Shop Talk: New businesses come to Stanford Mall, Bryn Walker moves

Business openings, closings and more

True Food Kitchen and Muji come to Stanford Mall; Palo Alto boutique Bryn Walker moves from Cowper Street to Homer Avenue.

UNIQUE RETAILERS, RESTAURANTS COMING TO STANFORD MALL ... A restaurant with a focus on healthy eating and healthy living will be opening in Palo Alto's Stanford Shopping Center next year. True Food Kitchen is one of dozens of new shops and restaurants slated to replace the demolished Bloomingdale's building as part of Stanford's expansion project. An artist's rendering posted in the shopping center shows the new restaurant will be located on the El Camino side of the mall with a scheduled opening in mid-2016. The Stanford location is True Food's first Northern California location. The chain has 10 locations in six states and plans to add at least six more in the next two years. The menu for the Arizona-based restaurant features a large selection of vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options. Unusual items on the menu include edamame dumplings, quinoa Johnny Cakes and a drink called Medicine Man (which has, as its first ingredient, "sea buckthorn"). Another newcomer to the Stanford Shopping Center is Muji, a Japanese retailer with more than 250 locations worldwide. Scheduled to open this summer, it will take over the 4,500-square-foot former site of Coldwater Creek as well as the current Giants Dugout Store. The move represents Muji's first location in a U.S. shopping center. Considered a no-frills retailer with an eye toward the environment, the store offers an assortment of home furnishings, stationery, cosmetics and clothing. Meanwhile, Stanford's Giants Dugout Store is moving again. It will briefly close in mid-May and reopen in June in a more central location in the shopping center, situated between Gap Kids and BCBG Maxazria, in the former site of Naartjie Kids, which closed about three months ago.

BRYN WALKER FORCED TO MOVE ... The Berkeley-based boutique Bryn Walker is poised for a move after 17 years in business at 515 Cowper St. in Palo Alto. The stylish women's clothing shop, which has 10 other company-owned stores and sells to nearly 1,000 boutiques throughout the country, had no choice but to relocate since the aging building it occupies is scheduled to be demolished to make way for a new three-story office building. The current downtown store is tentatively eyeing a closing date in June so that it can relocate to 212 Homer Ave. "We're not yet sure of the exact date our store will close, but we are certainly looking forward to the move," said store manager Diane Kelly. "We love the new neighborhood." The new location is in the historic site of Thompson's Bakery. The white stucco building, which was constructed in 1907 and has since been restored, still has the words "Palo Alto Bread" near the rooftop of the structure. As the clothing store prepares for the move into the historic site on Homer Avenue, Kelly said, "I just hope they won't be tearing that building down too!"

Heard a rumor about your favorite store or business moving out or in, down the block or across town? Daryl Savage will check it out. Email shoptalk@paweekly.com.

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16 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 24, 2015 at 3:41 pm

Another office building kicking out Bryn Walker after 15 years?

How may parking spaces is the new office building contributing? Or is it as under-parked as all the other new office buildings?

Please, tell us again how you want to preserve retail in downtown? Let's see how long their new location on Homer lasts in the historic building.

18 people like this
Posted by Sickened
a resident of Esther Clark Park
on Apr 24, 2015 at 8:12 pm

Offices have no business in the Downtown area. There is not enough parking, the city does not have enough room or resources for all of these office workers and their cars. Palo Alto for Palo Altans!

9 people like this
Posted by Butter
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 26, 2015 at 5:17 pm

Don't worry, your elected officials are working on preserving retail in the downtown area; they have an advisory committee to report back on January 1, 2020. Hearing one of the agenda ideas, is to remove all trees on University Avenue in downtown, that way there will be more room for parking. Brilliant!

13 people like this
Posted by Downtown since 1976
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 27, 2015 at 10:08 am

We will soon need to rename downtown. Palo Alto Office Park sounds about right.

2 people like this
Posted by Debby
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 28, 2015 at 7:38 am

Any news about a new tenant for the former FRESH CHOICE space?

2 people like this
Posted by Cheap@Twice the Price
a resident of Southgate
on May 9, 2015 at 5:13 pm

It really says something when the rents at snooty Stanford Shopping Center are cheaper than University Ave and the downtown area! There is plenty of parking to boot!

6 people like this
Posted by Nice Planning, Einstein
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 9, 2015 at 10:40 pm

There really isn't enough parking at Stanford Shopping Center currently. Add a dozen restaurants and shops and it will be impossible to park.

Like this comment
Posted by Common sense
a resident of University South
on May 10, 2015 at 10:31 am

The idea that the new office buildings are under parked is just something people are repeating. First off, they have built or provided parking spaces relative to zoning (e.g. through in lieu fees to construct a new garage). 429 is a great example of this.

On the other hand, there's also no evidence that these buildings are not providing enough spaces for the people in the buildings. Code essentially requires one spot per employee. But we know that large fractions of office employees take the train or bike. So the "one spot per worker" standard leads to over parking relative to the physical needs.

Finally, downtown can't have a shortage of parking while there's empty permit spots in the garages (which there are, as everyone knows. Drive to the top of the Cowper garage and count for yourself.). Instead, the problem is that the city I giving away spots in the neighborhood for free! Fix that and we'll see the neighborhoods empty out.

Speaking honestly, is there evidence that these new buildings have contributed to a parking shortage? I've only seen repeated assertions that they have, which dont seem to make sense either from a zoning perspective or a physical demand perspective.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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