BEE INVASION AT CHOCOLATE GARAGE ... Another downtown chocolate shop took a bit of a hit when it was discovered that an estimated 5,000 honey bees had taken up residence above the ceiling of the Chocolate Garage, 654 Gilman St. "We have been working with a bee specialist to carefully extract the hive, including the queen, and then to relocate these life-giving insects," Chocolate Garage owner Sunita de Tourreil said. The extraction, which took place last weekend, included cutting through the ceiling of the chocolate shop to remove the bees and the hive. Although the bee experts were prepared to suck out the thousands of bees in a vacuum and then relocate them to a beekeeper's backyard in Palo Alto, they found the bees had already vacated the space. "They had to poke around through the ceiling to see where the comb was, then cut out a square," de Tourreil said. In preparation for this, de Tourreil had to get an air-conditioned van to move hundreds of pounds of chocolate out of her shop and into a temperature-controlled wine storage space in Menlo Park. "We're the only chocolate in that storage facility; all the rest is wine," she said. Once the ceiling is repaired, the Chocolate Garage space will reopen. In the meantime, it is business as usual for the chocolate shop. "We have moved into the conference room next door until we are bee-free," de Tourreil said, adding, "This is not what we had planned for the summer."
THREE NEW CLOTHING BOUTIQUES AT T&C ...
A few stylish boutiques have signed on at Town & Country Village in Palo Alto. J. McLaughlin , scheduled to open June 13, replaces the space of three-year-old Crimson Mim , which still has its original store in downtown Los Altos. J. McLaughlin, based on the East Coast and offering classic American sportswear and accessories, is the company's 80th store and its second location in California. "We were immediately attracted to the aesthetics of Town & Country Village. The unique architecture and diverse blend of tenants is compatible with the way our customer likes to shop," said co-founder Jay McLaughlin. The store is hoping to become an active presence in the community, and "Town & Country felt like the perfect place for us to do just that," he said. Also new to the shopping center is Planet Blue, which took over the former San Francisco 49ers Team Store location. Planet Blue, which started in Malibu in 1995, is a Southern California-based retailer selling beach-inspired and bohemian-style fashions. The third new clothing shop to move in is Intermix, a women's boutique. The T&C location is the store's first one in Northern California. Its philosophy is "Mixing fashionable pieces in unexpected ways," according to the store's website.
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