SeaShirts Closes Its Doors After 32 Years In Coronado - Coronado Eagle & Journal | Coronado News | Coronado Island News: Coronado Home And Business

SeaShirts Closes Its Doors After 32 Years In Coronado

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Posted: Tuesday, December 10, 2019 2:07 pm

After holding a brief sale, SeaShirts closed its doors forever on Nov. 22.

When owner Michele Morris first opened SeaShirts 32 years ago it was in a small space she described as a broom closet in the middle of the block between Ninth and Tenth streets.

Morris had worked in retail for a while and when she heard about the opportunity of opening on Orange she took it. In time she moved the store next door, into a 700 square feet space and eventually moving again and opening at the corner at Orange and C Avenue where the store has been most of its 32 years.

Morris was born in Maine and her family moved to San Diego when she was 5 years old. She attended Patrick Henry High School and was in the first graduating class. Morris went on to get a degree in retail and merchandise and always thought she wanted to own a store. At first her idea was to have a Hallmark shop.

Before opening SeaShirts, Morris had worked in free lance display and did a lot of windows at Horton Plaza in its heyday. Morris’ husband, Patrick, worked with her in the store. When Michele Morris opened a SeaShirts store inside Loews Coronado Bay Resort she spent most of her time there while her husband worked at the Orange Avenue location.

Locals and tourists knew SeaShirts for its Coronado-themed and Life is Good T-shirts, souvenirs, accessories and beach items.

“It took a long time to get established, for locals to know who I was,” she said. And just in the last week when she was closing the store many locals went to SeaShirts to tell her they loved her shop and were sorry to see it go.

“I liked the socializing with my customers. I’m a yacker…finding out all the different places my customers came from. Some from Yugoslavia, a lot from Japan, just about every European country,” recalled Morris.

When Morris opened her shop, SeaShirts and Bullshirts down the block, were the only T-shirt stores on Orange. Although they were competitors being in the same business, she and the owner of Bullshirts became friends over the years. When recently Bullshirts closed and SeaShirts was the only of its kind on the block, Morris thought she would have more business, but her situation changed and she decided to close. “I was the last of the Mohicans,” she joked.

With the block changing hands with a new owner, a lot of the mom and pop stores have been closing due to the higher rents with no lease offered to them. Morris explained that she had been month to month with the previous owner and no lease as proposed to her with the new owner. Morris was paying $3,350 a month and she said the rumor is that the rent for the same space will go up to $12,000 plus triple net and a jewelry store will open in the spot. “Although we were month to month, it never bothered me. The longest lease we had was one year in the entire 32 years,” she said. Basically Morris wanted to close her business on her own terms because she knew the rent would go up and she didn’t want to be caught unaware.

The Morrises live in Lakeside and had been driving to Coronado every day to open SeaShirts. Now they will be downsizing and selling their home because they are losing their source of income.

At the beginning of November Morris started advertising her sale which went from 50 percent then 75 percent off and on the last day everything was $1. On the last day she had just a few items for sale left and a store at the Ferry Landing was going to take what was left.

“I’m not sad, I’m not happy,” she said about her feelings on closing the store. “We decided to leave. We knew it was coming. We knew we had to move.”

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