In the latest Shop Talk column, read about the closure of a California Avenue smoke-shop, a new fitness center and a forthcoming bakery.
CIGAR HOUSE CLOSES... California Avenue's sole cigar shop is shutting its doors after eight years of business. An announcement hanging in the window of Cigar House reads: "Dear customers: We would like to inform you that we will (be) closing the business. We want to thank you for all (past) business and support. We are very thankful in having you as (our) customers. Wish you guys all the best." On May 29, an employee was packing vape pens and premium cigars into cardboard boxes scattered across the floor. According to the employee, the store was set to officially shut its doors last week. Located at 393 California Ave., between Palo Alto Baking Shop and Palo Alto Cleaners, Cigar House has offered an assortment of cigars, cigarettes, e-cigarettes, hookah and other smoking paraphernalia since 2010. Customers on Yelp lauded the store keepers as "friendly," "helpful" and eager to give recommendations to interested buyers. The absence of a neighborhood tobacco shop in the California Avenue Business District should be short-lived. According to a sign in a window just down the street at 267 S. California Ave., the Van Nuys-based tobacco retailer Raw Smoke Shop is set to open in the 951-square-foot space next to Pilates V. A sign announcing the pending opening of the new shop was put in the window after the building was remodeled at the end of 2017. -- A.M.
GYM MOVES INTO ANTHROPOLOGIE... The 10,000-square-foot space at 999 Alma St. that housed women's clothing chain Anthropologie for more than a decade before sitting vacant for two years will now feature treadmills, elliptical machines, squat racks, punching bags and an assortment of other exercise equipment when it opens for business this month as a gym. Founded by Michael Dorricott, Training Space Palo Alto will offer single workout sessions with personal trainers as well as access to the facility for members who want to train on their own. According to the company's website, the center provides space for people of all levels to "workout how you want, when you want." The Alma Street building has been empty since Anthropologie relocated to Stanford Shopping Center and the city passed new regulations prohibiting ground-floor retail spaces in the neighborhood, including 999 Alma St., from being converted to office space. -- L.T.
NOTHING BUT BABKAS... Aye Lét, a new bakery opening at Town & Country Village in Palo Alto this fall, will serve one item only: babka. Owner-namesake Ayelet Nuchi, a native of Tel Aviv who lives in Palo Alto, said the Jewish pastry has become increasingly popular both inside and outside the Jewish community. Nuchi, a pastry chef, has run a catering company since 2000. Last summer, she decided to focus solely on babka, which had become her most popular catering item. Babka, dense and not overly sweet, is often made with cinnamon, raisins or chocolate. Nuchi will serve seven different flavors at the bakery, including cinnamon-pecan, halva, maple and two savory options. The bakery will also serve coffee and tea. Nuchi hopes to be open by Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, which starts at sundown on Sept. 9. Aye Lét is located at Suite 15, between clothing stores Marine Layer and Society, at the 855 El Camino Real shopping center. -- E.K.
Compiled by the Weekly staff; this week written by Elena Kadvany, Alicia Mies, Linda Taaffe. Got leads on interesting and newsworthy retail developments? The Weekly will check them out. Email email@example.com.