Emerald Forest: A Treasure Chest of a Gift Shop

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Emerald Forest is my Cheers of gift shops. I first found it when I moved back to the San Fernando Valley in 1990. Whether I visit weekly or after a few months, there’s always a warm welcome — and when I leave, it’s always with a beautifully wrapped gift in hand— unless the purchase is for me and a bag will suffice, of course. No matter what my budget, I can always find what I’m looking for.

The Coldwater Curve, across from Jerry’s Deli in Studio City,  has been Emerald Forest’s home since 1987 when owner Michelle Gagnon planted herself among a string of diverse businesses.

(L) There is a large and eclectic collection of unique jewelry by artisans, as well as fine jewelry; (R) 'Tis the season for dressy clutches— and Emerald Forest has gorgeous ones. Photos: Karen Young

“I wanted to create a neighborhood store where personal service stands out,” said Gagnon, who over the past 23 years, has grown up at the store herself, getting married and having twin girls, who are now teens.

As for her customers, she’s seen them grow from babies to young adults who now come in to buy gifts of their own.  Those who’ve moved away often come back. On the day I was there, a long time customer who now lives in Malibu, stopped by to scoop up so many gifts, it took three people with boxes to carry them all out.  A short while later, a  man came by and said that it’s become his family’s “old west general store.”

Emerald Forest is filled top to bottom with perfectly appointed items for everyone on your list.

Entering the quaint shop is like walking into a treasure chest in the form of a small cottage.  Every inch of the store from floor to ceiling is filled with merchandise, however, it is meticulously organized into areas—seasonal, beauty and body, kitchen and cooking, sleepwear, home, mens, jewelry, kids and baby, and general gifts.

Although Gagnon  features a heavily female inventory, Emerald Forest does carry select items for men which is tough to find.  Some of the standouts currently in stock are signs made of recycled license plates, such as Golfer, Rock n’ Roll, Music, Yankee5; vintage putter bottle openers ($66-$82); MLB Authenticated items by Tokens & Icons, such as baseball leather money clip and a bottle opener made from a Dodger bat ($84); giclee photos of record collection spines from the 60s, 70s, jazz and rock are unique ($95); fun items include Dad’s Root Beer drinking glasses. Also, for men — skin and body products from Archipelegao.

Gifts for home and body.

For women and home, the selection is choice. Glass cases are filled with an eclectic collection of necklaces, bracelets and earrings by jewelry  artisans using variations of gold, silver, metal and gemstones. Fine jewelry sits in it own case with diamonds and precious gems. There is a varying price point on jewelry. Prices start at about $30 and go from there.

If you are into aroma and skincare products, there is a good selection including Nest and Verde’s 80 acres, which both are herbal scents. A really unique candle called Chateau Agnes smells like fine wine and is packed in a wood box.

(L)There's a section of whimsical gifts for kids; (R) Cozy, artistic wares for your kitchen.

There’s a selection of handbags in varying styles from casual to dressy. Bougainvilla and Moya bags are gorgeous evening bags for a night on the town, while there’s great clutches  by Hobo and  functional Metro Bags by Bagagalini.

For those with kitchen interests, there’s a wonderful selection of cookbooks, select dishes, utensils and glasses. There are adorable cookie jars for $54 and spoons with clever, homey sayings for $13.

Get bejeweled with fun rings and large coin purses.

Travelers or those on-the-go will love The Pak, a 4×4 black patent kit that’s filled with Tide to Go, an emery board, nail clippers ,floss, fashion tape, refillable bottles of hand sanitizer, hair spray, breath spray, lotion and more ($42) or the make-up container by Uni where you can pull apart your make collection and make your own for travel.

Fun gifts include blown glass balls with feather inside that can be used for an ornament or home décor ($11). Glass wind chimes specially imported from North Carolina are standards and a great hostess gift ($44).

(L) Great gifts for men include recycled license plates, MLB authenticated bottle opener and money clip, golf putter bottle openers and fun drinking glasses; (R) There's nice selection of sleepwear, handbags and cozy outerwear for women.

Need to give your walls a lift? Check out a wonderful collection of whimsical signs and wall art — or create your own special message.

Gagnon is always shopping to add to her collection, so just come in and peruse. Don’t know what you are looking for? Just ask. I promise you’ll walk out with a perfect, beautifully wrapped gift and the feeling that you made a new friend in the neighborhood.

(L) If you are looking for jewelry for yourself or as a gift, look no further; (R) There is a choice selection of cookbooks.

Emerald Forest 12638 Ventura Boulevard CA 91604-2414 – (818) 509-8529 Open Mon-Sat 10am-6pm. Also open on Sundays through the Christmas.  Find Emerald Forest on Facebook.

Karen Young is the Founder/Editor of My Daily Find. Got an idea, suggestion? Email karen@mydailyfind.com

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About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.

  • sylvia

    OMG! Thank you for sharing this. I have been looking for a store like this since a store similar to this one that I discovered many years ago in the Northridge area, that moved to the Granada Hills area and eventually went out of business. I’m going to Emerald Forest this weekend to check it out. What a fun place this will be.

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