Shop Talk: Farewell to Village Stationers, hello to Mendocino Farms

The latest in local retail news

Mendocino Farms, a southern California chain that serves locally sourced sandwiches, is now open in downtown Palo Alto. Photo courtesy Mendocino Farms.

In the latest Shop Talk column, read about the closure of a 53-year-old stationery store, a new sandwich shop and a Scandanavian eco-friendly children's furniture store.

VILLAGE STATIONERS TO CLOSE ... For 53 years, Village Stationers has helped Peninsula residents find gifts, cards, office supplies and more at its family-run stationery shops. But the owner of the business says Village's two remaining locations, in Menlo Park and Los Altos, will be shuttered before the end of the summer. Owner Kerry Hoctor, who plans to retire, has opted not to renew the leases for the two locations at the end of August, and is prepared to leave before then if the landlords find new tenants. Hoctor's family started the store in 1966 at the Palo Alto Town & Country Village before moving it to Santa Cruz Avenue in Menlo Park in 1976, according to the Village Stationers website. Hoctor also ran a location on University Avenue in Palo Alto starting in 1988, before moving it to California Avenue in 2002. It closed in 2016. "I'd like to think that we'll be remembered at some point," he said. "You know, we're just going to be another chapter in the book of businesses that have come and gone," Hoctor said. -- K.B.

MENDOCINO FARMS NOW OPEN ... Southern California-based sandwich chain Mendocino Farms opened its 26th location at 167 Hamilton Ave. in downtown Palo Alto on Thursday, May 2. Mendocino Farms' bread and butter is sandwiches, from the best-selling "Not So Fried" Mary's chicken sandwich -- roasted, not fried chicken breast with "krispies," herb aioli, mustard pickle slaw, tomatoes and pickled red onions on ciabatta -- to a meatless Impossible Burger on a plant-based brioche bun. There are staple sandwiches that never leave the menu as well as seasonal specials. Almost all of the sandwiches can be requested to be served gluten free. There's also a full salad menu, vegan and vegetarian options and sides. Husband and wife Mario Del Pero and Ellen Chen opened the first Mendocino Farms in Los Angeles in 2005 with a "vision of an elevated dining experience offering much more than just good food," the company website states. The restaurants use locally sourced ingredients and fresh bread from two southern California bakeries and Petits Pains in Burlingame. The Palo Alto location will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. It joins other Bay Area Mendocino Farms in San Mateo, San Jose, San Francisco, Campbell and Sacramento. -- E.K.

FLEXA OPENS FIRST U.S. STORE ... Scandanavian children's furniture maker FLEXA is opening its first U.S. store at Stanford Shopping Center this June. The Denmark-based company, known for its contemporary designs and eco-friendly materials, has been making children's furniture since 1972. According to the company's website, its designers work with child specialists to create beds, desks, bean-bag chairs and an assortment of other child-friendly furniture to encourage children to play and be creative. Although the company has an online prescence and 140 stores worldwide, this is the first brick-and-mortar shop to open in the U.S. -- L.T.

Compiled by the Weekly staff; this week written by Kate Bradshaw, Elena Kadvany and Linda Taaffe. Got leads on interesting and news-worthy retail developments? The Weekly will check them out. Email

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16 people like this
Posted by Pen And Ink
a resident of Community Center
on May 9, 2019 at 8:56 am

A stationary store is far more useful, advantageous and convenient than another upscale sandwich shop and a designer IKEA for children.

12 people like this
Posted by frank
a resident of University South
on May 9, 2019 at 10:38 am

It sure is more useful! Now where am I going to try out pens before I make my choice and order from Amazon?

8 people like this
Posted by Evie
a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on May 9, 2019 at 2:36 pm

People sized hardware stores gone, and now the last of the convenient, appealing stationery stores fades away. So much for a vibrant,fun "Main Street" type shop for the locals. There go my favorite calendars, small gifts great cards and home-office staples. Convenience and service are no longer the norm in our super-sized, on-line world. AT least independent book stores are making a comeback...Thanx to the helpful ladies who made a stop at Village Stationers just like old times.

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