Hello Kitty jewelry, Star Wars collectibles and baby pacifiers with mustaches on them are for sale at a new downtown gift shop, The Kern Street Gift Shoppe. It opened this month at 2131 Kern St. in the Hotel Virginia building.
Downtown isn't exactly known for gift shops. In fact, the best-known shop, Twee boutique, will close its Tuolumne Street store at the end of March.
But Kern Street Gift Shoppe owner Susan Gonzales has a history in the gift shop business. She runs the gift shop inside the Radisson Hotel and picked the Kern Street location because of all the walkers and drivers passing by. The area has a need for corporate and worker gifts, she says. She plans to start selling balloons and engraved gifts such as clocks soon.
Hello Kitty products have been the top sellers, including lunch boxes, stuffed animals, pens, necklaces and earrings. Gonzales expects to fill the store with more Hello Kitty merchandise in coming weeks.
For the men, Star Wars collectibles, including coin banks and key chains, are popular. And children's gifts sell well too, including the boy's shirts that look like little leather vests, complete with fake tattooed "sleeves."