Seal Beach woman reinvents herself as Wild Native

When EJ Liston was laid off, she came home and started a new business

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Wild Native owner EJ Liston is pictured in the store she opened in November of 2020. Behind the counter is a Rhinestone Mosaic art piece she made. Photo by Ted Apodaca

When EJ Liston was furloughed and eventually laid off from her job with Enterprise Rent-A-Car she wasn’t sure where she’d go next in terms of her career. But she knew quickly where she was headed geographically – home to Seal Beach.

She said she enjoyed working for Enterprise and would likely still be with the company if not for the pandemic and the events it thrust upon her. She had been promoted to a position that required her to re-locate to Seattle. But she said she missed living in Seal Beach, so she packed up and headed home.

EJ, short for Erica Jane, grew up in Seal Beach, with her parents Jim and Sue and her sister Jessica. She went to McGaugh Elementary, Los Alamitos High and then Long Beach State, where she earned a Fine Arts degree, with an emphasis in 3D Design. She had been away for a while, but when she returned it was comforting.

“So much of it, still feels the same,” EJ said of her hometown.

With her career future in flux, EJ began looking for new options. Her next move came with the availability of a Main Street storefront that was already set up as a retail clothing and accessory store. But EJ hands other ideas for the operation. The end result was Wild Native, a store that offers shirts, sandals, hats and other beach-wear items. But she added a rental option for things like body boards, beach umbrellas and even beach game equipment.

When visitors to the area want to spend the day at the beach, they don’t have to purchase an umbrella, or body board that they may only use once or twice a year, at that. The store offers complete rental packages, including wagons to haul all the equipment out onto the sand.

“I sort of had a background in rentals, coming from Enterprise,” EJ said.

The store had its official opening in November of 2020. She settled on the name, Wild Native, mostly as a nod to her native connection to Seal Beach, but also to the wild adventurous nature of people. The two words together are kind of inclusive to all types of people. So far things are going well for the new store, she said.

As people visit the store she is always listening for ideas on what visitors and locals might need. As the weather changes, so will the needs of patrons, so she is open to changes for the store as needed. While she had not intended to go into business for herself at this stage in her life, EJ said fate and circumstances may have landed her in the perfect place – back home.

“I couldn’t be happier, I’m so grateful that this is my life now,” EJ said.

Wild Native is located at 207 Main St. Seal Beach. For more information visit wildnativesealbeach.com or call 562-240-5366.

Seal Beach woman reinvents herself as Wild Native