Who says there’s no place to shop in Alameda? Readers couldn’t wait to tell us their favorite places to purchase wine, gifts, flowers and more.
Best Antique Store
Pauline’s Antiques at 1427 Park St. is Alameda’s favorite place to shop for good old goods. Pauline Kelley knows what she sells; she’s been in business for more than 50 years, and one look at the assortment of funky finds in her entrance will tell you this is the place to find buried treasure.
STAFF PICK: Alameda Antiques & Collectibles, 1519 Park St. Just up the block, if you haven’t had your fill of treasure-hunting, check out Alameda Antiques for that last addition to your personal collection.
Best Wine Retailer
Du Vin Fine Wines, 2526-A Santa Clara Ave., is by far Alameda’s favorite place to pick out a bottle of vino for dinner or gifts. Purveyor Dan Marshall uses his expertise from his studies at the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, a British trade organization dedicated to wine education. He also attended L’Academie Du Vin at Christie’s in London and traveled widely throughout Europe.Years as a wine steward and in the wine import business also helped. Marshall still travels frequently to Europe to select the best vintages for his customers. This gentleman knows his stuff.
STAFF PICK: We concur. A santé!
Favorite Gift Shop
Whales and Friends, with its eclectic variety of fun stuff, is at 2060 Lincoln Ave. Owner Christine Gonsalves says she looks for items that are right for anyone on the gift list. Great stuff for kids of all ages, plus handmade jewelry, lamps, birdfeeders and wind chimes, artwork and more. Readers say check it out. STAFF PICK: Three Wishes, 1428 Park St. We love the spunky array of gift ideas here and especially that it’s just around the corner from our offices.
Silversword Jewelry, 1411 Park St., is Alameda’s top pick, and despite the name, this jeweler carries much more than just silver.A glance in the window will show an intriguing collection of necklaces, rings and brooches, silk scarves and shawls, lamps and vintage glass. Owner Frank Lopez says whether it’s silver, gold or diamonds, he’s got the goods.
STAFF PICK: We like ’em, too.
Best Grocery Store
Remember the hoopla when Trader Joe’s opened on the Island? Well, this market has more than lived up to its reputation. Trader Joe’s at South Shore Center was far and away the top grocery store pick for a huge number of our readers who voted. Trader Joe’s has made a big splash since coming to town. TJ’s donates to local charities, including generous gifts to the Alameda Food Bank.
STAFF PICK: We’re all for TJ’s, but our hearts belong to the Alameda Marketplace, 1650 Park St., where a variety of specialty shops offerfresh baked goods, fish, meats, wines, flowers, coffee and more.
A rose may be a rose, but a florist has to be pretty fabulous to pick up the Best of Alameda award. Luckily, Fabulous on Park Street is appropriately named, so if you’re in the vicinity, stop in and see what the huzzahs are all about.Owned by Alamedan Mark Sorensen, Fabulous is at 1415 Park St. and is also the home of the Alameda Civic Light Opera box office. STAFF PICK: John S. Towata Flowers, 2305 Santa Clara Ave.,for good floral sense, designs for all occasions and cool windows.
Fave Home Furnishings
It had to be Pillow Park Plaza, 1419 Park St., the longtime Alameda home furnishings store that once catered to the waterbed crowd and now specializes in high-quality sofas, rugs, tables and chairs—and even cigars. High-end kitchenware also makes an appearance, as do all sorts of home-dec items. Owners Debbie and Frank George are Alameda residents who give their time to the Alameda Civic Light Opera, the Alameda Chamber of Commerce and many more local organizations.
STAFF PICK: Pillow fight! Yeah!
Best New Business
Alameda newcomer, the independent bookseller Books Inc., 1344 Park St., takes the cake as readers’ favorite new business this year. This open, airy Park Street shop offers the best in new books and periodicals, with a section just for kids and nourishing those budding readers. Whether you want fiction, history, travel books, cookbooks, memoir or something juicy to read on the airplane, Books Inc. has the right stuff. Who says nobody reads anymore?
STAFF PICK: We love books, but we love our dogs, too. Dog Bone Alley,1342 Park St., gets two paws up from the staff.
Best Home & Garden Store
Pagano’s—where else? If you can’t find the gadget, thingamabob or whatzzit here, you need to go back to the drawing board. From the tiniest washer to large outdoor sheds, from birdseed to lumber, from nails and wires to martini glasses, you can pretty much rest assured that Pagano’s, 1100 Lincoln Ave., annex Pagano’s Down the Street at 1122 Lincoln Ave., and the know-all staff can help you find it, order it, track it down, deliver and assemble it for you. Nice to have these guys around, isn’t it?
STAFF PICK: We couldn’t agree more.