Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Statesman of California Avenue

Businesses along Palo Alto's California Avenue are up in arms over the make-over their shopping district is undergoing. It seems too many hair and nail salons are occupying formerly empty stores. The merchants, at least those not in the cuticle and folical trades, fear that they'll loose the identity the area has as a location with a variety of shops. California Avenue is known as the go-to spot to see some of the worst public art imaginable and it's debatable whether the salons are actually bringing the area back from this tacky display. One of the salons, Ciseaux D'or Hair and Nail Design seems to at least have a leg up on Antonio's Nut House.

Owners admit that little can be done because the complaining merchants don't own the buildings where the salons are located. (New regulation alert.) It is assumed that these out-of-sort owners didn't themselves replace previously loved stores. No one seems to know or care whether the nail salons are hurting business or instead attracting new customers for the shopping district. It's enough for us to learn of their collective wisdom about planned communities. Sanford Forte, the silver-tongued head of the California Avenue Area Development Association seems to think he can avoid offending some of his members with this well crafted statement; "No disrespect to the nail and hair salons, but we want to see less of them." I'm sure the hair and nail salons felt no disrespect Mr. Forte, none at all.


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