In case you live under a rock, here's a newsflash: Wedding season is upon us! And the bridal industry won't let us forget it. Seems like all of the big department stores have wedding gift and registry promotions going on, which is all well and good. It makes perfect sense to register at a nationwide chain, for the convenience of farflung relatives and those who shop online. Large chain stores also offer a wide range of items, so guests with smaller budgets can usually find something within range. But these days most couples have multiples registries, so why not register at a local independent business too? In this economy, they need our support, and so do the smaller producers and designers who sell to them. Click through for several local small businesses that offer gift registry service...
Coupe bowls from Heath, in $30 range
1 - Egg and The Urban Mercantile, in its little Cole Valley storefront (85 Carl Street), has an incredible selection of home products for a design-loving couple. The style is warm and quirky, but fashionable. And your out-of-town guests can shop online!
2 - Spring Home, a thriving online store with a Russian Hill boutique (2162 Polk Street), offers a wide range of "green" household products, from organic mattresses to natural linen napkins. They also carry baby products, so moms-to-be can register for their showers.
3 - Dandelion (55 Potrero Avenue) is a San Francisco institution. They've been around for forty years, selling lovely imported home goods, many of which have an Asian aesthetic. Enameled dishes and tea sets are particularly lovely. If you want to register there, just go in and they'll give you a legal pad... no fancy scanner guns here! Tampopo, their wholesale component, has a site with a little taste of their offerings.
4 - Sue Fisher King is definitely an expensive option (along the lines of Gump's), but their selection of gorgeous fine china, linens, and other home goods is unmatched. Here you'll find the elegant as well as the esoteric, like placemats made out of stingray skin.
5 - Heath Ceramics' gift registry has been widely revered in the blogosphere, and with good reason. Their handmade tableware in classic mid-century designs will look amazing in your home for years and years... well, probably forever. And since you can access the registry online, guests who can't make it to the factory store in Sausalito will still be able to partake.
6 - The Gardener's Berkeley location has been around for over twenty years. They carry a substantial selection of kitchen and tableware from local artists, as well as from some of our favorite international sources, like the French designers Tsé&Tsé. There's no online registry, but at the Berkeley store, they keep the registries in a binder for your guests to come in and peruse.
7 - Heritage House is a great local source for more traditional offerings: china patterns, knife sets, cookware. They offer discounted prices (10 to 40 percent off most china patterns) and they carry some discontinued patterns. They offer an online registry as well as a showroom in the Bayview district.
If your favorite store isn't on this list, you might consider asking if they'll keep a list for your guests of gifts you're interested in. It's not as precise as the scanner gun, but it's a great way to get what you really want and support local businesses in the process.