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What's In Store: Nordstrom Overhaul and an American Girl Store Opening

Nordstrom's Savvy department welcomes new designers and lower price points; the first American Girl store in Northern California comes to the Bay Area; fun ways to get in shape for spring; and more in our retail report.

Courtesy of Stoneridge Mall

Having a hard time getting back into the swing of things after that mostly sunny three-day weekend? Us too. We can’t give you another day off, but we can tell you about a new American Girl store opening in the fall, killer deals at Nordstrom, and other trendy tidbits.


Stores Pop Up

Last year, we reported that the women’s clothing and accessories store Francesca’s Collections had plans to open in Lafayette’s Clocktower this spring. We’re pleasantly surprised to find out that the affordable chain—which has locations in Danville, Emeryville, and Pleasanton—opened its Lafayette doors on February 16. We haven’t been in yet, but sources say the cheerily painted boutique is loaded with spring dresses, tops, and fun accessories.  Nearby in Orinda Theatre Square, a women’s jewelry and accessory shop called Hello Tiara recently opened in Suite 138.

According to Stoneridge Shopping Mall’s Facebook page, Clarks Shoes will soon speak to your soles with comfortable footwear when the popular retailer opens in late March. We’re excited about the classic looks in the spring collection, including the desert boot designed by founder Nathan Clark some 60 years ago

Courtesy of American Girl

An American Girl Dream

Were you a Samantha, Kirsten, or Molly? If you grew up in 1990s, or had daughters who did, you’re probably familiar with the American Girl dolls and books. The company continues to churn out merchandise revolving around historical girl characters. Real young ladies love choosing a character that fits their personality, from a World War II–era bookworm to an artsy fourth grader from New Mexico.  If you’re still with me on this, and know a little girl who loves the brand, get ready for a 15,000-square-foot American Girl store at the Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto, set to open this fall. It is the first and only store of its kind in northern California.

Courtesy of Nordstrom

Buy Cheap, Look Expensive

Nordstrom’s Savvy department is now offering amazing new pieces from brands such as MinkPink, ASTR, Viva Vena!, and Mural for as low as $19. It may sound too good to be true, but a rep from the beloved department store confirmed that these and other labels will be available at most locations and all online.

TopShop SF, Part Deux?

One of the participating brands in Savvy’s New Deal program (as we’re now calling it) is TopShop. The British retailer of all things hip and relatively inexpensive partnered with Nordstrom last year (remember our top picks?), and you can still find the collection online and in Nordstrom’s Valley Fair and San Francisco Centre locations. SF Racked has us all hot and bothered with news that TopShop might open a second location in the city. We’ll keep an eye on this one, but fingers crossed! Too bad there isn’t a TopShop presence in the East Bay, but beggars can’t be choosers.


Store Shutters and Openings

Our trusty friend Beyond the Creek reports that Giggle, a baby store located in downtown Walnut Creek, will close by late February; Patch informs that the furniture retailer Dunhaven Place closed over on 4691 Clayton Road in Concord, but still sells cottage-style furnishings through its website; and earlier this month, the Bold Italic spilled the bad news that the Curiosity Shoppe in San Francisco, which recently collaborated with Target, is closing despite its popularity.

But it’s not all closures in the East Bay. If you’re always on the hunt for new home wares, Berkeleyside brings news that Walrus, a home design store, opened in the up-and-coming Temescal Alley in Oakland. If you’d rather have your nose buried in a good read, be sure to check out Bookish, a new collectible and used bookstore run by author Laurie Fox. Also according to Berkeleyside, future plans for the new store on the north side of the UC Berkeley campus include readings and how-to-publish seminars.

Courtesy of Beyond the Creek

Upcoming Events

If you missed Danville's first Consignment Shopping Day in November, you're in luck. The Savvy Shopaholic, A Dress Change, Consignit Couture, Something Old Something New, and Cottage Jewel are joining forces to bring it back for a second iteration. On February 28, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., stop by any of the stores for serious savings. How serious? Spend $20 and you'll receive $5 off. Throw down $50 and you'll save $10. Splurge on $100 worth of items, and you'll get a whopping $20 off. I sense a shopping spree coming...

As a reminder, the Savvy Shopaholic is also taking part in the Princess Project. Donate a new or gently used formal dress at the boutique, and it will help make dreams come true for an underpriviledged teen who may not have had the chance to have her CInderella moment. Since 2002, the Princess Project has served more than 20,000 teenage girls.


Get Lean and Have Fun

If you’re looking for fun ways to break a sweat, but you’re too scared of heights to test your skills on a trapeze, you might consider bouncing around on trampolines or a ballet-inspired workout to help you feel the burn. A recent email from San Francisco’s House of Air caught our attention when they posed the question: How many people can say they got in shape on trampolines for bikini season? Upon further investigation, it looks as though the company, located near Crissy Field, is offering a six-week bootcamp that incorporates trampoline workouts and techniques. The bonus is that you can get 30-percent off the class if you sign up in advance. If you’re looking to bounce closer to home, Dublin’s Rockin’ Jump offers open jump time and classes for moms and tots.

Another great way to get toned is with Best of East Bay winner Bar Method. As we already mentioned, a studio will open in Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto this spring. Until then, don’t forget that you can sign up for free community classes in West Berkeley. We attended one recently and it was so much fun! Be sure to sign up a week in advance of the day you want to attend; the class only holds nine people and fills up quick. Or head to the Walnut Creek or San Ramon locations for a thigh-shaking body tune-up.


Got news about new or expanding East Bay businesses? Or tips on great sales and deals? We want to know! E-mail us at style@maildiablo.com, and look for "What's in Store" every other Tuesday.