My daughters and I were lucky enough to get a sneak peak of the all new “San Francisco” American Girl Store yesterday. I put “San Francisco” in quotes because the store is actually in Palo Alto at the Stanford Mall, about 45 minutes south of San Francisco. The company researched the markets and found that most of their Northern CA customers were located in the Peninsula, not in the city, and if there’s anything the American Girl peeps want to do, it’s please their customers.
|San Francisco has a much better ring than Palo Alto…|
I’m not complaining. It’s much closer to home for us!
So off we headed after school, friend in tow, dolls clutched tight to excited chests. In the car they chatted about when they’d gotten their dolls, what accessories they had, what clothes. They futzed with their doll’s outfits, making sure they were ready for the visit “home.”
The chatter slowed as we neared the store. It stretched wayyyyy up into the gorgeous blue sky of an unseasonably warm November day. I had no time to get a good shot of the storefront; the girls were just too excited to wait.
|That there is a November sky in the Bay Area. Lovely, right?|
And then we were in. My girls had been to the American Girl Store in Chicago, but for their friend this was a first. The magic wasn’t lost on anyone. You have to love how you’re just never too old or too cool to be wowed by beautiful dolls in a beautiful setting.
|Big tough 3rd Graders. Ha.|
The store is significantly smaller than its Illinois counterpart, but it had all of the essential elements. Doll salon, Bistro, endless displays of gorgeous dolls in adorable dioramas. And, of course, a book store, to hold all of the great AG books!
|Doesn’t she look thrilled to be getting her hair done?|
|Such stylish place settings!|
Some toy stores are mere places to buy toys; the American Girl store is a destination. It’s designed to make you want to walk around, browse, ohhh, ahhh, get your doll… well… dolled up, and stop for a bite to eat. But be warned, this store’s Bistro only seats 40, and 10 of those are at the “bar.” Reservations for tea or for parties are booked up through March already and with such few available seats you’re going to have to plan way ahead to take your doll out for tea. The food seems to be upscale “kid” food, with a few tasty “mommy” options, and the prices weren’t shockingly high. (Definitely par for the course for what you’ll find at other Stanford Mall eateries.) It’s a sweet little place, made to look like a doll sized old style diner. They even have doll seats so everyone’s “friend” can join in the fun. Didn’t bring your doll? No worries, they have loaners, even for mommy and grandma.
As for the book store, it’s not a big part of the store, but it’s where we spent most of our time. The stories are well written, and they really give you a great sense of who the dolls are supposed to be.
American Girl also seems to be cornering the market on young girl self help books. We went home with a guide about boys and a guide on challenging friendships… both of which went to school with my daughter today (together with a stack of post-its and a pen for intense note taking). The hair book for dolls and for girls has also been seriously earmarked and I’m sure will be put to work as soon as school lets out.
|They thought I hadn’t noticed they were reading a book about boys. Silly girls.|
Take your girls, heck, take your sons. Be ready to be begged for a lot of cute stuff, and be ready to want to shell out for it. You might even find yourself pointing out things your kids didn’t notice.
It won’t take long for you to understand why each doll costs $110. It won’t take long for you to come on board with spending that to bring one home. The dolls are high quality, they’ll last forever. And one day, it’ll be your child walking into one of these stores with her daughter, and odds are, she’ll be clutching that very doll to her chest, excited to find her some new outfits and accessories.
|That’s the math book my girls will have in 4th grade. This one is doll sized.|
Please note: I was in no way compensated by the American Girl company for this post. We were given a few books and a doll t-short to thank us for our visit.