Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Monday, November 2, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
Built to woo shoppers in a more rural Brentwood neighborhood after World War II, the red wooden structures evoke a country marketplace with stores and stalls that ramble around a courtyard. Along narrow walkways, doors open horse-stall style, offering views inside the smudged shoe repair stand, tiny post office and other shops.
But make no mistake, the Brentwood Country Mart is filet mignon masquerading as meatloaf. A posh Beverly Hills restaurant runs the humble-looking taco stand. Wealthy locals and a sprinkling of celebrities come here to hang out, maybe get a haircut or shop at 20-odd stores that sell merchandise such as mouth-blown Italian vases and hand-painted furniture.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Most department stores place checkouts throughout the store, but here the checkouts are all located together close to the main entrance, which is more like a Target or other discount store.
Friday, October 2, 2009
Monday, September 28, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Marin’s experience matches the US trend. Retail sales data released by the US Census Bureau today show that retail sales dropped sharply earlier this year, although the 5.3% y-o-y decline in sales for August may be an indicator that the worst is over.
Several of Marin’s cities will be hoping that sales don’t fall much farther because retail sales tax provides a large slice of their income. In August 2009, the 1% sales tax distributed to the City of San Rafael was down 28% or $350,000 from August 2008; Novato declined by 22.4% ($125,000), and Corte Madera was down 19.4% ($78,000).
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Trader Joe's is privately owned by the German group that also owns Aldi, and is notoriously reluctant to disclose information about its operations. This is something that has earned the wrath of organizations like Greenpeace, which set up the spoof Traitor Joe's website to highlight their concerns about the company's seafood purchases.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
First, the fast food joint previously occupied by Jack in the Box has been sitting vacant for a long time. The chairs are out, the sun shades are up, but nobody's home.
Ciao Bella we previously mentioned. Disappearing under ivy on the east side of the Avenue. The store is close to the new new Tam Commons development, so might benefit from new activity in this area.
Opposite Whole Foods are two adjacent units in a prime location, but previously occupied by retailers with marginal business models: Lolipop candy store and Gourmet Garden To Go, a provider of take-out entrees.
Further north on the west side are two larger units whose long-time businesses closed in recent months. One was the auto parts store at 360.
The other was previously the toy store at 352. Now being fitted out by a new business venture called Once Around, which will be a craft/gift shop when it opens in the fall. You can follow their progress on their website as they get ready to open.
Finally, the unit previously occupied by the electric vehicle showroom now stands vacant. Concept maybe a year or two ahead of its time?
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Friday, July 3, 2009
To the south of WF is the coolest furniture store in Marin: Design Within Reach.
Directly opposite Whole Foods, at 401 Miller is a commercial block that includes the Marin Theatre Company, Cactus Cafe, Jolly King Liquors, and to the rear, the unbeatable Mama's Royal Cafe.
Hidden away behind the Theatre Company is a small retail center that includes a General Hardware store, a small Sloat Garden Center, a deli and a nail salon. There's also the pet grooming store with the unforgettable name: Doggie Style.
It's a ramshackle little center that is earmarked for removal by the Miller Avenue Precise Plan. If that ever happens, it's unlikely that stores like General Hardware and the garden center would find alternative affordable sites in the Miller Avenue area.