by Tom Topping
Eagle Rock Boulevard shop owners banded together last month to promote themselves on Small Business Saturday, the Saturday right after the over hyped “Black Friday.”
Leanna Lin Fong, of Leanna Lin’s Wonderland had been planning a sale and a trunk show for the holidays, but realized “let’s do small business Saturday,” and then reasoned, “why don’t we do a whole block party.”
Picking up the “Block Party” mantle, last carried by Rodney Mello from the Amazon Drops, Leanna organized the event which included 11 shops along Eagle Rock Boulevard from Chickasaw Avenue to Colorado Boulevard. Most had special discounts for the day as well as refreshments, some had local artists exhibited.
My first stop was to stop and visit my friends, sister Sharon and Kathleen Kroner from the Owl Talk women’s clothing and accessories shop. They were cheerful and pleasant like always and were happy seeing some fresh faces come into their store.
Next door, Tracey Green, from the Green Bean kids shop said, “I’m very excited because so many people have discovered the area, and I see so many people walking around with each other’s bags coming out of each other’s shops, talking about how they’ve gone to that shop and this shop. I’m really excited about it!”
Angelyn de la Garza, owner of Kumquat, sells her own design baby clothes, which she has manufactured in L.A., including the fabric’s prints. She invited everyone to come by to say ‘Hi!’ in December.
Jill Hammer at ‘Media Noche’ said it had never been busier. Her store carries men’s and women’s fashion clothing. She said, “It’s been crazy. I got here around 2:30 pm and there was a store-full of people, with a line to check-out! The neighborhood’s been so supportive and so overwhelmingly excited! People come in looking for a gift and make a self-purchase, too.” She was looking forward to the weather getting colder. “That’s when we get to have things like boots and sweaters. It’s so warm here, so it’s nice to have it get a little chillier.”
Guenevere McHugh at the Double O Saloon gave me a warm welcome, and offered me some sangria. She and partner Carly Montelongo, with years of salon experience, made it a mission to provide the latest hip cuts and styles, without the attitude. I’ll attest to that. They were offering discounts on hair products and gift certificates for cuts and styles.
I talked to Rodney at the ‘Sniveling Sibling’ who said they were offering to pay the tax on all purchases made today.
I finally entered Leanna Lin’s Wonderland and was pleased to see some local artist’s work on display, sisters Miss Mindy and CJ Metzger. Leanna is a regular participant of Galley Night, held the second Saturday of every month. She was already planning for that night and said, “I’m keeping these artists up because they’re local, and what we’ll do is have an all-hand-made jewelry designer trunk show, and they’re all from Los Angeles.” Leanna is a former fashion designer and has a variety of gifts for Children as well as her own jewelry line. She said, “I’m working on a new holiday collection for NELA gallery night.”
Sasha, at “Letters from L.A.” said she was much busier than on a regular Saturday, but added that it was partly because she also had a trunk show with three different designers that day, her special event that happened to coincide with the small business Saturday. The women’s contemporary shop sells, as Sasha said, “Everything from Marina wool sweaters from New Zealand, to my local Highland Park designers. I try to bring a mix of hard to find international lines and under the radar local lines.” She encourages all to “Shop Eagle Rock” for the holidays.
Next door, at ‘Lady’, owner Camille Desoto proudly described her specialties as new and vintage women’s clothing, jewelry and accessories. “All of my merchandise items are all under $100, so that’s what makes it affordable,” she said. She has quite a few holiday gift recommendations for under $25, and added, “So if you need anything, come in here, we’ll gift wrap it and you’re good to go.”
My last stop for today was a place I kept hearing about since I first dropped into Owl Talk. Wildwood Wood Fired Ovens and BBQs. There was no sign, so the 5020 Eagle Rock Blvd. showroom was a little hard to find. When I walked to the back of the small parking lot, I couldn’t believe what I saw. There was an entire live bar with barstools, and a chef in his white coat and hat welcoming everyone to try some pork sliders. The work “bar” does not do it justice, however, as the surfaces, the built in accessories, the coloring, the lighting and the choice and placement of the potted plants, all spelled out L U X U R Y. It was like walking into a fancy nightclub, but outdoors. Behind the bar was some kind of an oven full of red hot embers, and to the left were a handful of folks gathered around some kind of fireplace, sitting on benches, sipping their beverages and listening to another guy in chef’s coat talk.
He turned around and I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was Eagle Rock native Mike Meissner, who I’ve know since I was a kid. He explained to me that his specialty now was wood fired ovens.
“We manufacture the wood ovens and Brazilian barbecues,” he said. “We have a casting plant in Fontana- up here we just made a prototype- that’s one of my fireplace products with a contemporary surround- and then we throw in some ancillary products- thank God we’re internet based, Tom, because I couldn’t rely on people that come to the door,” Meissner explained.
I was pretty stunned to see how industrious this one time electrician had become. It turns out that he was in the market for an Italian outdoor oven to support his own backyard entertaining, and when he called the manufacturer in Italy, they were not too interested in helping him. As necessity is the mother of invention… well, you know the rest.
Leanna Lin wrapped it all up for me when she said, “Eagle Rock is growing and we’ve had a change of retail shops and I think it’s growing for the best, and the Northeast L.A. people love to support and shop local, eat local and drink local.”
If you’re a Northeast L.A. person who believes that, you should give these folks a try when it’s time to do your holiday shopping.
Owl Talk – 5060-b Eagle Rock Blvd
Green Bean – 5060 Eagle Rock Blvd
Kumquat – 5054 Eagle Rock Blvd
MediaNoche – 5048 Eagle Rock Blvd
DoubleO Salon -5046 Eagle Rock Bl
Snivling Sibbling – 5028 Eagle Rock
Leanna Lin’s Wonderland -
5024 Eagle Rock Blvd
Letters from LA -5022 Eagle RockBl
Wildwood Ovens & BBQ’s -
5020 Eagle Rock Blvd
Lady – 4974 Eagle Rock Blvd
Read Books – 4972 Eagle Rock Blvd