loxton. Also new and exciting is a line of artwork by James McDonald of I Lost My Dog, specializing in hand drawn typography and maps, including a colorful splatter map design that is available exclusively at Coastal Treasures.

Familiar items include Virginia Diner peanuts, a staple since the store’s beginning and popular among customers from near and far. “It’s one thing we won’t change,” Kaess said. The same applies to SPI garden art. “Again, it’s tried-and-true. Guests know they can come here every year and find something cool for their garden.” Other sought-after gifts include handmade signs from St. Simons Signs, hand-painted table top items by Kim Rody, and the versatile Mariposa, which is a line of recycled aluminum serving pieces. Locally made Heritage Shortbread is always a hit as is the selection of wines from Island Winery for souvenirs and/or gifts.

But for all the fabulous and fun merchandise, what truly makes the Coastal Treasures experience is the people up front: local residents and long-term employees who know the customers as well as the product lines. “We’ve always been very focused on customer service,” Kaess said, “I have a great foundation with my two colleagues, Mary and Florence, who have both been here over 10 years as well as our new addition, Gloria. We are a great team, and we are so blessed.”

So, don’t let words like “elegant” and “chic” scare you away. If you are envisioning a high-brow gift boutique, replete with untouchable tchotchkes and snooty sales associates, you won’t find it at Coastal Treasures. But if you’re looking for unique gift items, quality jewelry and a fun shopping experience, head on down to Harbour Town and make a beeline to 149 Lighthouse Road, Suite F, where you will discover a treasure trove of stylish jewelry, distinctive home accents, fine gifts, and the friendliest sales staff on the planet.

Oh, and stop by the doggie bar at the front door: free snacks and water for your four-legged friend, no purchase required. 

Coastal Treasures is located at Harbour Town Yacht Club in Sea Pines Resort, 149 Lighthouse Rd., Suite F, Hilton Head Island. For more information, call (843) 671-3643, and/or follow on Facebook at coastaltreasureshhi.

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