Along with its array of seasonal snow and water skis, snowboards, and wakeboards, Island Ski and Board Shop bedecks summery shoppers in head-to-hanging-10 swimwear and sandwear for fashionable action shots on the store's water trampolines and towable inflatables. Authentic, surf-inspired Reef sandals ($20–$70) keep the sensitive soles of men, women, children, and unidirectionally pointed starfish off the scorching pavement. Reef also conceals skivvies with shirts and board shorts. Otherwise, promenade along the public pool in O'Neill swimwear for men and women ($35–$70). Sunglasses ($18–$200) by brands such as Kreed, Crush, VonZipper, and Oakley occlude oculi against glares from the sun, ocean, and staunch opponents of nude-eye beaches. Island Ski and Board Shop also supplies cement-surfers with longboards from Sector 9, Santa Cruz, Arbor, and Landyachtz.
Paddles dip into the water of Coeur d'Alene lake, boards glide across its surface, and a moose nibbles plants near its edge as groups of paddleboarders see North Idaho through new eyes. Moments like these spring from the dedication and passion of Coeur d'Alene Paddle Board Company's staff. With a mission to share their love for stand-up paddleboarding, they teach classes on fundamental techniques and lead group sessions into the area's scenic waters. Under guides' watchful eyes, groups float out into the open lake or along more narrow waterways flanked by trees and rubber duckies squeaking in their natural habitats.
"We had a customer, a good friend, who lost 100 pounds." Laura Heikkila beams as she tells the story. "She promised herself as soon as she got to that goal weight, she'd get a whole new wardrobe from the boutique as a reward," Laura says. "When she came in, we could see how excited she was. It was awesome." When Laura says "we," she's referring to her co-owner and best friend, Melissa Valdovinos. It was their mutual love of fashion that started the Smitten Clothing Boutique ball rolling. "We'd travel to California and go shopping, and our friends would be jealous," Laura explains. "So we were rollerblading and talking one day. We decided right there to bring some of Los Angeles here." Within the week, Laura and Melissa signed a lease on a place, but there was still one important thing left to do. "I was looking for a name, something catchy and one word. And then, I thought of smitten. It means, ‘to be in love with something.’" Smitten owes some of its success and foot traffic to its attachment to The Coeur d'Alene Resort, which boasts numerous awards including a spot on Travel + Leisure's list of 500 World's Best Hotels in 2009 and a five-star resort rating from Golf Digest. The other key to their success is their loyal clientele. "My mom shops here, and she's 72. But it's really all the regulars, stopping in weekly for the new styles." Laura's referring to the items she ships in from LA, including pieces from Rock Revival, Billabong, and LA Idol, a popular brand which often sells out within a week. During winter months, the duo helms shopping parties, such as Women Who Wine, and hosts fashion shows that benefit local charities. The two love helping people, both on and off the clock. "Taking someone who has no idea what to wear and helping them find their fashion, it's amazing. But the main thing is that Melissa and I love each other. And we have a lot of fun."
Joe Roope, Sr., and his son have grown Castaway Fly Fishing Shop into an full-service fly-fishing shop abounding in guided trips, classes, and high-end tackle from the likes of Loop Tackle Design and Action Optics by Smith. They proudly carry locally tied flies, offsetting a selection of fly-tying materials to accompany single- and double-hand rods. Though hunkered down in scenic Coeur d'Alene, they lead fly-fishing trips in a number of area waterways, shepherding groups through Idaho, Montana, and Washington during guided jaunts down rivers such as the Blackfoot, Clark Fork, and Upper Columbia. They share their passion for perpetuating the wild-trout fisheries of the Inland Northwest in each of their classes, advocating responsible catch, release, and contract-signing techniques whenever dealing with fish.
Family owned and run for more than 30 years, Seright's Ace Hardware blends the inviting ambience of a mom-and-pop store with the selection and expertise of a megatool powerhouse. The 18,000-square-foot Post Falls location sells paint, pet food and sundry services such as chainsaw sharpening and key cutting. An expert staff proffers assistance to customers overwhelmed by the rainbow's audaciously wide spectrum by introducing Benjamin Moore paint technology, which allows for digitally matched colors, creating new surface-adorning hues. Stihl chainsaws, Toro snow blowers, and other appliances fulfill the FDA’s daily power-tool recommendations, and the Post Falls location also offers small-engine repair.