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Have you ever had the experience of discovering a great new place, delighted that it exists, and then go back anticipating another wonderful time, only to find it closed?You ask yourself, “How long has it been since I last went?”You tell yourself, “I should have come again sooner… It was special…I’m really bummed that they closed.”

Did you know that at least 30% of small businesses fail?Marketing is the biggest hurdle for a small business to overcome, getting enough folks to know they exist, to try their services and develop a trusted ongoing relationship.The very best thing we can do to support a brilliant and courageous endeavor when we come across one is to both patronize them ourselves, and to tell everyone!I know the temptation is to keep your little gem to yourself, but if you do, you may find your little gem closed the next time you go for a visit.

I have a couple of little gems that I would like to shout about.One of the very cool things about San Rafael is the abundance of mom and pop businesses.Yes, there is a mall with all of the standard fare, but there are also many little business centers tucked throughout the city, as well as the downtown, with little gems abounding.Let’s promote them!

My first big shout is going out to the FENIX SUPPERCLUB! Have you been? It’s downtown on 4th Street. I received (and ignored) their promotional materials by mail when they first opened.My circle of friends has rumbled about how we “should go there”.But I never made it until a couple of weeks ago, March 5th.A girlfriend and I finally went in, just to the lovely bar, to have a glass of wine.Our conversation was perfectly backed by the live music coming from the club area.After sneaking a peek for just a few minutes, and learning that this band plays every Wednesday, we resolved to return the next week.This time we went, as two couples, for both dinner and the show.The musicianship was world class, with the theme being a tribute to Eric Clapton (with plenty of deviation) for a $10 cover charge!! And the food was mind-bogglingly delicious as were the clever cocktails and nightcaps.One artist, Terrie Odabi, completely hooked me with her Etta James covers, style and powerful pipes!Learning that she would be headlining on Friday, I made reservations to go back with my husband two days later.For a $15 cover we saw one of the most talented local musicians that I can recall AND had a superior meal, starting with a perfect beet salad and a pomegranate ginger martini, followed by barbequed shrimp with grits.I was delighted to see the place busier on Friday night, but it was less busy than it should be for what they are offering. We will be going again this week, with out of town guests on Thursday night. Four times in two weeks!And I didn’t even venture in for the first year they were here!!We are so very lucky to have a club of this caliber in Marin!My senses were delighted on every level.It reminds me of when I used to live in Austin, Texas, and there was great music in every other bar.If we all support them, maybe more will come! (Field of Dreams??)

I also want to shout out The Range Café at the Peacock Gap Golf Course. Take a drive out to China Camp, go for a hike or a bike ride, and stop by The Range Café for lunch or dinner.They have excellent fresh food, a pleasant bar and reasonable prices.And no one knows they are there!You can even go to the Golf Club as a non-member to hit a bucket of balls, and finish with a snack and cocktail.They have excellent homemade potato chips.I’m a big fan of their Ahi Tartar plate.They have happy hour M-F from 4-6:00.And live Spanish Classical Guitar on Wednesday nights, starting around 6:00 p.m.

I’d love to hear about your favorite little gems.Let’s all make a point of shouting them out so they can thrive, and we can continue to !For more on my Marin favorites visit



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