Sunday, November 28, 2010

Small Business Saturday Love

It's a given that whenever we have something important to get ready for, some of us or most of us catch whatever ailment is going around at the time. Never fails, and getting ready for the holiday and our first ever Small Business Saturday event and sale was no exception. It started with one, traveled to another, then another, then me. However, we soldiered on and had one heck of a wonderful time! We got part-way decorated (the rest will just have to wait until we all feel better) and Small Business Saturday was a raging success!

It's humbling to know there are people out there who really care. People all around Altadena and even from further away rallied to The 3/50 Project and American Express' joint venture to help independent retailers across the nation. They came with a purpose, they were on a mission, and Scott and I are verklempt! We think every single one of you are fabulous, but to those who came out shopping yesterday - you know who you are - we can't thank you enough. We look forward to celebrating this day each year and we'll plan bigger and better things to do with it in the future.

Speaking of celebrating, the merchants of The North Lake Business District (formerly The Altadena Arts Coalition) will be hosting our North Lake Pole Festival on Saturday, December 4th. Vendors, community information, food, entertainment, petting zoo, Santa and best of all, fresh, real snow! Yes indeed, friends and neighbors, real snow for tubing and sledding, right in Galloway much fun is that? I know, it's the same day as the USC vs. UCLA game, but that's ok. The Festival starts at 4:00 pm so there's plenty of time to enjoy both! We'll be open until 6:00 pm and we'll plan something fun to our Facebook page for updates throughout the week.

You may have noticed the article about Webster's Pharmacy being sold on Altadena ( It's true, my father-in-law is selling the pharmacy to Michael and Meredith Miller, formerly of Fair Oaks Pharmacy. The deal should close this week, and we'd like to wish both Mike and Meredith the best. Scott and I know that they'll do great things with the Pharmacy. We also know that by our working together toward a common goal - to restore the Webster's complex to its former vibrancy and to help steer the North Lake Business District toward revitalization. With your help and support, I'm certain that we'll achieve it!

Have a wonderful week my friends.....stay warm!

Lori and Scott

Sunday, November 21, 2010


There are two quotes I'd like to share with you this week of Thanksgiving. Two quotes, one from the author of "Codependent No More" and one from the Bible, both different yet similar. Both struck me as profound out of all the quotes I went through in search of these. Settle back a bit while I share them with you.

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow."
-----Melodie Beattie

"Do not get tired of doing what is good. Don't get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time."
-----Galatians 6:9

Scott and I would like to thank each and every one of you for allowing us the opportunity to follow our vision. Without you, our friends - from back in the day to newly made - we would've been lost long ago. We deeply appreciate your kindness, your advice and your goodwill.....thank you!

Everyone have a blessed and beautiful Thanksgiving, may you be surrounded by those you love and may you find peace.

Lori & Scott

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Decline or Incline? Can We Recline?

The above title is facetiously capping on, Daron Anderson's recent blogpost. I'm posting the link here because it's a good blogpost about how a community member feels about what's happening in our North Lake Business District these days. He's concerned, as are many people.

But I also read Monica Hubbard's Altadena Women's Newsletter this evening and I hope she doesn't mind if I quote her, as she reports on a possible town-hall meeting or meetings for people to talk about their concerns. She says, "I confess that I'm weary of discussing concerns. What I'd like to discuss is what's going well. What are the good things we have going for us up here - and there are plenty! - and how can we build on those. Can we co-create a common vision for
our little town that might form the foundation for some shared "guiding principles" around which all our efforts could be aligned? May not come to pass, but I like daydreaming about it." Bravo, Monica!

I recommend you read Daron's post and I also recommend reading the comments, one of which is mine.

Onto WFS news! It's looking a lot like the holidays at the store and of course, we're working like busy bees getting it all out and set up. We'll have to move quickly because this Friday evening we'll be hosting an book signing and wine pairing event.....look for the invitation on Facebook tomorrow!

Have a great week, my friends!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Chinese Connection

When Scott and I took over WFS, we made the decision to try and source our selection of merchandise as locally as we could. We decided to offer more ecologically and socially responsible gifts, cards, and office and home essentials. Offering the community of Altadena and surrounding areas lifestyle choices in the product lines carried here has become the focus of our shop.

We do this because we believe that it's the right thing to do. We also believe that we can make a difference in this world, and in our community, one small sale at a time.

It's interesting to see how the community reacts to our concept. Like everything in life, there are those who applaud us and there are those who really don't care. You either get it or you don't. The one thing that I think most mothers today "get" is the fact that there's a problem with many children's toys that are made overseas, primarily those made in China. All of that is going to be changing very soon.

According to many industry reports, toy manufacturing is moving away from China. Because of the changes in the global economy and changes within the country as it becomes more progressive, manufacturers are looking elsewhere for lower-cost production. Vietnam is where they're looking, but because of its small size, other areas like India and Eastern Europe are also in their sights.

What will change when the majority of toy production moves to these other countries? We don't know. What's fact is that toy manufacturing in the U.S. is too costly for most. It's very difficult to find toys made here, and those that are aren't very interesting. I've seen old-fashioned toys like train whistles, tops, wooden cars and yo-yos, but honestly, when's the last time you saw a child playing with a whistle? Children are more sophisticated these days and of course, want what's popular.

What we have committed to do when buying children's toys is to buy very selectively. We choose small, reputable companies who directly oversee their manufacturing processes and do all the required testing themselves. We then look at their certifications to assure ourselves, and you, that they're in full compliance. There are things we won't buy. We do not buy mass manufactured jewelry for kids because we don't feel comfortable selling it in light of the controversy about toxic materials. We don't buy from those huge manufacturers whose products have been recalled many times in the past.

For those of you who are ambivalent about buying toys manufactured in China, we understand. I was cautious about it when my own daughter was young and I'm cautious about it now. Only time will tell about toys being made in places other than China. When I find out anything new, I'll report to you about it. Until then, I want you to know that we'll continue to be vigilant with our toy buying.

Have a good week ahead, my friends!

Lori & Scott