Shop Talk: On-demand deliveries, a salon for men

Local retail news

In the latest Shop Talk column, an on-demand delivery company has expanded into the Palo Alto area, a men's grooming salon is opening at Town & Country Village and a new coffee shop has opened in Barron Park.

ON-DEMAND DELIVERIES ... An Austin-based startup that's aiming to change how businesses deliver their goods has expanded into the Palo Alto area -- a move that could make purchasing items from local shops easier. Dropoff launched its delivery service along the Midpeninsula on Tuesday and stated in a press release that it's teaming up with local businesses from Palo Alto to San Jose to provide same-day delivery to customers 24 hours a day. According to the company's website, the Midpeninsula is the 18th market that Dropoff has entered since its launch in 2014. The company's Midpeninsula push is part of an expansion to a dozen more cities across the nation in coming months. Dropoff works directly with businesses rather than customers to provide deliveries. It has developed a tracking system it calls Dropoff Tracker that allows businesses of all sizes to manage and see their deliveries in real time. The courier company has already partnered with retail, food, grocery, health care and commercial businesses, including Whole Foods, Neiman Marcus, Zazzle and Airbnb. -- L.T.

UPSCALE BARBERSHOP ...A new kind of barbershop with semi-private grooming stations and a private consulting room is opening at Town & Country Village this weekend. 18|8 Fine Men's Salons states that it provides customers a full-service grooming experience. Its services include consultations, handcrafted haircuts with a hot towel finish, straight-razor shaves, scalp and nail treatments, grooming party packages and beverage service in an upscale setting designed specifically to create a sanctuary for men, according to the company. Founded in 2001 by Scott Griffiths and Ron Love, the salon is part of a national network of more than 100 franchises that focuses on the "whole grooming package and experience that comes with it." The name 18|8 comes from the original formula for stainless steel: 18 percent chromium and 8 percent nickel added to raw steel. Griffiths and Love said they want clients to have a transformative experience that leaves them looking better, feeling better and performing better. On opening day, the salon is offering two-for-one haircuts, 18 percent discount on products and a special gift bags for the first 18 membership purchases. -- L.T.

BARISTA IN BARRON PARK ... Baron Barista, a new cafe serving third-wave coffee from local roasters, held its soft opening Jan. 26 in Palo Alto's Barron Park neighborhood. The coffee shop has replaced Jamba Juice at 3990 El Camino Real. Owner June Kwon, who also owns Immersion Spa next door, said she wanted to bring quality coffee to the area. It's the San Francisco resident's first foray into the coffee world. Baron Barista is serving coffee from Sightglass Coffee in San Francisco, Cat and Cloud Coffee in Santa Cruz and Andante Coffee from Los Angeles. Kwon is considering adding Ritual Coffee or Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters, both in San Francisco."What I wanted to create is not only good, artisan coffee -- the coffee that you make for real, not the way that Starbucks makes (it) -- and then people get to choose different types of coffee roasters," she said. Baron Barista also serves tea from Art of Tea, an importer and wholesale company based in Los Angeles. There's a small food menu, with baked goods delivered daily from Palo Alto's Mayfield Bakery as well as panini and toast. (Yes, there is avocado toast.) Regular hours will be Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. -- E.K.

Shop Talk is compiled by the Weekly staff; this week written by Linda Taaffe and Elena Kadvany. Got leads on interesting and news-worthy retail developments? The Weekly will check them out. Email


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3 people like this
Posted by Slightly Amused.
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 14, 2018 at 11:31 am

Slightly amused about the Gentlemen's Grooming Salon. Is this designed as a non-boozy bachelor party alternative venue as opposed to Vegas?

I certainly think that there are some bachelors who aren't into the typical drunken pub crawl with strippers idea who just might appreciate something else instead!

1 person likes this
Posted by resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 14, 2018 at 12:14 pm

I assume they did enough market research to determine that there was a demand for a semi-private barber shop. Maybe there are a lot of shy multi-millionaires in this city? Billionaires would just bring the barber to their mansion, wouldn't they? Do these sorts of things exist in San Francisco or New York City?

3 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 14, 2018 at 1:00 pm

Goodness, a company that delivers packages for other companies. Imagine that. What radical innovation will these disrupters come up with next? Post Office, Fedex, UPS, DHL, take notice.

3 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 14, 2018 at 1:16 pm

@Curmudgeon - I think the old-school package shipping services do have to worry. They are really too slow and expensive and cumbersome for small brick-and-mortar stores that are trying to compete with Amazon Prime. Even Amazon is reportedly giving up on Fedex and UPS and starting up their own cheaper and more efficient delivery company. There is plenty of room for startups to improve on the old companies, especially now that the business model has changed and there are so many more home deliveries than a few years ago.

5 people like this
Posted by To resident
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Feb 14, 2018 at 1:43 pm

The barber salon is probably for shy / self-conscious nerds and geeks ...

1 person likes this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 14, 2018 at 4:20 pm

"There is plenty of room for startups to improve on the old companies..."

It's very difficult to improve on the speed of delivery of the centuries-old cash and carry model. I mean, how do you beat the celerity of taking possession instantly?

FedEx and its cohorts began as disruptive startups. Their trajectories of success made them musclebound. Same fate awaits all starry eyed newcomers who snatch up the temptations of intercity service and IPO, as Dropoff inevitably will.

It's the money, grasshopper. It's the money.

1 person likes this
Posted by Man Salon
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 14, 2018 at 5:04 pm

I imagine this would be very gay friendly.
Gay marriage is legal so maybe gay bachelor parties? Heck there's still quite a lot of guys going the whole metro-sexual thing around here too so this could click. Oh, and hipster beard trims. Hmmm

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