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Shop Talk: Teavana to close; Nobu takes over hotel

The latest in Palo Alto retail news

Teavana, which recently moved to a redesigned and bigger store at the Stanford Shopping Center, will close in the next 12 months. Photo by Elena Kadvany.

In this week's retail news, Teavana will close at Stanford Shopping Center, Nobu Hospitality takes over The Epiphany Hotel and a dumpling eatery opens in Palo Alto.

TEAVANA TO CLOSE ... Starbucks has decided to shutter Palo Alto's only Teavana shop over the coming year, along with all 378 other locations that it operates throughout the United States, Mexico and Canada. The company said in a July 27 press release that the tea stores are under performing. Starbucks has not released specific closing dates for each store, but the Stanford Shopping Center site will likely close by spring 2018, according to an employee. The decision to close the Stanford location comes only a year after Teavana relocated from the center's El Camino Real entrance to a redesigned and bigger site closer to Quarry Road. The shop was part of a new concept that was meant to "turn the original store experience inside out, so it's more invitational," Anthony Perez, director of Americas Concepts and Pacific Northwest Store Design for Starbucks, said when the store reopened at the shopping center in August 2016. Starbucks said the approximately 3,300 employees affected by the closures will have opportunities to apply for positions at Starbucks stores. -- S.C.

HOTEL NOBU? ... Nearly three weeks after the much-anticipated opening of high-end Japanese restaurant Nobu at The Epiphany Hotel in downtown Palo Alto, the hotel announced July 26 that it will now also be managed by Nobu Hospitality group. The Hamilton Avenue hotel still remains under the ownership of Oracle founder Larry Ellison, but Nobu Hospitality -- a company founded by chef Nobu Matsuhisa, actor Robert De Niro and Hollywood producer Meir Teper -- will assume management on Oct. 2. The hotel has been managed by Joie de Vivre, a boutique hotel chain based in San Francisco. The 83-room hotel will be "rebranded" as the "Nobu Hotel Epiphany," a press release states. Ellison, who purchased The Epiphany in 2015, previously partnered with Matsuhisa to build a hotel on the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu. There also is a Nobu at the Lanai, Hawaii, Four Seasons, which Ellison owns. "The hotel will continue to maintain its individuality and distinct character while benefiting from Nobu's operating culture and philosophy," Trevor Horwell, chief executive officer of Nobu Hospitality, said in the release. Under the new management, the Palo Alto hotel will offer "exclusive Nobu amenities" like 24-hour room service from the restaurant and priority reservations for hotel guests. Nobu Palo Alto, the first northern California location for the global restaurant group, officially opened its doors on July 7. -- E.K

DUMPLING CITY TAKES OVER ... Valencia Asian Market, a casual Asian-fusion eatery that opened on El Camino Real in Palo Alto in 2015, has shuttered and been replaced by a restaurant serving handmade dumplings and dim sum. The owner of Valencia Asian Market, Zen Bunchien, said he closed on June 30 after struggling to respond to numerous code enforcement complaints filed by Palo Alto Fit, a private personal training company above the restaurant at 3487 El Camino Real. Complaints related to issues like noise and smoke, he said. Bunchien said he's hoping to reopen in Palo Alto and is "looking for a location every day." Valencia Asian Market, also known as VAM, served fusion tacos, dim sum, milk tea and other Asian dishes. Valencia Asian Market's replacement, Dumpling City, opened earlier this month. The menu includes a range of traditional dumplings with fillings like pork, chicken, shrimp, lamb and vegetables as well as dishes like five-spice marinated beef and tofu salad. Noodle soups and vegetable dishes are on the menu but not yet available, employee Bo Niu said last week. -- E.K.

Compiled by the Weekly staff; this week written by Shawna Chen and Elena Kadvany. Got leads on interesting and news-worthy retail developments? The Weekly will check them out. Email shoptalk@paweekly.com.

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