Latest Article|September 3, 2020|Free::
Making Grown Men Cry Since 1992
Remember as a kid all of the cool, fascinating trinkets you didn’t think you could live without? The kind of stuff you wanted so badly you were willing to cry over it? That’s pretty much the type of magic Color Wheel Toys embodies. In an absolutely perfect location this season, the treasure trove of kiddo-centric curios is squarely on Central between Asian Street Food and Flying Star. This annual pop-up shop offers a beautiful, awe-inspiring array of children’s toys arranged by category and guess what … there’s not a digital toy in the bunch. With categories like “Travel and Shhh,” “Kinetic Toys,” “Pretend Play,” “Construction Toys,” “Animals,” “Optics” and more, there are toys both suitable and equally enthralling for infants to geriatrics. And this is no corporate store with corporate markups. Owner and curator Keri Piehl has a kid-topia full of gadgets and gizmos you could buy on a weekly allowance. Stocking stuffers are a must with items like Finger Lazers (25 cents each) or Mini-Expandable Telescopes ($2.75). Even the larger and more complex items are gently priced. If you’re in the market to get the kids to use their minds, their hands and get their creativity on a healthy flow, this little gem in Nob Hill might be the best bet. Not only is Color Wheel Toys friendly and local, but it also verges on perfection. Keri’s keepin’ the shop open on Christmas Eve for a short day, as well as all the Deck the Hill events. This is the kind of place that makes childhood memories last a lifetime.
For the offbeat and extra humans on this year’s shopping list, Stranger Factory is the little shop of oddities you can count on finding the perfect gifts at this season. When walking by the shop, there’s a wealth of bizarre spectacles to be seen from the window, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Part gallery and part eccentric gift shop, this local boutique features everything from figurines to bags, books to wallhangings and the dark and eerie to the adorable and silly. Check out original and incredibly stylized art from Kathie Olivas, Nora Thompson, Shing Yin Khor, Stan Manoukian and so so many more. Smaller items, books, postcards and novelties are easily within a $30 and under price range, while bigger ticket items and more intricate curios can cost a pretty penny, while hopelessly worth it. If you haven’t taken the time to stop by this extraordinarily peculiar shop, you may find yourself spending three hours in there peeping at every corner and every whatnot Stranger Factory has to offer. Shop local and stay weird.