ARTSY AND EDGY ... One of the latest apparel stores to open in downtown Palo Alto is Orapa Gallery. The boutique is a transplant; it gained popularity in San Jose's Willow Glen neighborhood, but owner Cedide Olcay had her eye on Palo Alto, so she made the move from San Jose three months ago. Opara is located in the tiny, 420-square-foot space at 315 Hamilton Ave., the former spot of Tibetan Design. The shop's eclectic items include coffee-scented handmade soaps, bracelets formed from newspapers, and handbags made from comic books. The Turkish-born Olcay has two master's degrees: one in math and the other in statistics. She also has taught college math and created databases for Valley Transit Authority. But all that gave way when Olcay realized her passion is fashion. Her creativity and artistry can be seen in not only the design of her store but her edgy, avant-garde selection of merchandise. "I call it wearable art," she said.
COCOLA ARRIVES AT STANFORD ... Cocola Bakery and Cafe is Stanford Shopping Center's newest tenant. The French cafe, which opened March 5, has filled the vacancy created when Oakville Grocery closed in 2008. The space has been transformed into an elegant and airy cafe with little touches such as leather sofas in front of a flat-screen TV, bistro seating and a kids' kids area. Cocola, which has four other Bay Area locations, serves small cakes and French pastries, along with soups, salads and sandwiches.