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Shop Talk: Gymboree to close, UNTUCKit arrives

The latest in local retail news

In this week's Shop Talk column, read about a children's clothing retailer filing for bankruptcy, the debut of a new men's clothing store and an all-you-can-eat restaurant.

GYMBOREE FILES FOR BANKRUPTCY.. Children's clothing retailer Gymboree is closing its Stanford Shopping Center store as part of a companywide shutdown of all its Gymboree stores over the next few months. The San Francisco-based company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Jan. 17, according to an announcement from Gymboree Group. This is the second time since June 2017 the company has filed for bankruptcy. The shutdown will include all 534 of its Gymboree stores, as well as its Gymboree Outlet and Crazy 8 stores. Its Janie and Jack branded stores are expected to be sold through bankruptcy court auction, according to the company's website."We intend to use these proceedings to facilitate an orderly wind-down of all of our Gymboree, Gymboree Outlet and Crazy 8 store locations and operations," CEO Shaz Kahng said in a prepared statement on the company website. All Gymboree sites launched going-out-of-business sales at the end of January and stopped issuing merchandise credit on Feb. 1. All gift cards will be eligible to be redeemed until Feb. 16, according to the company website. -- L.T.

UNTUCKIT OPENS ITS DOORS... UNTUCKit, the men's clothing brand known for its button-down dress shirts designed to be worn untucked, opened its long-anticipated storefront at Stanford Shopping Center (next to Macy's) on Wednesday, Feb. 6, eight months after announcing its plan to expand into Palo Alto. The Stanford store is among 25 new sites the company has planned to open over the past year. According to Reuters, UNTUCKit got some local assistance from Menlo Park VC firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, who invested $30 million in the company's first major round of fundraising in 2017 to help it expand its physical presence with new stores nationwide. Since launching the company in a spare bedroom in his apartment in 2011, founder Chris Riccobono has pushed to expand UNTUCKit's physical presence as well as its clothing line. The new Stanford store features the company's full assortment, including men's jackets, polos, sweatshirts and T-shirts, which customers can purchase on site or have shipped directly to their homes. -- L.T.

'Superhot' is all-you-can-eat... The menu at Superhot Hot Pot & Korean BBQ is extensive, to say the least. Udon, ramen and biang biang noodles. Beef tripe, popcorn chicken and spicy lamb. Quail egg, raw egg. Chinese donuts. Bean curd knots. Tom yum soup. Beef bulgogi. The all-you-can-eat restaurant at 210 Hope St. in downtown Mountain View, which soft opened in late January, serves not just hot pot but also Korean BBQ and dim sum. For $29.95 per person, diners can order up to 10 items, but the entire party must order the same menu. Don't linger over a long lunch; the restaurant limits meals to 90 minutes and charges $10 per person for every additional half hour. No leftovers allowed. Children who are shorter than 30 inches, however, only cost $5, the menu states. Children under 45 inches can eat for $14.95. For hot pot, diners can choose their soup base and then add meats, seafood, vegetables and other toppings. Photos on Yelp also show a long self-serve bar with several kinds of sauces. -- E.K.

Compiled by the Weekly staff; this week written by Elena Kadvany and Linda Taaffe. Got leads on interesting and news-worthy retail developments? The Weekly will check them out. Email shoptalk@paweekly.com.

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Comments

5 people like this
Posted by Shopper
a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 8, 2019 at 9:00 am

I am very sorry to see Gymboree close. I remember taking my toddlers to the classes in various locations, usually churches, and buying the clothes. They were always very well made and practical designs and a trip to the shop always involved watching a Gymbo the clown video. Gymbo was a favorite stuffed clown in our house and singing his song was a regular activity with babies and toddlers at home.

As for UnTuckit, I have heard good reports of them and will definitely check them out.


7 people like this
Posted by Not Surprised
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2019 at 12:58 pm

I'm sorry to see Gymboree close as they made good quality children's clothing for the price range. I am also not surprised given how poor the customer service was and how badly the floor-level and online people dealt with the corporate-level promotions. The online and floor were hard to search for what one needed. I don't have children that age, but I would have bought gifts for others there. It's a shame. People are going to bemoan the fate of brick and mortar stores (and why aren't they getting a tax break the way internet companies did?), but many of these closures could be seen coming many miles away. Like Sears, I think it's likely that management level never really shopped in their own stores and do not really know what the customer experience is. (My apologies to Gymboree, I am not really comparing your difficult website to the far worse Sears site -- amazing that Sears hung on as long as they did with a site that seemed designed to confuse and send people away frustrated, or to make them lose time and not get their items in the end after waiting for them a long time.)


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