Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween San Jose! So where is the best place to go Trick-or-Treating tonight? Willow Glen? Evergreen? Almaden? Post in the comments.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Pop-Up Shops Galore Coming Downtown!

Are you ready for some amazing news? Last week I posted about therethere opening their first retail store in Downtown San Jose. Well, it turns out they will have a lot of company during the holiday season. A total of NINE pop-up stores will be opening by November 7th!!!

These popups will be occupying underutilized spaces both indoors and outdoors, including the lobby of the San Jose Rep. This is a win all around... a win for local entrepreneurs, for Downtown residents and visitors, and for current Downtown retailers that have been yearning for other businesses to open up shop and help attract a critical mass of shoppers.

Times are changing and over the new few years we may see the same explosive growth in Downtown retail that we have with the restaurant scene in recent years. Please read the release below and patronize these businesses. Let's help our local entrepreneurs succeed Downtown and prove that retail can work here!

Temporary stores “pop up” downtown

SAN JOSE – Nine “pop-up” stores will open during downtown San Jose’s holiday season when more than half a million people visit the center city.

The new shops are occupying underutilized indoor and outdoor spaces downtown, including vacant storefronts such as the former San Jose Repertory Theatre lobby.

Civic pride apparel provider Therethere x SJ, opened its doors Oct. 24, sees the San Jose Pop-Up Project as part of downtown’s evolution, where arts, innovation and entrepreneurial spirit thrive.

“Not only do we hope this pop-up microhood activates the downtown corridor and supports independent business, but we also hope to encourage people to explore downtown and shop locally,” said Chinwe Okona, project manager of Therethere x SJ.

All of the stores are expected to be open by a pop-up event Nov. 7, coinciding with the popular monthly South First Fridays art walk.  The shops will remain open into January.

The lineup incudes:

  • Therethere x SJ – unique graphic Tshirdesigns created by local artists; Angela Tsay, owner; 15 N. Second St.; Wed-Sat, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; therethere.comopen Oct. 24

  • Underground: A Fashion Boutique – men’s and women’s clothing and accessories with a seasonal appeal; Sam Garcia, owner; 95 S. Market Street; Wed-Sun in November; daily in December, 11 a.m.-7; expected opening Nov. 1

  • San Jose Bike Clinic and Cowgirl Bike Couriers – bike repair and education; Cain Ramirez, courier owner; Camera Cinemas lobby, 201 S. Second St.; Thur-Mon; and; expected opening Nov. 1

  • The Usuals – apparel, accessories and gifts; Marie and Mike Millares, owner; former San Jose Repertory Theatre, 101 Paseo de San Antonio; daily except Tuesday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sun; 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Mon, Wed, Thur; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Fri and Sat.;; expected opening Nov. 5

  • SJ MADE Playspace – platform for creative entrepreneurship (trunk shows); Marie Millares, owner; former San Jose Repertory Theatre, 101 Paseo de San Antonio; daily except Tuesday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sun; 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Mon, Wed, Thur; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Fri and Sat.;; expected opening Nov. 5

  • Empire Seven Studios – gallery; Jen Ahn and Juan Carlos Araujo, founders; former San Jose Repertory Theatre, 101 Paseo de San Antonio; daily except Tuesday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sun; 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Mon, Wed, Thur; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Fri and Sat.;; expected opening Nov. 5

  • San Jose Earthquakes – soccer merchandise and Earthquakes ticket sales; former San Jose Repertory Theatre, 101 Paseo de San Antonio; daily except Tuesday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sun; 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Mon, Wed, Thur; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Fri and Sat.;; expected opening Nov. 5

  • DIE HARD – unique sports apparel; Adam Mayberry, owner; shipping container on plaza outside former San Jose Repertory Theatre; daily, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; expected opening Nov. 7

  • First Article – Jaymer Delapena, principal; Bay Area designed and created men’s wear; shipping container on plaza outside former Repertory Theatre; daily, 10 a.m.-8; expected opening Nov. 7

San Jose Downtown Association and the City of San Jose Office of Economic Development started the process of matching retailers and non-profits with vacant and underutilized ground-floor spaces in the downtown core about six months ago, said Nate Echeverria, SJDA business development manager.

The “pop-up” or temporary retail could grow into something more permanent, Echeverria suggested.

We want to catalyze the next wave of retail to downtown,” said Lee Wilcox, city Office of Economic development downtown manager. 

Added Marie Millares, owner of SJ MADE and The Usuals, and who is willing to stay inside the former San Jose Repertory Theatre building as long as possible:  “We've seen similar pop-up programs start and ignite retail districts in cities like Oakland, Los Angeles, and New York.  It's time to see these forward steps happen in San Jose, and we're glad to be part of it.”

Operating retail outlets from shipping containers is a first for downtown San Jose.

Not only will we gain exposure for our company, but also be a part of the larger conversation,” added Adam Mayberry, owner of DIE HARD sports apparel.  “We can work with property owners to find more permanent locations for shipping container retail and possibly create a new hub in downtown San Jose.”

The city-sponsored Pop-Up Project highlights downtown San Jose’s potential, said Jaymer Delapena of First Article consortium of men’s wear developers, who also will be stationed in a container.  “We’re participating partly to showcase our community and a simple, yet innovative approach to retail in an urban setting,” he said.

San Jose Bike Clinic and Cowgirl Bike Courier hope to create a cycling hub that raises enough funds to move its clinic into a permanent location, said Cain Ramirez of Cowgirl and Corinne Winter, president and executive director of the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition. 

For Underground:  A Fashion Boutique, the Pop-Up Project serves as a chance to reunite with former downtown customers, said owner Sam Garcia.  Garcia previously operated the record store and clothing store OnFirst on South First Street.

As the Pop-Up Project gained momentum over the summer, others came forward to help, including Tracey Ariga of Gensler, graphic designer Ben Henderson, and Spartups tech accelerator managing partner Saif Akhtar.

“We hope to inspire the public to take a peek and discover what the buzz is all about,” Ariga said.


The San Jose Downtown Association (SJDA), established 1986, is a non-profit group of business and property owners working to improve the vitality and livability of downtown San Jose.   SJDA advocates on issues that affect downtown business and property owners; enhances the image of downtown and attract new visitors through year-round marketing, public relations, and special events; and collaborates with its Property-Based Improvement District (PBID) for ongoing improvements to downtown’s cleanliness, security, aesthetics and delivery of services.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wednesday Wishlist: Halloween in the Park! (Part VII)

In honor of Halloween week, I have what is becoming a San Jose Blog tradition... a Wednesday Wishlist post for Halloween in the Park. The idea is to build on the momentum that Christmas in the Park brings to San Jose each year and create something of similar scale in October with Halloween in the Park! A lot of the infrastructure such as wiring, lighting, and booths might even be able to be shared between the events. The goal would be to make Downtown San Jose the epicenter of October Halloween experiences.

Below you will find brainstorming ideas we have collected for this concept so far. Please have a look and provide your feedback and suggestions in the comments. Thanks!

The largest draw to Downtown San Jose for many years now has been Christmas in the Park. It has continued to grow year after year and brings in visitors from all over the Bay Area. It's economic impact is substantial and helps keep many Downtown businesses afloat.

What would you think about a similar event for Halloween? Picture Downtown lit up in orange and purple with elaborate Halloween displays assembled by local artists. Perhaps infrastructure could even be shared with Christmas in the Park (e.g. retail booths). A strong event in October would help maintain traffic between the summer months and Christmas in the Park. 
Here are the ideas we have so far:
  • Animated Halloween Displays
    • Created by local artists
    • Analogous to the Christmas displays that attract many families during Christmas in the Park (almost half a million visitors)
    • Family friendly so that everyone can enjoy it (PG/PG13, perhaps around the same level as Great America Halloween Haunt)
    • Halloween Lighting
      • Orange, purple, and green LED lighting on trees
      • May be possible to use new controllable lighting that can go from Halloween colors to Christmas colors with the push of a button, allowing the lights to stay up for Christmas in the Park as well and reducing setup/take-down effort.
    • Halloween Food
      • Booths with candied apples, chocolates, candy, pumpkin seeds, etc.
      • Food trucks
      • Trick-or-treating station - a free piece of candy to anyone wearing a costume any day in October (could also be used to hand out promotional flyers for Downtown events/businesses/resources)
    • Retail Booths selling Halloween items, for example:
      • Artwork (paintings, glass pumpkins, etc.)
      • Home decor/crafts like candles
      • Light-up hats/necklaces/bracelets
      • Costumes
      • Zombie/Halloween make-up station 
    • Halloween-themed Carnival Games
      • Pirates of Emerson and Candlelighters (Fremont) do a good job of providing family-friendly games themed around Halloween
      • A handful of children's rides could also be added to the Paseo and reused for Christmas in the Park
    • Interactive Art
      • ZERO1-style, but with a Halloween spin.
    • Pumpkins
      • Instead of the sponsored Christmas trees in Christmas in the Park, how about decorated Pumpkins (can even be Styrofoam so there is no mess/decay)?
      • Pumpkin carving station for families. 
      • Pumpkin carving contest.
    • Costumed Entertainers
      • Walking around the area, not necessarily scaring people but adding to the ambiance and providing photo opportunities for families
    • Haunts / Mazes
      • Would be ideal if these were nearby, perhaps in vacant retails spaces, surface parking lots, the convention center, or at SJSU.
      • Could partners with one of the established San Jose haunt providers such as Deadtime Dreams or The World's Largest Haunted House.
    • Potential Events
      • Zombie-O-Rama can be used to kick off Halloween in the Park (late Sep. / early Oct. time-frame)
      • Zombie Crawl
      • Dia De Los Muertes Bike Party
      • Horror Movie Trivia Contest
      • Weekly horror movie screening (perhaps in the Circle of Palms area?)
      • Costume Ball
      As in previous years, please post your suggestions below and I'll merge them in!

      Tuesday, October 28, 2014

      San Jose Halloween Attraction Guide 2014

      Wondering which events and haunts to go to this Halloween season? The San Jose Blog has got you covered:

      Dead Time Dreams - San Jose
      Back for their third year next to a pumpkin patch near Eastridge Mall. They have 2 haunts, which were quite well done despite having fewer actors than some of the places below. There is also a neat midway that connects all of the attractions and features a Halloween store.
      They are known for a very long maze with seemingly never-ending black corridors that break up the scares. For me personally, this is the single scariest maze in the Bay Area.

      Still the largest Halloween event in Northern California. Now in its seventh year, the word has gotten out on Halloween Haunt and the park is packed even on day 1. There are now 9 haunted mazes, a single haunted ride, 3 scare zones, and various shows (3 of the mazes are new this year). Most rides worth going on are still open--including the new Goldrush--and the roller coasters are being run with all the lights turned off. I would also recommend the Academy of Villains show, which was 100 times more impressive than what we were expecting. This year there is a new option to get a front of the line pass with a skeleton key that unlocks bonus scares in 5 of the haunts. If you go for the key, do not drink the blood in Roadkill Roadhouse... spoiler alert, it tastes like blood and will make you gag.

      Pirates of Emerson - Pleasanton
      The preeminent Bay Area Halloween event for almost 2 decades always provides a stellar experience. There are 5 haunted mazes this year, a Halloween Carnival, and several micro-attractions. This is MUCH MORE intense than Great America, so don't bring your young children. You'll get scares from every angle, including above and below you. The haunts are extraordinarily well done, and they only let in small groups. 

      Wicked Woods - Los Gatos
      This was the biggest surprise of last year and is extraordinarily well done. The groups are limited to only 2 people, there is quite a bit of acting and storytelling, you have interactive elements like hidden doors, and there are lots of surprises. 

      ScareCo - Oakland
      This is a brand new event for 2014. It wins the award for best ambiance hands down give it is hosted in a 102-year-old abandoned train station. Inside are 3 different haunts, all of which are very different. Contact takes place entirely in a single room, Kaiju has a prop that will blow you away, and Platform 13 was my pick for the single best haunt for this year. It is a bit of a trek to get here from San Jose, but is completely worth it.

      Monday, October 27, 2014

      Taylor Morrison Building 180+ Units in San Jose

      Taylor Morrison has acquired 8-acres of dirt at the intersection of Monterey Highway and Montecito Vista Drive. The location is near the Plant Shopping Center and The Santa Clara County Fairgrounds. The plan is to build 184 townhomes across the land ranging in size from 1,400 SQFT to 2,000 SQFT and having 2-4 bedrooms.

      This is part of a larger master-planned community called Montecito Vista, clocking in at 30-acres. Lennar is also building a 100-unit project next door called Astoria.

      The Taylor Morrison project will begin construction in about a year with models opening up April 2016.

      Source: SVBJ

      Sunday, October 26, 2014

      Little Italy San Jose Sign is Up!

      The Little Italy San Jose arch is finally in place and it looks amazing! Workers from S&S Welding put up the arch, which still needs to be accented with brick and marble. Completion is expected by November 14th. You can already anticipate a big celebration to mark this milestone in the neighborhood's history sometime in November.

      Source: Anonymous, SVBJ

      Saturday, October 25, 2014

      Saturday Stats: SJC Has Lowest Airport Delays in the Bay Area

      According to Nerdwallet, you should definitely fly out of San Jose instead of SFO or Oakland this holiday season if you are worried about being on time. San Jose has the lowest percentage of delayed flights in the region, especially on Southwest or Alaskan. In fact, SFO is the country's 2nd worst airport during the holidays when it comes to delays.

      If you factor in the amount of time you will also save getting through security and to the gate, the choice becomes even more clear assuming there is not a huge price gap.

      Source: Nerdwallet

      Friday, October 24, 2014

      therethere Opening First Retail Location in Downtown San Jose!

      therethere is a civic pride apparel and lifestyle brand (check out the Electric Light Tower in their San Jose logo below). The company hopes to help create a hub for innovation and community for San Jose that showcases local artists and nonprovies as well as augmenting the entrepreneurial spirit already growing in San Jose. They sell apparel for several different cities across the US, but they are opening their very first retail location at 15 N 2nd Street in Downtown. Each week they will be open from Wednesday through Saturday from 11am to 7pm.

      Their grand opening is today and they have a reception from 5pm to 10pm! Drinks will be provided by Cafe Stritch and there will be performances by Tara Alesia, Bascom, Boboso, and Pete Munoz.

      A portion of the proceeds from the grand opening will be donated to the Downtown Streets Team, which works to end homelessness by restoring dignity and rebuilding the lives of unhoused men and women. In addition, therethere gives 10% of each month's proceeds to a nonprofit (the San Jose Public Library Foundation was a benefactor of this already).

      Sounds like a great addition to Downtown San Jose's slowly but surely growing retail scene. For more information, check out the therethere website over here.

      Okay, cat’s out of the bag — we’re opening a store in San Jose! It’s our very first retail location and we couldn’t be more excited. Here are some of the details:

      Opening: Friday, October 24th

      Location: 15 N 2nd Street, Downtown San Jose

      Hours: Wednesday – Saturday, 11am to 7pm

      With therethere X SJ, we’re hoping to create a hub for innovation and community for San Jose that showcases local artists and nonprofits, and boosts the entrepreneurial spirit already growing in SJ. We’re also super proud to be a founding member of the San Jose Popup project, spearheaded by the San Jose Downtown Association. This popup microhood will activate the downtown corridor with a mix of retail, tech, and community spaces, and work collaboratively to support independent businesses, encourage people to explore downtown, and shop locally.

      Also, we’re having a party. I mean, celebration…I mean, celebratory party!

      Friday, October 24th, from 5pm to 10pm, come down to the shop to check out the new space and hear some live music. Stay tuned for artist info, coming to you soon!