Openings

Sherri McMullen: A Decade of Style and Other Openings

By Katie Sweeney

The third time’s the charm for the Oakland-based fashion retail maven. She’s moved her namesake boutique into location No. 3, and the brand-new store is bigger and better than ever. There is an expanded accessory and shoe collection, plenty of room for more clothing, and intimate details — think black and white photos of female family members who inspire her — that give shoppers an exclusive look into McMullen’s life. Here is why you need to head to the East Bay shop now.

McMullen 2257 Broadway, Oakland shopmcmullen.com

Photo by Maria Del Rio.

A year ago, Sherri McMullen — arguably Oakland’s most fashionable woman — celebrated the 10-year anniversary of her high-end designer store, McMullen. Now, she’s observing another milestone with the opening of her brand-new boutique.

“During the 10-year anniversary, I was thinking about expansion. My lease was up at the old location,” McMullen says. “I was interested in going to downtown Oakland. It’s something that I put on my business plan even when I opened the store 11 years ago. I felt like the time was now.” 

McMullen started searching for a new space and came across an old restaurant on an up-and-coming stretch of Broadway. She worked with an Oakland-based team — Flynn Architecture and Redmond Aldrich Design — to transform the raw 2,800-square-foot room into McMullen 3.0. Redmond Aldrich’s owner, Chloe Warner, collaborated closely with McMullen to create the contemporary, bright and welcoming shop. 

“It has a ’70s vibe to it, but it’s also really modern,” McMullen says. “Anything that was cement we kept. The high ceilings we kept exposed, so it has a little bit of that industrial feel. It also has a very warm and inviting environment with the color palette. There are mustard carpets, terrazzo tiles, creamy pink walls and this cool McMullen neon sign that we incorporated as a focal point of the store.” 

The custom sign isn’t the only personalized touch to the new McMullen. Instead of artwork, the walls are adorned with black-and-white photos of McMullen’s women family members. 

“We were talking about what type of art to put on the walls. I wanted something that was personal for me,” McMullen muses. “There are many artists in my family, so I thought, ‘Should we use something that’s from my family?’ Then the design team came up with this idea to blow up old family photos of the women who inspired me the most, particularly in fashion: my mother, my grandmother and my aunts.” Although these influential women have passed away, they remain in McMullen’s life as inspiration. 

Aside from the artwork, McMullen is excited about her expanded collection of designers, clothing and an entirely new accessories department. 

“We have a full shoe department where we can have a lot more shoes,” she says. “We didn’t have the space for them at the last store. Then we’ve brought in more ready-to-wear lines.” 

The boutique has long been a destination for female-owned brands and emerging designers from faraway places — now more so than ever. McMullen scours Paris Fashion Week for pieces that will resonate with her savvy customers (who include Ayesha Curry). 

She flew to Copenhagen to meet with Stine Goya, a brand that’s buzzing among fashion trendsetters. McMullen is the only store in the Bay Area to carry the Scandinavian’s flirty printed dresses and chic blouses. Other design firms displaying their wares at McMullen’s Oakland storefront include Marion Parke, Jacquemus, Simon Miller, Staud and Petar Petrov. 

McMullen is incredibly in tune with what her customers want, and thrilled to bring them a new female-driven fashion emporium. Her store —which is now open seven days a week and has an in-house tailor three days a week — plans to fill that void. 

“Before, we were mostly destination-based. You would have to drive to McMullen to get it,” she observes. “We didn’t have a lot of foot traffic. It’s been a nice change seeing so many people coming in that work in the area who are thrilled to have us.” 

Verjus 550 Washington Street, San Francisco

Photo by Postcard PR

It’s been almost 10 years since Michael and Lindsay Tusk moved Quince to Jackson Square and opened its beloved little sister eatery, Cotogna. Now comes their highly anticipated new project, Verjus. A casual wine bar located two blocks away, at the base of the Transamerica Pyramid, Verjus is the Tusks’ first French-inspired restaurant. It’s open for lunch and dinner, and diners can look forward to classic French preparations such as frog legs, house-made charcuterie and boudin blanc de mer. Verjus includes a retail component where wine lovers can shop iconic French producers and well-known international labels. The store is also stocked with culinary treasures and artisanal wares that the Tusks have discovered overseas.

St. Joseph’s Arts Society 1401 Howard Street, San Francisco

Photo by Susana Bates for Drew Altizer Photography

One of San Francisco’s greatest showmen has done it again. Interior designer and event planner Ken Fulk has transformed a derelict old church on the corner of 10th and Howard streets into a creative club. After three years of renovation, Fulk unveiled a gorgeous, art-filled space that’s home to a Carpenters Workshop Gallery, the Buly 1803 Apothecary and an Assouline Book Salon. For the first time, Fulk’s elaborate floral arrangements will be available to the public at the Flower Factory. Part salon, part gallery and part event space, the society was established with 20 founding artists and 20 founding subscribers who will underwrite the programming that takes place at the church.

RH Yountville 6725 Washington Street, Yountville

Courtesy of Restoration Hardware

Up in Napa, Restoration Hardware has opened a first-of-its-kind destination for food, wine, art and design. A collaboration between Restoration Hardware’s chairman and CEO Gary Friedman and architect James Gillam, RH Yountville is home to a restaurant, two design galleries, a wine vault and expansive gardens. Brendan Sodikoff oversees the seasonal, ingredient-driven eatery that has dishes like half-roasted chicken with caramelized onions and olive oil potato puree. The boutique galleries will feature a rotating selection of interiors by the brand and special collections by internationally renowned designers. The wine vault is a two-story tasting room where guests can purchase bottles of rare, limited-edition wine from the valley’s top small producers.

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