Since it opened March 2016, Wild Willy’s Workwear on Pacific Highway South has received a warm welcome from customers.
Not only does the store offer work-wear geared toward people in the construction industries — the first like it in south King County, something else makes it even more valuable to customers.
Store Manager John Johnson said the business carries discount work clothing, footwear and accessories, with all merchandise sold between 20 and 60 percent off of the retail price. While consumers can find work-wear stores in neighboring cities, none have regular discount prices on all items.
“As far as our prices, there is no other store like this in Washington state,” he said.
Johnson said Wild Willy’s can offer discount work clothing, footwear and accessories because he orders merchandise from retail and stock vendors offering close-out and over-stock sales.
Currently, Wild Willy’s has five employees, and business has been steadily growing since the store opened, primarily from people who work in the area, but who don’t necessarily live in Federal Way, Johnson said.
“We’re right on the highway, so we get lots of visibility,” he said.
The store sells all types of merchandise and apparel people in the construction industry or those who have physically demanding jobs regularly require.
Johnson said Wild Willy’s features top brands at good prices.
“That’s kind of the main goal of the store,” he said.
Clothes include recognizable brands, such as Carhartt, Dickies and Wranglers, “which are the big ones for clothing,” Johnson said. Footwear brands include Timberland, Wolverine and Caterpillar, to name a few. The store also sells accessories, including gloves, knee pads and knit hats, to safety equipment, such as back braces, and specialized apparel, such as fire-resistant clothing. For people who have jobs that require specific footwear, Wild Willy’s also offers boots with different safety features, including steel-toed boots, non-metal-tipped boots, to EH-rated boots, which reduce the likelihood of electrocution by the wearer.
To give consumers plenty of merchandise from which to choose, Johnson said, Wild Willy’s offers more than 60 different brands, including apparel in a range of sizes — up to 5x for shirts and a 48-inch waist for pants.
“It depends, but we do actively try to make sure we have big and tall (clothing),” he said. “That is one thing that’s hard to find when you go to some of the more mainstream stores.”
Shoe sizes range from 6 1/2 to 15, and Johnson said Wild Willy’s also carries some clothing for women, which is typically harder to find.
“Business is growing every month,” he said.
Johnson said customers at Wild Willy’s are looking for functional clothing, not the latest style, so they do not care if the colors offered are not on trend, or the clothes are from last season.
“Most of our customers really don’t care, but work clothing has also become a bit of a fashion,” he said.
Johnson said Wild Willy’s customers, however, are people who are looking to save money on work clothes.
“Most of our customers, their clothes get dirty, torn, and they don’t want to spend $50 for a pair of pants,” Johnson said. “If you know you’re tearing up your clothes, we’re definitely the store for you.”
While many of veteran construction workers come in knowing what they want, some younger customers require a little help making their selections, Johnson said. To that end, he and another employee have previous working experience at work-wear retail stores, and they are able to answer customers’ questions and make recommendations.