July 2011

Bay Watch Retail

  • DOWNTOWN
  • POT + PANTRY
  • EEL & ERMINE
  • NICE COLLECTIVE
  • PAXTON GATE
  • MY DUTCH BIKE
  • WOODSHOP

by ELIZABETH HUGHES

My Dutch Bike / mydutchbike.com

Owners Oscar Mulder—whose great-grandfather hailed from the Netherlands—and Soraya Nasirian provide guidance through a world of two-wheeled options, including grandma and grandpa bikes Omafiets and Opafiets; Work-Cycle models Secret Service and Fr8; and handmade Kinder Feets wood training bikes. They’ll customize your ride at the on-site workshop and ship it fully assembled. Or you can simply pedal home.

Downtown / downtownshop.com

Michael Kelter carries selected womenswear and unisex items from lines whose entire yearly production might not fill a walk-in closet. On the roster are Cecchi de’ Rossi, Geoffrey Young, Lumen et Umbra and Alessandra Marchi. Tokyo’s emerging labels are repped by Nude, Individual Sentiments, Share Spirit, Volga Volga and Aguri Sagimori. Many are exclusive to the Downtown shop in the States.

The Green Arcade / thegreenarcade.com

This beguiling spot with a pitch-perfect sense of place specializes in titles about the environment, urban farming, livable cities, politics and Northern California. Owner Patrick Marks was the buyer at Cody’s, the much missed, truly independent Berkeley bookseller.

Pot + Pantry / potandpantry.com

The kitchen boutique was opened by a Williams-Sonoma veteran with an eye for mixing the new with the vintage. Owner Donna Suh Wageman keeps a selection of Japanese Hario coffee equipment amid an otherwise ever-changing inventory in a charming, light-filled space in the Mission.

Modern Appealing Clothing / modernappealingclothing.com

Ben Ospital, sister Chris, and their recently retired mother, Jeri, opened a clothing business 30 years ago that’s now in Hayes Valley. They’ve earned a national reputation for a superlative selection of avant-garde men’s and women’s clothing. The Ospitals’ second outlet, in a 170-year-old former stable in arty, industrial Dogpatch, opened in May. MAC shares the space, known as the Yellow Building, with the restaurant Piccino, a Piccino Coffee Bar serving Blue Bottle java and the wine shop DI G.

Eel & Ermine / eelandermine.blogspot.com

Art school graduates Evelyne Aikman and Elinor Diamond sell their custom-made clothing in posh Presidio Heights. One big draw: the one-hour dress bar for a while-you-wait bespoke version of their slightly retro and ladylike A-line outfits.

Kookle Toys / kookletoys.com

Michelle Sidney designed a paint-your-own nesting-doll kit, spotted a niche for similar hands-on creative playthings and skipped away from corporate life with nary a “neener-neener-neener.” She sources almost everything in her cheerful Clement Street shop from independent companies with an eco edge.

April in Paris / aprilinparis.us

Trained at Hermès and the Paris Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Béatrice Amblard is best known for her custom handbags finished with a classic saddle stitch. Her low-profile boutique workshop has a selection of handmade accessories such as belts, wallets and iPad covers. All can be crafted in a variety of skins, including calf, ostrich, lizard, stingray and alligator.

General Store / visitgeneralstore.com

In the outer reaches of Outer Sunset, Serena Mitnik-Miller and Mason St. Peter’s carefully composed shop showcases everyday items created by local artisans. Many of them live in this neighborhood that’s subtly transforming from bedrock family to kind of fab.

New People / newpeopleworld.com

This is a full-on Tokyo shopping-as-entertainment experience condensed in a sleek glass-fronted building by Torafu Architects in Japantown. The Superfrog Gallery showcases artists influenced by Japanese pop culture. For a hit of Harajuku street style, step into Baby, the Stars Shine Bright and Black Peace Now. Find updated versions of the traditional split-toe worker’s shoe at Sou-Sou. Offerings at New People the Store include everything from manga and anime to gizmos and curios. The complex also has a café and state-of-the-art VIZ Cinema that focuses on films from...well, Japan.

Nice Collective / nicecollective.com

Since emerging on the scene in 1997, local design duo Joe Haller and Ian Hannula have become known for utilitarian yet high-concept military-style menswear that passes muster with the troops who shop at places like Colette in Paris. The collective is making its first foray into retail with a temporary Mobile Supply Unit at the corner of Market and Church. In addition to great shopping, expect to find music events and art installations through early September.

Prairie Collective / prairiecollective.com

Collective, indeed—one shop housing three small businesses run by four creatives with big-time reputations among local style cognoscenti. Annabelle Rey sources jewelry and home accessories at Magpie & Rye; Lia Thomas curates vintage items for Cloak and Cabinet Society; Alethea Harampolis and Jill Rizzo are floral designers operating as Studio Choo...and the combined endeavors border on art installation.

Woodshop / woodshopsf.com

Luke Bartels designs and builds custom furniture from salvaged wood, while Danny Hess crafts high-performance wood surfboards, Josh Duthie reconstitutes old wood chairs and Jeff Canham paints soulful signs on wood. The four friends, all surfers, do most of their work on commission, but you’ll also find stocked birdhouses, branchlers (branches mounted like antlers) and larger pieces in the soaring Outer Sunset showroom that fronts their workspaces.

Paxton Gate / paxtongate.com

Terrariums, taxidermy and an affinity for the natural sciences inspire owner Sean Quigley in this gardening store that is also known for its visionary approach to landscape design. Around for almost two decades, the ever-evolving shop, which features vintage furniture, jewelry and minerals as well, always feels like a new discovery.



PHOTOS: Eel+Ermine: Edyta Szyszlo