The world’s greatest button store

There are several reasons we decided we wanted to buy our home in El Cerrito. One of those reasons is the plethora of amazing, old timey, time-forgot shops that exist in El Cerrito. There’s Pastime Ace, home of the largest and most comprehensive light bulb collection I have ever seen. And not far from Ace is the Old West Gun Room. Of course, I’m pretty far from a gun enthusiast, but I can’t help but a feel a rush of delight every time I drive past its Disneyland-esqe facade. Fans of the music preservationists Arhoolie Records will enjoy their retail store, Down Home Music. I bought a compilation of B-Movie soundtracks there when I was 17-years-old and it’s been a love affair since.

And across the street from Down Home Music, there is possibly the greatest gem of them all. Featuring a sign that proclaims simply “Buttons,” the strangest, loveliest little time warp awaits you. Run by the sweetest little old lady, she and her husband were button wholesalers once upon a time. He has since passed on, but his legacy of button bounty are still with us.

I went in there recently to get some buttons in a very particular and hard to find color. Have you noticed how certain colors just do not exist in modern buttons? Like a nice grass green or a hearty ochre yellow? Frankly, any color outside of red or navy blue is either impossible to find or disappointing. So when I needed buttons for this navy blue dress with threads of turquoise, yellow, red and orange running through it, I knew I had to go to Exclusive Buttons.

I found two options. The photo doesn’t do justice to the yellow ones. They are a really great shade of yellow. They went really nicely with the yellow in the dress, but ultimately I decided to go with the turquoise, as the collar on this dress made it look a little too “waitress uniform” with the highly contrasting buttons. Ok, and check out those prices! So charmingly affordable.

More on this dress later. This is the first sewing project I have embarked on since the move. My sewing room still isn’t finished, but the luxury of having an actual dining room provided a temporary workspace.

I also picked up these amazing gigante green carved buttons. I’m thinking I might use these for a coat someday.

There is also a case filled with buckles and various specialty buttons at the front.

Lastly, I will leave you with some photos of the various walls of buttons. All arranged by color. These are clickable if you’d like to zoom in for a better look. If you’d like to read a little more about the store, my friend Jenny wrote a story about the place on the Craft blog a few years ago.


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