Discover the World Without Leaving the Half Moon Bay Coast
by Wendy Andary
July 2012— There’s a new kid on the block and everyone’s invited to come over and play! The new “kid” is actually a new retail store named Oddyssea, and it’ll soon be making a big splash on Main Street in Half Moon Bay. The name is a clever play on words, which Coastsider Mike Harding thinks aptly describes his new store. He sees an odyssey as an epic journey reflecting some sort of knowledge or experience gained from having taken it. So why the unique spelling? Harding says, “Odd refers to some of the more eclectic items that will be available in the store, and the sea covers the coastal influence inside the shop.”
A place like this is new to Half Moon Bay, offering something creative, educational and fun for all ages. Oddyssea will have things on hand that will appeal to the toddler set, to seniors — and to everyone in between. Harding describes the new 1,100-square-foot space as clean and organic, with a touch of vintage.
The store is divided into two zones, “explore” and “create.” Says Harding, “The explore zone consists of packaged products and amusements where visitors are encouraged to interact and play.” The main focus of this zone is the rotating displays organized around a theme, such as physics, where a set of associated products is displayed. “You might find something like a desktop trebuchet to interact with, for example,” he says.
After doing some exploring, it’s time to create something. Harding says: “The create zone is all about transforming raw materials and kits into the end product you would like to have. For instance, one might assemble a terrarium from the raw materials in the create room with the assistance of our staff. One might use our 3D printer to make the gizmo designed in CAD into a physical object. We will also use this area for periodic workshops organized around a topic like how to build your own living wall or home automation using Arduino kits, for example.”
Oddyssea will have a broad product and price range, from less than $1 for some raw materials to several thousand dollars for the more rare items. The store will offer some silly novelty items, along with the creative and educational items, to interject a little bit of humor into everything.
Being Coastsiders themselves, the Harding family members hope that the community will embrace their fresh take on shopping as much as they have enjoyed creating it. Harding and his wife Ellen have called Montara home since 1999; they have a 9-year-old daughter and look forward to Oddyssea being a true family endeavor. Harding describes his inspiration for the store: “We wanted to create a destination that adds to the character of the community and we expressly looked to establish a niche that is absent or under-served … with minimal overlap to the existing businesses in the community.” Harding feels those naturally curious about nature, science, technology and art will find a great deal to enjoy during their visit to Oddyssea. He says: “For locals, we hope to create a place where people can come together to express their creativity and to learn new things. Given the fog/rain cycle, having a place to come discover something new and have some fun along the way could be a great way to spend an afternoon.”
Oddyssea is hoping to open its doors around early July, but the Hardings say they are planning a festive grand opening around the start of the school year when people are back from summer vacations. There will be lots to see and do with plenty of surprises for the entire family. No doubt it will be an event not to miss, so mark those calendars and come ready to be inspired!
Oddyssea is located at 617 Main St. in downtown Half Moon Bay; the phone number is 650-440-4555.