The boost that Domus, Prim's and Chianti's are giving to Main Street already and the added vitality are much-needed as downtown businesses work their way out of several years of economic slowdown. When Domus opened its Pleasanton store in September 1998, it was part of Smith's Los Gatos operation. Later, she sold the Pleasanton business to managers John Maloney and his wife Cathy, who were allowed to continue using the name. The Maloneys then closed their business to pursue other interests, and the building has been vacant ever since.
When Smith learned that the rent on her Los Gatos store would be doubled starting next month, she chose to relocate her flagship store to Pleasanton, which, at 11,000 square feet, is much larger than the Los Gatos facility. She expects customers will be coming here from all over the Bay Area -- and even Los Gatos -- to shop at Domus for kitchenware, home accessories, toys, books, stationery and other items. San Francisco Magazine once described Domus as a unique blend of Williams-Sonoma, Pier 1, Pottery Barn, Papyrus and Crate and Barrel, all the types of stores downtown promoters have said we need in Pleasanton.
At Prim's, by taking over the unique retail space with the raised wood sidewalk in front, the Shaffers have added to the growing women's fashion business downtown. Having launched successful brands such as the Peanut Shell and Wink Belly Bands, the husband and wife team has brought a new boutique concept shopping experience to Pleasanton, along with keeping their store open evenings and on weekends, operating times that are being encouraged by the Pleasanton Downtown Association. Even the store's windows are worth a look, designed and conceptualized by a celebrated window designer. Inside, almost everything you see is for sale, even the primitive fixtures that the Shaffers say they can replace.
Chianti's isn't the only Italian restaurant in Pleasanton, but it does offer a unique dining experience. I joined the Leadership Pleasanton group for lunch there the other day, feasting on Carpaccio Salmone, which consisted of finely sliced smoked salmon topped with mozzarella cheese, capers, red onions and fresh tomatoes. The menu includes baby Manila clams, sauteed prawns, sauteed chicken, veal and pork, ranging in price from $10 for lunch to $16-$20 for dinner. Seeing the crowds over the last week or so, Masood, a Pleasanton resident by the way, seems to have tapped the taste buds of other Italian food aficionados as well.
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