The East Bay’s Premier Magazine of Culture & Commerce

The East Bay’s Premier Magazine of Culture & Commerce

News about great shops in your neighborhood

News about great shops in your neighborhood

Water Therapy

Rodney Joleh sees a lot of police officers and firefighters in his line of work. Manager of Anderson’s Spas in Oakland, Joleh helps these civil servants–loaded down with heavy holsters and tool belts–find the right therapeutic spa for their ailments. But it’s not just police officers and firefighters who need water therapy: one out of ten people experience chronic back pain during their lifetimes.

Hydrotherapy raises the body’s temperature and holds it, causing pheromones to be released and dilating blood vessels, which allows the muscles and internal organs to detoxify, according to Joleh. “The relaxation our customers feel is a byproduct of that detoxification,” he says.

Most of Anderson’s clients want a spa for the simple pleasure of it. They can find everything from family-value tubs to luxury offerings that include a TV, DVD player, and radio. All of Anderson’s spas can be run on chlorine-free systems. “The old spas were like sitting in a washing machine,” Joleh says. “These new ones have water so clean you could drink it but of course you wouldn’t want to,” he adds with a laugh.

Anderson’s Spas, 2872 East Seventh Street, Oakland, (510) 434-1947;

Eclectic Imports

Suleyman Ozkan came to the United States from Turkey 20 years ago, and his first job was helping a cousin with his upholstery business. The gig gave him experience working with furniture and recognizing quality antiques.

This past summer, Ozkan and his brother Osman opened Papillon Home on Solano Avenue in Berkeley, after 13 years in the same business in San Rafael. The latest incarnation of his passion for furniture, Papillon carries new national brands as well as articles imported from Turkey, Indonesia, India, and China. Ozkan also carries a limited quantity of antique Eastern European items.

“Our look is eclectic, a blend of imports and domestically-made pieces,” he says.

The brothers’ San Rafael store was something of an institution (that location is now open only by appointment): One family made it their furniture supplier through three generations. Ozman expects to continue this tradition of coming to know his community through the store.

“Since I’ve been in the antiques business, I know how furniture is made, and I can tell our customers the advantages or disadvantages of a particular piece,” he says. “We want to make sure our clients know exactly what they’re buying.”

Papillon Home, 1882 Solano Avenue, Berkeley, (510) 526-8998;

At Your Feet

If you’re looking to spruce up your home for the holidays but not sure where to start, the answer is at your feet: carpet, stone, tile, wood, linoleum, and area rugs . . . if you can walk on it, The Floor Store carries it. A 23-year-old company with four East Bay locations, The Floor Store’s Richmond site has just opened a Karastan carpet gallery within its 30,000-square-foot warehouse. A pioneer in the wall-to-wall carpeting business, Karastan produces carpets in a range of high-quality options including a 100 percent New Zealand wool line and a synthetic line in the newest color trends.

If it’s hard flooring you want, The Floor Store shows the bulk of what the American market has to offer as well as importing tile from Italy, marble from Turkey, and hardwoods from Malaysia such as Cumaru and Siberian maple. “We’re not bringing in vanilla ice cream, we’re bringing in exotic flavors,” says the company’s General Manager Bret Lowder. “Because we import direct from the stone quarries in Europe, we can pass along the savings to our clients,” he adds.

Unlike the small, sample design stores, which don’t stock merchandise, The Floor Store is a functioning warehouse. From inexpensive options to exotic choices, many items are available immediately. “You can walk in here and walk out with your purchase, or have it in a few days,” says Lowder.

Imagine Santa’s surprise when he lands softly on your newly carpeted floor.

The Floor Store, 5327 Jaccuzzi Street, Suite 2A, Richmond, (510) 527-3203.

Bronzed Beauty

It was the Mystic Tan, popularized in part by Paris Hilton, that got Sam and Jasmin Fiandaca, and their partners Todd and Jennifer Arrouzet, excited about opening Bella High Performance Tanning Salon. Mystic Tan is sprayed-on bronzing that does not involve any UVA or UVB light: Clients stand nude in a private booth while fine mist sprays both front and back. The two couples started their first salon in El Sobrante in 2002 and in January of this year, they opened a new one in Albany.

In addition to Mystic Tan, Bella offers traditional UV tanning beds. For those wanting serious coverage for the holidays, the Bella Cocktail combines time in the tanning bed with spray tanning. “Test drives” of the salon’s services are available, Sam Fiandaca says.

Bella’s beds are state-of-the-art, with more bulbs, a bigger bed area for clients to relax in, air-conditioning, and built-in music systems, according to Fiandaca.

“Older tanning beds require people to go in four, five times a week for 20 to 30 minutes a shot just to maintain their tan,” he says. “You can get the same results from ours with two 10-minute sessions, in part because the technology has improved the blend of UVA and UVB light.”

Bella High Performance Tanning Salon, 916B San Pablo Avenue, Albany, (510) 524-2226;



Faces of the East Bay