With a global pandemic comes a pressing need to support small local businesses who rely solely on customer support to stay on their feet. Despite limited capacities and altered store hours, there are various businesses across the Chinatown-International District (CID) who are doing everything in their power to stay afloat and provide quality products for customers this holiday season.
Despite the uncertainty that has arisen in the world, the ability to find unique, high-quality and truly one-of-a kind gifts remains strong. The CID is full of businesses who aim to support local artists, cultivate a strong sense of culture and provide customers with satisfaction and excitement.
When it comes to holiday shopping this year, shopping at small, locally owned businesses keeps dollars in the local economy. The eight businesses mentioned below are just the tip of the iceberg in describing how to shop in the CID for sure. Shopping local can ensure that the gifts purchased are as heartfelt and meaningful as the support people lend for these local businesses that bring the Chinatown-International District and the city of Seattle to life.
These are just a few ideas. Please see our News Section to see recent articles about other CID businesses you can shop at and support this holiday season.
Sun May is a shop full of hidden treasures, tucked away in Canton Alley in the Chinatown-International District. Sun May can be described as an asian variety store frozen in time. This shop is full of antiques and knick knacks that allow shoppers to instantly feel like they have stepped into a piece of the CID history. Some of the items that can be purchased at Sun May are antique Coke and soda bottles, old postcards, ceramics, toys and jewelry. Shopping at Sun May is not only a way to show support for small local businesses, it also allows people to be environmentally cautious due to the fact that the store is full of second hand items. With a rich history and items that bring this history to life and keep it alive, shopping at Sun May allows people to purchase rare items with charm and interesting backstories that let the genuine history shine through.
Sun May is open Friday and Saturday, 11 AM – 4 PM. Located at 5 Canton Alley S., Seattle, 98104.
Tuesday Scarves sells scarves, of course, but the shop does not stop there. With an endless array of styles, patterns, colors and prints, there is no limit to creativity or originality in the items available for purchase at this shop. While the Tuesday Scarves storefront is located in the CID, items are available for purchase online. Tuesday Scarves is known for hand-dyed clothing and accessories created in the spirit of traditional Japanese kimono.
With zero waste designs that utilize vintage fabrics and factory remnants, there is an environmental focus with each product that Tuesday Scarves produces. The styles of kimonos that are produced vary, giving shoppers the ability to choose what suits them or anyone they are purchasing for. Whether it is high low kimonos, smock dresses, or traditional scarves, there is an opportunity to purchase with a variety of color and pattern options that make each kimono or scarf one-of-a kind and personalized.
Moksha is a clothing boutique that also serves as an art gallery and event space. With a goal of cultivating Seattle’s creative community, especially underrepresented groups, the products sold in the boutique and online reflect the sense of creativity that gives the CID its divine personality.
Not only does Moksha offer a range of clothing from jackets to hoodies, bags, wallets, fanny packs and vintage kimonos, they also offer services with an aim to benefit people’s health and wellbeing. Some of the services offered at Moksha are sound, light and plant therapy. All of these treatments are meant to encourage meditation and healing. (Note from the IE editor: Imagine meditating in a rainforest sans the precipitation to the sound of gongs and chimes with some light yoga mixed in — it’s otherworldly.)
Moksha explores infinite styles and implements the rich asian culture in their products and services. With an atmosphere meant to invite and comfort those who visit, Moksha is a place where people can go to find peace and harmony and gifts that contribute to the serenity that Moksha aims to provide for those who visit and shop.
With a strong focus on design and local artists, Kobo features a variety of artwork created by local community members. With items ranging from books, clothes, housewares, ceramics, and prints, there is something available and appealing for everyone.
One new thing at Kobo this year is home activity kits for families. One popular item in particular is the Window of Hope lantern kit that allows families to create their own lantern. “This is something fun, especially during the pandemic, for families to do, and some of the proceeds are going to Fair Fight to support voting rights,” said Aya Bisbee, daughter of Kobo Higo owners Binko Chiong-Bisbee and John Bisbee.
Another unique item that is sold at Kubo is the Karhu calendar. “We have a waitlist every year for these calendars. Around christmas and new years, people love these, they’re really beautiful and it’s different every year,” said Bisbee. Kobo also offers a range of hand designed face masks from Black Pine, with $4 of the proceeds going to BLM King County.
Kibo Higo: Open Fridays and Saturdays, 11am-5pm for in-store shopping (limited capacity), Curbside Pickup is also available. https://koboseattle.com/. Located at 604 S. Jackson S., Seattle, 98104.
For those who are interested in streetwear, CBD, and a unique aesthetic that is unlike many other smoke shops, Trichome is a great place to visit in the CID. Trichome welcomes people of all ages and offers culture, products and supplements influenced by form, function and intrigue.
As one of the first shops to carry CBD before it was commonly sold in grocery stores, Trichome is a great go-to spot for CBD products in numerous forms, such as skincare, tinctures, capsules and powders. They also carry beneficial fungi products in capsules, powders, tinctures/sprays, drink mixes, snacks and syrups. As far as clothing and streetwear goes, graphic and edgy hoodies, beanies, socks and keychains are sold. “We wanted to create streetwear to get people off of the streets,” said Lonnie Wells, Trichome employee.
With a variety of products and a unique environment that is meant to be welcoming and comforting for all types of people, this is a place where you can visit and find something new regardless of who you are or what you’ve set out to find.
Trichome: Trichome is doing curbside delivery and has limited store hours. Please call (206) 468 4907 for more information. https://trichomeseattle.com. Located at 618 S. Jackson St. Seattle, 98104. Instagram: @trichomeseattle
Wing Luke Gift Shop/Marketplace
While the Wing Luke Museum may be temporarily closed due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Wing Luke Gift Shop is still open and offers a vibrant array of exclusive gifts and items that cannot be found elsewhere. With a library of books for both children and adults, there is opportunity for learning and discovery at the Wing Luke marketplace and the ability to provide entertainment in the form of reading during a time when everyone is quarantined in their homes.
In addition, there are traditional Filipino and Vietnamese toys and books for children. “These toys help to keep the culture alive amongst younger generations,” said Bailee Hiatt, Wing Luke Museum services lead. One example of this is the Book-o-rama gift sets, which bundle together authors, artists and exclusive Wing Luke Museum signature items. The gift shop also offers different styles of jewelry for different people, all from local artists.
“I’m definitely not a big shopping person,” says Matt Chan, CID activist, videographer and retired television producer. “But when the holidays come around there’s one place I always hit up for gifts and that’s the Wing Luke Museum Marketplace. What I love about the Marketplace are all the unique gifts that have an Asian American connection. It always feel good when I can support the Wing and get a bunch of gifts that are unique. I always find something that makes people happy and the staff is so helpful and friendly.”
It’s definitely worth mentioning the Wing Luke marketplace is the home of the Bruce Lee 80th anniversary merch promotional series. Because of the Wing Luke partnership with the Bruce Lee Foundation, people can find exclusive Bruce Lee books, lanyards, postcards, plush dolls and more at the Wing Luke Gift Shop, making it the perfect place to purchase one-of-a-kind memorabilia that is tailored to people’s specific interests.
Wing Luke Museum: The Marketplace is open Friday – Sunday 10 AM – 5 PM with limited capacity. Shop online: https://digitalwingluke.org/shop. Located at 719 S. King St., Seattle 98104. Instagram: @winglukemuseum
Pacific Range and Hoods
Pacific Range and Hoods covers a multitude of kitchen needs. Featuring a variety of appliances and utensils, there are plenty of options for those who are looking to step up their cooking or improve the functionality of their kitchen.
“We sell items for Asian residents, like traditional gifts, religious items, appliances, tea sets, kitchen wares and traditional items,” said Alex Hang, Pacific Range and Hoods owner. “Kitchen ventilation fans and propane and gas stoves are our biggest items.”
By offering traditional cultural items that are not sold at many other local stores, Pacific Range and Hoods allows members of the API community to find unique items that they may not be able to find anywhere else. In addition to appliances, this store offers traditional asian clothing, glass and ceramic figurines, plush toys, umbrellas and bamboo plants. There is also a focus on decor in the store with displays of hanging lanterns for sale, fans and curtains hanging on the walls and ceramic decorative pots.
Pacific Range and Hoods is a great outlet for those who are seeking to cultivate the Asian culture in their homes and kitchens through decor, appliances and plants.
Pacific Range: Closed Tuesdays, open Mon., Wed., Thurs, Fri., and Sat from 10:30 AM – 5:30 PM, Sunday from 11 AM – 5 PM. Phone: 206-624-4821.
Viet Wah has a traditional grocery store feel, but there is a separate section of the store devoted to herbs, herbal supplements, asian candy, pork rinds, bulk ginseng root, clothing, shoes, teas, tea sets, etc. This allows customers to come in to buy groceries but also gives them the chance to explore other unique items that are not sold at other stores in Seattle.
The main part of the store sells groceries that are commonly found in Asian supermarkets which gives the residents of Seattle and the International District the ability to buy certain items for traditional dishes that they may not be able to find anywhere else in the city. This keeps the asian culture and cuisine alive in Seattle. Viet Wah is also a great place to find your favorite treats, or the favorite treats of loved ones with their wide range of candy and snacks that are offered in the subsection of the store full of unique and captivating items that are not always readily available at other places.
Viet Wah: Open every day of the week from 9 AM to 6 PM. Located at 1032 S. Jackson St., Seattle, 98104. https://www.vietwah.com.