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Venturing Into First Holiday Shop Season

Venture Men's Goods cut the ribbon on Nov. 15, and is used as an example of the value of Lafayette to small independent retailers.

New retail owners Rosylyn and Tom Stenzel are preparing their Venture for its first Black Friday — and its first holiday shopping season.

Venture Men's Goods had a soft opening at 3571 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette, in time for the Lafayette Art and Wine Festival in September. The more formal ribbon cutting came on Nov. 15.

Venture can be an example of how independent retailers can fare well in Lafayette vis-a-vis Walnut Creek where boutiques face some stiff competition from larger stores. The Beyond the Creek blog put forth that idea recently and then followed it up with a gratuitous slap at Moraga shopping:

"Walnut Creek has big department stores like Nordstrom, Macy’s and Neiman Marcus, along with mid-tier retailers like Pottery Barn, H&M, Barnes and Noble and Apple, with smaller independent retailers mixed in such as Atlas and Norf London, while Lafayette is home to many independent retail stores such as the recently opened men’s clothing store Venture and children’s store Tulip. It seems to me that Walnut Creek would bring in more foot traffic, but competition would be greater with more choices available. The question is whether the increased foot traffic is worth being overshadowed by the larger stores. If you were going to set up shop as a small independent retailer, where would you choose, Walnut Creek or Lafayette? I also have Orinda on the list but I think it will come down to Lafayette and Walnut Creek. I didn’t bother adding Moraga to the list, because well, cows don’t shop."

Tom Stenzel said he has heard that feedback from customers that they like the Lafayette shopping experience, as well as a number of Lamorinda residents who like to keep their purchases local.

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