Shop Talk: ShopTalk

Publication Date: Wednesday Jun 17, 1998

Shop Talk: ShopTalk

by Dona van Bronkhorst

NEW DISCOVERIES ... The Discovery Channel Store opened June 4 at Stanford Shopping Center in the former Nature Company location. Nature Company stores across the country were purchased by Discovery Communications Inc. in 1996 and are being converted to Discovery Channel stores. The store interior has been completely remodeled. Its centerpiece is a huge floor-to-ceiling world globe made up of about 20 different television monitors. The monitors feature constantly changing images of humans and nature around the world. Around the store you'll find much of your favorite Nature Company merchandise: bug T-shirts, jewelry, stuffed animals, telescopes, rocks and fossils, books and music, all with an international flair. New categories include aromatherapy candles and solid perfumes, a flight and airplane section, and a selection of serenity fountains. This tabletop rock garden includes a bubbling fountain, rocks and a tiny wooden rake to make your own soothing patterns in the sand. It's about 18 inches by 12 inches by 4 inches deep and costs $300. In the flight and airplane section you'll find a giant version of the classic party favor, the parachute man. Instead of flimsy plastic, this parachute man hangs from a canopy of real parachute fabric. The man himself is 4 inches tall. Man and chute are $12. If your dad is a pilot wannabe (and Father's Day is coming up) check out this book: "How to Fly and Fight in the F-117A Stealth Fighter" by Jon Lake. The 96-page book is $18. Stealth Fighter not included.

WATCH THIS ... Darren McClung specializes in estate and precious jewelry and when you walk into his elegant shop at Stanford Barn you automatically speak in hushed and reverent whispers. But don't be intimidated by the plush surroundings because McClung says he can work within every budget to find or custom design jewelry. You'll find estate necklaces and brooches from the Edwardian and Victorian eras, as well as contemporary bracelets and earrings by Mark Patterson and Alex Sepkus. The Tahitian black pearls and South Sea pearls are astounding in size and color. These gem-quality cultured pearls are the size of macadamia nuts and can only be harvested twice a year. It can take four years just to amass the pearls necessary for a full necklace. But for about $200 you can purchase one of the huge pearls as a stunning pendant. For watch collectors, look at the Akteo collection. These French watches have unique minute, hour and sweep second hands. The hockey watch has the outline of the rink on the face with a hockey stick, skate and puck as the hands. The basketball watch has a court outlined on the face and a backboard, hoop and ball as hands. (You'll note that, these being French watches, the key on the court is drawn to international basketball specs. Just a little hoop trivia.) Other watches feature windsurfers, snowboarders, fishing poles, and guitars. Think of Dad. Darren McClung is at 700 Welch Road in the Stanford Barn in Palo Alto.

OWN HISTORY ... You can buy time for Dad at the Nature Gallery. These cuff links are real fossils--old fossils--set in sterling silver. The 3/4-inch fossils are trilobites, a 550 million-year-old relative of the sand crab found in Utah. These cuff links are $200. Other fossil and amber cuff links at Nature Gallery range from $75 to $200. A sculpture show is also in progress at the Nature Gallery, and reduced prices are in effect until the show ends on June 30. The Nature Gallery is at 87 Town & Country Village in Palo Alto.

BOOK CLUB ... Printers Inc. is forming a summer reading group for middle school age kids. The group meets on four Saturday mornings, from 10-11 a.m., beginning June 27. Kids will read a book a week and meet to discuss writing styles, character development and plot lines. The books have been selected and are available as a set at Printers Inc. for $35 which includes the price for the discussion hour. Call Marilyn Smith for more information at 327-6500. Printers Inc. is at 310 California Ave. in Palo Alto.

BAGGED ... A Palo Alto Weekly ShopTalk tote bag goes to Weekly reader Suzanne Taylor this week for her shopping tip.

SHOPPER'S SPECIAL ... ShopTalk is celebrating three years of retail sleuthing, schlepping and shopping in the Palo Alto/Menlo Park area. Win a free heavy-duty canvas ShopTalk shopping bag, simply by giving us your shopping tips on store openings or closings, great deals and interesting places to shop for interesting things. Call, fax or e-mail your tips with your name and phone number. Call 326-8210, Ext. 357; fax 948-4580; or e-mail to Winners will be selected each week. So, start shopping!

Send tips about store openings and closings, great deals and places to buy interesting things to Dona van Bronkhorst, ShopTalk, Palo Alto Weekly, P.O. Box 1610, Palo Alto, CA 94302. You can also leave a message for ShopTalk 24 hours a day at 326-8291, ext. 357, or send e-mail to 

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