Santa Cruz Shout Out: Sawyer Land and Sea

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Providing a new perspective and creative alternative to the established surf and outdoor brands in Santa Cruz, Stacy Forrester’s store Sawyer Land & Sea Supply (named after her grandfather) is quickly becoming a new Westside community hang-out after being open just four months.

Owner of Sawyer Land & Sea Supply, Stacy Forrester.

On the day we stopped by, Santa Cruz surfboard shaper Travis Reynolds—whose boards are sold at Sawyer—cruised by to say hello. Stacy’s phone rings with friends calling. A local woman came back to buy a piece of art on the store wall by Mark Yanowsky and was debating between the smaller or bigger of her top two choices.

Stacy says, “You’ll figure it out. Do you want to just take it home and then bring it back?” The customer made her final decision without test-hanging it in her bedroom first, but that’s the kind of open hospitality and community trust that Stacy has with her customers.

We were introduced to Stacy through our San Francisco counterpart Julie Cox and visited the store in the Swift Street courtyard in the Westside of Santa Cruz. We talked to Stacy more about her surfing journey and the camaraderie of the female surf community from Steamer Lane to Pleasure Point.

Entrance to the shop. A lot of the wood used in the shop was made from reclaimed fences in Santa Cruz.

When did you start surfing and living in Santa Cruz? 

I started surfing in my 20’s but fell out of the sport when I took a corporate job in San Francisco. Thankfully, years later I made a career change that brought me to Santa Cruz. I’ve been living in Santa Cruz 9 years and surfing whenever I can.

Why did you decide to open a store and what was the vision for it? 

After spending that last twelve years working as a sales rep I found that as the years rolled on I was becoming less and less satisfied in my job therefore for my own personal growth I needed to make a change.  In 2012 I started to develop a business plan with the idea of creating a store that addresses the Santa Cruz lifestyle in and around the ocean.

Old roll-top door and open air at the Sawyer storefront.
Thomas Campbell art and books for sale and Verve coffee from Santa Cruz. 

How has it been so far and what have you been learning for the few months it’s been open? 

Retail is not easy and doesn’t come without stress, but the change for me personally has been very positive. In the four months that I have been open I have met so many amazing people and developing friendships that I know will continue to grow. The local Santa Cruz community has been very supportive of Sawyer, and it is that support that drives me daily.

Board display. Sawyer stocks boards by local shapers Ashley Lloyd and Travis Reynolds.

What was it like when you first saw Seea with Julie and how’s it been received in Santa Cruz?  

Seea—it’s unique and beautiful and that is what I was looking for. My customer’s love the colors, creativity, and point of difference that Seea brings to the sun/surf category.

What’s the female surf culture in Santa Cruz like? 

Growing! I feel that I see more and more women out on the water than ever before and it’s amazing to watch and be a part of that energy in and outside the water. Equally cool is to hear the support they have for one another when surfing together. It’s fantastic, and it’s something that I wish I would hear more of when surfing. It’s all about having FUN, right?

Seea table!
You sell some interesting handcrafted alternative wavecraft like wooden paipos and wooden trays. What is the story behind the trays?  

The beautiful wooden trays are Long Ship Designs version of the fast food tray that many of us as kids used to ride the waves and many kids still do today.

Inside the shop.
What are you working on for future Sawyer products and collaborations?

I am working on creating Sawyer’s “camp blend” with [the Santa Cruz coffee company] Verve. Long Ship Designs and I will be collaborating on some additional wooden items like cutting boards, surf wax container. There has been mention of a t-shirt collaboration with Save The Waves and I hope to create a bag with Topo Designs. Oh and by the way, I would be stoked to work with Seea down the road if ever given the opportunity.

Tell us more about your monthly events. 

It is a part of Sawyer’s mission to give back to the community through supporting local nonprofits as well as support those who support Sawyer. To accomplish this I have monthly events that involve beer, music, good times and good people to support a local cause or celebrate a local artist. We look forward to showing films this winter and continue to house live music all of which allow Sawyer to give back.

What are your other favorite local businesses to support in Santa Cruz? 

With in minutes from Sawyer I have many options and favorites. Bantam, it’s the new hot spot – incredible food and service. Hit Odonata for wine tasting. Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing right around the corner from the shop is awesome. Kelly’s is located on the other side of the shop and offers fantastic fish tacos. If you want to pack a lunch and go to the beach, go to New Leaf Market and hit up the deli. If meat is your thing, the sausage at El Salchichero is off the charts. A must is the bourbon bacon. Another new by bakery to hit is Companion Bakery that is actually located next to Odonata is fantastic. Basically you can’t go wrong when you stop in the Swift Street Courtyard, you can get everything you need within a couple blocks and before or after your surf.

We're big fans of Santa Cruz's gorgeous natural surroundings and super fun waves so its awesome that such a tight-knit, supportive group of surfer women are representing the area gracefully. Thanks Stacy for supporting Seea and fostering many creative artists in the community with your shop

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