Spooner Spotlight: J.P. Maxwell

Posted on August 18, 2023

Spooner Spotlight: J.P. Maxwell

J.P. Maxwell is located in the charming harborside community of Balboa Island in Newport Beach on the bustling block of Marine Avenue and is a treasure trove of Spooners that has been a part of our ‘Ohana since 1978. We visited the shop and sat down with owner Maxwell Phillips to talk about the history of this incredible local shop.

When Maxwell Phillips opened J.P. Maxwell on Balboa Island with his wife over 45 years ago, their plan was to sell classic menswear – slacks, shirting, and ties. Maxwell assumed that he would be selling clothing to men going to work in offices. Soon after opening, he realized that Balboa Island residents and visitors had a different style sensibility and preferred to wear shorts and short sleeve shirts. He quickly swapped the dress shirts with Spooners and has been offering an amazing selection of Aloha ever since.

For Maxwell, introducing a customer to Spooner isn’t just about selling a shirt – it’s about educating the customer about the brand, the history, and the quality. For first-time customers, he always recommends that they start with our classic Lahaina Sailor in denim or navy.

Walking around Balboa, you’ll quickly see Maxwell’s influence on the local style as Spooner has become the unofficial uniform of the man-made peninsula over the last four decades. Serving a mix of locals, tourists, and people shopping for gifts, Spooners are popular with everyone as “they’re more than a shirt, they’re an extension of the Balboa and California beach lifestyle.”

Over the years, J.P. Maxwell has accrued an amazing assortment of Reyn Spooner display signs, including this resin-coated Phil Edwards Spooner from the 1990s.

J.P. Maxwell is open seven days a week from 10-6 PM, and Maxwell is in the shop daily. Next time you’re on Balboa, stop by, grab a dipped banana, and talk story with Maxwell.

While J.P. Maxwell is certainly a highlight of Balboa Island, there are tons of places to see and things to do in this slice of paradise nestled in the heart of Orange County. 

Maxwell’s Balboa Island Recommendations:

Frozen Dipped Banana from Dad’s or Sugar n’ Spice —"You can't come to Balboa and not have a Dipped Banana!”

Wilma’s Patio Restaurant – a family-owned restaurant that has been a staple place for a great bite to eat for over 40 years