Archive for the ‘Shopping’ Category

Treasure hunter’s weekend

This weekend may give Bay Area, and especially downtown San Jose “treasure hunters” more than they can handle.

It’s the weekend of the annual Northside Flea Market, held at Backesto Park on Saturday from 8 am to 4 pm. The flea market raises funds for the Northside Neighborhood Association’s activities throughout the year.

Saturday is also the day of the San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin’s annual rummage sale. The rummage sale runs from 9 am to 2 pm. The church is on Fourth Street between Jackson and Taylor.

And, of course, it’s the first weekend of August. That means that the monthly De Anza College flea market will be held on Saturday between 8 am and 4 pm.

And Sunday will be the Alameda Point Antiques Faire on Alameda Island on the tarmac of the old naval air base. The Antiques Faire runs from 6 am to 3 pm, with entry prices falling as the day goes on (and the best treasures are claimed).

Good hunting!

Valentine’s Day reminder

San Jose’s local chocolatier, Schurra’s Fine Confections, is 100 years old this year. Also, there are only two days left until Saint Valentine’s Day. You make the connection.

From Schurra’s web page:

Schurra’s, creating a tradition of Fine Confections since 1912. Albert and Justin Schurra started their confectionery business with retail stores in Stockton and Modesto California. They soon expanded their candy business to include wholesale accounts throught Northern California. In the early 1930’s they closed their stores in Stockton and Modesto and moved to The Alameda in San Jose. The Alameda, also known as the beautiful way, was San Jose’s premier neighborhood. The mansions of successful doctors, lawyers and architects lined the street as they do today… A street car system ran down the center of the street carrying passengers from Alum Rock Park through downtown and out towards the town of Santa Clara. The Alameda was and is also known as Hwy 82. It was the most modern route to San Francisco at the time. In the mid 1930’s Albert Schurra purchased the building at 848 The Alameda. He designed a “Sunshine Candy Kitchen” where customers could watch candy being made through the windows. Skilled women would sit in the front windows that faced The Alameda and artistically dip chocolates by hand. Many of the chocolate dippers worked for Schurra’s well into their 90’s and two, Gladys Neisonger and Myrtle Bay, lived to be over 100 years old. While we have since located next door to the old Sunshine Candy Kitchen, we proudly carry on Albert and Justin’s time-honored traditions and adhere to their standards of quality by making everything from scratch everyday.

  • What: Schurra’s Chocolates
  • When: 10 am – 6:30 pm, Mon – Fri
    10 am – 5:30 Sat
    Special holiday hours today
  • Where: 840 The Alameda, San Jose

Make your own reusable shopping bag

More than a year ago, my girlfriend found these instructions for sewing reusable shopping bags, using a disposable shopping bag from your favorite store as the pattern. She made up a set, and we’ve been using them ever since. I get lots of positive comments from clerks when I hand them over to be filled up with groceries.

My girlfriend made our bags using a Target bag for the pattern, but we found they’re more comfortable to carry if the handles are made a little bit narrower than the original. She used fabric from an old futon cover to make the bags, so they’re nice and sturdy, as well as being doubly-green as recycled goods.

I found other patterns and instructions for making shopping bags online (think Instructables and YouTube), but I think the instructions on craftster are the most complete, and the step-by-step photos make it easy to see how the bags are put together.

With San Jose’s new shopping bag ordinance in effect since Sunday, you might want to try your hand at making low-cost environment-friendly shopping accessories for yourself, too.

Photo: Michelle Wootton

Fresh & Easy in Downtown San Jose?

I haven’t seen any public announcement yet, but “Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Markets” has requested a city permit for beer and wine sales at 272 East Santa Clara Street in San Jose. That’s the former Albertsen’s / Lucky’s / Su Vianda location next door to City Hall.

If this works out, it will be a great shopping option for downtown dwellers. Fresh & Easy has a kind of different business model: They have a lot of own-branded items like Trader Joe’s, but they tend to focus more on prepared items like salads and sandwiches rather than the packaged items that dominate TJ’s. In addition to ready-to-eat, they also have a pretty much complete line of other kitchen basics including fresh fruit, vegetables, and meats. They don’t have the selection of a full-size suburban mega-market, but they cover every-day needs.

They’ll be in direct competition with Safeway’s The Market a few blocks away, but they’ll have the advantage of a surface-level parking lot. If they do one thing to improve the streetscape on Santa Clara Street, though, it will be to keep that parking lot clean, which previous owners have never done.

Here’s looking forward to another shopping choice in downtown.

I love Apple!

You can not believe how excited I am right now and how much more I love Apple.  I’m normally not one to become a fan of any particular brands or companies, but I can not get over how much Apple backs their products up with great customer service.

A few days ago, my iPad’s screen cracked.  I’m not even sure how it happened, but when I pulled it out of my purse (it’s in a targus case) it had a crack on the side of the screen.  You can not believe how sad I was when I saw the cracked screen.  I spent a whole day waiting in line for that iPad and have loved it since day one, so when I saw the cracked screen I nearly started crying.

I wasn’t sure what I could do at that point. I have dropped my iPhone a few times and have had the screen repaired, so I figured that the iPad could possibly be repaired as well.

I made an appointment at the Genius Bar at the Valley Fair Apple store and after a long night at work, I went home, showered really quick and then headed to the store.  Who knew they were open so early at 9am for appointments? The mall itself is almost eerie that early in the morning with all the stores closed and so few people walking around, but sure enough, when you reached the Apple store, the security guy at the door asked if I had an appointment and when I did, they let me in.

I checked in with a girl named Nicki and then she had me go to the Genius Bar where Toni helped me with my iPad.  She told me that unfortunately the iPad screens can’t be replaced easily, but they could swap it out for a certain price.  This was pretty disheartening, especially after I had just bought my iPad a few months ago and I just had spent a lot of money on my Macbook Pro.

Luckily, she said that she would see what she could do and then went in the back.  A short while later, she came out and told me that she could swap it out for free as a one time type of thing. I couldn’t believe it! Apple is so awesome! They have definitely made a fan out of me for life.

Now, my only question is anyone out there have tips on how to keep my iPad from possibly getting damaged again? Anyone out there find any great iPad 2 cases or solutions to keep their iPad safe?

Telegraph Ave Holiday Street Fair and SF City Chorus Concert

Two separate events this weekend in Berkeley, the 27th Annual Telegraph Ave Holiday Street Fair and the San Francisco City Chorus concert.

Saturday, December 18, 2010 from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm the non-profit, community-run San Francisco City Chorus performs a concert of holiday singing near Peet’s on Fourth Street.

The San Francisco City Chorus, singers who come from diverse backgrounds and all regions of the Bay Area perform a range of music, from early music to contemporary compositions.

The 27th Annual Telegraph Avenue Holiday Street Fair from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm this weekend December 18-19, 2010 and Thursday-Friday December 23-24 offers bargain shopping along Telegraph Avenue.

An opportunity to buy fine art originals and inexpensive gift items including jewelry, beadwork, wirework, hats, candles, leather work, silk-screened and tie-dyed clothing, pottery, wood crafts, metal crafts, paintings, henna-art, gift boxes, photography and sculptures by more than 200 Northern California artists.

Holiday Street Fair information including directions, parking and public transit here.

San Francisco City Chorus Concert
Peet’s Coffee
1776 4th Street, Berkeley

Saturday, December 18, 2010
1:00 pm to 4:00 pm

Admission: Free

27th Annual Telegraph Avenue Holiday Street Fair
Telegraph Avenue between Dwight Way and Bancroft Way, Berkeley

Saturday and Sunday, December 18-19, 2010
Thursday and Friday, December 23-24, 2010

11:00 am to 6:00 pm

Admission: Free

PW Markets closing

A little more than a year ago, I wrote about the long history of the PW Markets in San Jose, and the even longer history of the Franco family in the grocery business. Now the Mercury is reporting PW Markets will be going out of business shortly.

It’s disappointing to see a Valley institution like this go out of business, and I wish the best of luck to the employees who will be put out of work by this event.

Hat tip to The Daily Fetch for this story.

A quiet morning off downtown

Philz Coffee on the Paseo de San Antonio

The holiday today gave me and my girlfriend an excuse to check out some new places downtown we haven’t had a chance to get to yet.

Philz Coffee opened up several weeks (months already?) ago in the Paseo de San Antonio, with tons of rave reviews about how great the coffee is. At 10 am the downtown area was pretty quiet, until we got to Philz, where there was a little island of life. There were three or four occupied tables out front and a few inside as well. Gary Singh from the Metro was sitting in the back doing whatever it is real journalists do with their laptops at coffee shops.

Since its not really on my way to anywhere, I haven’t had a chance to try it out yet. I like the fact that they serve every cup of coffee straight from the drip cone, so you know you’re getting the freshest possible cup. On the other hand, there’s no sugar and cream out for self-serve — you have to ask the barista to add what you want when you order. The amount of cream they added to my coffee totally killed the coffee flavor. My girlfriend had a similar experience ordering tea — she prefers her tea relatively mild, but her green tea was brewed so strong she thought they had made a mistake and given her black tea. I guess once you know exactly what you want, it would be a great system, and it keeps the shop cleaner. But for a first-timer, it was kind of a disappointment to get someone else’s idea of the right amount of cream, or the correct time to brew tea.

San Jose Ross

Ross Dress for Less on First Street

After coffee, we went over to the recently-opened Ross discount department store on First Street. I really like discount stores like Ross for basic clothing like sneakers, polo shirts, and khakis. The new Ross had a fine selection of those things, and has been kept clean and neat, unlike some of their other locations. My girlfriend’s verdict: “Best Ross store ever.”

It’s great to see new shops like these opening around downtown San Jose. I doubt if they really mean the recession is over. But they do show how slow economic times can encourage people and organizations to try something new, whether it’s a San Francisco coffee shop expanding into the South Bay, or the RDA taking a chance on a discount retailer instead of hoping vainly to get a high-end store into downtown.

Zanotto’s Willow Glen Market – Open!

This morning just after 9 AM a crowd of shoppers began to gather at the door of the new Zanotto’s on Foxworthy Ave. As we waited for the 10 AM opening we enjoyed complementary doughnuts from Krispy Kreme – Mountain View, and talked about how happy we all were to get such a quality market in the Willow Glen area.

My first impression on entering the store was good. The layout and shelf set-up felt comfortable and pleasing. The produce looked very fresh and inviting. I picked up two containers of beautiful organic raspberries. Marty Threlkeld offered me a tasty sample cup of Evolution. My next find was a carton of Marrianne’s Ice Cream. Yes, from Santa Cruz!

At the meat counter I talked with Rick Zanotto about chicken and beef. He assured me that they only sell California chicken, which is important to me. And I also learned that they carry Piedmont beef by Montana Ranch Brand.

They have a good selection of wine including Zanotto’s own label. If you have shopped in Zanotto’s there is no need for me to go on and on about the deli, but oh the panini sandwiches!

Zanotto’s Willow Glen Market
1421 Foxworthy Ave. 95125 (at Cherry Ave.)
(408) 264 – 0103

Store Hours:
Mon. – Sat. 7:30 AM to 9:00 PM
Sunday – 8 AM to 8 PM

My Zanotto’s flickr set

This just in from Dale Tibbils: Our opening has been a huge success so we’re going to stay open until 9:00 PM tonight.

Record Store Day in San Jose

Tower Records

Record Store Day celebrates the over 700 independently owned record stores in the USA and then some.

Check the stores for contests, giveaways, and appearances!

In honor of Record Store Day I will be wearing my cherished Tower Records T-shirt to these participating stores on April 17th:

Streetlight Records ~ 980 South Bascom Ave. San Jose (408) 292-1404 ~ website

SpaceCat ~ 536 S. Bascom Ave. San Jose (408) 280-7257 ~ website

More Participating Locations:

On The Corner Music ~ 530 E. Campbell Ave. in Campbell (408) 871-0305 ~ website

Metamusic Records ~ 320 Cedar St. Santa Cruz PHONE/FAX: 831.466.9027 ~ website

Streetlight Records ~ 939 Pacific Avenue Santa Cruz (831) 421-9200 ~ website

The Music Hut ~ 329 Main Street Half Moon Bay (650) 72 MUSIC (6-8742) ~ website

1-2-3-4 Go! Records ~ 419 40th Street Oakland (510) 985-0325 ~ website & Facebook

Amoeba 2455 Telegraph Ave, Berkeley (510) 549-1125 ~ website

Rasputin Music ~ 2401 Telegraph Ave. Berkeley 1-800-350-8700 ~ website

twitter ~ recordstoreday

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