- The Tiny Finch
A fresh addition to Dignowity Hill, Chica Verde wants you to “add a little green to your life” in the form of artfully potted plants and all-around “porch and patio vibes.” Formerly a refrigerated storage facility for an adjacent restaurant, the tiny shop opened this past summer to a warm welcome from the surrounding community and recently got a colorful makeover thanks to an exterior mural created by artist Jason Willome. With a background that runs the gamut from marketing and public relations to owning an El Paso toy store and working alongside interior designer D’Ette Cole at neighboring Good Goods, proprietor Valerie Reynolds has filled Chica Verde with old-school saddle blankets ($25), hammocks, assorted found objects, and wares crafted by area Etsy vendors. As for Reynolds’ specialty, “awesomely potted” succulents ($16-$40) sprout from vintage camping cups, ’70s-era ceramics, spicy peanut tins and other vessels she picks up in the fields of Warrenton and environs during Round Top Antiques Week.
Chica Verde, 914 Nolan St., (915) 490-9579, chicaverde.net.
Choice Goods Tucked in the back of Brick in the Blue Star Arts Complex, Choice Goods Gallery champions San Anto’s eclectic art scene through a colorful mixture of wares created by proprietor Robert Tatum and an array of like-minded artists. A California native based in Southtown since 1992, Tatum has left his witty, irreverent mark on businesses across the city in the form of murals and signs often featuring animals (his “OK Monkey” at The Luxury is a neighborhood favorite). Although anchored by prints, T-shirts and bags emblazoned with Tatum’s signature birds, dogs, kitties, squirrels and hybrid beasties, a big part of the fun at Choice Goods is discovering the work of local creatives like sci-fi illustrator Mike Fisher and fiber artist/designer Michele Morrill. Shoppers with slightly deeper pockets shouldn’t miss Choice Goods’ new fine art offshoot Showdown Gallery, located at 103 Blue Star.
Choice Goods, 108 Blue Star (entrance in alley behind Brick), (210) 858-2361, tatumoriginals.com.
Fiesta on Main Although it functions as a one-stop shop for all your Fiesta needs — cascarones, garlands, flower crowns, papel picado and confetti by the bagful — Fiesta on Main is a year-round operation that bustles with activity at the drop of just about any celebration. In recent months, the white-columned shop has transitioned seamlessly from Halloween witches and Día de los Muertos calaveras to Trump and Clinton pinãtas perched on the porch between a gang of Thanksgiving turkeys. Christmas and New Year’s fanfare is unsurprisingly waiting in the wings. But as any regular will tell you, party supplies and holiday decor are merely the bread and butter at this distinctly San Antonio operation. Founded as an outlet for Mexican artisans to sell their wares, Fiesta on Main stocks its racks and shelves with an abundance of smartly priced giftables suitable for seasoned locals and sure to charm any of the out-of-towners on your yuletide list. Standing out among the many items we’d be happy to unwrap: colorful lotería T-shirts ($10), itty-bitty folk art figurines (starting at just $2.50 — ideal stocking stuffers), Mexican dresses and guayaberas ($22-$110 depending on the amount of embroidery), and talavera ceramic kitchenware (the $19 spoon rest and $25 teapot both caught our eye).
What’s more, Fiesta on Main offers a wide array of bags — ranging from grocery totes emblazoned with Frida Kahlo to tapestry-covered weekenders — that could easily spare you the hassle of gift-wrapping.
Fiesta on Main, 20125 N. Main Ave., (210) 738-1188, alamofiesta.com.
Good Goods Walking into D’Ette Cole’s Dignowity Hill emporium Good Goods offers an odd sensory rush of entering an expertly designed environment. Wall arrangements are Instagram-worthy to say the least, mid-century furniture groupings appear ready to host a retro cocktail party, and everything else looks “curated,” yet in the least stuffy sense of the word. Opened in the summer of 2015, the shop exemplifies the eclectic taste of Cole — an artist and interior designer who co-founded Uncommon Objects in Austin and Clutter in Warrenton — along with a few collaborators who “infuse goods” sourced throughout Texas and on travels to Europe and India. A pleasant surprise for such a special space, much of what Good Goods sells is priced within the realm of the reasonable. Walking us through the shop on a recent afternoon, Cole pointed out chunky jade bangles ($40), Kenyan river amber necklaces ($30) and strands of African sand-cast beads ($28-$48) as examples of her taste in jewelry. “I shop for what I like,” she told us. Perhaps the shop’s biggest wow factor, however, is the way Cole repurposes and reconfigures objects and collections in ways that spark the imagination — dozens of wicker baskets form a conglomerate tableau on one wall and framed vintage bingo cards ($18 each) are hung on another with art gallery precision. Save the date: On Sunday, December 11 (3-6pm), Good Goods teams up with neighboring Chica Verde for a holiday fundraiser with food, refreshments, live music and 20 percent of all sales benefiting the Dignowity Hill Animal Welfare Association.
Good Goods, 904 Nolan St., (210) 229-0663, goodgoodstx.com.
- Photo by Bryan Rindfuss
High Five Shop Although his original business plan involved buying a trailer, packing it with artist-made goods and staging pop-ups across the country, Joseph Silvas accepted a friend’s offer to take over a small but primely located shop on the St. Mary’s Strip. Opened last year, his quaint High Five Shop has quickly become a gifting go-to thanks to its curated mix of cards, stickers, T-shirts, zines, pins and prints created by well-known mainstays (including Cruz Ortiz and Tattooed Boy) and emerging artists alike. Himself a working artist who recently scored an award for Best Streetwear Designer at the second annual San Antonio Fashion Awards (for his label Broseph Goods) and a gig painting murals inside the forthcoming Quarry eatery Tacoart, Silvas sees the shop as a way to help “local artists and brands grow by introducing their designs to a wider audience.” On a recent visit to the street-smart shop, a number of gift-worthy items made by Mexico City transplant Inés Estrada caught our eye, including her new comics collection Impatience, a hard-to-pass-up 2017 “Catlendar” ($10), an embroidered “magic eyes” cap, and a T-shirt starring a beer-guzzling bear. Somewhat unsurprisingly, Estrada (who also creates work under the monikers Inechi and Gatosaurio) is High Five’s biggest seller.
High Five Shop 806 E. Mistletoe Ave., (210) 380-1637, facebook.com/highfiveshopsa.
sloan/hall Opened in 1994 by Michael Sloan and Shannon Hall, sloan/hall has maintained a carefully curated collection in its storefront for upwards of 20 years. After moving into the converted Magnolia/Mobil service station in 2011, visiting the store itself has become something of an experience. The neon Pegasus isn’t the only attraction by far, though — an almost impossible array of goods are displayed throughout the store whilst maintaining the building’s open and airy atmosphere, ranging from Rifle Paper Co. cards to Opening Ceremony’s clothing line. Of particular note are two local designers: Doris Flores’ collection of 18-carat gold-fill jewelry offers a variety of colorful, understated necklaces and earrings featuring semi-precious stones that will satisfy minimalists and maximalists alike, as they are well-suited for layering ($50-$315), and Kass Carrell’s Liberty 61 clothing line features classically cut soft tees made from recycled bamboo ($68) and dresses with layered linen skirts ($340) in shades of olive, green, and ivory. Men aren’t left out of the shopping experience, either – Matthew Owen’s KUUTSUU leather goods are also made in Texas, and feature a drool-worthy doctor’s satchel ($750) that the ladies may want to snatch up as well.
sloan/hall, 5424 Broadway, (210) 828-7738, sloanhall.com.
The Tiny Finch Despite the stubborn Texas temperatures, you’ll get a healthy dose of yuletide cheer immediately upon entering the Tiny Finch: a collection of Christmas ornaments are situated in the entryway, featuring clay crosses, hearts, and stars made by Houston-based Barbara Biel ($45). Owner Courtney Beauchamp assembles the Tiny Finch’s wide-ranging yet cohesive collection both via partnering with individual designers and sourcing goods from international markets, filling the space with scent and texture with a collection ranging from high-quality soaps and lotions to vintage Moroccan rugs. Animal-loving shoppers can find anything from blown glass hedgehog salt and pepper shakers ($40), to neon pet leashes ($68), to giant soaps in the shape of Japanese red snappers ($48) amongst the store’s offerings, while those looking for a bit more of an abstract representation can pick up one of local artist Ali Christensen’s colorfully wrapped deer antlers ($85-130).
The Tiny Finch, 302 Pearl Pkwy., Suite 116, (210) 253-9570, thetinyfinch.com.