Thursday, February 22, 2024

Coronado Resident Creates Wearable Art Featuring Coronado History and Spirit

Before you read any further, this could be a perfect gift for dads and grads. So if you're a Coronado-loving dad or will be graduating this week, you might want to skip this article for now.

Okay, hopefully the dads and grads have stopped reading (unless they want to hint at a gift suggestion…).  Here is the must have gift for dad and grad: the Crown City Shirt™!

Ty Keith, a long-time resident of Coronado, is the owner of Crown City Shirts. Working closely with Reyn Spooner, he designed this one-of-a-kind wearable piece of art that features images of Coronado and promotes the unique history, community spirit and culture of Coronado. This shirt is exclusively available from Crown City Shirts (priced at $98), and supplies are limited.

The shirts come in emerald green, blue, and natural.  Two styles are available, button-down and pull-over.  The shirts feature distinctive Coronado designs rooted in Coronado history, and history runs through the quality of the shirt as well.

First, the Coronado designs. Each of the four design blocks has a story.

All images are Coronado inspired.
All images are Coronado inspired.

The Coronado Crown City logo is from our Coronado City flag and is used with permission of the Coronado City Council.

The bridge image with the USS Coronado reflects this ship’s connection to the city, but is also specially connected to the Keith family because Ty’s mother, former Coronado City Councilmember Susan Keith, christened and dedicated the USS Coronado in 2012 (video).  From the United States Navy website: “Susan Keith … serve[d] as the ship’s sponsor. The ceremony [was] highlighted by Keith breaking a bottle of champagne across the bow to formally christen the ship, which is a time-honored maritime tradition.”

As many locals know, the Keith family has long-standing roots in Coronado. Ty’s great-grandmother (Mrs. Keith’s grandmother), Isabella Stewart Reynolds, led the Grand March at the opening of the Hotel Del in 1888.

It's a family affair - Ty Keith's brother, brother-in-law-, and nephew proudly wear their Crown City Shirts
It’s a family affair – Ty Keith’s brother, brother-in-law, and nephew proudly wear their Crown City Shirts

The third image depicts our iconic view of Point Loma, and the surfer in the foreground is Molly Keith, Ty’s daughter. Ty explained that the plane in the background is “an S-3 Viking aircraft.”  I learned from him that “various S-3 squadrons called North Island home for almost 30 years and [the Vikings] were nicknamed ‘Hoover’ after the vacuum cleaner because of the Viking’s engines’ distinctive low-pitched sound.”

The final square features an image of the turret at the Hotel del Coronado with fireworks in the background.  The Del gave Ty permission to use the image.

All images were Coronado inspired.
Coronado images on the natural colored shirt.

The Coronado designs and insider backstories are not the only reason to choose this shirt for Dad or a grad.  These are legacy aloha shirts produced by Reyn Spooner®.

Reyn Spooner aloha shirts have a history that includes Catalina Island, Hawaii and the West Coast.  Be sure and check out the Reyn Spooner® website to get a feel for the history and quality of this shirt.

The initial inspiration for the Crown City Shirt came from a similar Naval Academy shirt.  About ten years ago, Ty went to his Naval Academy reunion sporting a Naval Academy version Reyn Spooner shirt.

At the reunion, Ty ran into his classmate Chris Hodges. Chris explained that it was he who designed the Annapolis shirt in partnership with Reyn Spooner. When Ty returned to Coronado after the reunion he was still thinking about the shirt.

Knowing how much Ty appreciated the quality of Reyn Spooner shirts (Ty has collected between 75-80 Reyn Spooner shirts over the years), his mother, Mrs. Keith, encouraged Ty to make a shirt dedicated to Coronado.  But then a big promotion came at work so Ty had to put the idea on the back burner. About a year-ago last spring, some time opened up and Ty called Reyn Spooner and a Crown City Shirt™-Reyn Spooner® partnership began.

Ty Keith, wearing the Annapolis shirt that inspired the Crown City shirt, with his wife, Kristin.
Ty Keith, wearing the Annapolis shirt that inspired the Crown City shirt, with his wife, Kristin, at an Army-Navy game party last December.

After Crown City Shirts signed an exclusive agreement with Reyn Spooner, Ty started sending images to the Honolulu based company.  Their design team cleaned the images up a bit, but Ty said the final product remained close to his original vision.

Ty remarks about his new business venture, “It was just a lot to learn starting my own business; everything from getting a business license, figuring out about sales taxes, setting up an online store including online payments and shipping, brainstorming marketing ideas, and gathering feedback on my design.”

That said, Ty shared that, “It’s absolutely been a great learning experience so far, and I’m really thrilled with the response I’m getting on the shirts.” He noted that “the shirts are their own best advertising.”

Ty's son, Brian Keith, dons his Crown City Shirt Pool Side
Ty’s son, Brian Keith, dons his Crown City Shirt pool-side.

Ty expressed his gratitude for the support he’s received, “There are some people that I really need to thank for their help along the way. The first is Kelly Purvis, the Arts Administrator for the Coronado Cultural Arts Commission. Kelly has been a big help in refining my ideas for the shirt, coming up with marketing ideas, and also helping me to find an angel investor.”

Ty continued, “I also need to thank my angel investors, Allan and Lyndsey Arendsee, who believed in my vision for the shirt and also helped with design and marketing ideas. They have been instrumental in getting this project off the ground.”

Ty also noted that this is truly a family business.  He has a full-time job and emphasized that without his wife, Kristin, this wonderful shirt would not be possible.  He praised Kristin, explaining that she is in charge of all order-taking, order-processing, and order-fulfilling.  She operates the warehouse (located in their living room) and handles all deliveries (local and around the country.)

The Keith family celebrates daughter Molly's graduation from CHS.
The Keith family celebrates daughter Molly’s graduation from CHS.

I can personally attest to this, as I ordered my shirt online in the morning, and that very afternoon Kristin and their daughter Molly were delivering the shirt to my door. I later bought one for my son, and had the same efficient delivery experience.

This is truly a Coronado business that celebrates our Coronado way of life, brought to us by a family that has for over four generations committed themselves to our little slice of paradise.

The link to view sizes and selections is via the Crown City Shirts facebook page (priced at $98).  I hadn’t shopped directly from Facebook before, but you simply click the button that says “Shop Now.”

It will be fun to see how many Dads are wearing their Crown City Shirt™ on Father’s Day – I bet at Concert-in-the-Park, a sea of Dads will be enjoying the band, soaking up the sun, and proudly wearing their Crown City Shirts.


Ann Marie Bryan
Ann Marie Bryan
When not writing, Ann Marie teaches World History and Western Civilization at Grossmont College. A job she loves as much as she loves "island life".Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: [email protected]

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