Charisma ... A Place That Makes You Smile - Coronado Eagle & Journal | Coronado News | Coronado Island News: Coronado Home And Business

Charisma ... A Place That Makes You Smile

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Posted: Saturday, November 26, 2016 4:07 pm

If you are looking for something beach-y, chic and unique in gifts, jewelry or housewares you don’t have to go far. Just head to Charisma on Orange Avenue where you can spend hours choosing the perfect item. When you enter the store your spirits are lifted with happy and romantic plaques and things that make you smile.

Dave and Christine Wright bought Charisma four years ago. At that time they were newlyweds and had just moved to Coronado when the opportunity to buy the business came up.

The Wrights had dated while at Loara High School in Anaheim and worked at Disneyland together, but then went their separate ways. While Christine had a career building airplane hangars in New Mexico, Dave was an antique rug importer in Yorba Linda. Forty years later the two reconnected through an event held by common friends in California. By this time their respective spouses had passed and Christine and Dave married and moved to Coronado where Christine’s children live. “We got married, bought the store and had our first grandchild that first year,” said Christine Wright.

Charisma was originally called Plums and had been opened about a dozen years before the Wrights bought it. The previous owner had changed the name to Charisma and the Wrights decided to keep the name.

Once the Wrights took over the store they first waited to see what the customers wanted before making changes. Then with time they started adding items. The store had been a home goods and gifts shop and the Wrights have kept that theme.

“It was more shabby chic. We added color and a beach-y theme to reflect what we like,” said Dave Wright.

They both agree the store was a good way to get to know people in their new hometown. The Wrights also get to know tourists that come back year after year on holiday to Coronado. Some tourists, like a family from Arizona, will call the store and orders items throughout the year which the couple ships to them.

Although the couple has a few employees it is local Carol Willis who is the face of the store. The Wrights spend time at Charisma filling in for employees, opening boxes and doing whatever is needed.

“We have wonderful ladies that fill in on nights and weekends,” said Christine Wright.

Charisma always strives to carry unique items. One of them is Dune Jewelry made with Coronado sand. Sand dollars pendents are filled with Coronado sand as well as other beach inspired pendants. The Wrights explained that custom pieces can be ordered. Customers can bring in a little bit of sand from a beach anywhere in the world and it will be made into a unique pendant.

“It can be sand or dirt from a place like Wrigley Field, a mountain you climbed, a golf course…locals order them when kids go away to college. One customer, the other day, bought almost $400 worth for guests as keepsakes,” said Dave.

Dune Jewelry comes in all price ranges and can be silver plated, sterling silver or gold. 

Other unique pieces available at Charisma are old windows that come from construction sites that an artist will custom paint to mark a special occasion or just paint iconic scenes such as the Hotel del Coronado, currently on display at the store. Customized maple cutting boards are another popular item everyone likes. So are the “Remember” pillows with funny sayings. “The Remember pillows are our best sellers, we bring in 20 to 30 a month,” said Christine Wright.

Christine Wright said she and her husband strive to carry items made in the U.S. or crafted by San Diego artists. Because they have been able to purchase from local artists they said there is less pressure to go to market. 

How is it to work together after each having their own separate careers?

“It can be difficult. We are both business people with our own ideas,” said Dave Wright with a smile. “But we work together.”

“I come in and do a lot of unpacking,” said Dave Wright. He enjoys spending time at the store. “I like to get to know folks. I have been in sales all my life.”

Regular customers like to stop by the store to see what new items are for sale. A comment the Wrights offer hear from them is, “This is our favorite store.”

Shells wreaths, hearts made of shells, mermaid themed items, jewelry, rain jackets, scarves, and children’s clothing are just a few of the many choices for shoppers. Charisma is also a place to buy wedding presents. The popular Nora Fleming platters have special occasion removable attachments that can make it perfect for any holiday. Attach a pumpkin for Thanksgiving or a Christmas tree for Christmas.

Right now Charisma is carrying many Thanksgiving items like the Giving Plate, a one-of-a kind dish. The couple recently started carrying Dan McGeorge photos. For Halloween, Charisma carried a large number of witch hats, which were quickly bought out by the ladies that attend the Witches Tea, an annual event.

“What we try to do is make people happy,” said Christine Wright of the items carried at Charisma. 

“This place is made by the love of Chris and Dave and the love they have for each other. That inspiration is part of this place…right in the middle of life, life gives you a fairy tale,” said Willis.

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