PENINSULA HARDWARE SAYS GOODBYE ... A longtime fixture of Palo Alto's Midtown neighborhood, Peninsula Hardware is closing. Gary Burke, whose family has owned the 63-year-old store for 52 years, decided to retire and attend to family matters, according to retail consultant Richard Rabb, who is helping Burke close the store, located at 2676 Middlefield Road. Burke sent a special invitation to customers and Midtown residents to an invite-only store-closing sale on Thursday, which will be followed by a sale for the public. Clearing out the store, including selling off furniture and all fixtures, will take about six weeks, Rabb said. Burke could not immediately be reached for comment, but in a letter to Midtown residents, he summed up his decision to shutter the business, which sold all kinds of items, from garden tools to odd-sized bolts. "My family and I are so grateful to be able to be a part of this wonderful community. But the time has come to focus on our family," the letters states. Peninsula Hardware opened in 1953. Bottle cappers, washtubs and meat grinders were big sellers, Burke said in a brief history published by the Midtown Residents Association. Burke's father, Allen, bought the store from its original owner in 1964. Burke started working there at age 13 and through high school, Rabb said. Charles Scott, a longtime Midtown resident who worked at the store for 26 years, said he was sad about the closure. "I spent a lot of time there," he said. "It's been a wonderful thing to be working there. The people I worked with there were wonderful people." Scott said one of the reasons the store is closing is because suppliers don't want to sell to small retailers like Peninsula Hardware, and he couldn't order the merchandise he needed.
CALAFIA LAUNCHES DAILY BREAKFAST ... Calafia Cafe in Town & Country Village now serves breakfast daily. The restaurant, which emphasizes fresh, locally sourced, whole foods saw crowds increasing during its weekend brunches so it decided to take the plunge and open early on weekdays. "We saw how popular our weekend brunches were becoming," said Chandra Lama, Calafia's general manager. As for the weekday breakfast menu, Lama said, "We wanted to keep it simple." With only eight items on the breakfast menu, no argument there. The basics seem to be well-covered: eggs, bacon, toast, pancakes, hash browns -- it's actually all a bit reminiscent of another restaurant that was known for its breakfasts in Town & County, Cookbook. That restaurant, the family-style, comfort-food eatery, closed in 2005, following a successful 20-year run. It had been given a 30-day notice by Town & Country management in preparation for the major overhaul of the center.
HERMES, CARTIER COMING TO STANFORD ... French luxury house Hermes and high-end jewelry and watch designer Cartier are coming to Stanford Shopping Center. Hermes, the family-run retailer that has manufactured luxury goods for six generations -- including the $300,000-plus Hermes Birkin mattee Himalayan crocodile handbag that has been billed as "the most valuable handbag in the world" -- will open a 6,000-square-foot store in the heart of the newly transformed shopping center, near Neiman Marcus. The store is set to open in late 2017 or early 2018. The Hermes Palo Alto boutique, which is the first new U.S. location for Hermes in more than five years, will offer a collection of men's, women's, home and equestrian collections. Cartier will open adjacent to the Hermes site this fall. The new Palo Alto boutique has been designed in-house to reflect the look and feel of French architect and designer Bruno Moinard, who is known for creating smart, modern interiors. He has designed 350 boutiques for Cartier, the Hermes headquarters and galleries in the Musee des Arts in France among other visible projects. Hermes and Cartier aren't the only new additions at Stanford. Alex and Ani and Anthropologie are set to open their doors later this fall, and British fashion house AllSaints ( the first U.S. location for women's Italian fashion brand Luisa Spagnoli), The North Face, British perfume house Penhaligon's, Pink Posy Bake Shop, UNOde50, Allen Edmonds and Amour Vert, Jenni Kayne's and Peloton all joined the roster at Stanford Shopping Center this summer.