Under new ownership, Mystical Mermaid gets new lease on life

The new owners of the Mystical Mermaid

Romance was in the air when Brian and Rebekah Moore honeymooned on San Juan Island.

Now, a dozen years later, the Moores have returned, but this time for good. And with four children in tow. And as the new owners of a beloved Friday Harbor institution, the Mystical Mermaid. And with a unwavering intent on putting down deep roots in Friday Harbor.

Brian Moore, a research scientist by profession, won’t dispute that the couple’s connection to San Juan Island is by itself a bit mystical, and that the opportunity to own and operate the Mermaid is even more so.

And the couple couldn’t be more pleased with their good fortune.

“The first thing that Rebekah ever bought in Friday Harbor was from the Mystical Mermaid,” Brian recalls. “Who would’ve guessed 11 years later we’d be the owners”.

Certainly not Rebekah. In fact, she said that she wakes up every morning and thanks her lucky stars about the family’s move to Friday Harbor, even if it meant having to leave the support of a great group of friends and neighbors behind at their former home in Port Orchard.

“I kept telling my neighbor’s in Port Orchard that the planets are aligning and this is really happening,” she said. “It’s surreal, really. I wake up every morning and say to myself, ‘I live here in Friday Harbor’.”

The Moores packed up their belongings and their four children, all under the age of nine, the youngest of whom will turn a year old in July, and moved to Friday Harbor earlier this year. They then got busy putting a stamp of their own on the venerable Mermaid as they juggle the chores of managing a busy household as well.

The locks and front glass panels of the many display cases in the shop were the first to go, so that customers could feel, touch and closely examine any item they might be thinking about buying. As the mother of four small children, Rebakah knows it’s the type of move that comes with risks. But she believes those risks are outweighed by the benefits.

“We definitely don’t want it to be a museum,” she said. “We want to be more of a family kind of shop. We’ve only had one thing fall and break so far.”

Brian, who credits Rebekah as the display and merchandising master of the two, has a fondness for the shop’s line of crystals, quartz and fossils, some of which, he said, are 4 million years old.

While running a retail shop is a first for both, Rebekah and Brian are not exactly operating in the dark. In fact, Brian said that they consistently seek out advice of his father, Pat Moore, and stepmother, Claudia Fullerton, owners of another Friday Harbor institution, Islands Studios. That family input has proven instrumental in helping to get the Mermaid back on her feet, he said.

“We’ve gotten a lot of ideas from them,” Brian said. “They’ve had the studio five or six years now and been very successful. They’ve been very key for us.”

While the Moores have been getting familiar with their new enterprise, they have also been busy plotting out a long-term plan for the Mermaid, which was relocated by its former owner from Spring Street to a much smaller shop on A Street, directly across from the ferry terminal parking lot.

The couple has set its sights on a larger location and hope to move the Mermaid back onto Spring Street sometime after the summer season has come and gone.

For Rebekah, a little more room and a larger line of merchandise would be magical in its own right. “I can’t wait,” she said.