SEASIDE SPOTLIGHT: Our latest profile in a series focused on the behind-the-scenes movers who make Seaside the unique destination it is today. Next. Previously.
When Rachelle “Shelly” Minoza moved to Oregon with her young family in 1992, she took a job at Meier & Frank to be able to work evenings and weekends. At the time, Minoza wore jeans and sweatshirts and knew nothing about fashion.
That quickly changed when she became a specialist for the Ralph Lauren brand, an opportunity that led her to work with national brands at the corporate level for more than 20 years. “I fell in love with fashion,” Minoza says. Her work quickly expanded to brands such as BCBG, Chico’s and Columbia Sportswear Co. She launched her first business, Rachelle M. Rustic House of Fashion, in 2014. Over the past eight years, she’s owned seven stores and currently has shops in The Pearl district of downtown Portland as well as Cannon Beach and Seaside.
Styles for a Coastal Weekend Getaway
In Seaside you’ll find Minoza on Broadway at C&R Mercantile, which blends chic European fashion with active, outdoor lifestyle brands. C&R stands for Chris — Minoza’s husband and the company’s CEO — and Rachelle. Despite the challenges of a global pandemic, the shop made its debut in Cannon Beach in March 2020 and opened the Seaside location a few months later in July.
“That time taught me not to be stagnant, to shift gears and to look in all different directions,” Minoza says. “I hit social media hard for my followers. We became a close-knit family, and we helped customers find comfortable and stylish everyday wear.”
And C&R Mercantile has style for miles. Minoza aims to outfit the entire family for a weekend getaway at the Coast, a hiking trip in the mountains or any adventure that strikes your fancy. Embroidered denim and soft sweaters entice visitors alongside colorful displays of rain jackets and waterproof shoes. Pacific Northwest menswear and thoughtfully curated shelves of books, accessories and candles provide gifts for everyone — even the family pup can be decked out in boutique dog merchandise. You’ll also find games, hiking gear and beach blankets. C&R is the only place on the north Oregon Coast you can buy brands like Filson clothing and Ilse Jacobsen rain boots.
Love for the Coastal Community
Minoza loves being in her stores every day and engaging with customers. “What I love about having a business in Seaside is it’s busy with people visiting from all over the country. People are excited to be at the Coast, and they feel like they can let their hair down and enjoy themselves.”
Jennifer Blecha, the store manager of C&R Mercantile in Seaside, says Minoza has taught her a great deal about resiliency with her boundless energy. She excels both at building relationships with customers and empowering her team. “She entrusted me with this store and gave me a sense of ownership,” Blecha says.
When Minoza is not in her shops, she enjoys golfing, gardening and walking to the beach to watch the sunset. After owning a part-time home in Gearhart for more than seven years, the Minozas permanently moved there two and a half years ago to grow their businesses at the Coast.
“I grew up in Montana, and I’m used to open, rural spaces,” Minoza says. “Living in Gearhart feels like coming home to me, with the down-to-earth people, great views of the ocean and mountains, open spaces, and animals everywhere — from elk to eagles. It’s just absolutely stunning.”
Try Something New in Seaside
The Minozas have three adult children, including Benjamin Wilde, their operations manager. This family business naturally has a family focus, serving multiple generations. “We can have three to four generations in our store — a grandma, mom and daughter,” Minoza says. “I try to buy for all generations and all body types so that you can feel uniquely you and comfortable.”
This means you’re never too young or old to cultivate a style you love. Mendoza believes C&R is one place to start, and she’s happy to help. “I think it’s really fun to take customers out of their safety box,” she admits, “whether their style is more conservative or free-spirited, and get them to dabble a bit.”
And where else but Seaside — where fun never stops — could be better for adopting a stylish new look?