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New Business

See complete listing for The Performist under Personal Trainer (Services).

Beauty Supply

See complete listing for LaBelle Day Spas & Salons under Day Spa (Services).

Hall of Fame: Third Year

Do you want to pamper yourself but tend to feel guilty for spending money on something nice just for you? Well Peninsula Beauty donates regularly to several different organizations in the Palo Alto community, so you can shop for yourself and know that you're doing good for someone else! In addition to its seemingly endless selection of beauty supplies, the store has salon stations independently run by talented hair and nail stylists. Peninsula Beauty is the prime example of being beautiful both inside and out. 250 University Ave., Palo Alto, 650-327-1454;

Bike Shop

"This shop is a throwback," writes one Yelp reviewer of Palo Alto Bicycles, this year's best Bike Shop. With an array of bicycles, dependable repair and exemplary customer service, Palo Alto Bicycles is homegrown and staffed by people who love bikes just as much as their customers. The shop -- which also sells clothing and other accessories -- is no stranger to awards this year, winning a Tall Tree Award for its exceptional civic contributions and community service. 171 University Ave., Palo Alto, 650-328-7411;


Tucked among the eclectic assortment of retailers at the Town & Country Village, Books Inc. offers an array of joys for local bookworms: old classics, new hardcovers, newspapers, magazines and gift ideas galore. With its friendly and knowledgeable staff, shelves stocked with literary gems, and a calendar filled with author's events and book club gatherings, Books Inc. shows that, even in a digital city like Palo Alto, there is plenty of room for reading pleasures of the traditional variety. Town & Country Village, #74, 855 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, 650-321-0600;


For class and style in an array of beautiful textiles, Leaf & Petal has received the top honors in the Boutique and Women's Apparel categories -- not surprising, considering the shop won multiple categories last year. From casual to tastefully sexy in its styles, this women's boutique dresses up clients from head to toe with clothing, jewelry and footwear. Owners Gordon and Carol Cruikshank are known for their attention to detail and great customer service. 439 S. California Ave., Palo Alto, 650-327-8070;

Hall of Fame: Second Year

After 40 years of business in Palo Alto, Shady Lane moved to the Sharon Heights Shopping Center in Menlo Park in March 2015, but not before earning itself a spot in the Weekly's Hall of Fame. The shop features creations by local artisans, including art glass, ceramics, jewelry, fine woodworking and textile art. Many of the artisans work in the store. The collection at Shady Lane is beautifully displayed in a light-filled octagonal building next to Starbucks in the shopping center. Sharon Heights Shopping Center, 325 Sharon Park Drive, Menlo Park, 650 321-1099;


For the visually impaired, there can be no more important accessory than a well-chosen, high-quality pair of spectacles. And even if your vision is 20/20, everyone needs a good pair of shades when out in the California sun. Glasses don't just help us see, they help us express our individuality. Think of them as flair for the face. Whether you're into the cat-eyed look or prefer wire rims, Lux Eyewear has got your eyes covered, with a range of designer frame styles (and contact lenses), an optometrist offering eye exams and its own optical-lens lab, ensuring quality and customer service. 1805 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, 650-324-3937;

Flower Shop

Some artists paint in pigment; Michaela Dieffenbach paints in petals -- flower petals, to be precise. The creative force at the center of Michaela's Flower Shop in downtown Palo Alto, Dieffenbach has for decades helped to elevate people's weddings, proms, birthdays and other special occasions to a whole new level. Her satisfied customers observe that she clearly takes pride in being part of people's lives, expressing love and care through her artistic arrangements of beauteous blossoms. 453 Waverley St., Palo Alto, 650-321-5390;

Hardware Store

Menlo Park Ace Hardware has proved its mettle in coming out on top of the Hardware Store category in this year's Best Of. According to Vasile Oros, the store's manager, being a branch of Ace Hardware gives the store access to about 85,000 items that can be stocked on its shelves. "We want to bring every one (of those items) in if someone needs it," Oros said. "We try to solve problems. People come to us, and if we can't help, we'll advise them." The hardware store, he said, has plans to expand to another location on Santa Cruz Avenue, where furniture and high-end housewares will be sold. It is expected to open in late August. 700 Santa Cruz Ave., Menlo Park, 650-325-2515;

Jewelry Store

Native Palo Altan Georgie Gleim has been serving customers for decades, and her family store Gleim the Jeweler has not lost favor with fans over the years. A perennial Best Of winner, this store offers new and antique fine jewelry, gemstones and watches, and repair services. Gleim also handles and sells estate and custom-made jewelry. 111 Stanford Shopping Center, Palo Alto, 650-323-1331;

Hall of Fame: Second Year

See complete listing for Shady Lane in the Hall of Fame under Boutique.

Nursery/Garden Supply

Looking for blossoms? Follow your nose to the fragrant lilies of Barron Park Nursery & Florist. The shop is a local favorite where loyal customers say they can find a lovely array of flowers as well as be treated like old friends. Don't worry if you can't tell a rose from a rhododendron, as you're sure to walk out with just the right plant. Looking to surprise someone with a nice bouquet? Barron Park Nursery & Florist does deliveries, too. 3876 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, 650-424-9466

Pet Store

It's a health-food store for your pets! Pet Food Depot, this year's best Pet Store, aims to provide the highest quality food for pets. Since 1986, the family-owned business has stocked its shelves with a variety of specialty foods, including natural, human-grade, holistic and organic, and frozen foods, as well as other hard-to-find diet options for pets. What's more, the salespeople (who often bring their pet pals to work) are pet specialists poised to answer questions concerning everything from lizards to horses. The store also carries a wide selection of not-so-common supplies and accessories, including doggie sports jerseys. 425 Portage Ave., Palo Alto, 650-852-1277;

Shoe Store

Perhaps it's fitting that Footwear etc. is located just a few blocks away from the Palo Alto Caltrain station. The homegrown shoe store is a popular destination for people on the go, whether they are seeking running shoes or stylish kicks for a night on the town. With 13 stores in addition to selling items online, Footwear etc. has been in business for over 30 years and has won numerous other awards in the local area. But success has not changed their mentality. Footwear etc. prides itself on friendly customer service, with helpful and solution-oriented staff members who provide a welcoming experience. 463 University Ave., Palo Alto, 650-328-1122;

Sporting Goods & Apparel

There's nothing like a cup of strong coffee to get you up and running in the morning. Nothing, except perhaps a pair of comfortable running shoes. The two great joys of fast living -- coffee and running -- are happily married at ZombieRunner, a California Avenue shop that not only boasts a mean latte but also offers a solid selection of running shoes for customers of all types, levels and stability needs. Step inside for a jolt, then break away for a jog. 429 California Ave., Palo Alto, 650-325-2048;

Stationery Store

The ancient Egyptians could hardly have imagined what the invention of papyrus as a writing material would one day lead to. Where once there was ink and a rudimentary paper fashioned from plant fibers, today an entire industry has sprung up in celebration of the creativity and joy of paper. Located in Stanford Shopping Center, the staff at Papyrus, named this year's best Stationery Store, knows all about the expressive power of paper textures, photographs, fonts, colors, cutouts, glitter, ribbons, tassels and other upscale embellishments. They can even customize invitations and announcements to mark the important milestones in our lives. 11 Stanford Shopping Center, Palo Alto, 650-328-7016;

Toy Store

Walking into Ambassador Toys in Town & Country Village, you might think that a toy chest has exploded onto the walls and shelves of the store (in a good way, of course). Behold a panoply of recreational options: European toys, educational games, puzzles, art supplies, stuffed animals, cars and trucks, items for infants and more. Ambassador creates goodwill with its patrons by carrying plenty of unique items, too. Yelpers give the store rave reviews for staff members who can quickly recommend suitable gifts, wrap those items in a jiffy, and send customers on their way to their birthday parties. Town & Country Village, #33, 855 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, 650-324-8697 (TOYS);

Hall of Fame: Third Year

Around since Mickey Mouse made his debut as a stuffed animal in 1930, Palo Alto Sport Shop & Toy World has been the local toy store for generations of Palo Alto children. This family-owned and -operated hybrid sports and toy shop packs in a diverse selection of "the good stuff" into a relatively small space, making it a place that has just about anything kids of all ages -- including those "big kids at heart" -- could want, according to loyal customers on Yelp. It's the place to go to get your first basketball, tricycle, scooter, Lego set and other toys that one won't likely find elsewhere. The shop also includes a swim department upstairs. 526 Waverley St., Palo Alto, 650-328-8555;

Women's Apparel

See complete listing for Leaf & Petal under Boutique.

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18 people like this
Posted by Offended
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2016 at 8:45 pm

[Post removed.]

8 people like this
Posted by R U Joking
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 23, 2016 at 4:37 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]

5 people like this
Posted by No Coffee for Me
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jul 28, 2016 at 6:58 pm

It may be the best coffee one can get in a shoe store, but it is NOT the best coffee inn town.

Zombie Runner may have the best selection of running shoes, but they have the rudest and least helpful sales people. They sometimes lose the store during regular business hours for no apparent reason, so I don't think income is important to the owner.

Zombie Runner has more going against it than for it. After three attempts, I stopped trying to buy shoes there.

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Short story writers wanted!

The 34th Annual Palo Alto Weekly Short Story Contest is now accepting entries for Adult, Young Adult and Teen categories. Send us your short story (2,500 words or less) and entry form by March 27, 2020. First, Second and Third Place prizes awarded in each category. Sponsored by Kepler's Books, Linden Tree Books and Bell's Books.

Contest Details