The owners at Purple Cow Toys in downtown Astoria don’t mind if you open the board game while you’re in the store. In fact, they’ll help you learn to play it.

They’ll make sure everyone in the family stays and plays with their toys for as long as they like.

That’s the beauty of shopping local — the merchants strive to build genuine relationships with their customers, through experiences that will keep them coming back.

The Oregon Coast is full of enchanted spots for independent shopping, all of which rely on loyal customers’ support to beat the competition from online retailers.

Here are some of our favorite local shopping districts, each with its own coastal vibe:

On the North Coast, Hemlock Street in Cannon Beach is a hub for whimsical finds, like art at Dragonfire Gallery, artisan-made clothing and jewelry at La Luna Loca (also in Astoria) and specialty goods at Wild Bird Shop and Cannon Beach Leather.

Downtown Astoria is also known for its eclectic mix of vintage and hip boutiques. Peruse the upcycled bags — all sustainably sourced and fair trade — at Adiagio specialty shop. Browse the bins for old and new vinyl and other vintage goods at Bach n’ Rock. And find a bounty of seafaring books, toys, gifts and trinkets at the expansive Columbia River Maritime Museum Store (no museum admission necessary, and the riverfront view is free).

Manzanita’s quaint shopping district is looking for a morale boost after the mid-October tornado, and just launched a “Cash Mob” campaign that rewards shoppers for their purchases at local businesses.

At Nye Beach in Newport, you can easily stroll all day among the quirky boutique shops. Have fun digging for titles from your favorite Northwest authors at Nye Beach Book House, then shop your heart out at one-of-a-kind shops including Illingworth’s by the Sea and Things Rich and Strange (also in Depoe Bay).

The Southern Oregon Coast is awash in treasure that could only come from here.
At Brookings Harbor, find home decor at Feather Your Nest, colorful ocean-inspired artwork by local artist Spencer Reynolds Semi Aquatic. In Gold Beach, you’ll find a true sense of place at Rogue Outdoor Store and Rogue River Myrtlewood Shop. In Historic Bandon, feel good about at the socially conscious goods at Bandon Mercantile, treat yourself to heavenly fudge at The Big Wheel General Store and stock up on Oregon-made hostess gifts at Cranberry Sweets’ flagship store. And in Port Orford, home of the myrtlewood tree, The Wooden Nickel is where you’ll find custom cutting boards, candle holders and other goods handcarved from myrtlewood, maple, redwood and Port Orford cedar trees.

Story by Jen Anderson

Photo courtesy of Finnesterre in Manazanita