Shop the block: Piedmont Ave.
By Lou Fancher
A three block jaunt offers an astonishing range of gift items: yarn and needlework supplies, rare books, new books, home and garden decor, beads and one-of-a-kind jewelry, wine, specialty coffee, holiday decorations and more.
During the never-ending up-down, open-close cycles of the pandemic, Piedmont Yarn store clerk Tracy Wolfe says interest in the fiber arts has remained strong. Despite limited hours and reduced customer capacity as dictated by health guidelines, she says people are purchasing “tons of yarn” because they’re worried about being stuck at home. “The holiday peak is happening because people want to do things with their hands,” says Wolfe.
While offering curbside pickup and restricting in-store customers to four at a time, the store’s free knitting circles have continued to meet three times a week on Zoom. Wolfe says steady, varying attendance in the virtual gatherings has the number of participants ranging from three to twenty. “Sometimes, it’s just everyone chatting, and other times, it’s sharing advice. It keeps the community connected and it’s safe for everyone.”
Blue Door Beads
Steps away at Blue Door Beads, jewelry repair services have resumed—with Covid mask and distancing rules updated on the website. Five in-store customers at one time is the limit. Nevertheless, business at the shop was brisk on a recent weekday afternoon as beaders filled trays with colorful beads, findings and jewelry made by local artists. The store’s knowledgeable staff provide a bonus to any purchase with hands-on expertise and advice for everyone from novice jewelry-makers to experienced beaders.
Wine and flowers
If a gift list includes specialty wine or floral arrangements, Vino! and Mille Fiori are accessible establishments offering customer-friendly products and practices. A broad range of prices and wine from different regions or varietals to pair with homemade meals can be found at Vino! The staff and owner offer a professional, accessible range that makes for a comfortable shopping experience regardless of budget.
Mille Fiori’s open air stall of fresh flowers provides a visual and olfactory boost. Pre-assembled or made-to-order bouquets—and charming angel ornaments dressed in jewel-tone gowns, with delicate woven wings and hands gently joined in prayer—are perfect for brightening a holiday table or tree.
Customers with hard-to-buy-for people on their holiday gift lists are sure to find something special at Nathan & Company, Sahara Moroccan Home Decor or Waterlilies.
The Nathan & Company shop is jam-packed with popular items on shelves this week including cookbooks written by local chefs, decorative pillows and ornaments, stationary and cards, Frida Kahlo mugs, a lovely seaweed candles in sea-foam green mugs, sturdy iron hand bells and more.
Sahara Moroccan Home DécorIn the window display at Sahara Moroccan Home Decor, a wooden keepsake or jewelry box impresses with elegant design and inlaid decoration in a variety of woods. Picture frames, decorative pots and urns, dishware, carved door and mirror frames, rugs, shoes and linens from Morocco offer options large and small and bring a North African perspective to gift giving.
Waterlilies offers garden gifts, house plants, jewelry, home and kitchen collections and health and well-being gifts. Along with regular shopping, appointment shopping for at-risk customers is available during hours posted on the door and at the Waterlilies website. Opened in 1998, the store’s soothing atmosphere and spiritual aesthetics have an additional upside — the items on sale from small scale suppliers and brands that practice fair labor trade.
Books! Of course no shopping trip should end without a book in hand and a cup of Joe or a snack. Find new, rare, and old books while browsing at Owl & Company Bookshop. Nearby, Spectator Books is not open for in-store browsing but the independent bookstore offers virtual browsing and efficient curbside pickup of new and used books, cards, calendars, puzzles and games and films on DVD or blue-ray ordered by phone or email.
Time for a pick-me-upFor that much needed cup of coffee or tea after an hour or two of shopping? Stop in at Blue Bottle Coffee for a Muscovado Sugar Latté served hot or cold or chai tea—and splurge on Avocado Toast while buying beans of a favorite brew or gift packages for a special someone…or for yourself.