.Best of Marin 2017: Everyday

When it comes to finding art supplies for your latest creative project, a new book that you’ve been dying to read, a bouquet of flowers for a loved one or even new car tires that will ensure a safe trip out to Stinson Beach, Marin is the place for top-tier everyday items. Even if you don’t really need anything, it’s fun to browse at places that make you feel like you’re part of a welcoming, thriving community that appreciates and celebrates everything local and special. So have fun out there, whether you’re checking out jewelry, scoping out a vintage dress for an upcoming party or dreaming about a liberating motorcycle ride up the coast.—M.O.

Casual & Sexy

The ideal boutique is a place that you want to move into immediately upon arrival—and wear nothing but the clothes it offers for the rest of your life. Chances are, you’re already feeling all of the feels about Tumbleweed, Marin’s Best New Retail Business—Opened in 2016. The cute San Anselmo store opened in 2016, and has been a local star ever since. It offers both men’s and women’s clothing, plus a wide array of accessories, aromatic candles, gentle throws and metrosexual grooming products. The style reflects Marin County’s free-spirited-yet-expensive look to the T; brands like Free People, For Love & Lemons, Wildfox and Levi’s mingle together, mixing casual and sexy. Hours can be spent browsing and choosing the right products in a welcoming, unbuttoned atmosphere—and it’s nice to know that most brands are U.S.- and specifically California-based.Flora Tsapovsky

570 San Anselmo Ave., San Anselmo; 415.747.8118.

Across the Globe

One of Montecito Plaza’s highlights, Jasmine Market, is this year’s winner in the Best Ethnic Market category. The Persian grocery is, as a proper ethnic market should be, full of pleasant surprises—thick yogurt and packaged Middle Eastern spices, European chocolates, dolmas, falafel wraps and anything you can imagine. Given Marin County’s relatively limited variety of authentic ethnic groceries from across the globe, it’s no wonder that this one scored the big prize.F.T.

307 Third St., San Rafael; 415.459.4866.

Say Cheese

Let’s give credit where credit is due. West Marin has long been the land of milk and butter, but it wasn’t until Cowgirl Creamery came along in 1997 to showcase cheese made with Straus Family Creamery milk that the region’s cheese boom took off. One of the most successful cheese businesses to emerge from the new cheese scene was Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company, this year’s Best Local Food Product winner. Around 20 years ago, Marshall dairyman Bob Giacomini called his four daughters together to talk about the family business. Milk prices were holding steady, but the cost of production was going up. What else could they do with their milk? Make cheese, of course. But not just any cheese. Blue cheese. At the time, the only other nationally known producer of blue cheese was Maytag Blue. With a herd of their own and Cowgirl’s example to inspire them, the Giacomini sisters banded together to shepherd the family business into a new era—and the rest is cheese history. In addition to their signature Point Reyes Original Blue Cheese, the company makes six other cows’ milk cheese including mozzarella, gouda and toma.—Stett Holbrook


Small-town Charm

You love your town. You think it’s great, rather charming and accommodating. But, alas, there’s a better town in your county, and there’s no avoiding it. You rightfully embraced Larkspur as the Best Town Other Than Your Own, and the reasons are endless—the slightly remote, elevated location. The vintage cinema, and the dazzling boutiques and hair salons are straight out of a magazine. Larkspur embodies that elusive small-town charm that you’ll find in any county of the world, and yet there’s nothing quite like it. Most importantly, its narrow structure and picturesque houses offer a real sense of escape in those moments when your own town just won’t do.—F.T.



Vintage and resale stores can be tricky business. How do you know what’s still trendy and what’s outdated? How do you decide which second-hand item is worth adopting? Knimble Clothing and Knick Knack, winner in the Best Vintage Clothing Store category, makes the customer’s job easy, since its staff has an excellent eye and great taste. In the inviting San Rafael location (there’s another shop in Oakland), you’ll find an eclectic mix of second-hand brands, jewelry and house items that all feel of-the-moment and right. The shoes and bag selection, often displayed on the store’s website, is especially winning.—F.T.

851 Fourth St., San Rafael; 415.454.4009.

From the Earth

We all know that Marin has no shortage of natural, delicious foods that also happen to look pretty. But when it comes to Good Earth Natural Foods, the winner in the Best Natural Foods Store category, it’s a whole different story. First, the drive to Fairfax builds anticipation. Then, goodhearted Fairfax welcomes you with its small taquerias and tye-dye aesthetics. Inside the clean, beautiful and colorful store, some of California’s best brands line the shelves, tempting shoppers with organic hummus, local chocolate and too many kombucha brands to count. And a second location in Mill Valley is the perfect spot for picking up picnic goods on the way to the beach. Not in the right headspace to grocery shop? Three Twins ice cream by the scoop and a delicious salad and hot meal bar are there to please.—F.T.

720 Center Blvd., Fairfax; 415.454.0123; 201 Flamingo Rd., Mill Valley; 415.383.0123.

More Than Words

Where do you go to meet Bernie Sanders, hear a reading by Khaled Hosseini and also grab a bite and a present for your niece? Book Passage, your pick for the Best Bookstore—New category. A local institution and a repeat winner with multiple locations, Book Passage is the utopian example of what a bookstore should be—a center for exchanging ideas, experiential learning and excitement about reading. Workshops vary from writing to languages, and the events are the talk of the town. But even on a regular day, just hanging out at Book Passage, flipping through a magazine or picking up your new favorite book, is a good idea.—F.T.


Find it Here

The art of gifting is a complicated one. Some excel at it and manage to pick out just the right thing, while others drop the ball and constantly suspect that their offerings are being re-gifted (they really are!). Columbine, Marin’s Best Gift Shop, has helped many Marin County residents avoid gift-giving disasters over the years. How? The Corte Madera favorite simply has it all—woven baskets for grandma, designer home goods for the posh friend and candles and soaps for the birthday girl. The best part? You can’t go wrong.—F.T.

101 Corte Madera Town Center, Corte Madera; 415.927.8884.

Edible Flowers

Let’s just put it out there: Cupcake bouquets—realistic, dazzling bouquets made of cupcakes. Baked Blooms, winner of the Best Locally Made Retail Product, is a winner by concept alone—but also because owner Sarah Thongnopneua really knows her job (and that would be to sweeten people’s lives and impress anyone who receives the end product). The cupcakes are not only gorgeous—they’re delicious. Just try giving a colorful bouquet to someone special, and watch their eyes light up.—F.T.


The full list of Best of Marin 2017 Everyday winners:

Best Antique Shop
Laurel House Antiques
30 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Ross.

Best Art Supply Store
Rileystreet Art Supply
1138 Fourth Ave., San Rafael.

Best Auto Body Repair
Blake’s Auto Body
31 Bay St., San Rafael.
861 Vallejo Ave., Novato.

Best Auto Dealer—New
Toyota Marin
445 Francisco Blvd. E., San Rafael.

Best Auto Dealer—Used
Toyota Marin
445 Francisco Blvd. E., San Rafael.

Best Auto Detailing
Matt & Jeff’s Car Wash & Detail Center
125 Vintage Way, Novato.

Best Auto Repair
Easy Automotive
747 Lincoln Ave., San Rafael.

Best Body Art Place—Tattoo & Piercing
Spider Murphy’s Tattoo
1006 Lincoln Ave., San Rafael.

Best Bookstore—New
Book Passage

Best Bookstore—Used
Rebound Bookstore
1611 Fourth St., San Rafael.

Best Business Bank
Bank of Marin

Best Camera/Photography Store
Seawood Photo
1601 Fourth St., San Rafael.

Best Car Audio
City Car Radio
820 Second St., San Rafael.

Best Chamber of Commerce
San Rafael Chamber of Commerce
817 Mission Ave., San Rafael.

Best Clothing Store—Men’s
Gene Hiller Menswear
729 Bridgeway, Sausalito.

Best Clothing Store—Women’s
Mad Rags Fashions
373 Third St., San Rafael.

Best Consignment Store
Knimble Clothing and Knick Knack
851 Fourth St., San Rafael.

Best Consumer Bank
Bank of Marin

Best Costume/Festival Apparel Shop
The Belrose
1415 Fifth Ave., San Rafael.

Best Credit Union
Redwood Credit Union

Best Culinary Store
480 Gate Five Road, Ste. 115, Sausalito.

Best Digital Creative Services
Lotus Live Design & Social Media Marketing

Best Eco-Conscious Business
Bellam Self Storage & Boxes
24 Bellam Blvd., San Rafael.

Best Ethnic Market
Jasmine Market
307 Third St., San Rafael.

Best Event Production Services Company
Event Consulting International

Best Fashion Jewelry Store
Marin Jewelers Guild
1331 Fourth St., San Rafael.

Best Fine Jewelry Store
Johann Paul Jewelers
272 Bon Air Center, Greenbrae.

Best Florist
Bloomers of Larkspur
501 Magnolia Ave., Larkspur.

Best Framing Shop
Frame Crafters Gallery
320 Bon Air Center, Greenbrae.

Best Gift Shop
101 Corte Madera Town Center, Corte Madera.

Best Grocery Store
Mill Valley Market
12 Corte Madera Ave., Mill Valley

Best Grocery Store
Mill Valley Market
12 Corte Madera Ave., Mill Valley.

Best Home Audio
World of Sound
800 Redwood Hwy. Frontage Road, Ste. 218, Mill Valley.

Best Home Furnishings
Sunrise Home
831 B St., San Rafael.

Best Hotel/Resort
Cavallo Point
601 Murray Circle, Sausalito.

Best Hydroponic Supply Store
Marin Hydroponics
55 Frosty Lane, Novato.
721 Francisco Blvd. E., San Rafael.

Best Judge
Paul Haakenson
Marin County Superior Court.

Best Law Firm
Law Offices of Ackeret Sheron
890 Lamont Ave., Ste. 202, Novato.

Best Lawyer
Law Offices of David Simonini
679 Bridgeway, #2, Sausalito.

Best Local Food Product
Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company

Best Locally Made Retail Product
Baked Blooms

Best Motorcycle/Scooter Shop
1121 Francisco Blvd. E., San Rafael.

Best Musical Instruments Store
The Magic Flute
182 Northgate Drive, San Rafael.

Best Natural Foods Store
Good Earth Natural Foods
720 Center Blvd., Fairfax.
201 Flamingo Rd., Mill Valley.

Best New Retail Business—Opened in 2016
570 San Anselmo Ave., San Anselmo.

Best Nonprofit
SF Marin Food Bank

Best Optical Store
20/20 Optical
1127 Fourth St., San Rafael.

Best Phone Repair
Gadget Pro
473 Third St., San Rafael.

Best Pipe Shop
The Mighty Quinn
1099 Fourth St., Ste. G, San Rafael.

Best Psychic
Annie Bachelder
105 Westwood Drive, Novato.

Best Record/CD Store
Red Devil Records
894 Fourth St., San Rafael.

Best Recycling Center
Marin Sanitary
1050 Andersen Drive, San Rafael.

Best Senior Living Facility
The Redwoods
40 Camino Alto, Mill Valley.

Best Senior Services
930 Tamalpais Ave., San Rafael.

Best Shoe Store
Sole Desire

Best Tire Shop
Cains Tire
1531 Fourth St., San Rafael.

Best Tow Service
Redhill Towing & Auto Repair
428 Irwin St., San Rafael.

Best Town Other Than Your Own

Best Transportation—Taxi/Limo
Strawberry Limousine
1800 Lincoln Ave., San Rafael.

Best Travel Agency
Redwood Skytours
1204 Fifth Ave., San Rafael.

Best Vape Shop
The Mighty Quinn
1099 Fourth St., Ste. G, San Rafael.

Best Vintage Clothing Store
Knimble Clothing and Knick Knack
851 Fourth St., San Rafael.


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