I recently spent my winter holiday staying in the Inner Sunset of San Francisco. I love this area of the city. The countless food selection, the close proximity to Golden Gate Park and the quaint, hole-in-the-wall shops with clever gadgets and ironic cards allow for weeks of wandering and exploring. The Inner Sunset has some more well recognized shops such as Ambiance and Crossroads Trading Company, but as you wander down side avenues you come across less recognized hidden gems. Paragraph, located at 1234 9th Avenue, first caught my attention when I was walking home after a lovely dinner at Pacific Catch.
The store was closed at the hour I was walking by, but a turquoise card sitting in the front window was too good to forget about. The card was simple and in bold letters said, “You’re my favorite mom.” I happened to be walking along the street with my parents, pointed it out to my mom and we laughed all the way back to the house. It became a running joke and whenever we came across something that we did not like we agreed the item was not our favorite mom. I knew I was going to have to go back and buy this epic card.
I took New Year’s Eve Day off from work thinking I was going to have some awesome and wild plans to wrap up 2013. Of course my plans changed about three different times throughout the day, and at the time I was wandering around the Inner Sunset I had no plans for New Year’s Eve. Lame, I know, don’t rub it in. Anyway, I had not forgotten about that card, and sure enough as I approached Paragraph, I saw that the card was nested in the window right where I had first had the pleasure of reading it. I opened the door to this curious little shop and immediately knew this was going to be one of my new favorites of San Francisco.
I apologize to the men reading this, this is a women’s and baby clothing boutique. However, if you need anniversary or Valentine’s Day gifts, Paragraph has a unique and locally made jewelry selection that will make your significant other bask in the glow of individuality.
As I entered the store, I immediately wanted just about every item I saw. I tend to enter all small boutique shops in San Francisco refusing to flip over the price tags, assuming that the garments are so beyond what I can afford it’s laughable. One ivory, loosely crocheted, pull over, sweater was too irresistible, and I had to see how much it cost. To my surprise the sweater was less than I expected, but of course more than I wanted to spend. It was priced at $54. Don’t write off this store just yet. I haven’t reached the back of the store where two racks of sale items are located!
I made my way to the back of the store passing adorable onesies, scarfs and statement necklaces. As I reached the sale section I came out of my shopping daze, and realized I was not alone and the sales associate was set up behind the counter. She had greeted me earlier when I entered the store, and even though I responded with a hello, when enveloped in a mini consumer paradise, I tend to forget previous encounters. She was very sweet and helpful, and let me know that all the sale items were an additional 25% off. Ahh music to my ears! I found cute, loosely fitting, crop tops and printed dresses. I pulled a few items and headed to the fitting room.
I tried on this fitted, coral, striped maxi skirt and fell in love. Price=$25 after discount $18.75. As I stated before, I was not shopping for New Year’s Eve, so I pictured myself wearing this versatile piece on my vacation in 4 weeks in Maui. I headed to a little stand with greeting cards and searched for the card that led to this successful find. I found a card that said, “You’re my favorite dad,” and I decided to buy this along with the other card from the front window.
The girl at the front counter was so pleasant and even gave me the discount on greeting cards that was not scheduled to begin for another few days. My total purchase price was around $26. I asked her about other locations around the city and she told me that their sister store is located in the Inner Richmond on 3rd Avenue and Clement. Story sells mainly gifts, while Paragraph sells apparel. She also gave me a card with Story’s address and a coupon of 10% off my next purchase.
I have to say that my shopping experience at Paragraph was one of the most pleasant I have had in San Francisco. Unlike big store chains, the sales associates are not stalking you around the store in order to ensure their commission for the sale. You are not fed lame lines about checking out their jeans or the buy one get one free deal for one day only. Paragraph’s clothing is reasonably priced, well made, unique and the service is genuine and helpful. I highly recommend after enjoying a nice lunch on 9th avenue to take a moment to look at Paragraph and some of the other shops nearby. Who knows you may just find your new favorite San Francisco store along with a little inside joke to share with family and friends.