Photographs by Ellie Coberly

The Shop

Along Metcalf Street, through the heart of downtown Sedro-Woolley, sits a bright white shop. A twinkling glow from within invites passersby to take a peek inside. Those who do will be met with Disney-inspired decor, clothing, accessories and encouraging quotes as far as the eye can see.

Erica Howard-Cox and her husband James opened the Happiest Tees on Earth shop at the brick and mortar building in 2023, at the end of August. Though they’ve only been open for five months, as of January Howard-Cox has run her business online for seven years. As business steadily took off, one of her favorite things became spotting Happiest Tees shirts every time she went to Disneyland. She’s had people run up to her full of excitement—sometimes crying—because of the impact her business has had on them.

“I’ve always tried to use my Instagram as a platform to encourage people to smile. It reminds them that we have so much to smile about, even when everything in the world is so heavy and hard,” says Howard-Cox.

Interest in Happiest Tees further increased after actor Dick Van Dyke was pictured—for the first time in years—in
2022 wearing the business’ “spoonful of sugar” crewneck! And just back in November, Howard-Cox was invited to do a pop-up shop at his 97th birthday.

What You’ll Find

Howard-Cox has come up with so many designs over the years that the hoodies, crewnecks, and tees in store rotate through regularly. You’re guaranteed to find that every shirt exudes something happy, positive, and cheerful; there is not a single drop of sarcasm. Howard-Cox just aims to inspire people to smile and be happy, and the vibrant quotes on every item are a direct way to do that.

“They’re little tools that [people] get to wear. When they wear them other people are reading it, and it does rub off. It’s contagious,” says Howard-Cox.

Happiest Tees supports other small shops’ Disney-inspired stickers, pins, bag charms, candles, and more! Wishes Candle Co. makes a section of candles devoted to favorite Disney foods. You’ll find scents ranging from donuts, coffee, and cookies, to churros, dole whip, and a spoonful of sugar.

The Atmosphere

Happiest Tees’ candy-shop-style windows and luminous shop front shout “Welcome!” to all who walk by. If you answer the call, a layout reminiscent of Disney’s Main Street is one of the first things you’ll notice when you walk in. To the left of the entrance is the “Coke Corner,” an ode to Disneyland’s very own Coca-Cola refreshment corner.

People visit the store not only for its happiest tees, but for its enchanting atmosphere. Upon entering Happiest Tees,
customers are met with a huge grin and a listening ear. Howard-Cox wishes for every person that walks through her doors to leave feeling a little more hopeful.

“I don’t think there’s anyone who has come in that has not gotten a hug from me yet. I just want people to know that we appreciate them and value them and that they matter,” shares Howard-Cox.

Key People

Though Howard-Cox mainly runs the business solo, she works with her cousin, Jill Cathcart, husband and two boys, who are always there to help. Happiest Tees is open Thursday through Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. You’re guaranteed to find Howard-Cox and her family working hard to spread their love of all things light and magical. 816 Metcalf St., Sedro-Woolley,