ALL DRESSED UP . . . Your daughter is too old for ruffles and petticoats, but too young for teenage fashions. She has entered the pre-teen zone. Now try to dress her up for a festive party, dinner at Grandma's, Christmas Mass, whatever. Anything flannel or plaid from The Gap doesn't count. A local expert can help. Sheila Sutherland at The Children's Shop in Sharon Heights Shopping Center helps pre-teens find fashions that suit the age: skirts and matching jackets, velour pants and vests, dressy tuxedo suits, palazzo pants. It's just the right amount of pre-teen sophistication, in sizes 7-14. The Children's Shop also carries some clothes in hard-to-find pre-teen sizes between girls 7-14 and junior sizes 5, 7, 9, etc. Celebrate your successful (and maybe stress-free) shopping session with a gingerbread goodie at Martha's Pastries, just down the sidewalk from The Children's Shop.
OPENING NIGHT . . . On Nov. 17, Los Altos Village Association merchants will kick off their holiday season with "Holidays in the Village--Opening Night," a festive evening of twinkling tree lights, choirs, crafts, cookies, train rides and, of course, extended shopping hours. Most stores will be open until 9 p.m. The tree-lighting ceremony is at 6 p.m. Community Plaza, at Main and State streets, will serve as the "train station" for rides from 6 to 9 p.m. Don't confuse this event with the Festival of Lights Parade in Los Altos on Nov. 26.
TURNING THE PAGE . . . After 19 years of serving customers at Palo Alto Stationers, store owners Jack and Elizabeth Cook are calling it quits. Their store, at 341 California Ave., can no longer compete with the big discount houses in the area, according to Elizabeth Cook. "We will really miss our customers, and they will definitely miss the kind of service we offer," she added. Palo Alto Stationers is holding a liquidation sale. All holiday items are 50 percent off regular prices. Regular stock items are one-third off regular prices.
SPEAKING OF DISCOUNTS . . . Wal-Mart, one of those discount houses mentioned above, opened Nov. 1 at San Antonio Shopping Center in Mountain View. Wal-Mart is huge. Wal-Mart is bigger than the Redwood City Price Club. Wal-Mart is three times bigger than the big Safeway on El Camino Real in Menlo Park. Wal-Mart is bigger than the Target in Redwood City by 30,000 square feet. So if you want to check it out, schedule in an hour and allow a little more time just in case you get lost way back in sporting goods. (Compasses are sold there, but a store map would be more helpful.) In the 125,000-square-foot store, Wal-Mart also has a pharmacy, a vision center, a one-hour photo lab and a lawn and garden center. If you watch a lot of daytime television, you'll recognize two celebrities who have women's clothing lines exclusive to Wal-Mart: Richard Simmons and Kathi Lee Gifford. Other clothing lines you may recognize are Wrangler, White Stag and Bobbie Brooks. (If you recognize the Bobbie Brooks name, you also remember when sweater sets and charm bracelets were popular the first time.) Wal-Mart is a cornerstone to the revitalization of San Antonio Shopping Center, which includes other major tenants Mervyn's, Sears and Ross. Other big new stores are Super Crown Books and Payless Shoe Source, opening in late November. San Antonio Shopping Center covers the equivalent of four city blocks. So everything is huge.
--Dona van Bronkhorst
Send tips about store openings and closings, great deals and places to buy interesting things to Dona van Bronkhorst, Shop Talk, Palo Alto Weekly, P.O. Box 1610, Palo Alto, CA 94302. You can also leave a message for Shop Talk 24 hours a day at 326-8291, ext. 357, or send e-mail to email@example.com
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