Tucked into a corner of the Sharon Heights Shopping Center, gift shop Shady Lane’s artisanal products attract customers from all over the Bay Area.
Alice and Rick Deutscher opened the store in downtown Palo Alto over 45 years ago to sell their own products, which included woodwork and textile arts. Since then, the store has expanded to sell creations from other local artisans as well as artists from all over the world. The Deutschers moved the boutique to a quaint octagonal building in Sharon Heights in 2015. Owner Alice Deutscher explained, “A lot is happening in downtown Palo Alto, so we’re very happy to have a new location. We still call this our new location even though we’ve been here for nine years.”
Local artisan Donna Ewart, who makes products for Shady Lane and often helps out in the store, said that the shop sells “a curation of beautiful jewelry, ceramics, crystals, items for the garden, beautiful photography, and all kinds of fun stuff.” Customer Alison Kasta said, “I’m always attracted to stores that have handmade items. I was drawn in by the aesthetics, the way they set up their front, and their posters and colors.” Ewart added, “It’s the best place to buy a gift in the Bay Area.”
Deutscher decided to make some special items—stones shaped into hearts and animals such as elephants and bears—free on Earth Day. She said, “We want to support Earth Day because we have a lot of hand-carved artisanal items that come straight from the Earth. We like to support the environment but we are not directly connected to any organization, and this is also a way to thank people. It kind of helps break the ice if somebody comes in and they don’t know a lot about us.” These free gifts aren’t only given out on Earth Day, though; Ewart explained, “[Deutscher] is so generous and she is known for the stone hearts, so she gives them away for free all the time.”
Deutscher concluded, “We’re really happy that people find us, because we’re not in downtown Palo Alto anymore where people just walk by and walk in. But we’re so happy we’re in this environment, and as a small artisan-owned store, the more word that we can get out about our store makes a big difference. We’re constantly buying things and making it better and better. We just love our store.”