Rejuvenation puts finishing touches to its general store before its grand opening in Palo Alto while David's Tea looks to shake things up with its teas and accessories.
GENERAL STORE TURNS UP IN PALO ALTO ... A general store inspired by history is putting on the finishing touches in anticipation of its Dec. 18 opening in Palo Alto. Rejuvenation, a 35-year-old Portland, Oregon-based company, has taken over the former space of LegalForce at 323 University Ave. But what exactly is a general store these days, and why Palo Alto? Rejuvenation CEO Alex Bellos said the store is all about home improvement. "We'll have lighting, hardware such as doorknobs, cabinet hardware and new furniture all with a mid-century emphasis," he said, and it will be displayed in the general store tradition of tack boards and bins. "We're very excited about being in Palo Alto and especially thrilled to have found a location on vibrant University Avenue," he added. Because of the store's proximity to Eichler-styled homes, Bellos has partnered with Stephen Eichler, the grandson of real estate developer Joseph Eichler. "We will have mid-century products here that speak to Eichler homes. In addition, the Palo Alto store will have an exhibit that celebrates the legacy of the Eichler family's iconic mid-century homes on the Peninsula," Bellos said. This will be the fifth brick-and-mortar store for Rejuvenation. And at only 2,000 square feet, the Palo Alto site becomes the smallest of all the company's stores. Bellos explained that he used San Francisco-based architects to design a reinterpretation of the store's traditional model "by curating a modern experience in which shoppers can easily view and interact with merchandise. This store is a perfect fit for Palo Alto."
NEW TEA SHOP LOOKS TO BUCK TREND ... Palo Alto may look like a coffee town to some, with cafes dotted up and down major streets, but a Canadian-based company thinks a change is coming. David's Tea opened late summer in a portion of the space formerly occupied by The Sports Gallery at 318 University Ave. No coffee here; just tea and accessories. It is the company's 136th shop in the six years it's been in business, with the bulk of its tea stores spread across Canada. The Palo Alto location was personally selected by David's Tea co-founder, 33-year-old David Segal. "I think we've found the ideal home on University Avenue," he said. Early signs seem to indicate Segal is right. "Usually it takes a while for our stores to catch on, but this one instantly took off," said Emily Hamel, a district manager for David's Tea. "The response in Palo Alto has been phenomenal. And I haven't said that about any other store." A former fashion designer, Hamel sees parallels between her past and current professions. "I take a fashion approach to tea. It's seasonal," she said. David's Tea's current flavors reflect that philosophy. Sugar Plum Forest, Cocomint Cream and Bubbie's Baklava are all holiday-inspired. Other teas that are on the shelves year-round also have unique names: Secret Weapon, Main Squeeze, Jumpy Monkey. There's also Glitter and Gold, a sweet-smelling tea. "That one actually sparkles," Hamel said. She admitted there is one employee of the company whose sole job is to come up with names for the teas. Hamel noted, "Palo Alto is a very educated city, and we educate them about our teas." Customers are invited to sample a variety of teas kept in large canisters behind the counter. Each tea's source is identified and its ingredients are fair trade. Also, the packaging was designed with an eye toward the environment. Tea canisters and paper cups are made from recycled materials, plastic cups are made from cornstarch and the designs on the shopping bags are made from soy-based, non-toxic ink. Prices for a single ounce of tea range from $2.50 to $12.25, with most teas selling for $5.25.
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