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Best of 2007: Shops

Localize it!

This year there have been a slew of new discoveries on our list. From concept shops to handmade crafts - shopping has never been easier!

1. The Curiosity Shoppe
This charming new addition to the Mission fits right in with the indie flavors of the neighborhood while bringing its own unique twist. Husband-and-wife proprietors Lauren and Derek successfully bring an endearing mix of nature-inspired home décor pieces, handmade goodies and crafting books and kits.

2. Babylon Falling
A unique concept shop for everything revolutionary. There is a large, diverse selection of books about revolution to choose from as well as toys, art and other media all tied around the theme.

3. Rare Device
Located up the street from DLX skate shop, this new spot features an impeccably curated selection of design-conscious home goods and accessories selected by propietress Rena Tom and co-operator artist Lisa Congdon. These ladies take care to stock a space filled with distinctive things you’re rarely likely to find elsewhere in SF.

There are two huge things going for this flagship store right off the bat: (1) it took the space long occupied by The Gap in Upper Haight and (2) whoever designed the store did a bang-up job: from the Ed Templeton window display to the octopus chandeliers and impeccably laid out interior. Put those aside and the clothing is top-notch.

5. Cookin’
Used kitchenware of just about any variety can be found here and we’re not talking about the dollar store use-once-and-discard stuff. Visiting this Divisadero institution is like wandering through a cookware museum filled to the brim with treasures you can purchase.

6. Isotope
Comic books and graphic novels are king at this Hayes Valley joint. Toilet seats illustrated by comic book and graphic novel artists keep visual interest high, while racks upon racks of books for readers of all ages are key for adding to collections.

7. SF MOMA Store
Purveyor of wares that will appeal to art aficionados and anyone who appreciates nice-looking and stylishly functional items. A substantial collection of art books and DVDs are guaranteed to keep a demanding audience occupied and provide ample inspiration for projects of your own.

8. 826 Valencia
Proceeds from the pirate store benefit programs aimed at helping students aged 6-18 with their writing skills. What more can be said? The perfect place to pick up an old-fashioned wax seal for all those piratey correspondences or another glass eye to add to your collection. Adult writing workshops are also offered.

9. Kinokuniya Bookstore
Lose yourself in this bookstore in the Japan Center. In addition to fascinating imported Japanese magazine, the place is brimming with amusing reads and origami/craft kits galore. Great place to find a gift for anyone, including yourself.

10. Double Punch
A great toy store/art gallery with fascinations for all ages. Vinyl toys are no new thing but the variety of toys here is commendable. Also nice is the affordable art by local artists (most works are under $100!).