Various & Sundries
69 Broadway Blvd., Fairfax
What do they offer?
offers handmade local clothing and gift items for men, women, and children. Everything here is made by local artists and carefully selected by owner Stephanie Morris. The artists, over 250, are too numerous to mention, but photographs of some of their items are at right.
For men, there is a colorful tie-dye collection of t-shirts, short-sleeved silk shirts and socks, plus unusual neck ties (one of the only places in Fairfax to find a tie), and some natty brimmed bicycle caps.
For women, the store carries colorful, fuzzy and warm hats, shawls, washable rayon tops for every day and dressier ones for evening, hand painted silk scarves, and a lovely selection of jewelry, including the new feather earrings, all made by various local artists.
For children, they have charming hand-made sweaters with matching caps, wonderful fleece and knitted jumpers and dresses, blankets, and hand-made toys.
Gift items include wooden bowls, found wood jewelry boxes, wood turned pens, toaster tongs (unique), pickle pickers (even more unique), boot jacks for men, cards, wall art, lamps, cork items such as zipper coin purses, ceramics like mugs, bowls and soup tureens, and beautiful decorative pieces in blown glass, including hearts and vases.
"We have the best mugs on the planet, made by Ross Spangler. They are tall and wider at the base to keep the beverage hot. The handle fits all your fingers. The mugs have thin walls and come in fabulous glaze colors," Morris said.
Since it's the season, you should know that Various & Sundries also has fun stocking stuffers such as inlaid wood bookmarks, cork wristlets and business card holders, and hand-made ornaments.
How long have they been here?
The store, which was in San Anselmo for 36 years, moved to Fairfax in September, 2010. Morris said, "I heard about this big beautiful renovated space on Broadway in Fairfax, which I knew would show off my merchandise in its best light. It is a completely different floor plan than what I had in San Anselmo and I am delighted with the new location."
Who are they?
Originally from Omaha, Nebraska, Morris started her career in retail at Saks Fifth Avenue in Palo Alto, then moved to the Emporium on Market Street in San Francisco. She was also with the cosmetics firm Estee Lauder.
Settling with her family in San Anselmo, Morris worked off and on for thirty years with Various & Sundries original owner Emily Dvorin. At one time there was a location in San Anselmo and a second store in San Francisco at Pier 39, which Morris managed.
When Dvorin retired in 2008, Morris bought the store. She felt it was a tribute that the original staff all stayed on. Since Morris already knew the vendors and procedures, she said it was an easy transition and an almost seamless change.
Rudy, her friendly rescue dog, helps out on a daily basis and he loves the new store too.
Why are they business of the week?
"If I'm here, I'm open" is the customer service mantra of Morris, who has a very outgoing and helpful personality. On Thursday and Friday nights, she stays open until 8 p.m., which is unusual in Fairfax.
Dvorin always had hats in the San Anselmo store. When Morris' husband became ill with cancer, she realized that the floor plan of the store lent itself to the privacy needed by a chemo patient.
For a time, she considered setting an area aside for people to try on hats without others looking on, but that idea never came to fruition. However she decided to carry even more hats than Dvorin did, many in soft and cozy fleece to wear indoors or out. Some keep your head warm while you are sleeping, and others are fashionable and packable. All the local doctors and hospitals know about her wonderful warm hats.
In San Anselmo, Various & Sundries was the first store to host the Save a Bunny Fundraiser, which became a town-wide event. Every spring she is involved in rabbit rescue, so look for the furry cuties in her Fairfax store windows.
To help Haiti earthquake victims, Morris had a clothing, book, and toy drive. She said that the local community really poured their hearts out for the cause. Her San Anselmo store was the donation drop-off point for clothes and cash donations, so Fairfax looks forward to her next big-hearted charity effort.
Various & Sundries has a wonderful selection of items in a wide range of prices. As the owner, Morris feels she should be on site as often as she can be, which is pretty much daily. She knows the artists personally and visits them in their workshops, so she can recite anything you want to know about their backgrounds or techniques.
We welcome Various & Sundries and the creations from 250 local artists to Fairfax. Clearly, Morris is already an asset to Broadway Boulevard.