In a county known to have a bit of discretionary income, it’s no surprise people love to shop. These spots have what you need or what you didn’t know you needed.
THE SPICE OF LIFE
Fairfax Variety more than lives up to its name. Need something for the kitchen (a spatula, mixer, place mats)? Something for the kids (school supplies, party hats, science projects)? How about matching goodie bags, paddleballs, a Mrs. Potato Head, rubber chickens, key rings or a broom? You’ll find it all here. 415.457.2580
Soxalito (pictured left0of Sausalito has fun gifts that actually have a purpose. This place stocks socks in every imaginable color in styles that appeal to every imaginable personality. Plus, as gift-giver you sidestep the awkward question of size, since choices here are mostly one fits all. soxalito.com
If any store could exemplify Marin at its best, it’s Good Earth Natural Foods, which from a Fairfax storefront in 1969 became one of the county’s first retailers devoted to locally sourced organic food. Recently owners Mark Squire and Al Baylacq opened a second location in Tamalpais Valley, an area that’s been without a grocery store since DeLano’s market shuttered in 2010. Good Earth’s commitment to community takes many forms: donations to local schools, lobbying for transparency about products made with GMOs, hosting educational speakers and culinary demos. Oh, and the hot-bar foods are a lifesaver for time-crunched families. genatural.com
Mill Valley resident Margaret O’Leary began selling her hand-loomed knitwear to Bay Area boutiques in 1990 when she emigrated here from Ireland. Within a year, Barneys discovered her and orders multiplied. The knitwear line grew into a full collection, which led O’Leary to open her first store on San Francisco’s Claude Lane. Now there are 14 Margaret O’Leary boutiques on the East and West Coast, including the Mill Valley flagship store. A“My motto is ‘Live every day in style,’ and by that I mean the Marin lifestyle, which so often involves a blend of activities, from work to kids,” O’Leary says. margaretoleary.com
Good things are worth waiting for, and after 13 months of construction, Abode Marin (pictured left) has opened its 112-inch-tall glass doors on Larkspur’s Magnolia Avenue. Founder and Marin-based interior designer Julia Robberts (two b’s) started the shop geared to home-dwellers and the professionals who help them create their dream space. Our favorite part of the showroom is the buildyour- own-pillow station, like Build-a-Bear for adults. abodemarin.com
Composed of 7 on Locust, Kress, Henrybuilt, Poet and the Bench and the Parlor, this newly formed area — christened the Mill Valley Design District — features everything from clothing, jewelry, vintage goods and antiques to an eco-friendly hair salon. In no other place in the county could you design your kitchen and bath, then walk next door and try on some equestrian-inspired fashion. Regular events include launch and block parties, talks and trunk shows. millvalleydesigndistrict.com
Look your best with help from any one of the only-in-Marin retailers.
BRANDED Natalie Boatright, a Marin Catholic and Academy of Art University alumna, opened this boutique with Kannyn January, owner of San Francisco's Ambiance stores. 415.888.2135
FAMOUS4 This Mill Valley men’s and women’s store began in 1986 as Famous For Our Look and spotlights local designers alongside fine international labels. famous4.net
KOZE Led by Darla Fisher, this Tiburon shop offers more than 50 years of combined staff retail expertise. Look for labels with a heart-shaped flag indicating the product is made in America. getkoze.com
UKO Known for clothes by designers from Europe, Japan and Korea as well as the U.S., UKO originated in San Francisco in 1988 and now has a Mill Valley store. ukoboutique.com
VIVA DIVA Since 1997, owner Amy Anderson has run this downtown San Rafael shop aiming to provide an honest, encouraging and “girl-friendy” space. vivadivaboutique.com
Need that notion or potion for your next fete? Here are our top picks in six towns.
HUDSON GRACE They have done the thinking for you; you just have to put down your card and take home the gift of grace. hudsongracesf.com
TERRESTRA Brightly colored home goods, sparkles and more. terrestra.com
WEATHERED NEST Everything from metallic tattoos to housewarming “Beach This Way” signs to sparkling rings galore. weatherednest.net
TOBY’S FEED BARN Give the essence of West Marin with a pick from Toby’s well-curated range. tobysfeedbarn.com
FIG GARDEN Surprisingly great prices and lots of fun items like jewelry, candles and capes. 415.457.9443
SAUSALITO FERRY COMPANY Unique toys and goods to make you laugh and possibly blush. sausalitoferry.com
CHRISTOPHER’S HOME Unique nautical-themed gifts and much more. christopher-salon.com