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Shop Talk: Family-owned luggage store, Jeffrey boutique to close due to coronavirus crisis

Also, Michelin-starred Maum will return as a retail operation this summer

The Reininger and Levy families gather in their family store at Stanford Shopping Center in 1960. Courtesy Laura Reininger.

In the latest Shop Talk column on local retail, news about a longtime luggage store's decision to shutter, Palo Alto Korean restaurant Maum's shift to an online market and the closure of the new Jeffrey boutique.

AFTER 74 YEARS, EDWARDS LUGGAGE CLOSES ... Since opening its doors to a new era of international travel at the end of World War II, Edwards Everything Travel — Edwards Luggage has weathered the ups and downs of the small business world, passing through two generations of family and becoming a recognized leader in a competitive industry — all while planting deep roots in the community. The family-owned business could not, however, survive the unexpected impacts of a global pandemic. The iconic Palo Alto business is calling it quits after 74 years and is permanently closing its doors at Stanford Shopping Center in August. "With the strength of the internet taking sales from brick-and-mortar stores, lack of foot traffic at (Stanford Shopping Center) and now COVID-19 hitting retail ... we find it necessary to close our doors and move to the next chapter of life," the family said in a statement released on June 14.

For many, the family business was much more than a retail store. The Edwards family, which includes the Levy and Reininger families, was part of the community: Their children were born and raised in the area and attended local schools; the family business supported and sponsored many local sports teams, including Little League, over the years; and the Levy and Reininger families were founding members of Temple Beth Am in Los Altos Hills. One customer described Edwards as "almost as much a part of Palo Alto as the tree by the train tracks," according to the family.

Arthur Reininger, who co-founded the store with his sister, Sophia Levy, and brother, Edward Reininger, told the Weekly in 2002 that after World War II ended, the time seemed right to transition from the army surplus-type products that Levy and her husband, Herman, were selling at their store in Monterey to higher-end luggage and travel goods for the "new traveler." In 1946, the family opened Edwards Luggage in downtown Palo Alto before relocating it to Stanford Shopping Center in 1955. — L.T.

The Maum dining room in downtown Palo Alto. Courtesy Thomas Kuoh Photography.

MAUM TO REOPEN AS ONLINE MARKET ... When Maum reopens in Palo Alto later this summer, it will no longer be the intimate, communal dining concept its chefs originally conceived of. Maum will instead sell homemade pantry items, imported products from Korea and Japan, meal kits, farm boxes and baked goods made by up-and-coming local pastry chefs, according to a newsletter the restaurant sent out on Sunday evening. "Although we are saddened by what feels like a premature ending to such a memorable place, we have grown excited about the changes to come," the email states. Co-chefs Meichih and Michael Kim declined an interview at this time. The coronavirus has forced a reimagining of one of the Peninsula's most successful restaurants. Maum, which means "from the heart" in Korean, began as a high-end private dining space at 322 University Ave. in downtown Palo Alto before opening to the public in 2018. Less than a year later, the Kims won their first Michelin star. Maum served modern Korean tasting menus at a 16-seat communal table, much of the fare drawing on produce grown exclusively for the restaurant at a private farm in Los Altos Hills. Maum briefly reopened for takeout in May. In July, it will return as a retail operation with pantry items, meal kits and weekly specials from the Kims. They also plan to host guest pastry chefs who will offer a rotation of pastries, cakes and breads. In the fall, they plan to launch Maum Kitchen, an online shop selling Maum pantry goods and kitchen and dining products from Korea, Japan and other parts of Asia. — E.K.

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NORDSTROM SHUTTERS NEW JEFFREY BOUTIQUE Nordstrom has shut down all of its high-end Jeffrey boutiques, including the Stanford Shopping Center location that opened in August 2018 following an extensive five-month remodel of the former Polo Ralph Lauren building that faces El Camino Real. Stanford was the boutique's first and only west coast location, which Nordstrom opened as part of its expansion into the luxury market after purchasing Jeffrey and hiring its founder, Jeffrey Kalinsky, as director of designer merchandising in 2005. The decision to close its high-end stores in New York, Atlanta and Palo Alto was announced at the end of May as the department store was forced to rethink its footprint following the shutdown caused by the coronavirus. According to media reports, Kalinsky, who is credited with helping transform Manhattan's Meatpacking District into a high-end retail destination during the late 1990s and was included in Time magazine's "All-Time 100 Fashion Icons" in 2013, will retire. On Tuesday, Nordstrom announced that it would be reopening six of its department stores throughout California this week, including the Nordstrom Palo Alto store at Stanford and its Nordstrom Rack Ravenswood store in East Palo Alto. — L.T.

Compiled by the Weekly staff; this week written by Linda Taaffe and Elena Kadvany. Got leads on interesting and newsworthy retail developments? The Weekly will check them out. Email shoptalk@ paweekly.com.

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Shop Talk: Family-owned luggage store, Jeffrey boutique to close due to coronavirus crisis

Also, Michelin-starred Maum will return as a retail operation this summer

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Fri, Jun 19, 2020, 6:49 am

In the latest Shop Talk column on local retail, news about a longtime luggage store's decision to shutter, Palo Alto Korean restaurant Maum's shift to an online market and the closure of the new Jeffrey boutique.

AFTER 74 YEARS, EDWARDS LUGGAGE CLOSES ... Since opening its doors to a new era of international travel at the end of World War II, Edwards Everything Travel — Edwards Luggage has weathered the ups and downs of the small business world, passing through two generations of family and becoming a recognized leader in a competitive industry — all while planting deep roots in the community. The family-owned business could not, however, survive the unexpected impacts of a global pandemic. The iconic Palo Alto business is calling it quits after 74 years and is permanently closing its doors at Stanford Shopping Center in August. "With the strength of the internet taking sales from brick-and-mortar stores, lack of foot traffic at (Stanford Shopping Center) and now COVID-19 hitting retail ... we find it necessary to close our doors and move to the next chapter of life," the family said in a statement released on June 14.

For many, the family business was much more than a retail store. The Edwards family, which includes the Levy and Reininger families, was part of the community: Their children were born and raised in the area and attended local schools; the family business supported and sponsored many local sports teams, including Little League, over the years; and the Levy and Reininger families were founding members of Temple Beth Am in Los Altos Hills. One customer described Edwards as "almost as much a part of Palo Alto as the tree by the train tracks," according to the family.

Arthur Reininger, who co-founded the store with his sister, Sophia Levy, and brother, Edward Reininger, told the Weekly in 2002 that after World War II ended, the time seemed right to transition from the army surplus-type products that Levy and her husband, Herman, were selling at their store in Monterey to higher-end luggage and travel goods for the "new traveler." In 1946, the family opened Edwards Luggage in downtown Palo Alto before relocating it to Stanford Shopping Center in 1955. — L.T.

MAUM TO REOPEN AS ONLINE MARKET ... When Maum reopens in Palo Alto later this summer, it will no longer be the intimate, communal dining concept its chefs originally conceived of. Maum will instead sell homemade pantry items, imported products from Korea and Japan, meal kits, farm boxes and baked goods made by up-and-coming local pastry chefs, according to a newsletter the restaurant sent out on Sunday evening. "Although we are saddened by what feels like a premature ending to such a memorable place, we have grown excited about the changes to come," the email states. Co-chefs Meichih and Michael Kim declined an interview at this time. The coronavirus has forced a reimagining of one of the Peninsula's most successful restaurants. Maum, which means "from the heart" in Korean, began as a high-end private dining space at 322 University Ave. in downtown Palo Alto before opening to the public in 2018. Less than a year later, the Kims won their first Michelin star. Maum served modern Korean tasting menus at a 16-seat communal table, much of the fare drawing on produce grown exclusively for the restaurant at a private farm in Los Altos Hills. Maum briefly reopened for takeout in May. In July, it will return as a retail operation with pantry items, meal kits and weekly specials from the Kims. They also plan to host guest pastry chefs who will offer a rotation of pastries, cakes and breads. In the fall, they plan to launch Maum Kitchen, an online shop selling Maum pantry goods and kitchen and dining products from Korea, Japan and other parts of Asia. — E.K.

NORDSTROM SHUTTERS NEW JEFFREY BOUTIQUE Nordstrom has shut down all of its high-end Jeffrey boutiques, including the Stanford Shopping Center location that opened in August 2018 following an extensive five-month remodel of the former Polo Ralph Lauren building that faces El Camino Real. Stanford was the boutique's first and only west coast location, which Nordstrom opened as part of its expansion into the luxury market after purchasing Jeffrey and hiring its founder, Jeffrey Kalinsky, as director of designer merchandising in 2005. The decision to close its high-end stores in New York, Atlanta and Palo Alto was announced at the end of May as the department store was forced to rethink its footprint following the shutdown caused by the coronavirus. According to media reports, Kalinsky, who is credited with helping transform Manhattan's Meatpacking District into a high-end retail destination during the late 1990s and was included in Time magazine's "All-Time 100 Fashion Icons" in 2013, will retire. On Tuesday, Nordstrom announced that it would be reopening six of its department stores throughout California this week, including the Nordstrom Palo Alto store at Stanford and its Nordstrom Rack Ravenswood store in East Palo Alto. — L.T.

Compiled by the Weekly staff; this week written by Linda Taaffe and Elena Kadvany. Got leads on interesting and newsworthy retail developments? The Weekly will check them out. Email shoptalk@ paweekly.com.

Comments

Resident who hasn’t gone to Univ since it became an office park
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 19, 2020 at 9:20 am
Resident who hasn’t gone to Univ since it became an office park, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 19, 2020 at 9:20 am
5 people like this

There was an interesting interview with a Harvard economist yesterday or the day before on Amanpour and company. He showed whether the stimulus worked, who had stopped spending, etc. It showed that it’s really the wealthiest who stopped spending, the poor and middle class spending has dropped far less. ( I thought it was hilarious that the professor couldn’t guess why, such as, oh, the poor mostly spending money in necessities and the cost of those going up.) They found that poor people spent their stimulus checks and rich people who got them didn’t spend theirs. (This disparity happened because as usual, the federal government failed to take cost of living into account. With a limit of $150k or $200k on receiving it per couple, this ignores that that limit in some parts of the country is the equivalent of someone making over a million here, and a family making $150k here is the equivalent of a $20k or $30k income in many other parts of the country.). The stimulus helped but only in segments that spent it. California middle class has been hit hard already. I read that the Trump tax changes increased taxes in the middle class by about $660 billion and that money all went to the wealthiest. People are out protesting but this administration is still funneling all the money to the top. Those businesses that rely on spending by the wealthiest have cut way more lower wage workers, too.

An economy that relies on a few big spenders (trickle down economics) will always be more fragile and less sustainable than in which has a lot of money circulating in the economy by millions of spigots. In the fifties, the majority of the wealth was in middle and lower class hands, and government of checks and balances was their balancing power (CEO of the people) against concentrations of wealth. The Republicans changed all that, especially with Reaganomics. We are more plutocracy than democracy or democratic republic.

Businesses that serve the wealthiest saw the biggest drop in spending. Even most Palo Altans couldn’t afford to eat there. I wonder if this reimagining of Maum will bring the culinary excellence to a broader economic range of residents? I hope so. It may be essential for their survival.

It’s interesting to see many blame the internet on the demise of retail yet if this pandemic showed anything, it’s that retail is more reliable, more sustainable environmentally, and crucial in a pandemic. We have to reimagine retail at all levels. I am sorry to see Edwards go since retail is critical for last minute travel needs.

I hope these changes at Maum contribute to a revival of local retail success. Good luck. (I could never have afforded to eat there but will check this out when they open.)



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