In the latest Shop Talk retail column, read about a jewelry brand and Levi's first North American NextGen store at Stanford Shopping Center and a new Japanese ramen spot coming to downtown Mountain View.
GORJANA OPENS AT STANFORD ... Southern California-based jewelry brand Gorjana has moved into the space next to Tommy Bahama at Stanford Shopping Center, according to the mall's website. The retailer, which announced in April 2019 its plans to expand into at least three locations in the Bay Area by 2020, according to multiple media reports, opened its first area store at San Jose's Westfield Valley Fair Shopping Center for about a week before the state implemented shelter-in-place restrictions, forcing it to temporarily shut down. The opening of the Stanford store coincides with the company's roll out of its new fine jewelry collection, which includes its first 14K and 18K pieces. Since its launch in 2014, the company has gained popularity from its signature casual, "California cool" affordable jewelry line that incorporates colorful gemstones, textural elements and a gold finish. Company founders Gorjana Reidel and her husband, Jason Griffin Reidel, built up the company from a wholesale business, selling to boutiques, yoga shops, spas and resorts to an online and brick-and-mortar operation, according to InStore magazine. The jewelry brand can be found in more than 1,000 retail stores nationwide, as well as the brand's own retail sites, which the company has been aggressively expanding since 2016. — L.T.
LEVI'S OPENS FIRST NEXTGEN STORE ... Levi's opened its first North American NextGen store at Stanford Shopping Center on Sept. 29. Located next to Tender Greens, the re-imagined shop isn't just about transactions, it's about an experience, according to a company press release announcing the store's opening. The new store features a tailor shop where shoppers can customize their T-shirts with graphics, craft their own unique creations with patches, embroidery, colored rivets and other elements of their choice or sit down with an experienced tailor to bring their vision to life. The fitting rooms also have been redesigned to be more open and useful in helping consumers find the perfect fit. Customers can try on select fits and finishes not carried on the shelves in the store and order items through an in-store stylist. The new store also offers a more flexible shopping experience: Customers can buy item online, pick-up items in store or curbside or make an in-store personal shopping appointment. — L.T.
TOKYO'S FAMED AFURI RAMEN COMING.. Tokyo's Afuri Ramen + Dumpling , famed in Japan for its yuzu shio ramen, is opening a new location in downtown Mountain View. A sign for Afuri is now hanging above the entrance to 124 Castro St. This space has seen numerous restaurants turn over in recent years, including Crawfish Bros, Chop & Pub, East Street Tapas, East Street Tacos and Shell Shock. Afuri opened its first California location in Cupertino last fall. Afuri started in 2003 as a single ramen shop at the base of Mount Afuri in Japan. Founder Hiroto Nakamura took inspiration from the pristine water that flowed down the mountain (it was considered a sacred place where people prayed for a good harvest) and served a light, clear broth, rather than the rich and cloudy tonkotsu style. Afuri's chicken broth is slow cooked, never boiled, with "natural" umami (no MSG) from niboshi (dried sardines), bonito flakes, kombu and vegetables. Afuri eventually expanded throughout Japan and arrived in the United States in 2016 with a location in Portland, Oregon.The Afuri Ramen + Dumpling menu centers around the yuzu shio ramen but also includes several other kinds of ramen (including a vegan broth made from hazelnuts), gyoza, gohan (rice with toppings like karaage, chashu pork, bamboo shoots, slow-cooked egg and togarashi) and small plates. During the coronavirus shutdown, the Cupertino restaurant also started offering meal kits with all the ingredients necessary to make Afuri's ramen at home as well as cocktail kits. — E.K.
Compiled by the Weekly staff; this week written by Linda Taaffe and Elena Kadvany. Got leads on interesting and news-worthy retail developments? The Weekly will check them out. Email [email protected].