BEST ANTIQUE STORE
Where is more fitting for an antique store than the former No. 1 antiquing capital of the world? San Anselmo’s very own Dove Place Antiques, Consignment & Estate Liquidation is a mom-and-pop shop that isn’t afraid to take antiquing to the next level. It’s the silver, jewelry and Chinese antiques that are the hottest items today, says owner Wayne Wechsler. “We sell a lot of stuff on eBay,” says son and employee Matt Wechsler. “We have over 5,000 on our feedback score, so we’re a really trusted seller. We are insured and we pack and send the item ourselves.” Peruse the latest inventory or bring in an item and have the team help you sell it on eBay with the potential of reaching a worldwide audience. The store’s largest sale amounted to $40,000 from an eBay auction. Stop by and find out why Dove Place and the Wechslers are the best.
Dove Place Antiques, Consignment & Estate Liquidation
306 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., San Anselmo, 415/453-1490 doveplaceantiques.com
2ND Laurel House Antiques, Ross
3RD Sentimental Journey Antiques, Novato
BEST FRAME STORE
When it’s time to frame that pile of photos sitting on your desk, there’s a great place to go—Cheap Pete’s Frame Factory Outlet. And their prices will make you very happy. They carry a wide variety of ready-made frames in lots of styles and sizes, as well as a large selection of custom mouldings and mats, so you can have it both ways, by choosing standard sizes and colors, or combining them with custom choices. With more than 40 years of experience, they really do have it all—so get thee to the frame shop!
Cheap Pete’s Frame Factory Outlet
221 Third St., San Rafael, 415/455-8055 cheappetes.com
2ND Ragged Sailor Gallery & Frames, Corte Madera
3RD Perry’s Art Supplies & Framing, San Anselmo
BEST GIFT SHOP
When you’re looking for an especially nice gift for someone—or for yourself—you’ll be delighted at the selection that the David M. Brian gift shop offers. The store itself is lovely, and everywhere you look, you’ll see something beautiful—from cut crystal vases and plates to specialty soaps and lotions. Plenty of practical items are on hand, too, including small kitchen appliances, cookware, games, books and a huge variety of decorative items. Services also include a gift and bridal registry, custom invitations, cards and announcements.
David M. Brian
110 Bon Air Center, Greenbrae, 415/464-0344, davidmbrian.com
2ND The Folk Art Gallery, San Rafael
3RD Culture Shock, Fairfax
BEST LIGHTING SHOP
Ever wonder what made Clive Owen look so good in The Knick? Or how Johnny Depp’s cheekbones managed to look so sharp and sexy on the big screen in The Lone Ranger? Nowell’s Lighting can fill you in on a little secret—it was their lighting! Juan Pineda, co-owner of Nowell’s since 1998, recounts a laundry list of epic projects that the lighting store has assisted with—from illuminating blockbuster movies, to the Ford Theater, to the U.S. Treasury Department. “Our reputation is out there and it means a lot to many people,” Pineda says. “We are thankful to our customers—thank you for keeping us in business. We will continue to do the best we can.”
615 Irwin St., San Rafael 415/332-4933, nowellslighting.com
2ND Tie: North Bay Lighting and Electrical Supply, San Rafael, and Light Express, San Rafael
BEST LOCAL BOOKSTORE
The coolest part about bookstores, says Zack Ruskin, marketing manager at Book Passage, is that you can walk into them without knowing what you want to read. “We can help you find it, or you can discover it on your own,” he says. With two locations, hundreds of titles, more than 800 events a year, in-store classes (for credit), an emphasis on school book fairs, and partnerships with nonprofits, it’s no wonder that this place has won the hearts of lovers of the written word. “We’ve become such a community center,” says Luisa Smith, the store’s buying director. Kathryn Petrocelli, event and conference coordinator, agrees, noting that people view the store as a hub where there’s always something exciting happening or about to happen. “Book groups have formed here; friendships have formed here,” she says. “It’s a place that people feel embraced and welcomed.”
51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera, 415/927-0960, and in the San Francisco Ferry Building location, book passage.com
2ND Copperfield’s Books, San Rafael and other California locations
3RD Point Reyes Books, Point Reyes Station
BEST MARIN TOWN, OTHER THAN YOUR OWN
Fairfax Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Bob Kopelman has come a long way. Originally from New York City, Kopelman moved directly to Fairfax 20 years ago, and hasn’t looked back since. Fairfax is nothing short of a mythical place among Marin’s towns. It’s credited as the birthplace of the Bay Area’s mountain biking pioneers, is an undisputed New Age enclave of peace, love and patchouli oil—and proud of it—and the only city to have its own currency, Fairbucks. “The character of the town is historically rooted in fun,” Kopelman says. Its eclectic mix of shops is a reflection of the city’s distinct population, a blend of young-spirited older residents and today’s youth. “It’s a town for the whole family that attracts creative, progressive and alternative lifestyles,” Kopelman says. With such an open and inviting character, it’s no wonder that Fairfax was voted this year’s best town in the county.
2ND Mill Valley
BEST NEW RETAIL BUSINESS OPENED IN 2014
For those with a thirst for knowledge and a cup of coffee, look no further than Copperfield’s Books. Founder Paul Jaffee wanted an independent bookseller as a community space for writers when he originally opened for business in 1982. Today, downtown San Rafael is one of seven locations, each of which are unique to their surrounding town. “We form ourselves around the city to be the community’s bookstore,” Manager Kira Ehrmann explains. Catering to what Ehrmann describes as the “very literary-conscious readership,” of Marin means that those in customer service know no bounds when it comes to getting you the book you want, and providing an array of events like book signings, author talks and panel discussions. The in-store cafe, Sebastopol-based Taylor Maid Farms, fosters an open community vibe that pairs well with books.
850 Fourth St., San Rafael, 415/524-2800, and other California locations, copperfieldsbooks.com
2ND HomeGoods, San Rafael and other locations
3RD Athleta, Corte Madera and other locations
BEST PATIO FURNITURE
Walking into The Wooden Duck can feel like being transported to a handful of foreign countries. Co-owner Amy Ferber shares that the store was literally dreamed up by her business partner and friend Eric Gellerman 20 years ago. “We were on a buying trip in the Spice Islands of Indonesia, and Eric bought 800 little ducks to sell; he had a dream about the business’ name that night,” she says. Ferber, a UC Berkeley graduate in anthropology, has a worldly taste and keen eye for wooden craftsmanship, and she and Gellerman develop original designs inspired by their travels to Vietnam, China, France and India—just to name a few. The Wooden Duck specializes in furniture made from locally and sustainably reclaimed wood, including wood from Cal Stadium’s landmark remodeling project three years ago. The store’s weekly “Duck Deal” is considered to be the lowest price in the country on select items.
The Wooden Duck
1848 Fourth St., San Rafael, 415/453-0345, thewoodenduck.com
2ND Patioworld, San Rafael
3RD Beach House Style, Fairfax