In this week's Shop Talk column, read about the departure of a longtime Mountain View market, a forthcoming downtown Palo Alto fusion restaurant and a new bath and body store from Amsterdam.
MILK PAIL TO CLOSE ... After 45 years in Mountain View, the popular Milk Pail Market will be closing its doors permanently. Renowned for its cheese, croissants and crowded aisles, the San Antonio grocer persevered amid intense competition with a loyal customer base, but its owner says the hardships of running a small business were becoming too great. In a Facebook post, owner Steve Rasmussen said he had accepted a buyout for his store property at the corner of San Antonio Road and California Street and would be closing in the next few months. He did not disclose the buyer. "The wave of development in Silicon Valley has brought many changes. It was inevitable that one day we, too, would be part of that change," Rasmussen wrote. "Although the closure of the Milk Pail will be bittersweet, we leave with fond memories and immense gratitude for the community that built us." -- M.N.
A NEW RITUAL IN PALO ALTO ... Amsterdam's bath and body brand Rituals, which has built a worldwide following with products inspired by the ancient traditions of Eastern cultures, is opening its third Bay Area store at Stanford Shopping Center on Friday, March 22. Its products range from skin and body care to mineral make-up, teas and fragrance sticks and all have Eastern-inspired names (Ritual of Dao, Ritual of Sakura, The Ritual of Happy Buddha, etc.). Rituals stores are fairly new to California. The company opened its first American store in New York City nearly a decade ago but didn't make its way to the West Coast with a physical presence until 2018 with the opening of its San Diego store. Worldwide, the company has approximately 600 stores, more than 1,500 shop-in-shops and four city spas in 27 countries. The Stanford store, which is located near the Center Pavilion across from Macy's, reportedly features a cherry blossom tree inside and a silk floral entry arch created by Cindy Smith of Menlo Florist. The first 100 customers will be given goody bags and gift cards during the grand opening, which starts at 1 p.m. on Friday. -- L.T.
CURRY PIZZA TO REPLACE THAI BISTRO ... In 2016, the longtime owner of Palo Alto Thai restaurant Thaiphoon opened another restaurant, Aroy Thai Bistro, just blocks away on University Avenue. He recently decided to close Aroy, citing the difficulty of maintaining quality at multiple restaurants. He and his wife Chutima have run Thai restaurants throughout the South Bay and Midpeninsula for more than 25 years. "I realize that expansion is not always a good thing," Vongampai said. "When you focus on expansion, you tend to lose some of the quality." Earlier in his career, Vongampai said he had the "fire and energy and ambition" to run multiple restaurants."But that was back then. I realize that that's not really the passion. The passion is to have one good location," he said. "Small, local, family run that's the way it should be." Vongampai will now focus his energy on the original Thaiphoon, which he opened in 2005 at 543 Emerson St. (A second Thaiphoon in San Jose closed in 2017.) He sold the Aroy space at 320 University Ave. to Curry Pizza House, a string of family-owned fusion pizza restaurants. The Curry Pizza House menu includes pizzas like the "chili paneer" with curry sauce, masala paneer, cheese, bell peppers, tomatoes, onions and cilantro, and tandoori chicken wings. -- E.K.
Compiled by the Weekly staff; this week written by Elena Kadvany, Mark Noack and Linda Taaffe. Got leads on interesting and news-worthy retail developments? The Weekly will check them out. Email [email protected]