Gift Shopping Success Story

December 16, 2015
Toy and Book Store Discovery Corner

Amid all the traveling, eating, and socializing of the holiday season, my shopping plans fell by the wayside. With finals at UC Berkeley quickly approaching (I’m a student in Business Administration and Media Studies), I wanted a quick way to find the perfect gifts for my friends and family. While I may be a bit biased because I work part-time at the Lawrence Hall of Science, I decided to turn to our own hidden gem—the Discovery Corner Toy & Book Store.

My mission? To find gifts for my 5-year-old niece, a close friend at college, and my dad.

The Discovery Corner Store lives within the Lawrence Hall of Science, where any guest can visit the store without paying admission. I simply headed up the stairs from my office and found myself on the main level at the entrance of the store. For guests, first talk to the friendly folks at the Visitor Services Desk to let them know you want to shop there.

Before coming to work at the Hall, I didn’t know there was such a great resource on the UC Berkeley campus, yet once I started, I realized it was no ordinary gift shop. As I stepped into the store , an employee approached me and asked if I needed any help. I was surprised to learn she was actually the manager, Chloe; considering the domination of large, impersonal chain stores today, the fact that the manager was around and actively talking to customers was refreshing. Chloe was extremely helpful and knowledgeable, showing me new items and best-sellers alike, and sharing stories about some of our local vendors (one of them, Back to the Roots, is even based in Oakland and was started by Cal alumni!).

Connie and Chloe hold up items from the Discovery Corner Toy & Bookstore

I wanted to get an educational gift for my young niece. Chloe pointed me to the wide selection of books, and I was immediately drawn to all the cool programming books. I had never seen such titles for 5-year-olds—didn’t even know they existed!—so I decided to grab ​The Official Scratch Jr. Book.​ My niece will have a blast learning how to code animations and games, at her age level.

Connie holds up three books

Next on my list was a gift for my longtime friend Sarah. She loves nature and I wanted to find a way to bring some natural cheer to her dorm room. As Chloe left to help another customer, I continued browsing in the “Wild Things” section of the store, and found the cutest self-watering planters called Chuppon. I knew that this was the perfect gift for Sarah.

Connie checks out a cup and straw item hanging on a rack

The last item on my list was a gift for my dad. It was nice to find a section in the store dedicated to science-themed gifts for adults, such as posters, ties, and mugs. My dad is always drinking coffee, and I could already see him using the Chemistry Mug for his morning macchiato.

various mugs with science themed logos

Feeling a sense of accomplishment (especially because I finished shopping within my hour work break), I headed to the register, where I was greeted by a fellow Cal student employee. She was very friendly and even offered to wrap my gifts for free! I gladly welcomed anything that would streamline the giving process and make my life easier. As I walked out the door with my bag full of gifts, I felt happy knowing the money for my purchases would go right back to the Lawrence Hall of Science and help support its mission of fostering interest in science—and even happier realizing that my gift will help prepare my niece for her future.

Connie speaks with the cashier

The Discovery Corner Store is located at:
The Lawrence Hall of Science
University of California, Berkeley
1 Centennial Drive
Berkeley, CA 94720

Visit the Discovery Corner Store website.

No entrance fee is required to shop. Members get 10% off!

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