Shop Talk — December 2008
M Clothing in Danville; Courtesy of M Clothing
One shop sells a fabulous selection of Kooba purses. The next offers a sweet coat by Milly. Another sells ultrahip men’s jeans by Stitch’s. By the looks of these boutiques—Geoffrey Scott, Flaunt, and Edge Shop for Men, respectively—a shopper might think she’s strolling along Melrose Avenue. Think again. They’re all in downtown Danville.
While Danville’s ongoing boutique boom is decidedly high-end, many of the businesses are locally owned. “Mom-and-pop stores have a much higher level of sophistication these days,” says Danville Town Manager Joe Calabrigo. “They have comprehensive business plans; they know the target market. Danville has been able to attract the kinds of businesses that let people shop locally, but it also has stores that are unique to the area.”
Tough economic times don’t seem to be standing in the way of this transformation. Prospect Avenue has become a street of boutiques. Flaunt and Edge for Men are within a block of lingerie, clothing, and sandal shops. On Railroad Avenue, M Clothing offers top-shelf designers Diane Von Furstenberg and Nanette Lepore, and on Hartz, Geoffrey Scott has enjoyed so much business selling clothing, jewelry, handbags, and sunglasses that a second location is scheduled to open this month in Blackhawk Plaza.
On the east side of Interstate 680, the long-awaited Rose Garden lures stylish shoppers with Elisa Wen (sister shop to the Walnut Creek boutique), Baby and Kids Company, Stella Luna candle studio, eco-friendly clothing at Olive, and a huge and luxurious Burke Williams Spa. Meanwhile, Blackhawk Plaza has seen major renovations in 2008, adding high-end retailers Anthropologie and White House Black Market.
What’s next? The town and chamber of commerce are launching www.danvilleinstyle.com to give shoppers the inside scoop on the local scene. And, a major renovation of the Danville Hotel is in the works, with 39,000 square feet of new restaurants, retail, and residential space.
“We’re continuing to see property owners investing in the community,” Calabrigo says. “We’ve seen so much excitement, it gives us optimism for the future.”