Thomas J. Story
Gina Pell is easily the town's most glamorous Internet executive. As CEO and founder of Splendora ― an online shopping and lifestyle guide to San Francisco, New York, and L.A. ― she's the ultimate resource for finding a perfect hostess gift or distinctive home accessory.
With wide-ranging tastes, she's as adept at scoring inexpensive knickknacks for a dinner party as she is at unearthing an heirloom set of Victorian sterling forks. "I like originality, so I haunt small shops, consignment stores, and five-and-dimes," she says.
Currently, Pell's obsessions revolve around furnishing a nursery for her first child, due in June. Instead of hitting the usual Union Square department stores, she heads to Clement Street, a bustling multicultural strip in the Inner Richmond with some of the city's tastiest cheap eats ― from Burmese tea-leaf salad to cabbage-stuffed piroshki.
"Clement Street is the real deal," Pell says. "It's one of the best places in town for a little adventure." It's also a neighborhood of unexpected shopping finds, such as a family-run fabric store spilling over with bolts of luscious material.
Afterward, Pell does a circuit of Hayes Valley ― formerly a down-and-out enclave in the shadow of the Central Freeway, now a full-fledged boutique paradise. It's almost impossible to wander the main strip from Franklin Street to Laguna Street without making a purchase, and even a discriminating shopper such as Pell isn't immune.
But despite all the rarefied wares on display, she's most captivated by a $22 wooden pig on wheels at the whimsical Scandinavian Details. "Mixing high and low takes a little more creativity," she says, "but it's a lot more fun."