June 13 2012 10:53 AM

Independent and speciality shops abound in an idyllic setting

Scout’s new digs can be your new digs.
Photo by Carissa Casares

Liberty Station is well on its way to becoming a major shopping destination. The huge area, which was once a naval training center, is filling up fast with shops and restaurants; I have a feeling that once Stone Brewing Co. opens its massive second restaurant there later this year, the "For Lease" signs will all be gone. As it stands now, it has a lot going for it: a killer view of the city skyline, plenty of green space and a healthy variety of businesses that are all within walking distance of each other. I'm happy to report that a good number of small businesses have moved in so far, and I hope things continue in that direction. My advice is to wear walking shoes; while there's plenty of parking everywhere, it would be a bit silly to drive from place to place.

I parked in front of Trader Joe's at the south end of the center, got out of my car and found Studio 12.20 (2850 Womble Road, Suite 100). The cute boutique has plenty of on-trend styles for women (sorry, dudes), Havaianas flip-flops, Tokyo Milk fragrances, a vast selection of inexpensive jewelry and an even more vast selection of lightweight, colorful scarves that would make perfect toppers for just about any outfit.

After consulting the directory, I decided to head east. I made my way through the manicured grounds (the landscaper definitely went the Versailles route) and found The Yellow Book Road (2690 Historic Decatur Road, Suite 102, 619-463- 4900). The small bookstore stocks only kids and young-adult books, but I was perfectly content since I adore kids books (age ain't nothin' but a number). Right away, I spotted my childhood favorite, Where the Wild Things Are, then spent some time flipping through newer titles like Meet Me at the Moon by Gianna Morino and Chloe by Peter McCarty. Both were so darn cute that, for a minute, I wished I had a kid to read them to. Those who do have little ones are bound to find at least a few heartwarming books to add to their library. The shop also stocks teacher's supplies and various other kids knick-knacks.

Turning the corner I found myself at So Cal Fly Fishing Outfitters (2860 Sims Road, Suite 100). I'm no fisherwoman, but I decided to check it out on behalf of anyone reading who might be one. The shop is fairly intimidating for those unfamiliar with the flyfishing world, but the staff will do all they can to make you feel welcome. I ended up chatting with shop owner Peter Piconi, whose genuine enthusiasm and love for fly fishing made me want to charge a fishing pole to my credit card and set out for Lake Cuyamaca.

I turned the corner again, heading back toward where I started, and walked uphill toward Rosecrans to find Scout (2675 Rosecrans Ave.). A newer addition to Liberty Station, Scout is a unique retail space situated in what used to be a naval commander's home. You enter through the home's garage and make your way into the main house, which is beautiful, with arched doorways, lots of natural light and hardwood floors. Scout focuses on home staging and interior decorating, and its setup allows for showcasing the proprietors' skills. The house has been transformed into a modern, effortlessly chic abode that makes you want to move in. The space is so perfectly staged that you might forget that things are for sale and start to think you're in someone's really nice house. Things are for sale (they call it a "retail gallery"), and while on the expensive side, it's good-quality stuff. The boldly patterned Dash & Albert rugs and the huge collection of madein-the-U.K. craftsman paint colors from Farrow & Ball were impressive. I'll definitely be back to see how Scout progresses.

Write to carissac@sdcitybeat.com and editor@sdcitybeat.com. Also, check out the Urban Scout blog.


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