<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - Bay Area Shopping, Sales, Deals, Designers, and Stores ]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcbayarea.com/the-scene/shopping http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/nbc_bayarea_blue.png NBC Bay Area http://www.nbcbayarea.com en-us Wed, 23 Jul 2014 01:18:54 -0700 Wed, 23 Jul 2014 01:18:54 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[NorCal's Largest Rummage Sale This Sunday]]> Fri, 24 Jan 2014 23:13:09 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/01-24-2014-white-elephant.jpg

Antique shops pale in comparison. Garage sales don’t hold a candle. And thrift stores are downright pitiful when compared to the 96,000-square-foot warehouse that is home to the annual White Elephant Preview Sale.

Last year I picked up a 24" silver-plated tray for $50 and considered a beautiful carved chair for $100 but it would not fit in my Prius!

More than 1,200 volunteers work the 17 departments that include boutique, silver, fantastic furniture, Christmas, lighting, vintage clothing, furniture, books, jewelry, shoes, tools, electronics, and sporting goods. Rack up karma points while on a treasure hunt—proceeds support the Oakland Museum of California.

This sale is not for the faint of heart, so expect crowds, and watch out for the cutthroat designers and HGTV decorators waiting to snatch that mid-century chair, Chinese vase or classic trunk.

The preview sale is this Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014, and is a picker's delight. Admission is only $20!

Come early and wait in line, doors open at 10 a.m.

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<![CDATA[First Up on the PlayStation 4]]> Fri, 22 Nov 2013 18:23:30 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/KNTV_000000005138732_1200x675_70093891737.jpg Next Generation video game consoles are here and are being fueled by new software. It’s just the start of new era that the Sony PlayStation 4 is bringing to gamers around the world now.]]> <![CDATA[American Girl Store Comes to Stanford]]> Thu, 14 Nov 2013 15:44:30 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/220*120/americangirl1.jpg

Playgrounds across the Bay Area are likely buzzing in high-pitch squeals this week as little girls plan their first visit to the new American Girl store in Palo Alto.

The store has been under wraps for months at the Stanford Shopping Mall, but its door will swing wide open on Saturday morning.

For non-doll aficionados, the American Girl doll is considered the "Tiffany of toys," with prices starting at more than $100. Throw in the brushes, skirts and other accessories, and gift givers are looking at spending hundreds of dollars for each "Saige," "McKenna" and "Kanani," this holiday season.

The American Girl doll line started in Chicago in 1986. The company devotes its entire business to "celebrating the potential of girls ages 3 to 12."

The Stanford store is 15,000 square feet and has two levels. It has a restaurant and a hair salon. Humans can eat in the Bistro, but the salon is only for the dolls.

The store's grand opening this weekend is expected to be crowded.

A ticket system will be used with customers given a group number.

Tickets won't be handed out before 7 a.m. on Saturday and 8 a.m. on Sunday and Stanford does not allow overnight camping.

 

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<![CDATA[Yes, Algae Can Make You Beautiful]]> Thu, 08 Aug 2013 06:33:27 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/8-7-2013-algae-cosmetics.jpg

It's already in your car. How about a little on your face?

Not content to try and revolutionize the fuel market, Silicon Valley biotech company Solazyme is targeting skincare products. By re-engineering algae, Solazyme has been able to create a cleaner fuel. It's a cool idea, embraced by some car and airline makers.

Now, Solazyme wants to get a little more glamorous.

It's expanding a deal to sell its Algenist line of cosmetics with skincare and makeup hotshot Sephora, and yes, the products will be algae-based. Solazyme has been working on cosmetic products for a couple of years. The latest deal with Sephora will focus on the Algenist line of Anti-Aging oil. It costs $79 per bottle, and is coming to a Sephora near you, whether you're in the US, Canada, Mexico, UK, France, Spain, Italy, or a half-dozen other countries.

"Think of it as greener, more sustainable skincare." After all, says Solazyme Chief Scientist Anna Coragliotti, "Algae are survivors."

And Solazymepublicly traded, by the way, under the ticker symbol SZYMknows what to do with it.

"Cellular rejuvenation benefits to the skin, hydration benefits to the skin,” Algenist VP of marketing Tania Toubba said. “You're gonna get anti-aging products that really work."

The future? Look for algae-based food to come from Solazyme. They're cooking some up in their South San Francisco lab now. Lots of products will likely come from algae ... Let's just hope we don't accidentally confuse them.

Sephora’s new line of Algenist anti-aging products go on sale at Sephora stores Thursday.

 Scott Budman is on Twitter: @scottbudman

 



Photo Credit: Scott Budman]]>
<![CDATA[Land of San Jose Dome Theaters on Developers' Radar]]> Wed, 24 Apr 2013 21:19:33 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/216*120/theater6.jpg

A well known yet outdated movie theater complex in San Jose might soon be torn down
and redeveloped with shops and housing.

The 11 acre parcel land is directly across the street from Santana Row and currently holds three popular domed Century theaters and the Flames restaurant.

If the plan is approved, the theaters and the diner will be torn down.

San Jose City Council Member Pete Constant says turning the land into mixed use development makes good economic sense, but some locals are worried about traffic.

Traffic on Winchester Blvd. is already a mess from Interstate 280 to Valley Fair Shopping Center.

The size of the lot is about the same size as Santana Row, so if it is approved the outdoor shopping mecca will basically be doubled.

The Winchester Mystery House is also in the general area, but it is off limits.  The mystery house is a city landmark and therefore protected.

The map below shows the area. The green is the current Santana Row site. The yellow is the proposed site.

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<![CDATA[Muji Brings Retail To Silicon Valley]]> Tue, 16 Apr 2013 18:17:58 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/muji2.jpg

Silicon Valley is famous for innovation, tech, stock options, and wealth. What we don't have much of, is retail.

When Japanese retail giant Uniqlo moved into San Francisco recently, the lines went around several blocks, as people couldn't get enough of the store. Now, another Japanese retailer, Muji, is trying to replicate the buzz.

But not in San Francisco - Muji is moving into the South Bay.

Specifically, right by the Fairmont Hotel in downtown San Jose, an area with lots of people and money, but very little retail.

Now, it will have close to 4,600 square feet of retail, an experiment that many in the South Bay hope will succeed.

Muji sells both clothing, and home items, with an emphasis on the household goods.

Can it work, a la Uniqlo?

We'll be there at the opening to see.

Scott will post to Twitter: @scottbudman

 



Photo Credit: Scott Budman]]>
<![CDATA[Disney Shutters LucasArts]]> Wed, 03 Apr 2013 16:53:07 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/323*120/1C6756299-kenreck-lucasarts-130403.streams_desktop_large.jpg

Longstanding video game company LucasArts is soon to be no more.

The San Francisco-based video game company, which is known for classic Star Wars video games such as X-Wing, Tie Fighter, and X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter, will be shut down by new parent company Disney,  the San Francisco Business Times first reported.

LucasFilm later released a statement that said it was shifting from building video games to licensing out the Star Wars names to developers.

“After evaluating our position in the games market, we’ve decided to shift LucasArts from an internal development to a licensing model, minimizing the company’s risk while achieving a broader portfolio of quality Star Wars games. As a result of this change, we’ve had layoffs across the organization. We are incredibly appreciative and proud of the talented teams who have been developing our new titles.”

Disney recently paid $4 billion for Lucasfilm Ltd. and will shut the studio — which will result in the loss of 150 jobs — as a way to consolidate costs.

There will still be future Star Wars games, and the ones under development will likely be created.

But the future? Other companies will make them.

According to its website, LucasArts was founded in 1982 by filmmaker George Lucas. It said it is a leading developer and publisher of interactive entertainment software worldwide for video game console systems, computers, mobile devices and the Internet. It has development facilities in San Francisco and Singapore.



Photo Credit: LucasArts]]>
<![CDATA[Santana Row Plans For New Office Space]]> Wed, 13 Mar 2013 14:13:03 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/shopping-generic-sepia.jpg San Jose's Santana Row wants to be home to some 3,000 high tech workers. Marla Tellez reports.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Samsung Gadget Are Big Ticket Items - Like Refrigerators]]> Tue, 08 Jan 2013 18:26:48 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/ces5pm_8117940_722x406_14006851965.jpg Scott Budman shows us what Samsung is up to at CES 2013.]]> <![CDATA[TV Speaker-Equipped Pillow Launched at CES]]> Tue, 08 Jan 2013 13:43:26 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/CESSPEAKERPILLOW16x9_8110878_722x406_13979203606.jpg Scott Budman has a pillow that has tiny speakers so spouses can watch TV overnight without bothering anyone. It will be ready by Father's Day and cost $129.]]> <![CDATA[Retailer Target to Match Competitors' Prices]]> Tue, 08 Jan 2013 13:21:01 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/targetblackfriday.jpg

In a move that could ease prices for consumers in the coming months, the Target discount chain said Tuesday that it will match prices with its online competitors, starting now.

The giant company had instituted a similar policy during the past few holiday season, but never made the commitment to extend price-matching throughout the year.

Now, executives said, Target will match prices with Amazon.com, Walmart.com, BestBuy.com, Toysrus.com and Babysrus.com.

To get the best prices, consumers will have to bring proof of the competitors' prices to the guest services desk at one of its stores. The company has more details about the deals on its website.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images/Sandy Huffaker]]>
<![CDATA[Gadget Heaven: 2013 Consumer Electronics Show]]> Thu, 24 Apr 2014 06:46:23 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/CES_Thursday_P10.jpg The 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show runs until Jan. 11 in Las Vegas. The annual event will tout the latest gadgets including sharper TVs, new phones and souped up computers.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Wii U in 2013]]> Thu, 03 Jan 2013 16:57:31 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/206*120/WEBWiiU.JPG The Nintendo Wii U has a big year in store during 2013 after launching in November of 2012.]]> <![CDATA[Naked Sleepers Courted by SoCal Retailer]]> Thu, 03 Jan 2013 19:03:21 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sleep_generic.jpg

Sleeping naked on a cold winter’s night apparently doesn’t seem too appealing to many people, but a good 8 percent of the population wouldn’t have it any other way, according to a recent survey by a company that sells items meant to keep people warm at night.

The rest of us don pajamas or other clothing before we hit the sheets, according to a survey of sleeping habits by Anna’s Linens, the Costa Mesa discount home furnishings retailer.

Clothed or unclothed, about three-quarters of Americans prefer to sleep on our sides, the company said. Just under half – about 47 percent – sleep with someone who snores.

The company interviewed about 3,700 people nationwide for the survey, which is said was in honor of National Sleep Day on Jan. 3. (Although the naked truth about that seems to be that there is little record of such a day being set aside by Congress or anybody else.)

Among the survey’s other findings: Most people say they get a restful night’s sleep just three nights per week. The worst night, apparently, is Sunday, followed closely by Monday.

And then there’s dreaming: just 10 percent of those surveyed said they remember nearly all of their dreams. About 70 percent complained that their friends’ dreams were more interesting.

As for the naked sleepers, the company immediately seized an opening, offering to sell them soft cotton sheets.

"They feel great against the skin," company president Alan Gladstone said.

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<![CDATA[Blue, Pink and Yellow iPhones Coming]]> Wed, 02 Jan 2013 16:56:00 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/iphone5_details.jpg

Apple is working on a fresh new rainbow of iPhone 5s to stimulate sales and attract new buyers, according to reports.

Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White said Apple will revamp its iPhone 5 to iPhone 5Ss  which will help the tech giant reach record share prices. 

“Apple is our top overall pick for 2013,” White wrote in a note to investors, according to Boy Genius Report. "We believe there is still plenty to look forward to at Apple, including the potential for greater choices (i.e., colors, sizes) around the next iPhone in 2013, combined with accelerating momentum with the iPad mini and continued strength with the iPad franchise at large.”

White reported that Asian suppliers told him there will be more customer choice for the new iPhone which he said will be launched by June. The colors? Blue, pink, yellow, white and silver and black and slate. There will be also be two different screen sizes, he said. 
 
Has Apple taken a page from competitors Samsung and LG? Apple's customer choice has been limited with little or no ability to customize the look of their devices except by third party skins or cases. if this reports is true, now iPhone users can have an iPhone different from others right out of the box. 
 
While this is no indication that Apple is going the way of Android, it does show that the tech company is learning that there may be some things to learn from other successful companies.
 
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<![CDATA[Toys R Us Joins Macy's to Offer All Night Shopping]]> Thu, 20 Dec 2012 15:59:27 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/black4.jpg

For the first time ever, two major retailers are going to keep their doors open and never close them this final weekend of the Christmas shopping season.

Macy's was the first to announce it will be open for 48 straight hours this weekend. They made the announcement earlier in the month.

At the time, marketing expert Bernhard Schroeder from San Diego State predicted more retailers would join Macy's and they did.

Now Toys R Us is joining in the marathon and saying they will be open for 88 straight hours.

When the toys store open Friday morning, they will stay open until 10 p.m. Christmas Eve.

"While there is one part of me that says, 'Wow, what is our society heading into?' the marketing side of me says, 'Game on,'" Schroeder said.

The overnight shopping sprees started last year when several retailers opened their doors at the stroke of midnight after Thanksgiving.  That continued this year, with some stores opening as early as 8 p.m. Thanksgiving night.

Shoppers gave a mixed response when asked if they would make purchases in the middle of the night.

"No, I'll be asleep at that time," said one Southern California shopper.

Another said she'd take advantage of the unusual time.

"If there's less people out, why not?"

 

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[How to Avoid Dynamic Pricing Online]]> Wed, 19 Dec 2012 11:55:05 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Online-Shopping-722-x-406.jpg

Online shoppers looking to save money may want to change their web browser settings to avoid "dynamic pricing," a common practice among web retailers looking to maximize revenue.

"Dynamic pricing essentially is pricing things different for different people at different times, for the same product," said John Simpson of consumerwatchdog.org. "So you start to have the ability of really discriminatory pricing."

Retailers track spending habits through "browser cookies," small files automatically downloaded from websites. Previous behavior could be an indicator of what someone is willing to spend: a consumer who shops at high-end retail websites may be willing to spend more than a discount shopper.

"You leave a trail. You might think you're anonymous on the Internet but you're really not. Your name may be private but your computer name is not," said UCLA Marketing expert Professor Dominique Hanssens.

Shoppers can avoid dynamic pricing by disabling third-party cookies. The option can be found in a web browser's settings. Consumers can also use one web browser for research, and another for purchasing.

"Use multiple computers, use multiple accounts, just don't reveal your behavior if you want to be anonymous," said Hanssens.

Dynamic pricing isn't all bad. For example, a shopper who views an item online may be notified of a price drop.

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<![CDATA[1st Look Loves: Duality Nail Pak]]> Mon, 17 Dec 2012 14:27:08 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/256*120/duality-nail-pak.jpg

Leave it to a brilliant business entrepreneur mother of six daughters to come up with an ingenious “manicure system” for busy nail polish-loving women everywhere!

The duality Nail Paks come with long-lasting, chip-resistant, salon-strength polish in a bottle that looks like most others but on the twist-off bottom of the packaging is a built-in compartment featuring a nail file and pre-soaked non-acetone nail polish remover pads.

All the colors are on trend and vibrant, and the shimmery holiday collection is a perfect last-minute stocking stuffer--yu will definitely want more than a few of these brilliantly designed beauty treats, so go now to the website.

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<![CDATA[49er Vernon Davis Opens Art Gallery In Santana Row]]> Tue, 11 Dec 2012 16:19:32 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/vernon.jpg

Silicon Valley CEOs, elected officials and 49ers were among those who came to San Jose for the opening of  Vernon Davis' Gallery 85 on Monday night in an evening of art and charitable fundraising.

The 49er's tight-end hosted the Santana Row, invite-only event where he sold art to benefit his namesake organization, The Vernon Davis Foundation for the Arts. Organizers said they sold everything available for the fundraiser and exceeded capacity with more than 250 people in attendance.

Davis started the night off with a ribbon-cutting ceremony where he stood beside teammate and 49ers quarterback Alex Smith. He was joined by teammates Alex Smith, Aldon Smith and 49er owner Jed York.

Exhibits included artwork of recent foundation scholar Niyjale Cummings, as well as Davis' own portrait of 49ers' defensive tackle Justin Smith.

The art foundation's profit will go toward Davis' foundation, according to a statement, which he created to provide art education to at-risk youth and give scholarships to college art students.

According to Yahoo! Sports, Davis grew up in a harsh inner city where he feared the pressure and judgment  for loving art.

"I figured that if I took up art classes, people would look at me differently," Davis recently told Yahoo! Sports. "I wanted to be cool, and I didn't know how to adapt at the time. It's sad, but that's just the way it was."

A fitting location, Santana Row's affluent community is expected to be a successful location for high rolling donors.

NBC Bay Area has been following Davis' artistic endeavors for the past several years. Here's an archive video of him showing us his artwork:

View more videos at: http://nbcbayarea.com.

 

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<![CDATA[Macy's Open 48 Hours Straight This Weekend]]> Thu, 21 Nov 2013 12:48:58 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/black4.jpg

Procrastinating Christmas shoppers have a new option for thie last minute gift buying this year.

Macy's has announced it will be open for 48 straight hours the weekend before Christmas. If you haven't looked at the calendar lately, that is this weekend.

You may remember Black Friday sales started on Thanksgiving Thursday this year, and now Macy's is offering to stay open overnight in hopes of taking in even more retail dollars.

Marketing expert Bernhard Schroeder from San Diego State said this move for a non-stop shopping weekend may give Macy's an edge.  And is bound to get the attention of other retail competitors.

"While there is one part of me that says, 'Wow, what is our society heading into?' the marketing side of me says, 'Game on.'"

Shoppers gave a mixed response when asked if they would make purchases in the middle of the night.

"No, I'll be asleep at that time," said one shopper.

Another said she'd take advantage of the unusual time.

"If there's less people out, why not?" said another shopper.

It could help Macy's compete against online retailers, according to Schroeder.

Macy's hopes they can create a sort of Black Friday buzz for bargain shoppers and procrastinators.  But the question still remains: Who will end up shopping in the middle of the night?

 

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Starbucks Debuts $450 Gift Cards]]> Mon, 17 Dec 2012 10:20:14 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/89841329-starbucks.jpg

If you can’t go a single morning without a cup of Starbucks brew, you are in for a treat.

According to USA Today, Starbucks will offer customers the opportunity to purchase new, limited edition, metal gift card loaded with $400.

The specially-etched Starbucks Metal Cards are made out of steel, not plastic, and cost $50 each to make, which explains the $450 price tag.

USA Today reports the card also comes with gold-level benefits such as gifts and free refills on brewed coffee and tea.

Starbucks will only make 5,000 of the metal cards.

These cards will not be available in stores, only on Gilt.com, starting Thursday, Dec. 8.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Going Digital at the Cash Register]]> Sat, 01 Dec 2012 15:02:57 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/177*120/receipt.JPG

There could be fewer paper receipts at the bottom of shopping bags this holiday season as more stores are now sending out electronic receipts.

Popular stores like Nordstrom, Macy's and Banana Republic are offering to email customers receipts at the point of purchase in lieu of printing out a traditional paper receipt at the register.

"I think it's a natural progression for another paper intensive area of life," said Sarina Dahukey with the high tech research company Gap Intelligence.

Dahukey says she doesn't think printed receipts will go away but that more retailers will offer digital as an option.

For consumers, paperless receipts sent to an email account could be easier to keep track of with no chance of losing the paper copy.

But the retail stores could also use that email address for other purposes.

"The store gets a data file on a new consumer," said San Diego State marketing professor Steven Osinksi.

Not only can the store create a file of information but they also get an email address to use for ads and promotions.

Many stores say they will not share the personal information of their customers. 

But Osinski says customers should ask about the retail store's privacy policy before giving out their email address for a digital receipt.

Sarina Dahukey suggests that customers create an email address just for receipts and other marketing interaction.

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<![CDATA[Bay Area Tech Holiday Gift Guide]]> Sat, 01 Dec 2012 20:59:11 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/181*120/gifts-shutterstock_117897964.jpg Scott Budman reviews a host of tech gifts which include: a Jambox by Jawbone, the Kohler Moxie Shaverhead, a Nike sports watch GPS, and several tablets

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Lululemon Ad Controversy at Santana Row]]> Tue, 27 Nov 2012 16:03:01 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/11PMMONJEANELLEHIT_7841263_722x406_10044995603.jpg The Lululemon Athletica window at Santana Row in San Jose reads “Goodbye Camel Toe and Hello Mistle Toe." Some people think it’s a crass statement others think it’s a funny ad. Jean Elle reports. ]]> <![CDATA[Shoppers Asked to Think Small]]> Sun, 25 Nov 2012 09:03:46 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/black3.jpg

This year Black Friday turned into Gray Thursday with stores opening their door before midnight on Thanksgiving.

Big box stores like Walmart hailed it as a huge success. Walmart reported its best ever Black Friday crowds with the extended hours of sales, even as labor unions protested working condition. Walmart said every second between 8 p.m. and midnight Thursday, stores sold nearly five-thousand items.

But Gray Thursday is something others are hoping will go away.

Jessica Starkey, co-owner of her family’s chocolate and gift store, “Gourmet Works of Pleasanton,” said that Thanksgiving marks the start of their fresh chocolate-making frenzy in order to produce double the amount of product for Christmas sales.

She laughed and added, “We are in crazy mode for sure!”

In fact, Starkey said the store makes 25 percent of its annual business just within the six weeks of the holiday season, starting with Thanksgiving.

However, the threat of Gray Thursdays becoming a tradition is daunting for her.

It’s the same with Chelsea Seymour, manager of the retail store “Therapy,” just a few doors down.

Seymour said the last six weeks for her store can bring in up to 30 percent of the total business in a year.

Seymour expressed concern about big box stores continuing to extend their Black Friday sale hours.

“We do worry about that and we question that because for us, as a small business, it’s hard to keep our doors open and have people here working if obviously nobody’s coming in. We can’t much less afford to have people working all these holidays and forcing them to do that.”

Both Seymour and Starkey added that it wasn’t just the timing of the new Gray Thursday trend, but the addition of the nearby Paragon Outlets in Livermore that also cut down on foot traffic through downtown Pleasanton.

Marlene Bonderud and her husband Bill, who was born in Pleasanton and later became a firefighter for the city, said they visit Downtown Pleasanton several times a week. They credit the city, as well as the Pleasanton Downtown Association, for keeping the area alive and thriving, including events like “Cash Mobs.”

“Everyone shows up in one place by City Hall and they pick one store,” Marlene said.

“Everyone takes 20 dollars to that store.” Her husband added that in the summertime, the city hosts events outdoors to attract new visitors.

“What they call ‘First Wednesday’ so they have a band playing, food, and booths. Plus all the stores are open and encourage you to do the shopping.”

The Bonderuds said they will continue to vote with their feet for their favorites because for them, the mom-and-pop shop experience transcends mere customer service – it’s the chance you can run into familiar faces.

They’re hoping their grandchildren will remember days and nights like these experiencing all that the historic downtown has to offer, and pass on the tradition of what Bill called “that hometown feeling.”



Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Die-Hard Bargain Shoppers Waiting for Black Friday]]> Thu, 22 Nov 2012 15:57:27 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Black_Friday_P1.jpg Some people have been camped out since Monday for Black Friday deals. Jean Elle reports.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[14 Potentially Dangerous Toys Named in "Trouble in Toyland" Report]]> Thu, 22 Nov 2012 05:05:54 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/toys112112.jpg The annual "Trouble in Toyland" is out from U.S. PIRG. This year, the group named about a dozen toys that it says could be dangerous to children.

Photo Credit: U.S. PIRG]]>
<![CDATA[Black Friday: Good for Buzz, Not for Predicting Sales]]> Mon, 25 Mar 2013 09:39:00 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/93446410_10.jpg

There is perhaps no more glaring exhibition of American consumerism than Black Friday: shoppers spending their long Thanksgiving weekends camped outside big-box stores for the chance to fight through crowds for the latest gadgets and toys.

Retailers invest a lot of hope in that day, because it can be used to build momentum for the six-week holiday shopping season, their most profitable time of year.

But Black Friday isn’t the economic bellwether that it used to be. The thrifty financial landscape, and the growth of online shopping, have arguably diminished the event’s impact, even as it grows in popularity, with more stores opening on Thanksgiving or offering sales weeks earlier.

“Everyone’s going to hype it, and there are a lot of deals out there, and some people make it an experience in itself, but I don’t think it’s as much of a leading indicator of the holiday season,” said Dennis Jacobe, chief economist for Gallup, the research and polling firm.

The biggest reason, Jacobe said, is that while the recession has abated, consumer caution has not. His studies show that that more Americans say they’re confident in the economy, but they aren’t as willing to exercise that faith by opening their wallets. That includes upper-income shoppers, who may be growing anxious about the looming fiscal cliff’s impact on their taxes. The lingering effects of Hurricane Sandy could be a factor as well.

Many researchers have reported modest spending in the weeks leading up to Black Friday.

In other words, the crowds that turn out for door-buster deals this weekend can’t necessarily be expected to remain enthusiastic.

From an economic researcher’s perspective, Black Friday is more sport than science. Analysts say that sales figures during this brief period are less a function of the broader fiscal climate than of the effort retailers go to in drawing people to their stores.

Because that effort grows every year, Black Friday—and the rest of the weekend—typically performs well, said Allen Sinai, chief economist and strategist at Decision Economics Inc. The zeal usually fades a bit, then picks up again in the days right before Christmas.

Sinai also recalled a couple occasions when a Black Friday turned out to be “a dud,” but sales rallied later in the holiday season.

That record, he said, was why he didn’t “place a lot of stock” in Black Friday as an accurate gauge of holiday-season shopping.

Tell an economist you're trying to get accurate data on Black Friday sales, and the response will often be “good luck.” Many organizations—retail trade groups, market researchers, polling firms—try it, but methods, and margins of error, vary. U.S. Commerce Department statisticians don’t break down economic data that narrowly.

Barry Ritholtz, director of equity research at Fusion IQ, takes to his popular blog every year to bemoan the “wildly optimistic” surveys that the media quotes at the end of Black Friday weekend.

Without fail, he says, the reports exaggerate consumer enthusiasm. He pointed to last year’s National Retail Foundation’s claim that sales had spiked by 16 percent – which, if true, would have been a record-breaking sum. There was no apparent attempt to check the data later on, but economists generally agree that consumer spending increased by less than 6 percent over the entire 2011 holiday season.

The NRF has predicted a slight decrease in the number of Black Friday shoppers this year.

“You should be reluctant to draw too big a conclusion from one day,” Ritholtz said. “As we’ve seen, it never lives up to the hype. In fact, part of the reason there’s so much hype and false signals is there are so many people trying to get a read into that one day, far more than what you should typically be willing to see in one day. This is an economy, not an event.”

His prediction, shared by many other researchers, is that no matter how frenetic Black Friday turns out to be, holiday season spending will enjoy a modest uptick this year. Bain & Co., for example, predicted a 3.5 percent increase in spending, compared to a 3.7 percent increase in 2011 and 3.8 percent the year before. Gallup has predicted a "good, though not great" performance.

The biggest variable, many say, is the fiscal cliff, the expiration of Bush-era tax cuts and automatic spending reductions that will go into effect Dec. 31 unless President Barack Obama can reach some kind of deal with Congress. If there is no solution before Christmas, consumers may get nervous, and hold back on holiday spending, some economists say.

Lawmakers are expected to get back to work on the issue after Thanksgiving weekend.

“Uncertainty is even greater than usual at this point,” said Scott Hoyt, senior director of consumer economics for Moody’s Analytics. “Whatever sales are like this weekend, it doesn’t really help to address that uncertainty."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Black Friday Guide: How to Get the Best Deals]]> Thu, 22 Nov 2012 07:47:23 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/black+friday+target.jpg

Black Friday — it's the mother of all shopping days. A day when millions of people wielding billions of dollars scratch and claw for the biggest bargains. So what's the best plan of attack?

"My advice is to skip it entirely," says Jody Rohlena, senior editor at Shop Smart magazine.

Black Friday has been such a staggering marketing success that it's spawned Black Thursday, Cyber Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday… the list goes on. The upside, as Rohlena sees it, is there's no need to focus all your energy, time and money on one day.

"We're gonna see really good markdowns all the way up to the Holidays, and guess what — when retailers have inventory that they're trying to unload, they're going to keep setting up new sales, so there can be advantages waiting," says Rohlena.

But whether you brave the crowds of Black Friday or not, you still need to be prepared. Even if you're a dedicated brick-and-mortar shopper, the Internet is your best starting point. There's a host of websites — BFAds.net, BlackFriday.com and SlickDeals.net — dedicated to tracking the best deals out there, as well as store hours.

"Take a look at those ads beforehand and really find out if they're great deals or not," advises Rohlena. "You can do quick searches at PriceGrabber.com, for example. Don’t assume because it's in a Black Friday circular that it's a great deal."

To help assuage your fears of overpaying, Rohlena says the big news this holiday season is in the realm of price matching. At a lot of stores, if you buy something and then find it cheaper someplace else, they'll refund you the difference.

If big box stores and national chains aren't your thing, Rohlena is a big fan of Small Business Saturday.

"People may think that prices are higher in those smaller independent retail stores — they may not necessarily be," he said. "And there's an advantage: If you ask for a better deal, you might be dealing directly with the owner, they have a lot more leeway to give you a better price. If you ask nicely, of course.

"If you go on AmericanExpress.com, you can register you card, if you use your AmEx to shop on Small Business Saturday at a participating retailer, they will give you a $25 credit. Spend $25, get the credit back on your bill — there's another really good reason to participate: free money."

If there's something you just have to have in-hand, Rohlena suggests a reconnaissance mission: going to the store a few days early to find out where your prey will be on display, the nearest entrance and the exact hour it will be available.

Among the other Internet tools available to the modern bargain hunter is the Black Friday Survival Guide app, which has a newsfeed, lets you search each store by category or each category by item, tells you exactly when each sale begins, provides competitor prices and lets you build a shopping list you can email to a loved one.

If the thought of the traffic and the crowds makes your chest tighten, the Internet is here to help but still requires a good plan. Rohlena recommends CyberMonday.com, CyberMonday2012.com, FreeShipping.org to see who's got free shipping and @cybermonday at Twitter.

With all of the new shopping tools at our disposal, why wade into the insanity of Black Friday at all?

"For those of us who really want to make sure we're giving a nice gift to someone we care about, I think it's important to be able to compare things physically, if you know what I mean, as opposed to virtually, online," says Dr. Tina Lowrey, professor of marketing at the University of Texas, San Antonio, and editor of "Brick & Mortar Shopping in the 21st Century."

"And for a lot of people, I think they enjoy being around other people that are in the holiday spirit, it's sort of an infectious kind of social gathering to be around… the communal nature of going out and being with other people who are out for the same reason."

Rohlena is unmoved.

"I know too much," he said. "I'm not going anywhere on Black Friday."



Photo Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS]]>
<![CDATA[Ali Explores the Best Shopping in Brooklyn]]> Sat, 17 Nov 2012 23:03:17 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/WILLIAMSBURG-1stLook.jpg Lets face it, there are few better places in the world to shop than NY. But why stay on the island when there's so much to find in Brooklyn's trendiest neighborhood? Follow Ali as she explores Williamsburg to find the best shopping available in NY's biggest borough. Maison Premiere 298 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn, NY / 347-335-0446. A Thousand Picnics 171 South 4th Street, Brooklyn, NY / 951-9SP-ECIE. Grand Street Bakery 602 Grand St., Brooklyn, NY / 718-387-2390.]]> <![CDATA[Valley Fair Interchange Gets an Upgrade]]> Thu, 08 Nov 2012 19:10:22 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/valleyfair_7718541_722x406_7228995763.jpg NBC Bay Area's Damian Trujillo shows us the changes coming to the highway surrounding Valley Fair in San Jose.]]> <![CDATA[Ready, Set, Shop in Livermore]]> Thu, 08 Nov 2012 17:57:16 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/shoping.jpg

Move over Gilroy, there is a new outlet mall in town.

The Paragon Outlets Livermore Valley opened its doors Thursday and people flooded in by the thousands.

Traffic on nearby I-580 started backing up for the 10 a.m. grand opening. The parking lot was filled to capacity by noon.

Paragon is the first new outlet mall to open in California since 2001.

The $150-million, 543,000-square-foot outlet center has 130 stores.

“Paragon Outlets Livermore Valley is one of only five outlet centers that will open in the United States this year,” Paragon Outlet Partners Principal Robert A. Brvenik said in a press release. 

And apparently outlet shopping isn't just a daytime event anymore. The mall will be stay open until 11 p.m. on Thursday and midnight on Friday and Saturday of its grand opening weekend.

The anchor stores are Bloomingdale’s, Last Call by Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH.

Other stores: 

  • Armani Outlet
  • Barneys New York Outlet
  • Burberry
  • Coach Factory
  • DKNY
  • Elie Tahari
  • Kate Spade New York
  • J.Crew
  • Michael Kors
  • Prada
  • Polo Ralph Lauren
  • Tommy Hilfiger

All of the above are open for business and all promise savings of 25 to 65-percent discounts every day.

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<![CDATA[Angels Shine at Victoria's Secret Fashion Show]]> Tue, 04 Dec 2012 03:12:02 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/victoria-secret-new-thumb.jpg Victoria's Secret Angels took to the glittery runway to sport the latest and most extravagant bras — and share the stage with Justin Bieber, Rihanna and Bruno Mars.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Livermore Outlets Ready for Business]]> Wed, 07 Nov 2012 21:52:47 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/WOUTLET_7712857_722x406_7099971834.jpg The Paragon Outlets in Livermore open Thursday, after a long time in the planning. Kimberly Tere reports.]]> <![CDATA[Apple and Philips Release "Smarter" Lightbulb]]> Mon, 05 Nov 2012 20:07:11 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/hue-light-bulbs.jpg

The next time you walk into an Apple store, you'll be able to buy more than just a smartphone. You'll be able to buy a smart light bulb - at least, smarter than whatever's currently lighting up your home or place of business.

Don't expect Apple fans to camp out to get the bulbs, though. They're actually made by electronic giant Philips, and they're being sold -exclusively - at Apple stores.

The bulb is called Hue, and Philips calls it the world's first LED light system that works with the web.  That is, you download an app (not just exclusively iOS, by the way .. these work with Android devices, too), and then you control the bulb from your mobile phone.

If this sounds something like the Nest Thermostat, it kind of reminds us of that, too.  Taking Apple-like design principles, marrying them to a mobile device, and shaking up the market.  To be fair, Hue is not the only light bulb trying to be disruptive - Silicon Valley is also home to SWITCH, which, like, Hue, is more expensive, longer lasting, and more environmentally clean than the typical bulb.

With your phone, you can control the brightness, color, and timing of your light bulb.  The bulbs come in a set of three for about $200. Too much of a revolution too soon?  We'll see. As someone who actually went around changing the bulbs in his house to the squiggly kind a little more than a year ago, I'm ready to see what's next.

Scott, who loves bright ideas, is on Twitter: @scottbudman

 

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<![CDATA[Ready, Set, Buy the iPad Mini]]> Tue, 13 Nov 2012 16:05:14 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/edt-AP728304292260.jpg The Apple device is sure to be the "must have" Christmas gift. Scott Budman reports.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Holiday Games: LEGO, Scribblenauts And More]]> Fri, 02 Nov 2012 13:54:06 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/WEB_LEGO_LOTR.jpg LEGO The Lord of the Rings, Scribblenauts Unlimited and Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition get the spotlight in our Tech Now 2012 Holiday Games review.]]> <![CDATA[Marni to Launch First Women's Fragrance]]> Fri, 02 Nov 2012 10:46:06 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/marnifragrancethumb1a.jpg

This February, quirky Italian retailer, Marni—which collaboated with H&M last spring–will debut its first-ever women's fragrance produced in collaboration with Estee Lauder. 

Like the Marni woman, the scent is designed to be fresh and individual. "The perfume reflects Marni's fashion, certainly," creative director Consuelo Castiglioni told WWD. "Becuase it's a perfume that's quite individual, that doesn't evoke anything in particular. It's for a woman who dresses for herself, who doesn't follow trends but is sophisticated and also maybe a little eccentric."

That may seem like a lot of sartorial inspiration for a scent, but the the concept registers in a spicy blend of wood notes, tempered with a touch of rose oil for a feminine feel.

The bottle itself is also meant to evoke the Marni brand, inspired by an old bottle Castiglioni salvaged from a flea market.

“I wanted a bottle that was kind of traditional, that is, one that lasts over time, like the clothes we make, which last and you can still wear two or three years from now," Castiglioni says. "It isn’t seasonal. I think this bottle reflects our concept—you want to keep it. It also has the dots, which are part of our world, and a play on proportions with the cap. These elements are also important in our fashion.”



Photo Credit: Marni]]>
<![CDATA[Microsoft Unveils New Phone]]> Mon, 29 Oct 2012 21:03:26 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/microsoftphone_7646305_722x406_5277251725.jpg Scott Budman shows us the latest smartphone from Microsoft.]]> <![CDATA[Store Tour: Local Designers and Curated Home Goods at Joinery]]> Fri, 26 Oct 2012 10:01:49 -0700 $352 for women's; $425 for mens. ]]> $352 for women's; $425 for mens. ]]> http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/joinery3.jpg Owner Angela Silva picks out her favorite fall finds at Williamsburg boutique, Joinery.

Photo Credit: Catherine Blair Pfander]]>
<![CDATA[The New Minimalism]]> Tue, 23 Oct 2012 10:31:38 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/minimalism139049827thumbnail.jpg Fall's new minimalist looks are anything but plain.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Retail Report: Playful Periwinkle Pieces]]> Tue, 23 Oct 2012 10:28:56 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/periwinkle_thumbnailfall12.jpg Somewhere between lilac and baby blue, periwinkle hues are a simple way to add a touch of "cheer" to a winter wardrobe.

Photo Credit: Farfetch/Sephora/Net-a-Porter]]>
<![CDATA[Levi's to Debut New "Eco" Collection]]> Wed, 17 Oct 2012 09:55:25 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/levislead1.jpg

It may be one of the oldest fashion brands in America, but Levi's is still changing with the times. This week, the denim brand unveils a collection of men's and women's dungarees fashioned from recycled plastic bottles and even plastic food trays.

Dubbed "Waste<Less," each piece in the new line contains 20 percent recycled content—or approximately eight 12 or 20 ounce plastic bottles per pair of jeans, WWD reports.

According to the company's global president, James Curleigh, the aim of Waste<Less is to add "value to waste," he told WWD. "This collection proves that you don’t have to sacrifice quality, comfort or style to give an end a new beginning.”

The unique fiber—wich required more than 3.5 million recycled bottles sourced from municipal recycling programs to manufacture—is fashioned into a polyster material before being spun into a cotton yarn. Because the brown and green hues from the bottles can't be removed, each piece has a subtly green-tinged color.

Dropping this January, the new collection will offer familiar favorites like the 511 skinny jean as well as a new 504 straight fit and trucker jacket. Women sick of painted-on skinny jeans will relish a slouchier fit "boyfriend skinny."

 

 

 



Photo Credit: Levi's]]>
<![CDATA[Keeping Warm, Looking Sharp for Fall]]> Sun, 14 Oct 2012 10:26:31 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*160/fallfashion.jpg Some ideas of how to look sharp while keeping warm for Fall. Mode Bay Area's Hasti Kashfia stops by NBC Bay Area to talk about some trending Fall fashion ideas.]]> <![CDATA[Dreaming of a Rich Christmas]]> Fri, 23 Nov 2012 22:46:01 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/nmwatch.jpg Neiman Marcus unveils its opulent Christmas catalog, with $1-million watches, sports cars and jet packs.]]>