The Coolest of Stores

Cool right from the front door. At Cornerstone, in Sonoma, a very cool place all by itself.

Off to Sonoma this afternoon, to pick up a piece of furniture from Artefact Design and Salvage. We ordered it from their website when the owner, Dave Allen, was shopping in Indonesia and the container finally arrived. Thanks to the internet he can sell things even before he receives them, and we got a pretty cool new table you won’t find in any other store in the country.

But as wonderful as Artefact is, it is just the neighbor to my favorite store in the world, Zipper. This place quite literally raises quirky to an art form.

A big space filled with uniqueness.

Zipper is a gift store, which is a catch-all word letting the owners sell pretty much any darned thing that catches their talented eyes, from furniture to hats to books to kitchen gadgets to children’s items to objets d’art. You go there with an open mind and just see what nabs your imagination.

A small museum’s worth of objets.

The owners are Steve Saden, once a fashion designer, and Elizabeth Cashour, a playwright. How they got into retail I’ll never know, but they’re good at it.

Steve still shows his fashion sense.

I always enjoy looking at the books they carry–this is a gift store, not a book store, so their inventory leans to very large ‘coffee table’ books, often on exotic and outré topics. The Big Book of Breasts, for instance, is in 3-D, special glasses included.

The modern world being what it is, they have a number of signs imploring their customers not to see the books there and then buy them from Amazon, and especially not to whip out their cell phones to scan the UPC symbols to make that process easy.

This is not your common book store.

Whimsy. Lots and lots of whimsy.

The kiddie section isn’t the place to find a Mickey Mouse doll or a Where’s Waldo book. It’s all different, interesting, challenging, amusing and just plain special.

The children’s section against the rear wall.

There are fashion accessories, glasses, jewelry and accessories.

Can’t expect a fashion designer not to have fashion, can you?

We’re in the internet age, so of course they sell online, too, at Zippergifts.com The website is interesting, but nothing like the store–you have to go there to get the full flavor of it. Sonoma is less than an hour from here, you really should make the trip and see this very cool store for yourself.

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