Things, in addition to fireworks and the American flag, are popping up around Alameda this month. A new slew of retailers offer items at a good price, and one offers beautiful items worthy of big-city chic.
Japanese-style General Store
I get lost browsing the aisles of the general stores in San Francisco’s Japantown. There’s so much to take in among the masses of housewares, specialty papers plus interesting overseas snacks. Alameda has its own scaled-down version of Daiso Japan, a popular go-to store for household items that cost only $1.50. While it may not have the same inventory as its big city brother, this location impresses by offering popular items such as miniature erasers in the shape of sushi and mini milk cartons, Japanese-style cartoon characters on notebooks and satchels and popular snacks like Hi-Chew Candy, Yan Yan and Hello Panda cookies. Get a peak at cultural curiosities like the food decorators — face ball rollers, sandwich shapers and coffee foam sprinkle stencils — that make meal presentation pleasing to the eye.
2212C South Shore Center, 10 a.m.–7 p.m. daily
Little Old Fashioned Candie & Soda Pop Shop
Candy and Soda Store
Just like the name says, this shop is a little storefront that sells candy and soda. Sweet tooths will proclaim, “How sweet it is!,” because hundreds of different candy types and flavors line the store walls. Bins of saltwater taffy (15 cents each or $9.99 per pound) in flavors such as Taffy Rose, Frosted Cupcakes and X-treme Hots, line one side of the store. Old-fashioned candy sticks found at five-and-dime stores of yesteryear come in more than 30 flavors and in an array of colors. Cotton candy ($3), made from Pop Rocks is a big hit, while sesame honey crunch candy always seems to be in demand. Hard-to-find sodas in colorfully packaged bottles fill the shelves in the back of the store. Popular brands include Dr. Brown’s Soda, Crush and Stewart’s Root Beer.
1409 Park St., 12–8 p.m. Tue.–Sun.
European-Style Flower and Gift Shop
The new store was started by selling sweet and beautiful $5 floral bouquets in French market-style buckets outside of Blue Dot Café and Lauren’s Closet. As business blossomed, owner Karim Preuss opened Poppy Red. Stocking locally-made, nature-inspired gifts that are beautiful and functional, Poppy Red carries women’s accessories and housewares along with locally-grown fresh flowers. The store feels earthy and stays true to its roots — find air plants in glass-blown containers, French soaps and lotions in lavender and charming antique bottles ($15) picked up from estate and garage sales. Ultra feminine, yet luxurious and simple lingerie by Eberjey come in neutral colors in soft cotton, $20–$100. Delectable chocolates in interesting floral flavors such as Violet, Tulips and Fleur de Sel dark chocolate with salt ($6 each or $18 for a samples pack) are available by popular Oakland-based company Maison Bouche. In addition to the retail store, floral design services are offered for weddings, parties and window displays.
1428 Park St., (510) 388-2215, www.poppyredflowers.com, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Mon.–Wed., 10 a.m.–7 p.m. Thu.–Sat., 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Sun.