It’s no secret that Oakland’s commercial districts have been struggling due to a rise in crime and post-pandemic challenges — but that’s even more reason to make the effort to support local businesses nearby. The Oakland Police Department says it’s increasing foot and vehicle patrols in shopping areas and some locations have hired their own private security guards. This week we’ll highlight our favorite stores for holiday (and everyday) shopping in the commercial districts near Piedmont. If we overlook one of your favorite spots, let us know in the comments!
Featured shopping district: Montclair Village
The Montclair Village Association will be hosting the 21st Annual Montclair Village Holiday Stroll on Thursday, Dec. 7, from 4 – 8 p.m. This festive event in the hills shopping district will feature a toy drive, live music, and performances (including the PHS Troubadours), crafts, games, and much more. It’s always a popular event, and this year the East Bay Times reports that the Association will have two new holiday security guards or “safety ambassadors” on day and nighttime patrols in the area through December.
Where to shop:
There are probably more services and restaurants than retail shops in the Village, but you could still easily check a lot off a holiday shopping list here in one afternoon. We make regular stops at Pelago on La Salle (in the former Someone’s in the Kitchen space) for their well-curated gift selection for recipients of all ages. In addition to jewelry and other colorful accessories like wallets, socks, and reading glasses, the store has a nice assortment of entertaining wares such as cocktail glasses, serving utensils, plus cookbooks, candles, and more.
Need a book recommendation? A few storefronts away from Pelago is a Great Good Place for Books — they’ll either have a bestselling book in stock or they’ll order it for you. Owner Kathleen Caldwell has her finger on the pulse of the local literary scene.
Right across the street is the family-owned Montclair Toy House — it’s been part of Piedmonters’ lives for 69 years. The small space is always packed to the ceiling in December with a wide range of popular stuffed animals, toys, and games. What’s popular this year? A store employee reveals no surprises: stuffed animals (Squishables), Lego, anything Pokemon. Weekends in December can get busy!
When you realize right before a holiday event that your child has outgrown their one pair of khaki pants/dress shirt or shoes, McCaulous will likely have you covered. There’s nothing fancy about this old-school department store chain, but you can almost certainly find seasonal basics for all ages and stocking stuffers at the convenient (i.e., no driving to Walnut Creek or Emeryville) Montclair location. The women’s boutique Hula on La Salle has also come through in a bind. It packs a lot into a small space — you can find brands like Nic and Zoe, Three Dots, Hue, Hobo, Jag, and more.
Wine, coffee, chocolate: Montclair has three coffee shops with three different vibes — Peets, Starbucks, and High Wire — all within sight of each other. A gift card from any of these locations would fit easily into a stocking or envelope.
Walk into Farmstead Cheese and Wine at the top of La Salle and tell them what kind of party you are hosting and/or attending — they’ll guide you to a perfect bottle or two and you’ll be in and out the door in no time. Just down the street from Farmstead on the corner of La Salle and Mountain is LeBonBon — a source for chocolate and candy stocking stuffers.
Need a bite to eat while out and about? Yellow Door — started by two Piedmonters in 2020 — has breakfast all day, a delicious signature turkey sandwich, healthy salads, made-from-scratch baked goods, and yes, gift cards to boot. The fresh food spot closes at 2 p.m. so plan accordingly.
We’re also fans of the Korean grocery store — EM Deli and Catering. They offer catering, hot food to go, and a wide assortment of Korean and Asian snacks. Plus: KF94 face masks at the counter if your mask supply is running low as we enter another cold/flu/RSV/COVID season.