Showing posts with label shopping. Show all posts
Showing posts with label shopping. Show all posts

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Sarona Market: Struggling to Survive

Red Band, a rock puppet act, at Sarona Market Tuesday night show / © 2017 D-A Vider
It may seem a bit strange: a high end boutique shops and cafes, at the edge of Tel Aviv, with half a dozen hot chefs's promotion, struggling to survive? The newest dining and shopping center in Tel Aviv is not getting the foot traffic, it is situated at the edge of Tel Aviv's commercial center. It competes with and established shopping at Azrieli. The shops and restaurants are at the high end of the shopping scale. These are the challenges facing a new shopping center. The opportunity to build and establish an up market shopping center in a great open location in Tel Aviv is also interesting.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Sarona Park: Summer Music Memories

Fall came late this year. Up to mid-November Tel Aviv weather was unseasonably warm. Sarona park, the newly built shopping and eating commercial park on Kaplan street is attracting people with live events. Up to October local bands put on early evening (7 - 9 PM) concerts. I can't say these were Tel Aviv's finest performers. Yet the combination of a warm night, nice park setting and food all around in this part of town did the trick. The last days of September and early November a German style Oktoberfest turned out to be the last outdoor entertainment event.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Sarona Market: Boutique Eateries and Shopping

Sarona market is a collection of tiny boutique shops and food stalls. Located at the rear of a newly built Sarona shopping center. The market itself is situated in the back of a park like development. This is another experiment in new Tel Aviv shopping and leisure development. 

Friday, May 27, 2016

Daniella Lehavi and Luxury Shopping in Tel Aviv

Daniella Lehavi is a well established luxury leather accessory brand in Israel, bags after shopping, Givatay'im May 2016

Tel Aviv is trying desperately to lure local luxury item shoppers. But with cheap travel to Europe and plenty of imported global branded items, the job is a tough one. Israeli designers have tried to establish a local luxury market for years, yet many fail. One success story is Daniella Lehavi [site here]. Still a relatively small retail chain with ten shops in central Israel. The shops are small boutiques with a few selected items from each category. The site and catalog show many more items available. The luxury accessory shoppers don't mind small boutiques, they happily support them. With the growth of mall shopping, essentially making them the primary shopping destination in Israel, Lehavi is taking advantage of the exposure. Israelis are not living the luxury lifestyle yet, but when they get there, Lehavi is happy to offer them local leather accessories.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Shopping Still Strong in Israel

Givatay'im mall at a quiet weekday morning. Shopping at a street level has actually increased recently.

Israel somehow averted the global downturn of 2008. This makes for over two decades of steady growth (see Bank of Israel statistic). Some attribute this to the cautious Israeli bank lending policies. The average Israeli who wants to qualify for a mortgage needs to show ability to pay off a loan more convincingly than in other countries. Certainly more than in the US (see the recent movie "The Big Short") even after the sub-prime Wall Street fiasco. Some attribute the strong economy to fast move into new technology start-up sectors and security (i.e. military, internet cyber) sectors. Either way, the Israeli economy is growing steadily. This puts pressure on consumer sectors. The building industry has been suffering for years from slow growth and new home prices continue to see inflation year after year (2015 home prices in Tel Aviv increased by 8%). The state (in making land available), builders (due to labor shortage) and even banks are not "building" enough new housing. Demand is simply growing much faster than supply.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Israel's Individuality Dilemma: Unique or Global?

Used books stall on Dizengoff reflects Tel Avivian's thirst for English literature: pulp to art, cheap to boutique... an identity crisis? Some say no, some are still at the horn of the dilemma.
One of the discussions among Tel Aviv residents heating up lately is the city's identity. Israel's open acceptance of individual voices is straining some people's patience. Giving people "space" or "a stage" to voice their beliefs in public is an age old idea. Israel's early founders, built Tel Aviv with this idea in mind. But over the years, this has turned the city into many separate communities (sometimes called "bubbles"). To outsiders it is confusing sometimes. From some people's perspective Tel Aviv looks like a modern European city. That's the business, lifestyle or even retail shopping side. To some it looks like a Mediterranean city from old days on a Spanish, French, Italian or even Greek coast. That's the tourist, culture or even leisure side. To others it looks like a busy metropolitan hub of Israel's central region. A mix of business, government, culture and residential parts. This makes Tel Avivian's at a loss for one identity "image". More on this identity dilemma in future posts.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Cofix Effect: Two Years Running

Large capuchino @ Montifiori (the old Cafe Cafe) Ibn Gvirol & Arlozorov, 15 NIS

I have to admit that when Cofix [HE] opened over two years ago, my intuition was off. Tel Aviv was full of buzz on how the coffee prices will go down and the great socialist ideal of "fair prices" for this daily commodity will start a consumer revolution. Fast forward two years and nothing doin'! NADA, KLOOM (as they say in the shook) - shum davar... OK, essentially, that little Cofix shot across the bow of Arcafe, Greg's, Ilan's, and a few other small coffee chains has not moved the market one little bit.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Digital Media, Economics & Tradition Pitted Against Another

Israel's Calcalist daily (also The Marker) is a take off on The Wall Street Journal and Financial Times
Israel's digital adoption is spotty at times. Amazon and e-Bay did not become the big shopping sites in Hebrew. But Google and WordPress are as strong here as anywhere else. So is Facebook, Twitter and WhatsUp and other mainstream global digital names. Adoption of smart phones and mobile apps is strong and moving faster every day. While Apple's iPhone was a big seller, the Android push from a few companies, not just Samsung, is relentless. Prices of handsets is going down as well as mobile service plans. Golan Telecom, a company founded by a French immigrant wanting to bring European prices to the Israeli market is leading the charge. Add to the consumer digital world the strong technology and start-up activity, which gave Israel the moniker "start-up nation" (after the book), and you got a seemingly digital life here. Hold on skippy (as they say in Texas), not so fast...  digital life is useful in many places, but tradition and lifestyle habits are still holding back certain market sectors. 


Saturday, January 7, 2012

We Are Paying Too Much... NOT REALLY...

Israelis have started to complain that life here is too expensive. We get all kind of comparison articles with the high cost of life in Tel Aviv, even more expensive than New York, London and Paris. There are ground-roots protests on Facebook against buying cottage cheese from Tnuva and electricity from the electric company. If you pay attention to this daily buzz, and focus even further on internet social media (Facebook, Twitter and You Tube) you may think that Israelis are going to stop shopping any day now. Well, this is just one side of reality here. It is also an exaggeration because of media headlines and Twitter viral buzzing more than real life. True, some things are expensive and there are good reasons for it. Mostly it's a simple economic quirk of supply and demand (maybe economic quirk is not the right term, maybe market situation is more appropriate.) Israel has been having a chronic housing shortage for a decade now. This shortage is more prominent in the central region, and in Tel Aviv it is absolutely a chronic disaster. Land in desired locations is built up so much, the only solutions are either using small spaces left open (very expensive) or taking down an old building to put up a new one (very complicated.) This makes only high ticket apartments worth building. Builders and land owners only want to invest their time in high return projects. This way, even if a project is expensive and complicated the return is worth the investment. This trend, over a decade long, which shows up in real estate prices increasing to ridiculous levels. The government has been talking about solutions for years. Not much has changed and the


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Israeli Reading Habits: Foreign Books in Translation

The Hebrew language is both a mystery and a wonder. The ancient Hebrew with roots in Aramaic goes back about 5,000 years. It is the last surviving language from an fertile crescent where culture seem to have started 10,000 or more years ago. Today Hebrew is a renewed version of the biblical version. Still, every school child can read the bible and understand the language fairly well. It is the daily language used for everything in life from professional publications to negotiating prices in the market.

Hebrew literature and poetry is read by a very small number of people, in Israel itself six million people speak Hebrew on a daily basis. In the rest of the world it is less than a million. The market for books in Hebrew is small. Most Israelis prefer to read in Hebrew, even foreign language books. English is the most popular second language in Israel and a minority of Israelis read in English, especially fiction for enjoyment. There are over a million Russian speakers in Israel and they read mostly in Russian. Russians do not have a large enough market to translate into the language from other languages. Add to this the long isolation of Russians from world literature, it turns out that Hebrew is the preferred language for English, French and German top selling books. Israelis, Russian, Ethiopian and even English readers end up with Hebrew translations of books from around the world.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Israeli (Tel Aviv's) Malls Turn to Bazzars: Shopers Happy :)

Israel has been building malls at a fast clip the last twenty years. Malls as they come in replaced the small shops along small town main streets and big city neighborhood shopping street. In Tel Aviv and surrounding cities there are many malls (more than 10.) From small ones like Givatay'im to large ones like Ramat Aviv and Hertzeliya's seven stars. Malls are clean and shiny with chain stores from women clothes to gifts to cafes to book stores. Israel's chain retailers have grown in size and sophistication as malls spread across the country. Chain retailers and mall builders have a symbiotic relationship. Malls need shops, retailers need space and shoppers. But small specialty shops with interesting collection of goods do not fit into this mall expansion scenario. This makes for a shift of shopping habits, to some young shoppers malls are what they want but not everyone is happy with the change. There are no dry goods shops with great smells from nuts to herbs and spices. There are no small "school" supplies shops from notebooks and pens to school accessories you would not believe (polar and exponential graph paper, finger puppets and test prep books) where kids can touch and wonder in small dark corners. Vegetable and fruit stands, fish and meat shops, cloth boutiques and bakeries run by mom and pop on a small street simply can not afford the rents and will probably not have enough foot traffic to make a profit in a mall. Small take home food shops and falaffel, hummus, sadwich and shawarma stands are certainly not part of the mall scene. But these little small outlets are still useful in daily life, so mall managers went out to try and get them into their spaces.


Sunday, June 1, 2008

Hebrew Book Fair - Country Wide

Well, this is an English blog about Tel Aviv, which may lead you to believe that Hebrew does not really matter. Well, it does. Actually, Hebrew matters quite a bit in Tel Aviv and even more in the rest of Israel. But let's get back to the event at hand, the Hebrew Book Fair (actually Hebrew Book Week, or month, depends who you ask). If you wonder into the main squares in the big cities in Israel: Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, Beer Sheva... and even the smaller cities: Ramat Gan, Modiin, Petach Tikva... you will see tons of books. For a country as small as Israel, there are so many books, both written in original Hebrew and translated from just about every language to Hebrew, than you can imagine. Tel Aviv probably has the largest book fair, in Kikar Rabin (city hall plaza at Iben Gvirol). But the Ramat Gan version was also a nice browse. The Hebrew book week is not just fairs in the cities and a sales frenzy, it is also book readings, radio and television programs, school programs, and a bunch of other interesting events. The Hebrew book week was started in Israel in 1926 when a few book publishers decided to put out their latest creations on a Tel Aviv street to encourage Hebrew book sales. Apparently until the 1940's there were not enough Hebrew readers.

Some excitement and some boredom... books for all tastes and types
Zoom forward 82 years and Hebrew readers seem to be doing just fine, no need for stimulation what so ever. On a warm Thursday evening a few hundred children, adults, and a few dogs converged on the book fair in Tel Aviv. There seem to be about 20 to 30 publishers, from small ones with one book (a few poets and self published writers) to the big ones with hundreds of new titles this year. Apparently there was a good representation of the 5,000 new titles published here every year, for me that was hard to judge. Most of the sellers were offering great "deals" from buy 1, 2, 3... and get one free, to simple 20% to 50% off the regular price. For an English reader this would not be an interesting event. I could not find anything interesting and the only English books seem to be the easy reader versions of the classics for school children (teaching aids). But there were lots of books for any reader, from the easy one (mostly for children) to the esoteric biblical studies.
Live Spanish music at the Nescafe booth
There was a nice Nescafe (from Nestle) booth with live music and coffee samples, you could also buy a good cup of coffee for 10 to 20 shekels. Sit at a comfortable chair and listen to music or just read your new book. The area has plenty of restaurants so food was not part of the fair. Due to the overlap with the food fair in the Ha'Yarkon park, this time they choose this location. I guess it is easier to get there, but there is not real parking to speak of in the center of the city in the evenings (parking on most streets is reserved to residents and Tel Aviv tickets and tows cars ruthlessly). But having a nice place to drink a cup of coffee or sit and have dinner before or after the fair is a nice change. So even if you are not a big Hebrew reader, go visit the book fair at Kikar Rabin. Read More...

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Dafka & Shain - Custom bags and more on Iben Gvirol

Frankie the nanny made an amazing discovery the other day. In her search for a bag, she has been browsing large and small stores all over the city. She stumbled upon a neat little store on Iben Gvirol that makes original custom bags. Dafka & Shain is one of four stores selling the creation of Dafna 'Dafka' (colloquial: 'in spite of' or specifically, precisely) and other Tel Aviv designers. Dafna 'Dafka' designs these 'amazing bags' according to nanny Frankie. So I joined sam-d for a visit to the tiny store on 125 Iben Gvirol. If you are munching on a falafel or sucking down a cold coffee you would miss this little store. But DON'T! Dafna designs and manufactures in the store itself these simple colorful designs. She uses extremely durable and environmentally friendly materials. The main material is an industrial leather with cotton fibers that is as durable as good leather and is even water and scuff resistant. She makes a variety of designs from large wallets (at 120 NIS) to large bags (about 300 NIS). The larger bags can also serve as book or laptop bags for the more discerning and fashionable Tel Aviv students.

Don't pass up the tiny front of Dafka & Shain at 125 Iben Gvirol
The mainstream design is made up of the main compartment and a flap with a sewn image. Dafna will custom design the colors of the bag and the flap and will custom choose an image from a wide selection of classic and funky designs. If you have a favorite picture or an art piece she will print an image to size and sew it on your bag. The images are printed with water and wear resistant ink and sewn onto the leather. This makes for a colorful and durable bag.

Colorful sample bags you can take with you, or use for inspiration
Dafna gave us a short history of her creation as a career. She started out as a painter and illustrator and stumbled upon the idea of decorating bags with original paintings. Then came the design phase and she quickly realized that there is more to this than just her painting. She settled on using bright colors and illustrations ~ and as they say in the biz... the rest is history. Today she has a flow of customers from the environmentally and animal sensitive to the style seekers. She wanted to create a simple and beautiful, yet durable and environmentally friendly bag. So searched and found this leather substitute that is mostly used for upholstery. The material is imported from Italy and at the small quantities she buys can cost as much as good leather. This is what keeps the bags unique. Other designer offer similarly priced bags from real leather, but this is where Dafna says 'DAFKA' NOT! ~ and this is where you can be unique too. -- Dafka and Shain, 125 Iben Gvirol - 03/546-5152 or Dafna 'Dafka' - 050/7373-145 Read More...

Friday, January 18, 2008

We are back... + fashion race in the city

Nana's (a portal for blogs and discussions) fashion section (
Hello again. I have been out for a while, mostly trying to figure out what would work by reading and researching other blogs. I also tried to read what popular blogs and writers say. It seems to me that besides being controversial people try write interesting material for a specific group. Writing about Tel Aviv, specially the "things" (i.e. stores, events, food, buildings) tend to interest only people who want to know something else. When I wrote about places to shop, there seem to be interest from tourists and foreign Real Estate investors (American & Canadians). When I wrote about the gym on Iben Gvirol seems like young Americans wanted to know the difference between one place and another, not just that specific gym. A blog is not like a newspaper. Even with a few contributors, focus seems to be more useful to readers than wide coverage. Sometimes as a blog writer, we forget that in a newspaper there are tens or even hundreds of writers! But the benefit of a blog is the personal viewpoint and the interest of the writer. I am not saying that in the NY Times the food editor does not like going out to eat as much as I do. Maybe he does and maybe he is even better at writing about it. But he is not in Tel Aviv and does not eat a mix of flavors and cuisines like people here now. Hopefully you don't need the writing at the level of a NY Times editor or writer to enjoy what is going on in Tel Aviv.

So what's next?

I am going to write about what I see. Not just the "things" but the behaviour of the people. I think this is more interesting, specially since it's very different than other places. Some of the differences I think have to do with the blend of cultures. It's very hard to describe, but it's fantastic! is a popular fashion destination.
Walking down the street in central Tel Aviv is a mix of fashions that one would not see in most big cities. Certainly not in New York, LA or even Milan. First of all, the population in Israel varies from recent immigrants from the former Soviet Union to Jews from Iran and Ethiopia. Second of all, Israel also has second and third generation Israelis from all over the world. Literally! the population in Israel has background from everywhere. Third, the is a wide gap in social, economic and religious background. All these blended together is thrown onto a new culture of fashion consumerism and a geographic location not exactly European or Asian or even African. At the traditional European fashion corner you will find most of the brands from the big fashion houses in Italy and France. At another corner is the American contingent, from Levi's jeans to Ralph Lauren upscale designs. Than add a little corner of Arab/middle-eastern influenced designs, specially for women (I would also add the Indian/Sri Lanka/Pakistani influence here). Finally, there is the encompassing everything Asian "knock-off" but not exactly. By that I mean fashion which is an attempt to clone every other known brand but with a twist. A large amount of clothing and accessories find their way from China, Malaysia, Singapore, India, Taiwan, Korea, Vietnam and a few other small South-East Asian countries.
How does that translate to everyday fashion? Well, it's hard to explain, but it's a great idea for a project of photographing people on the street. For the most part, Israeli women love to mix styles from all around the world, so a women dressed in traditional European design will add a colorful scarf or jewelry from India without thinking about it.
In the marketing and retailing front, Israeli merchants are a mix of western influence and local names. The three large malls in Tel Aviv (Azrieli, Dizengoff and Ramat Aviv) play a large role in the access of western fashion to the public. This includes stores who sell under the international tags and local fashion names. In the smaller stores and boutiques there are more specialized names. The new port area has a small number of specialty boutiques, specially with Italian and French fashion. The port area is trying to become the new upscale fashion shopping area. There are even roumors that the city itself in the form of regulation enforcement is helping this effort somewhat (rumors that bars are being asked to 'quiet down' and not become a center for nightlife). On Bugrashov street there are smaller shops with odd and more specialized fashion. This street you will find the newer, 'younger' names like the first Israeli Crumpler bag store. I hope this is a new start for my writing. Which started out in a desire to explain the fierce "fashon race" that is running rampant in Tel Aviv. It seems to me like what was happening in the US and Europe in the 1980's and 1990's. When the big designers lured people to buy more cloths at higher prices. Which in turn stimulated stores to open up fancier and bigger stores and eventually "boutique chains". Specialty chains that target a certain style and population (i.e. The Gap, The Limited in the US). Well, if you want to hear about other things 'in the air' in Tel Aviv, drop me a line. Thanks, Ami Read More...

Monday, October 22, 2007

Boutique houseware: Naaman china and ceramics & more...

Ceramic collection from Naaman

Tel Aviv is an enigma in it's compactness. The older parts are crowded and for the most part upscale in character. This means store front area is also at a premium. So the Israelis like French and Italians have taken to making boutiques out of everything. One of the more interesting creation is a chain of housewares goods called Naaman. The store chain started out as Israel's first kitchen ceramics manufacturer. At first they made simple, affordable designs for everyday use. Today the small stores all over the country are like small boutiques. You will find the old 'daily-use' plates and cups with updated designs. The selection is small, but designs are rotated on almost weekly basis. The stores also carry a serving sets, pots, pans, plastic and glass storage, cutlery, glass and ceramic vases, different type of glassware, tableware and utensils, coffee and tea serving sets... lots of different things.
So how do they get all this into a small space? First of all, the selection in each category is just a 'sample' of what they have. They rotate the stock continuously and they also can order from a large catalog (see online version, sorry, in Hebrew only). The designs and styles vary from classic to modern. Naaman stores also carries designs from other manufacturers, specially in the cooking accessories area. They also brand many items manufactured all over the world. So when you see the Naaman logo, you know it means a high standard of quality and style. Finally, the staff is extremely helpful and courteous. One would think that when buying dishes as a gift, this would not be an issue. But making a shopping decision simple and easy even here is a nice change. The sales people will order you something not in stock, which in this case, is a larger selection than what you can find in the stores themselves. So whatever negative comments you heard of the service and friendliness of Tel Aviv merchant is certainly not true here.
Look for the Naaman logo
Naaman is not actually known for it's store as much as for it's ceramic plates and cups. So if you see the Naaman logo in other stores, take a second look. The dishes have the strength for everyday use and are nicely designed. For the most part they are surprisingly affordable. If you buy a small set there is always another item that can complement or fit the design. So take a look at dishes, Israel style... in the city. Read More...

Saturday, September 8, 2007

T-Shirt fair, cool-funky-weird-nasty Israeli culture

Early shoppers at T-Shirt fair
In the city there is a non-conformist group living right amongst the everyday life of a normal "straight" metropolis. These tattooed, pierced and leather clad people spotted here and there in upscale restaurant and stores, also congregate in the "grungy" parts. On a hot September morning I headed to the industrial zone where you would buy cars and have Harleys fixed. At the parking lot for the Barzilai club, an annual T-shirt sale was going on. Sixty T-Shirt designers and twenty accessory designers and stores gathered to show their creations. The designs were mostly original with a few designers using known images of famous people or items. There were a few interesting designs using special materials. The styles varied from Zionist / Jewish designer with "pick your Jew" with traditional Kafka, Einstein and Ben Gurion all the way to Japanese Anime images with the classic biker / Harley mainstay thrown in.
T-Shirt fair poster

Prices for the T-shirts run from 50 to 200 shekels. The elaborate shirts with the complicated designs or special material fetching more (95% of the shirts were cotton). For the most part, Tel Aviv is a tame town when it comes to the "grungy" crowd. But in a country where uniformity has been so steady - for so long, in education, military, economy and work, there is a strong minority that wants to bend the norms. But there is also a sense of creativity and artistry that does not have outlets in other media. The print and movie sectors are small here, so all these artists need something to put their work "on". So some end up on T-Shirts, original-funky-weird...
I leaned something interesting talking to the designers. They don't seem to feel a great deal of angst and anger or even despair in getting these design out. But they do seem to want a message and a style "on the street", not necessarily to make a statement, as much as to be heard. There were very few "protest" images for the violence and the political situation. I asked why and most people say that it's not that useful to protest what seem to be an inevitable situation between the Israeli government and the Arab world (both Palestinian and Arab states). The other interesting thing is how they network and congregate. They seem to be everywhere and they keep in touch informally by e-Mail and SMS. So keep an eye on the street on announcements for funky-weird-cool craft/arts fairs and enjoy the creativity -- in the city //AmiV Read More...

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Dizengoff Center part 2 (stores and more...)

Tiers of "serpentine" interior

Two weeks ago sam-d-man wrote about Dizengoff Center (previous story). Since this is such a big shopping center, we wanted to give more of the feel and the quality of the place.

First of all, Dizengoff Center is considered the first and the "grand daddy" of shopping malls in Israel. At the time it was built (1973) Tel Aviv depended mostly of shopping on main commercial streets. Allemby and Dizengoff streets were considered the "upscale" places to shop. Also, Tel Aviv and Israel in general, did not have large shopping centers built as one unit. So even the idea of one large place to shop was a revolution in consumerism. The center is built out of two buildings straddling Dizengoff street at King George Street (Ha'melech George). The interesting about the center is the curvy layout and the open center. Both buildings are similar in layout with a serpent looping structure going from floor to floor (almost looks like a squashed spring). When you look at interior pictures it's hard to imagine how this feels. In the middle of this serpent (or spring) is a big space, this way you can see from the ground floor all the way up to the fourth. Imagine the Guggenheim museum but with a funky squashed center instead of the circle.

All along the center serpentine, there is a walkway-balcony. Along the balcony are store fronts, mostly there are small specialty stores, boutiques and services (hair dressers, travel agencies, tattoo shops, etc.) The larger stores tend to be at the end of the "squashed" loops and on the "flat" parts. Oh, the "flat" part of Dizengoff Center is an "extension" outside the loops. OK, are you confused enough? Well, you will be more confused, and maybe even a little lost the first few times here. But, there is a positive side to this wavy architecture. Dizengoff Center is HUGE. Not just by Tel Aviv / Israel standards. A way to grasp the size of the center is by the variety of stores. The still in construction Dizengoff Center web site has a partial list of 164 stores (not all the categories are done, as of Sept. '07). (Editor's note: Wikipedia (HE) lists 420 stores. Hopefully the center will have an English version of the site with store index and phone numbers). Anyway, there are stores here off all kind and type. From the big Israeli and international chains to Tattoo and piercings. There are even health clubs and spas. Some of the unique stores here are stamp and coin collector stores which are hidden among the home recording equipment and computer stores.

Typical storefronts, large and small packed together

Dizengoff Center has been renovated a few years back. It went through low times in the late 1990's. Today it has become a high-caliber shopping center. For most people in Tel Aviv it's the biggest with most places to shop. It is one location where all the important fashion chains are concentrated. If you need to shop for cloths, gifts or accessories, this is the place to come.
Tags, Tags, Tags
While talking about shopping, let's look at Israeli fashion specifically at the big chains. If you come to Dizengoff Center for cloths, take a look at: Crocker, Fox, Golf & Co., Diesel, Zara, Onot, Castro, Renuar... OK, you get the point, there are lots of places to buy fashionable clothes, not only that, Dizengoff Center is a good place to start. Tel Aviv fashion is competitive, that's good for the consumer. Besides the large chains, take a look at the smaller stores and boutiques. There you will find lots of unique and interesting things.
Enjoy your shopping in Tel Aviv, come to Dizengoff Center... //AmiV Read More...

Friday, August 31, 2007

Hip, cool, fun part of town: Bugrashov from Dizengof to Ben Yehuda

Jiffa store mural

There is a little corner of Tel Aviv for the hip-cool-fun crowd. Sometimes young and sometimes just in need of a funky bag or cool pants. Maybe even a different place to sit and have coffee before a movie. If you want to see cool Israeli and international designs, if you need a gift for a teenager and you don't think the mall will do the trick, head over to Bugrashov. The section between Dizengoff and Ben Yehuda is buzzing with designs, accessories, cloths and other fun things. The cutting edge fashion is this street's day image. At night it turns into a cool and quiet place to meet and have a bite. The most interesting thing about this street is it's laid-back attitude. Other places in town "try" to be something or other. You will find that on Shenkin street, off Allemby. There, they want you to think it's the "center" of fashion. Here, on Bugrashov, they don't pretend, they just go about doing it.
Fashion and games on Bugrashov
About half of the stores are devoted to cloths and accessories. Some are local creation by young Israeli designers. So keep your eye open and you may find a bag only you will have. The rest of the stores are a collection of all kind of things. There are hardware stores with interesting accessories for the home. There are shoe stores with unique imported designs. There is also an outdoor equipment store where you can find a tent and even a mate for trekking through Asia. For the most part the area is for the 20 and 30 something crowd. Even the known international tags like Nike have a few things on the 'street', but they would not fit the traditional suburban mall.
This street is more for browsing and window shopping than just "get it done" shopping. The stores here proud themselves on unique designs that are not run-of-the-mill. So don't be afraid to try something and walk out. Also, speak with the ladies running the stores, they usually know what the 'street' has and who specialized in a unique design. Walking down the street I just noticed a new Crumpler bag store, this is a funky Australian company with a funny logo that has taken the laptop computer bag world by storm. This kind of store definitely fits here, it's "corporate" but "funky" at the same time.
If you want to hang out, or watch some of Israel's cool-hip young set, come here at night... but that's another story all together! Read More...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The French are Coming, Coming, Coming :: they are HERE !

A sizeable French-Jewish population is making a quiet immigration to Israel. These are not beaten refugees, but middle to upper-middle class people. Most are professionals and business people. Some are younger couples and young families in their 20's, sent by the older patriarchs. Some are complete extended families - 3 and even 4 generations. Like people afraid of any social change, but with the means, they are essentially "hedging their bets". So what's the news here for Tel Aviv? Ah, they are buying, investing, opening businesses and mostly -- COOKING! Yes, cooking, like in restaurants, bakeries, wine and cheese stores... you get the idea. FRENCH, REAL French food in Tel Aviv. OK, so you are not as excited about this as me, too bad.
These young immigrants first came to "take a look". But like many "visitors", it didn't take them long to figure out that life in Tel Aviv (with a little cache of Euros) is a wonderful thing. So with energy, enthusiasm, hard work, curiosity and lots of experience they started making their mark on Tel Aviv. The good news is they like to live well, so they have taken hold in all the nice areas in Tel Aviv, specially anywhere within sight of the beach. Up and down Ha'yarkon street they have rented and bought everything available. So the real estate sector in Tel Aviv has taken notice and you see renovation on a scale not seen in years here. The BAD NEWS? Property prices are going up, estimated 30% the last quarter. Some say the 10% a month rise is a little scary... are we heading for a bubble? Not likely, real estate in Israel has not kept up with the general economy.
THE GOOD NEWS: people with real estate knowledge, are coming to invest. In the US the real estate market is going through a correction not seen in decades. So real estate investors are puring money into Israel. So are Europeans and south Americans.

Editor's note: This phenomenon is not restricted to Tel Aviv! Building all over Israel, specially up and down the cost, from Ashkelon to Cesarea is seeing a boost not seen here in 15 to 20 years.

Back to the French! The other good outcome of the French immigration is culture. There are more movies, books, cooks and cloths in much higher caliber than Tel Aviv has ever seen. Most people do not make the connection, but I see this as the competitive spirit of people, specially Israelis. A wedding dress shop in north Dizengoff street imports a dress from Paris. She sells it to a young French woman who is getting married with the family coming for the big event. The owner of the dress shop 3 doors down can't exactly ignore this. First of all she may lose business, but most of all she does NOT want to be seen as the "out of fashion" neighbour! This is what will happen if all the soon-to-be young bride's friends walk up and down the street asking for a French wedding dress!
The same holds for French cheese, baked goods, cloths, furniture, kitchen ware, wines... you name it. In essence, the last few years, Tel Aviv reflected the general economic slowdown of the DOT-COM crash, which made us sleepy for a while. Now we are back, with the push of the FRENCH. All I got to say is "viva la differance" and pass over the Hebrew-French dictionary ppplllleeeaaassseeee ! Read More...