Amid tattoo parlors, coffee shops and bars, fashion boutiques and larger apparel retailers have been popping up all over PB.
"We're getting a whole new mix of stores in the area," says Andy Hanshaw, executive director of Discover Pacific Beach (pacificbeach.org), a City- sanctioned Business Improvement District. "We like to see local businesses keeping the beach unique, but, given the economy, we're seeing all types of merchants come in, both local and more corporate."
Though rumors of a pending Gap store on Garnet Avene never panned out, national brands, including American Apparel and Urban Outfitters, have set up shop in PB, alongside smaller shops that specialize in shoes, purses, accessories-you name it.
"You can expect a variety of options, good prices and fun things to do all around PB," Hanshaw says. "It's an experience completely unlike the mall."
Indeed (and thankfully), Hanshaw's right. Kids in strollers and grandparents on scooters are less at home in PB than are shoppers on skateboards and beach cruisers.
"We're in that college area where girls don't want to spend $100 on a pair of shoes, but they want to be fashionable," says Christina Veraldi, manager of Forward Footwear, which recently added clothing and accessories to its enviable collection of shoes and boots.
Although Garnet Avenue had been dotted with FOR RENT signs over the past couple ye
ars, vacancies led to reduced rents, and now stores of all sizes have emerged from the economic rubble.
"We're seeing lots of new merchants, from larger shops like Tutto Cuore, to smaller ones like Madison," says Hanshaw.
Tutto Cuore ("all heart" in Italian), certainly represents change for the neighborhood. The hot new shoe boutique, which sells "footwear at the heart of fashion," has regenerated foot traffic in what had previously been a languishing Cal Stores location. Here's a look at how this and other boutiques have been helping to kick PB's reputation for great shopping back into high (heel) gear.
Open just six months, Gloss is becoming a hot destination for finding the right ensemble-shoes, belt and all. Bulky sweaters, beaded blouses and cute jeans by Lost April can be found on one side of the cozy boutique, while glammier nighttime options line the other. (Most items under $40) Gloss Boutique, 959 Garnet Avenue, 858.483.1513
Open since September, Tutto Cuore carries a large selection of sexy pumps for cocktailing around the Gaslamp or making a grand entrance at a holiday party. Strappy sandals, studded pumps and fun wedges make up a large portion of the inventory. Flats and casual shoes are well represented, too. (Most shoes priced $25-$80) Tutto Cuore, 1019 Garnet Avenue, 858.490.4685,
All of the shoes without all the guilt can be found at Forward Footwear, which carries oodles of adorable shoes, handbags, sunglasses, scarves and hats. The boutique has a cool selection of designer shoes and boots from brands including chinese Laundry, michael antonio and Jessica Simpson. (most items under $40) Forward Footwear, 1043 Garnet Avenue, 858.490.0411, shopfwd.com
A brand new boutique with a whole lotta bling, Valencia carries a huge selection of dangly chains, bangles, rings and earrings. In addition to jewelry, the store sells accessories, purses, hobo bags and shades. (most items $5-$50) Valencia, 933 Garnet Avenue, 858.270.1000
A young fashionista's discount superstore of trendy clothing (that lasts about as long as the trend itself), The Closet carries everything from party dresses and accessories to workout clothing, tanks and winter coats. (most items $5-$35) The Closet, 4475 Mission Boulevard, 858.483.7112
Luella Boutique in north PB carries a variety of brand-name jeans, sweaters and dresses, including denim by PRVcY and stylish Buddah Bags. (most items $20-$80) Luella Boutique, 949 Turquoise Street, 858.488.8846, luellaboutique.com
Find chic and fabulous clothing and accessories from designers including Billy Blues, free People, Hanky Panky and more at C and B Scene Boutique in crown Point. Check out their DIMRS and stylish, bejeweled credit card holders and compacts. (most items $15-$75) C and B Scene Boutique, 3460 Ingraham Street, 858.273.4677,
Club clothes and the latest must-haves can be found at Mileage, a PB original for more than 15 years. Featuring dresses, jeans, shoes, bags and a wall of accessories, the popular boutique bumps with mood-setting oonce-oonce beats. (most items $10-$65) Mileage, 951 Garnet Avenue, 858.581.1285
Yes, it's fabulous, but no rags here. Fabulous Rag carries casual and formal dresses, jewelry, scarves and bags. New items are always arriving, and each collection is carefully chosen, with dresses elegantly displayed by color. (most items $20-$60) Fabulous Rag, 835 Garnet Avenue, 858.270.1993, fabulousrag.com
Hobo bags, leather purses and swanky cocktail clutches can be found at the aptly named Purse Addict, which also sells jewelry, scarves and sunglasses. (most items $15-$60) The Purse Addict, 1815 Garnet Avenue, 858.272.8585, purseaddictsd.com