Creativity on Main St.


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Andrew Cambouris, a former football lineman at Mountain View High School and Foothill College, now operates the creative agency Contrast DesignWorks in downtown Los Altos. He said his vision for the 15-person firm includes “having fun with what we do.”

For Andrew Cambouris, the best place to work for clients such as Oracle and PayPal is on Main Street in Los Altos.

The founder and creative director of Contrast DesignWorks chose his hometown as the base for his creative agency, the better to zoom between San Francisco and San Jose – and still be home in time for dinner.

Author tackles secret history of ubiquitous iPhone


Photos courtesy Little, Brown & Co.
Brian Merchant recently released a book that documents the iPhone’s 10th anniversary. Merchant is the grandson of Los Altos residents Joan and Al Merchant.

With more than 1 billion sold, the iPhone has profoundly changed the world as we know it in just 10 short years. Everywhere you look, users are staring at their screens. Some of us find it hard to function in today’s world without our little magic boxes close by.

“The iPhone isn’t just a tool; it’s the foundational instrument of modern life,” author Brian Merchant writes in his new best-seller, “The One Device: The Secret History of the iPhone” (Little, Brown & Co., 2017).

Brand-name retailers won't risk Los Altos, brokers claim


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Chico’s, the women’s clothing store on Main Street, is the exception to the rule of no big-brand shops in Los Altos. Some local residents want additional national retailers downtown, but brokers say that more people and new buildings are needed first.

Even if many Los Altos residents want to be closer to their favorite stores, that does not necessarily mean those retailers want to be closer to them.

According to two local real estate brokers, big-name retailers find Los Altos too risky an investment because of its somnolent downtown.

New Pilates studio gets to the roots of familiar fitness routine

“Empowered
Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Nicole Grand, proprietor of Empowered Body Pilates in downtown Los Altos, guides Bill Friedman of Atherton through a Pilates lesson. Joseph Pilates himself looks on from a black-and-white photo on the wall.

Nicole Grand has been practicing Pilates for more than a decade and believes that she has learned a thing or two about the physical fitness system. The regimen, she said, has a misunderstood history.

Grand’s Second Street studio, Empowered Body Pilates, is decorated with black-and-white photographs of Joseph Pilates training boxers and gymnasts in his Manhattan gym. She calls the man “Joe,” and shares anecdotes of his life in class.

Los Altos business women foster community downtown


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Shashi Murthy, owner of Gitane, works with other local women on business ventures.

Shashi Murthy has been busy since she came to the Bay Area in 1990. Originally from Bangalore, India, she earned a master’s degree in computer science from San Jose State University and worked at a high-tech company before starting a consultancy and serving a stint as a kindergarten teacher – the better to be on her daughters’ schedule once they were in school.

“Now they’re out and about and I thought, ‘I need a job,’” Murthy said.

Farzana's offers downtown patrons organic beauty


Asher Kohn/Town Crier
Farzana Farzam is a hair stylist at Farzana’s, a new beauty salon that also offers nail service and sells jewelry.

Farzana Farzam has a unique way to celebrate 20 years in the beauty business: She opened a new salon.

After moving from Palo Alto earlier this year, she found a new home for her business in Los Altos, where she has lived for five years.


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