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STORE TREK is a regular feature of the Voice, profiling new shops in the neighborhood. This month's Store Trek covers the last two shops to fill the "Cassidy Complex," the four-story building erected in 1997 by developer Joe Cassidy on 24th Street next to Bell Market.
A Girl and Her Dog
3932 24th Street (near Sanchez)
Recently on 24th Street, a girl (Annette Hickey) and her dog (a Yorkshire terrier named Bronte) opened an upscale women's clothing boutique for the fashion-conscious.
Although Hickey was born and raised in San Francisco, her previous boutique adventure was in Burlingame, Calif. When her leasing agent told her a space had opened up in Noe Valley, she scooped up the chance for a prime location in a market full of...well, girls and their dogs.
"[A Girl and Her Dog] is for the urban, downtown kind of girl," Hickey says about the kind of customer who might enjoy wearing her chique, free-spirited clothes. "You can wear these clothes to work. But I also like to keep things special." As you walk over the shop's industrial-cement floor (handpainted by an art student) and past the brightly colored knit sweaters, flowing silk skirts, flower-painted clogs, and a handbag covered with pony fur, you begin to catch her drift.
Everything sold at A Girl and Her Dog is hand picked by Hickey at fashion shows in Los Angeles and New York. Her inventory ranges from a $29 T-shirt to $600 leathers, and many items are in the $100 category.
Hickey tries on everything to make sure it's wearable and, most importantly, to check out the look. Hickey describes her clothing as a "lifestyle thing," not for any specific age or size (although she carries only sizes 2 to 10).
Since opening her doors in April, Hickey says she's felt an incredibly warm reception in Noe Valley. But how is Bronte doing? "She's adjusting. She loves people, but she's not really sure about other dogs."
So, although Hickey features human and doggie treats on her front counter, you might want to bring Fido his treat outside.
A Girl and Her Dog is open Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.
--Alex Nicole Leviton
Aveda Environmental Lifestyle Store
3938 - 24th Street (near Sanchez)
It's a cruel world sometimes. Shopping should be stressless. Customers should feel pampered, even if they don't spend a dime. That's the philosophy behind the new Aveda Environmental Lifestyle Store, conveniently located in one of the most congested blocks of 24th Street.
As you enter the store, you're greeted with a cup of complimentary tea. You can also indulge in a free five-minute chair massage.
The store carries all of Aveda's product line -- the plant-based skin, hair, and body care treatments sold in fine salons. You can also purchase Aveda cosmetics, vitamins, jewelry, even soy bars.
Aveda products are androgynous -- for men as well as women -- although a new men's line was launched a few years ago. Prices start at $2.50 for shampoos and $6 for skin care treatments. Bestsellers include Sham-pure and Rosemary Mint shampoos and conditioners, and hand and foot care products (to show off your toes now that sandal season has arrived).
Three testing stations let you try out products, and sampling is encouraged. Always wanted pink shampoo? A customizing station offers shampoos, conditioners, bath oils, and lotions that come scent- and color-free so you can create your "personal blends."
Can't decide between floral or woodsy? Aveda encourages you to take a sensory journey through aromas, even providing coffee beans to cleanse your scent palate.
No reason your home can't smell as nice as your hair. Aveda sells candles, tea lights, even fountains, which can be customized with your favorite aromas.
Aveda's makeup line offers scented selections as well. Lipsticks, for example, contain essential oils to help freshen your breath.
Although fragrance is Aveda's hallmark, the chain says it recognizes that scent is not positive for everyone. It recently launched an "All-Sensitive" line, with seven gentle aroma- and dye-free products, that is also suitable for babies. The shampoo was rated "Healthiest of the Year" by Health magazine.
And since beauty is not only skin deep, Aveda offers a line of "Intelligent Nutrients" -- vitamin supplements for internal wellness, such as Intelliderm for Healthy Skin ($34.95).
The store's "experience sizes" -- trial-size products -- are handy for travel or stowing in a gym bag.
Hours at Aveda are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
-- Stephanie Rapp