Sunday, December 18, 2011

We Are Wealthy In Our Friends

Like most business owners, Scott and I have met many people.  Some met during the course of each day, some while at networking events, classes or through our friends.  I love meeting new people - each one offers a new opportunity for a relationship of one sort or another and I relish the anticipation of discovery.

More than what for us is normal, we've met so many that have become wonderful friends.  Over these past few years, we've had the pleasure of knowing them and experiencing their kindness.  For us, it's a testament to the goodness of humans, which is the basis of our holiday traditions.  As wild and crazy as things may get, we can always count on our friends to surround us with warmth and support.

May all of you be surrounded this season with the wealth of your friends and family.  May you be at peace and enjoy every moment of whichever holiday you celebrate.  We are grateful for you and thank you from the bottom of our hearts.....Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy Kwanzaa, everyone, we wish you happiness!

We'll be taking a holiday hiatus and will be back shortly after the new year.  Until then, stop by the store if you can and say hello.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Let There Be Light!

Have you ever visited a place so beautiful that it literally took your breath away?  It's those moments that we humans live for, it's what inspires us and what keeps us looking for that next "fix" of fabulous.  Without them, we are bereft and without hope.

Scott and I had one of those moments last night, as Altadena's Christmas Tree Lane Association flipped the switch and Santa Rosa Avenue exploded into a million points of colored light!  Seemingly suspended in the dark night as you gaze down the road, it's as if the entire length of it was made to be Santa's runway.  Of course, according to the history of Christmas Tree Lane, it wasn't a runway for a sled and its team of flying reindeer.  But it was a mile-long driveway for a home that was never built, and I'm sure that Mr. Nash would've let Santa use it for takeoff, should he have needed it.

Christmas Tree Lane is such a wonderful attraction for Altadena to have, and it's a testament to the hard work of the Association members and volunteers who make it happen.  We are so proud to be a supporter of CTLA and we were very worried a week or so ago that the lighting ceremony wouldn't take place.  A brutal windstorm swept through the San Gabriel Valley with hurricane force - somehow, the atmospheric conditions made that wind possible, and the damage it left behind was considerable.  Two trees were lost on Santa Rose Avenue, bad enough, but all up and down this street with the lovely Deodar Cedars, large branches had broken, falling and pulling down the carefully placed light strings that had just been placed.  So much debris littered the street and yards of the homeowners there - would there be enough time to get it all repaired and cleaned up before the ceremony on the 10th? 

True teamwork is hard to find, but it was found in spades in our community - it was found right at Christmas Tree Lane!  Kudos go to all those involved with the restoration of the light strings, the clean up and setting up for what was a fantastic event - an event sorely needed by all of us.  For it is without beauty we grow melancholy, and with the events of last few weeks, beauty has been hard to come by.  

Photo courtesy of Altadenablog

Here's hoping you all have a wonderful week coming up!  Be sure to like us on Facebook and look for the announcement of our special holiday wine pairing next Saturday. Watch for news of a special benefit on Sunday for Altadena Community Church.  We're also planning an Ugly Christmas Sweater shopping extravaganza the week before Christmas!  Hang onto your hats, friends, the season is upon us!

Lori and Scott 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Giving Thanks

Live your life so that the fear of death can never enter your heart. When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the morning light. Give thanks for your life and strength. Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. And if perchance you see no reason for giving thanks, rest assured the fault is in yourself.
                              ---- Chief Tecumseh, Shawnee Indian Chief

I know I said I was going to take a break this week, but then I remembered something I hadn't done.  Something important.  I'd not mentioned that Scott and I are grateful for many, many things, but most of all we're grateful for the support of so many fabulous people!
To our friends from high school, both Scott's and mine - and there are a lot of you out there - thank you for being around after all these years!  Thanks for listening to us ramble on about the store, looking at the pictures, and even commenting on our Facebook page - you rock!

To my decorating friends from G.I. who've hung in there with us for all this time and letting me go from a decor-obsessed housewife to an independent store owner with baggage, thank you and I love you all!  I really miss our discussions, too, but I'm so glad we can keep in touch via social media.

To the friends we've made in Altadena and to the people we've connected with digitally, thank you for allowing us into your life.  Thanks for lending an ear; thank you for your attention and we thank you for allowing us to shape our store into what we believe it can be.  We thank you for bearing with us while we do it.

As always, I'm amazed by all of you!  You give us inspiration, you give us hope and you all give us a reason to be.....grateful.

Have a great week ahead, friends!  For a look at what's happening at the store in December, and for a very important coupon you can use for UPS shipping now through December, see our newsletter here.

Lori and Scott

Sunday, November 20, 2011


"Is it Saturday yet
Cuz I wanna get up
Is it Saturday yet
It just feels like a Saturday
Is it Saturday yet
I just wanna get up
Is it Saturday yet
Cuz it feels like a Saturday
Is it Saturday?"
 ----Nick Carter

Saturday - a mini vacation, a day away from the office, a chance to get caught up on things that have gotten away from you - like shopping!  You may have heard about Small Business Saturday recently.  If you haven't, it's American Express' nationwide program to promote shopping at independently owned small businesses.  Held the day after Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving), Small Business Saturday hopes to increase the awareness of the value of shopping locally.

American Express isn't the only organization to uphold and promote this idea, nor were they the first.  Many others have been there much earlier - B.A.L.L.E. (the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies) was the leader of the pack with their mantra of believing "that local, independent businesses are among our most potent change agents, uniquely prepared to take on the challenges of the twenty-first century with an agility, sense of place, and relationship-based approach others lack. They are more than employers and profit-makers; they are neighbors, community builders and the starting point for social innovation, aligning commerce with the common good and bringing transparency, accountability, and a caring human face to the marketplace."

The Amerian Independent Business Alliance, formed around the same time as B.A.L.L.E., is a national 501c3 non-profit organization helping communities launch and successfully operate an Independent Business Alliance® (IBA), "buy independent, buy local" campaigns, pro-local policies, and other initiatives to support local entrepreneurs and vibrant local economies.  Their latest campaign, pictured below, launched yesterday:

Urging the U.S. populace to shop local, independent stores and businesses, AMIBA aims to educate us about the difference between corporate-owned (chain) stores, big boxes (stores like WalMart, KMart, Target) and their smaller, neighborhood counterparts.  The purveyor of the best information on this subject I've found, AMIBA is invaluable for their support of many nationwide shop local associations.

Smaller, but certainly as important, is The 3/50 Project and their shop local message.  Conceived by Cinda Baxter in 2008, in the early days of this devastating recession, The 3/50 Project gives small stores readily accessible promotional material to educate their customers.  It was also our jumping-off point, where I learned exactly what was up with these movements and the logic behind them.  Cinda gave me the basics and pointed me to the organizations, like AIMBA and B.A.L.L.E., where I could learn more.  The 3/50 Project's latest holiday promotion is "Keep The Cheer Here" aimed at underlining the need for differentiators in our communities - places that are unique to each and give new-comers a taste of the flavor of their town.

A relative newcomer to the mix, Independent We Stand has already made a large impact on localvores of all stripes.  Formed to support local businesses and also to educate people about their importance, Independent We Stand's videos and informational materials are a testament to their commitment to small business.  They go a step further and ask that you take their pledge to shop local.  We have a special place in our heart for Independent We Stand.....check them out and I'm sure you'll see why.

These are just a few of the organizations making a difference in the way we think about local economies.  As you all know, independent businesses, retailers in particular, are the drivers of the American economy, as it was in the past and as it will be in the future.  As for Small Business Saturday, we'll be participating this year, too.  We'll open at 8:30 am and close at 6:00 pm and you can expect some great bargains!  Until then, I'll leave you with this video - I hope you'll watch it and take it to heart - see you on Saturday!


Have a great week ahead, my friends!

Lori and Scott

Sunday, November 13, 2011

November's Bad Rap

Poor November....that lonely month, or so it seems, akin to maybe only February in the words of poets.  Witness Thomas Hood, from "No!":

"No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member -
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds -

Or Sir Walter Scott's quip:

"November's sky is chill and drear,
November's leaf is red and sear."

But I tend to lean toward Edgar A. Guest's view of the month:

"Give me the end of the year an' its fun
When most of the plannin' an' toilin' is done;
Bring all the wanderers home to the nest,
Let me sit down with the ones I love best,
Hear the old voices still ringin' with song,
See the old faces unblemished by wrong,
See the old table with all of its chairs
An' I'll put soul in my Thanksgivin' prayers." 

In my experience, November has always been a month of action.  First of all, we've got the changing foliage around us, daylight savings ends and there's Thanksgiving towards the end of it.  This year we've got a lot more going on.  This Saturday, November 19th, it's the Elves Fair at Waldorf School, The Market At St. Elizabeth Of Hungary Church, and Webster's Community Pharmacy's Holiday Open House.  It's also our monthly Wine Pairing event and this month's starring vintage is the new Beaujolais Nouveau release!  Anne Bannon of will entertain us with the history and pageant of this particular wine, which is mandated by the government of France to be released on a yearly basis on the 3rd Thursday in the month guessed it....November!  Singled out as one of the very few red wines that are best served chilled, it's also a natural as a companion to a Thanksgiving table.  That means we'll be tasting the new Beaujolais release against tasty favorites like turkey and stuffing, sweet potatoes and of course, pie.  The fun starts at 4:00 p.m., but that's not all - our good friend Marcia Copess of  Home Body Botanicals  will be in store to answer questions about her completely natural, locally-made, homeopathic skin, body and home care line now available at WFS.  We're excited to have her and her good-for-you products in store, and we know you'll want to know all about them!  We hope you'll find time in your day to drop by - we'll be waiting for you.

All in all, November has turned out to be not as dreary as lore would have it.  We've signed on several more local artists including two natural soap makers and one who makes the most darling fascinators - those British-inspired head fashions that have taken the U.S. by storm - you'll just have to come in and see these quirky beauties, and take a whiff of the new soap products, as well. We have three local artists' work hung on our walls - Patrick Gothard, Aldonia Bailey and Rose Sinatra.  Most of all, though, we're enthused and honored to be part of a market test for new product made by our friend Ellen Zimmerman called Jewish Holidays In A Box.  Geared toward busy or mixed-faith families, this is a one-stop shop for celebrating holidays, including Hanukkah - it has everything you need, such as a CD that goes through the different rituals, prayers and pronunciation.  We thought it was such a great idea that Ellen is letting us test out some of the Hanukkah kits - look for them on our shelves soon! 

Gotta run now, dinner's almost done.  Have a wonderful week ahead, friends, and remember: "Even if something is left undone, everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn." -  Elizabeth Lawrence

Lori and Scott

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sharing Our Bounty

"They began now to gather in the small harvest they had, and to fit up their houses and dwellings against winter, being all well recovered in health and strength and had all things in good plenty.  For as some were thus employed in affairs abroad, others were exercising in fishing, about cod and bass and other fish, of which they took good store, of which every family had their portion.  All the summer there was no want; and now began to come in store of fowl, as winter approached, of which this place did abound when they came first (but afterward decreased by degrees).  And besides waterfowl there was great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many, besides venison, etc.  Besides they had about a peck of meal a week to a person, or now since harvest, Indian corn to that proportion.  Which made many afterwards write so largely of their plenty here to their friends in England, which were not feigned but true reports.”
-   William Bradford, 1621 

Ahhh, November, with thoughts of Thanksgiving and the holidays approaching!  We, each of us, have a collective memory as a nation of the first inhabitants of this county sharing their bounty with the newcomers to their land.  Of course I mean the Indians and the Pilgrims, and without such collaboration, it would have been much harder for them to survive.  

This month, we have an opportunity to honor the philosophy of our Native American friends who helped those first Americans.  We can give a little  (or a lot) of packaged food which is very much needed to feed the hungry at Pasadena's Union Station Homeless Services.  We've joined up with Altadena's Fork In The Road Gang to collect your donations until the big collection party at the Fork on November 12th and 13th.  Please watch this video, put together by Agent Phil Coombes:  Put The Fork In Hunger  
We have a large box at the store you can drop the packaged food into and we'll take it down to the Fork for you.  Easy-peasy, right?  But wait - that's not all.  For being such a sharing and caring person, we'll give you 10% off any purchase at the store!  This is going to be one of the largest food drives in Pasadena history, folks.  We'd like to make sure our friends at Union Station have enough to go around this season, because donations have been down lately.  Please help by bringing some cans or packages of rice, beans, dried soup.....whatever you'd use in your own kitchen.....for the many people in our community who need them.  We thank you, and so do they!

Next Friday, Nov. 11th is not only Veteran's Day, it's also Webster's Fancy Food Truck Friday.  Webster's Fine Stationers will be giving veterans a 20% discount all day (and evening, since we're open until 9:00 pm) - all you need to do is tell a crew member that you saw (or heard about) this and you're an active or former member of our Armed Forces.  It's just a little gesture to show our thanks, and we'd like you to know just how much we appreciate your service.  

Stay tuned to our Facebook page for more details and updates on the food drive, on Fancy Food Truck Friday, what's new in store and more!

Enjoy your week ahead, my friends!

Lori & Scott

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Modus Operandi

Yesterday morning, as I was sitting in our office at home sipping coffee and going through my email, I ran across this blog post written by the indomitable Seth Godin.  In it he asks several questions to a fictional entrepreneur and then expounds on those questions.  He asks if they are aware of their cash flow; if they're building profit or equity; he asks if they would rather be a freelancer, an entrepreneur or a business owner (because there is a difference); if they're trying to build a team; he asks what type of risks are they willing to take; and finally, the most important question - why they're making the effort at all.

I put Scott and I in the role of the fictional entrepreneur, and asked these very hard questions.  They may not seem like hard questions at first.  But, as Seth points out, these questions often go unasked.  They certainly weren't asked when we were given the opportunity to buy the stationery department at Webster's.  After four years of operating this store, we've had plenty of time to refine what we're doing, and I'm very proud of that.  In one of the most harrowing, tumultuous financial eras in history, we've been forced to confront the unthinkable and still power forward, because we know that what we have to offer is valuable.

In his post, Seth points out that an entrepreneur is "an artist of sorts, throwing herself into impossible situations and seeking out problems that require heart and guts to solve."  Well, yeah....there's that.  We've certainly had to be entrepreneurs in these strange times.  We've had to plan, then re-plan, and then re-plan the re-plan, since things change so quickly here.  We're not complaining, though.  Rethinking your position is a good thing, no matter what type of economic climate you're experiencing.  Like he says - it requires heart and guts to solve the equation that is your business.

He asks about team building.  Are we worried about the bottom line so much that we forget that the most important aspect of local business is "trying to forge a culture, to train and connect and lead."  Train.  Connect.  Lead.  Those are the fundamentals, in our opinion, and ones we had long before this post of Seth Godin's came about.  You can read our Mission Statement right here on our blog (or on our Facebook page - see the info page), where it's been for four years now.  We believe that our entire business community can benefit from adopting a similar mission.

Seth goes on to ask the two most important questions....what type of risk are you willing to take and why.  Why are we doing this at all?  This is complicated to answer.  It's an answer found deep down inside both of us, one that comes from deep convictions born of familial values.  There is no "easy button", no fast way to rebuild trust in an institution that has been compromised, but we believe it's worth rebuilding.  We wouldn't be here otherwise.

This week, I felt compelled to answer a query on NBC's Facebook page about how small businesses are faring in this economy and if we were hiring.  I posted that we were struggling through the recession and simply trying to hold onto what's left of our crew.  I received a direct message from a reporter at NBC, asking if I'd be willing to do a phone interview for possible inclusion in an article she was writing.  Of course I was willing, and this is the article that came of it.

I answer Seth's last and most important question of why - why are you doing this at all - with this answer:  because we love this community.  We love what Webster's has stood for all these years (85 of them, actually), and we believe that we have an opportunity to do good things here in Altadena.  We knew there would be sacrifices to make when we took over the ownership of this store.  We've made them and we continue to make them because we know that in the end, this will be worth it.  Are we trying to build a team?  No, we're building a tribe - a tribe that has the interests of their community at heart.  Join us, won't you?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

An Open Letter To Our Crew Members

This was originally written by Cinda Baxter, the founder of The 3/50 Project, but she took the words right out of my mouth.  I wished I had written this, but nevertheless, it's a beautiful letter and one that I distributed this evening to our crew members during our quarterly meeting.  I think it says so much - and since I'm a store owner that believes in transparency, I'm sharing it with you.  Perhaps, if you're an employer, you can use it or parts of it to give to your own employees.  Perhaps you don't have any employees.  In that case, give it a read anyway - I think you'll find that the underlying notes of thankfulness and praise uplifting:

                           AN OPEN LETTER TO OUR CREW MEMBERS
Dear Crew Members,

Let’s face it – the past three years have been rough (more accurately, they’ve been like a blind-folded ride on an out-of-control roller coaster with questionable brakes and really screechy music).  You’ve probably seen my moods careen up and down a bit too, between customers, vendors, reps and inventory concerns (not to mention the nasty in-laws).  Sorry about that.  Some days, as the owner of a retail store, it’s hard not to blur a few lines.

This stuff is personal to me....which is why I want to share a few thoughts with you here.  When the store first opened, things were more predictable.  Sales had a natural ebb and flow at precise times of year, certain lines were practically bulletproof for us and customers enjoyed shopping.  I slept six hours each night, and paid invoices without holding my breath (most of the time, anyway).

But things changed when the market crashed.  Sale figures now ricochet like ping pong balls, vendors compete against us online and customers split hairs over 15 cents price differences.  Sleep is a far away dream; I practically turn blue when balancing the checkbook.

So yes, I've also changed with the times, examining every decision like it's the biggest one on earth, watching every penny like it's the last one on earth and relying on you like you're the last employees on earth.

Because to me, you are. You're the people I entrust my customers to, who are so near and dear to me.  And you're the reason we continue to paddle forward in these strange, unpredictable waters.  Which is why I appreciate you so much, even though sometimes, my focus on the bottom line masks that.
  •  I appreciate that you don't ask for an extra week of vacation afte rhaving taken two weeks this summer, aware that our customers need you.
  • I appreciate that you're honest and trustworthy, not putting friends' purchases on your employee discount.
  • I appreciate that when I occasionally flip out, you step back and give me space, confident that with a little time, the steam will stop billowing from my ears.
  • And I appreciate the fact that through all the insanity known as "life in retail", you remain upbeat and positive, making our customers feel at home.   
Sometimes, the necessary nuts and bolts feel a bit cold - signing off on the employee handbook, remembering to write down your hours - but that's what keeps the train on the tracks.  Each time you fulfill one of those boring handbook guidelines, it prevents stress on the business and everyone associated with it.

I know that on occasion, I harp about keeping things tidy, displays dusted, and holes filled....which might not be reflected by the catastrophe on my desk at any given time.

Housekeeping isn't exciting or fun, but customers notice.  If they pick up an item dulled by dust, they assume it's bad merchandise that nobody wants.  If there's a gaping hole on the shelf, it looks like we don't care, don't notice, or worse - can't afford to fill it.  If things get cluttered, we look like a bargain bin, which definitely isn't our goal.

And yes, sometimes, my methods might seem perplexing.  Why, for instance, does the list of four bodies scheduled for the Friday of Thanksgiving weekend have to include yours?  Why not someone else?  Simple.  Each of you lovely souls has a unique personality and skill set.  When I piece together schedules, those gifts are taken into consideration so the store has the balance it needs.  Given all the big box and Internet competition around the holidays, it's more important than ever that we provide the perfect combination of people so customers get the best experience possible.

In the end, my quirks and requests point in the same direction:  Keeping us upright, pleasant and profitable.  If one of those elements wobbles, everything does....and customers find somewhere else to shop.  Heaven knows, we don't want that, since it hurts everyone whose paycheck has our store name at the top.

Thanks for being the wonderful people I recognized during your interviews.  Thanks for remembering that I, too, am only human.  And thanks for your heartfelt desire to see the store thrive. For that, I am eternally grateful.

Your Employer

Have a great week ahead, friends, we'll talk next week!

Lori and Scott

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Affinity for Fall

Living in Southern California, some think, deprives you of the change of seasons so obvious in other, colder, states.  Not so, I think.  There's always signs of the passing of the months, subtle as they may be.  Autumn has always been crowned with colorful leaves falling from our liquid amber tree in the front yard and signals the start of the holiday season for me.

When I was a child, I used to check on the leaves of this tree as I would check a hour glass, waiting for that first yellow leaf to appear on the lawn.  Maybe it would happen in late August or early September.  Most always, though, it would seem to take forever for the leaves to change.  All the other trees up and down the block had pretty red and gold leaves hanging or floating down to their respective lawns - why didn't ours have any yet?

My mom would always say that because it was the biggest tree, and maybe one of the oldest, it took longer to turn.  I didn't understand, some of those other trees looked pretty darn close in size to ours, and I was impatient.  The sooner the leaves turned, the sooner Halloween would arrive - and I loved Halloween.

Halloween kicks off the beginning of the party season for most, but we started a little early here at WFS.  Somehow, our Fancy Food Truck Fridays, which is held every 2nd Friday of the month, just happened to fall the very day before the 3rd Saturday of the month and that's when we have our wine pairing events.  Even better, this month we planned to include a poetry reading with the wine tastings.  It turned out to be one fantastically busy, fantabulously fun weekend and we enjoyed every minute of it!

The food truck event Friday evening went off with nary a hitch, after having received the needed permit from L.A, County on Monday.  They cut it pretty close, but we still had a good sized crowd enjoying the offerings of the different trucks.  I ordered from Baby's Badass Burgers this time around and I must say that their food is mighty delicious!  It was wonderful to have our new event sponsor, Danny's Farm, back in Altadena, if only for one night a month.  The animals were a hit with the younger crowd, but of course the goats have a big following in our town!  Next month's Fancy Food Truck Friday will be on November 11th.

On Saturday, Linda Dove and Judith Terzi, local poets both, joined's Anne Bannon and Michael Holland for an evening devoted to wine and poetry.....oh, and food!  Wonderfully tasty treats were provided to us by Lauren of Amy's Patio Cafe and I'm kicking myself in the pants for not getting pictures of them!  Lovely prosciutto-wrapped asparagus spears, the asparagus perfectly al dente and prosciutto lean and flavorful.  Mushroom caps filled with cream cheese and sun-dried tomatoes made savory bites and the fresh mozzarella, grape tomato and basil kebabs were unbelievably good, but it was the decadent brownies and the filo cups filled with a sweet blueberry compote that completely stole the show!

This evening Scott and I are taking it easy.  Well, better make that he's taking it easy, I'm writing a blog post.  Dinner's waiting, so enjoy your week ahead and we'll talk again next week....

Lori & Scott

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Scaring Up Some October Fun!

Just the other day, when it turned cold and rainy, we were worried we wouldn't have our expected  Indian Summer here in Altadena.  Loosen those scarves and remove your blazers, friends, because it's supposed to be in the upper 90s this week!

While we enjoy summer in fall, The Shops At Webster's will be (hopefully) hosting our 9th Fancy Food Truck Friday.  I say hopefully, because as of this date, we haven't yet received our new permit from L.A. about it coming down to the wire!  We're all proceeding as if we'll have it in hand prior to the event and are all very excited to bring you this fun evening of community fellowship and good eating!  Join us to welcome our new event sponsor, Danny's Farm and don't forget to bring the kids - Danny's Farm is bringing their fabulous new truck and mobile petting zoo!  Do check our Facebook page here for up-to-date information first, though, or give us a call at 626-797-1135.

The very next day, WFS is hosting our monthly wine tasting with Anne Bannon and Mike Holland of, this time with a wonderful, new twist.  We're combining this tasting with a poetry reading by two of our area's beloved poets, Linda Dove and Judith Terzi!  We'd be honored if you'd join us for all this fabulousness - please do make reservations on our event page on Facebook Event Page so we'll know how much wine and food to bring in.  Don't have a Facebook account?  No worries, simply give us a call or email and let us know you're coming!

These two events are scheduled back-to-back to commemorate two very occasions very special to us here at WFS.  Scott's birthday is on October 13th (c'mon, join with me....happy birthday, Scott!) and October is also our store's anniversary!  We've been open for four years now - amazing how time flies, isn't it?  We decided awhile back to schedule these two community-building events together so we can celebrate with you all, and we certainly hope to see you at one (or both) of them! Fancy Food Truck Friday starts at 5:00 pm - we'll be in a Halloween mood, so come prepared to enjoy some spooky fun and some of Scott's delicious birthday cake.  Wines For A Passionate Evening Of Poetry starts at 4:00 pm, and we'll be serving finger foods from Amy's Patio Cafe!

Coinciding with our 4th anniversary, WFS was profiled in Independent We Stand's Merchant Success Stories.  The article is here and we'd love you to take a moment and give it a read.  

Have a great week ahead, my friends, and we look forward to seeing you this weekend!

Lori & Scott

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Hello, 4th Quarter!

The year certainly has flown by, hasn't it?  I can't believe it's already October, but that said, we're looking forward to the hustle and bustle of the next three months! (In the retail world, the 12 months are divided up into 4 quarters, the last three of which are the 4th quarter.)

This month holds the promise of much excitement, with our Fancy Food Truck Friday slated for Oct. 14th and our wine tasting/poetry reading on the 15th!  In collaboration with local artist Patrick Gothard, we've hung his Day Of The Dead series of oil paintings in the store.  An exuberant explosion of graphic color, these skeleton-inspired paintings are something to see - and we hope you'll come by and do just that!  We have plans to be working with several more area artists over the coming months, adding to the number of local artists we already represent.

Remember to "like" our Facebook page, where you can keep up with what's happening with us, join in some interesting conversations and learn about events and specials!  As always, have a great week ahead and we hope to see you soon!

Lori & Scott

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Community Is Our Business

If you look at Altadena, CA,on a street view map, you'd see that we're a very spread out community.  There are actually four different "main drags" in Altadena - starting from the West, we've got Lincoln and Fair Oaks, Lake Avenue in the center and Allen to the East.  This sprawl of neighborhoods and commerce centers make it a challenge for law enforcement, but we're very lucky to have our Los Angeles County Sheriffs, who do such an admirable job of keeping us safe.
Photo Credit: Tim Rutt

I was honored to attend the Grand Opening of the Altadena Sheriffs Station on Saturday, accompanied by Rose West of Curves on Mariposa representing Altadena's Chamber of Commerce.  Struck by that fact that violent crime here has taken a notable downturn, I feel very grateful that our Sheriffs now have a new, upgraded station to conduct their business in.  The building's design is a nostalgic nod to the era the original Station was built in, and it carries that theme faithfully throughout from the vintage lettering on the glass insets on the interior doors to the old jail, now used for storage.  The completion of the Station's renovation gives me hope that this is the start to the much-needed renovation of the North Lake Business District. 

Just like the Sheriffs make our community their business, all of us at Webster's FS make Altadena our business as well.  We don't just sell products at our store, you see.  We give our all to be of service to our fellow residents and guests at all times. Many customers feel comfortable calling in to ask questions about happenings in the community, and we think that's a great thing!  I'd like to encourage people to tell their friends to feel free to contact us if they'd like - not everyone has a computer or internet access, and we don't mind helping people find what they're looking for.

Happy fall, everyone - have a great week ahead!  Next week we'll talk about the next Fancy Food Truck Friday and our own Wines For A Passionate Evening of Poetry coming up on October 15th.....

Lori & Scott

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Distinguishable Difference?

We're embarking on an adventure this week at WFS.  We'll be reading the book entitled "Different" by Youngme Moon.  When I saw "we", of course I mean me, but I will be discussing it with Scott and our crew when I finish reading it. I became fascinated by watching this video, found on a Google + post by Mari Smith, and I can't stop thinking about the book.  I'm thinking about all the ways that WFS truly is a different sort of retail store, and that many of our ideas, such as what I term "cooperative commerce", are innovative. 

I'm excited to read "Different".  I'll leave you here with a little taste of the book, and when I finish it, I'll report back to you on how much I liked it.  I'll also be pointing out what I learned from it, and how I think our store can benefit from the information.  Or maybe, it'll be how our community can benefit.....we'll see.

 -----------------------------------------"Different" by Youngme Moon--------------------------------------------------

"There is perhaps no better way to get a glimpse into the mass consumption values of a culture than to visit the place where the inhabitants of that culture purchase the stuff of daily living—soap, food, shoes. If aliens were to visit a grocery store or a drugstore in this country, they would have to conclude that we are a people hooked on the pleasures of picking needles out of haystacks—of selecting a cereal among an ocean of cereal boxes, of selecting a bar of soap among an ocean of soap bars. And in many ways, they would be right. We take for granted how frequently we thrust ourselves into the position of having to make purchase decisions in the face of overflowing product profusion."

"There are truisms in business, just as there are truisms in sport, in play, and in life—self-evident, obvious truths that require little or no persuasion. Buy low, sell high. Know thy competition. Listen to your customers. These are the axioms that have not only achieved the status of conventional wisdom in the world of commerce, they have become part of our modern business reflex. And because these wisdoms have become congenital almost, when they are called into question, we tend to be not just defensive, but dismissive."

"The metaphor should be obvious. The central premise in part 1 of this book is that in so many consumer categories, differentiation has become hard to come by because we have fallen into a pulse of competition that in and of itself has become an impediment to its emergence. In part 1, I also contend that businesses that find themselves locked into this particular pattern of competitive engagement have become masters at producing product categories filled with heterogeneous homogeneity, or dissimilar clones if you will. Which is to say that they have become masters of a particular form of imitation. Not differentiation, but imitation. Yet because this particular form of imitation is cloaked in the vernacular of differentiation, the myth of competitive separation lives on in the minds of the managers running these firms. Meanwhile, the emperor has no clothes and most consumers know it."

"....As a percentage, the number of companies who are truly able to achieve competitive separation in their respective categories—to break through the noisy clutter, to create genuine emotional resonance with consumers—is depressingly small, and yet these outliers have much to teach us about the limitations of some of our most deeply held business assumptions. So while part 1 of this book may read like a critique, part 2 will read very much like a celebration, of these iconoclasts and their ways of doing business."


Oh man....I'm really looking forward to this!

Have a fantastic week, my friends!

Lori & Scott

Sunday, September 11, 2011

SB 469 - Good For Your Community?

Tucked in the back op-ed section of the August 29th edition of the Los Angeles Business Journal, economic development consultant Robert J. Rodino wrote an interesting piece entitled "Gains From Wal-Mart Style Stores Not So Super".  In it, he discusses State Measure SB 469, a proposal that would require California cities to conduct economic impact studies before approving large, super-center type stores, and the criticism it's getting.

The argument that this measure would inhibit economic growth here in California's communities stems from a misunderstanding of the dynamics of the retail business.  Rodino says, "The impact of Wal-Mart style superstores on the businesses in local communities is often just the opposite of what superstore advocates claim".  This is something that the Americal Independent Business Alliance has been talking about for years now.  During studies conducted in 2003, and updated in 2010 for the city of San Diego, Mr. Rodino documents the dynamic he coins "retail cannibalization" - the tendency large superstores have for sucking the life out of a community. 

"Consumer retail expenditures are dependent on consumer income", Rodino states.  "Developing a Wall-Mart style superstore in a mature urban market does not alter consumer incomes and does not alter their expenditures.  Superstore gains in sales largely come from the surrounding retailers' losses.  While a portion of sales can be made up from consumers coming into a trade area, i.e., into the city of Los Angeles from outside the city, this is rarely sufficient to satisfy superstore annual sales volume.  Regionally, there would be little or no net new retail sales growth, since retailers outside the trade area would correspondingly lose sales volumes".

He goes on to cite other instances of the devastation a large superstore could cause.  He advises that advocates for business need to be asked what businesses are they advocating for - giant corporations or local small businesses?  He says, "Nationally we accept the idea that small businesses are job creators.  Why does this change for local retailers in Southern California?"

Why do we see that disparity here in SoCal?  I'm no politician, so it's a mystery to me.  Local, independent businesses have been proven to be the drivers of job creation, innovation and the lion's share of economic development in cities and towns across the county.  I can only imagine the economic stimulus these overreaching corporations get from our local, state and national government, without making good on their promises to stimulate the local economy.  But there it is, happening around us every day.  Read up on SB 469, and please vote to keep your communities unique and vibrant - choose small business over big box business!

This has been a public service message from Webster's Fine Stationers - thank you for reading!

Have a wonderful week ahead, my friends!

Lori & Scott

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Because Communities Matter


Each one of our communities across our nation face a huge challenge today.  That challenge is keeping our neighborhoods - the place we live - unique and vibrant.  There are too many places in the United States that could be moved from one area to another and no one would be able to tell the difference.  The same brands, the same styles, the same everything all across the county!  Thank goodness that not everyone is content with that.

I'm glad that Altadena is one of those rare places that doesn't want to be a cookie-cutter community.  I'm glad that we've kept our independent businesses alive (for the most part), and I'm certainly glad for Altadena's independent spirit!  I know that there are towns just like Altadena who are proud of their uniqueness as well, so anyone reading from out of town, I'm sure, can identify with one, hopefully their own.  That's great!  We need to continue to support those businesses who have woven their threads into the fabric your communities.

The Shops At Webster's are such businesses.  Webster's has been part of the Altadena landscape since the 1920s and has seen generation after generation of Altadenans come and go.  We're honored, all of us, to be a part of that history.  We're also thrilled that we can be part of history in the making.  With the renovation planned by the pharmacy and the innovation promised by its new owners, you need look for no further signal that the family's old place will continue operation well into its 100 year anniversary!  Scott and I are excited about it all and especially by our contribution to the mix. 

As summer winds down into a new fall season, all of the Webster stores are planning some tremendous fun for you and yours!  Make sure you keep your eyes out for email communications from us and follow our Facebook page or you might miss out on vital information about cool new food trucks at our Fancy Food Truck Friday events; our very popular wine pairing events; book signings and readings and other community-centered happenings.

We hope to see you soon, and wish everyone a great week ahead!

Lori & Scott

Sunday, August 21, 2011

On Our Horizon, Weak Knees And All

This past week saw another of our monthly wine pairing events, and it even generated a story in the Pasadena Weekly!  The Weekly interviewed our intrepid wine bloggers, Anne Bannon and Michael Holland, and outlined our wine pairings at the store.  Here's the link, if you'd like to check it out:  Hat tip to the Weekly for the article! If you're in the area on September 17th, we'll be hosting a special wine event tied into the back to school season - Wine 101, a Wine Primer For Novices.  We'll be tasting and discussing the four major groups of wine - Bubblies (brute Champagne), Whites (Chardonnay) Blushes (Rose) and Reds (Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvingon).  Come to learn the basics of these four groups of wine, come to enjoy the local foods to be paired with them, most of all come to enjoy a great time with good friends!

Webster's Community Pharmacy, Webster's Stationery and Webster's Liquor are planning our next Fancy Food Truck Friday on September 9th.  Not all the details are put together yet, but we've gotten notice from Cathy Gott of  Danny's Farm that they'd like to join the festivities. Wouldn't that be fun, with their new trailer and animals!  We're not sure as of yet whether the County will allow this or not, so stay tuned to our Facebook page for more information throughout the days leading up to the next food truck event!

Friday afternoon I attended a celebration of our women in the Altadena Town Council at Monica Hubbord's and let me tell you, this was such a wonderful event to have been invited to!  Thank you, Monica, for all that you do to support our community, you're truly one in a million!

On a more somber note, we know these days are very challenging, especially for the more vulnerable members of our society.  Organizations like Friends In Deed , Union Rescue Mission and Union Station Pasadena are working valiantly to help feed and house these people, while sometimes the adversity seems to overwhelm them.  I came across Union Rescue Mission's Rev. Andy Bales' recent blogpost and have to link it here.  This has provided me with such inspiration that I really hope it gives you some "strength in your knees" as well.  Watch for upcoming fund raisers for these groups in the future!

We'd like to leave you with a bit of scripture found in Rev. Bales' post: 

"Hebrews 12:12-13 (ESV)
12 Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees,
13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed."

Have a wonderful week ahead, friends!

Lori & Scott

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Bully, Bully, or, Coercer In The Rye

Friday night's Fancy Food Truck Friday was just fabulous in every way - the weather cooperated (it wasn't a thousand degrees), Paco the Chihuahua made an appearance and the news crews followed!  The Arroyo Food Co-op were had a table there, passing out information to our attendees and so was local resident Tamir Yardenne.  Tamir is a multi-talented young man and his latest endeavor centers around the no-bullying movement.  His latest short film, Silencio, features Altadena actor and activist, , and is a powerful statement against bullying.

As Scott and I were having coffee this morning, we discussed bullying and the oppression that accompanies it.  Scott, dyslexic and ADHD from birth, knows all about that subject.  As he tell it, he's been bullied all his life, mostly by his own family members.  When I first got to know Scott and spoke with him about his troubles, I took it all with a grain of salt.  But having been married to him for 14 years, I can attest to it now - I've seen and experienced it myself. Bullying is never a good thing, but when it comes from within your own family, what can you do?

What you can do is to get help, from friends or professionals.  Bring it into the light and don't suffer in silence.  There's no reason to be bullied for being thought of as "different".  We've been able to rise above it, to deal with the effects of it and so can other people, by taking positive action.  There is much more support out in the world now, thanks to people like Tamir, that can help break the bonds of bullying.

I've rewritten this blog post several times since Sunday evening and ended up with this final post.  I want to apologize if any of the former content made anyone uncomfortable, as that was not my intention.  We'll be back next week with our regularly scheduled posts.

Lori & Scott


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Que Sera Sera

Many times in the past, I've referred to positive changes in Altadena as a "what if".  What if we had the many ammenities that are common in other cities we cherish and envy, such as Sierra Madre.  What if our North Lake Business District were a real town center, with traffic mitigated, building facades upgraded and foot traffic patterns established?  What if our retail shops, groceries and other businesses were more modern and relevant?  What if Altadena, once a thriving destination in the San Gabriel Valley, were to reclaim its renown?

I've asked these questions for several years now, with mixed responses from people I've talked to here and while working in the store.  Back then, most of you were and continue to be enthusiastic about changes; and some not so much.  Over the course of these years, however, I notice people's attitudes changing.  More and more, our community is coming together and change is happening - I can hear it, I can see it and and I can feel it!

The feeling isn't just coming from the anticipation of coming attractions, although that certainly has a part in it - it's the palpable heart beating though our community.  Our town is rich in gifted individuals who are exerting all their efforts into resuscitating Altadena's soul.  Take Altadenablog's Tim Rutt, whose grassroots news blog has partnered with the new Pasadena Sun, giving him the opportunity to reach far more people than ever before and give us coverage we haven't experienced in a long time.  Take the awesomeness that is the Altadena Urban Farmer's Market and their truly unique take on the market concept (even the L.A. Weekly thinks so!).  They're on hiatus right now, but believe me, they'll be back and better than ever!  If that's not enough for you, consider the hugely popular Bulgarini Gelato.  Mentioned in the Los Angeles Times Magazine as one of Los Angeles' iconic eateries, this recent article tells you all you need to know - Altadena is drawing people from outside our borders to visit.  Add that to the draw of our incredible hiking trails, and you've got a destination area waiting to happen!

Compound all this with the planned renovation in Webster's Community Pharmacy.  The new owners, Mike and Meredith Miller will be reinventing the old pharmacy soon and we know it'll be wonderful!  Our store is ready for a rebranding as well.  As new(ish) owners, we've been constrained for some time by circumstances not under our control, but that's changing and changing soon. We plan to be right there with you through all this, my friends, as we take our family store into the future.  The moment is here, and it's undeniable.....the positive changes I told you about all those months ago are imminent.  The groundswell has begun and it will sweep all of us up into it - and I for one, welcome it.  As the old song says, "que sera, sera, whatever will be, will be"......I say bring it!

Have a lovely week ahead and we'll talk again next week,

Lori 'n Scott

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Mid-Summer Newsletter & Back To School Special

Earlier this morning, I tried to copy and paste our newsletter onto Blogger but it didn't work so I tried deleting it.  I'm afraid, though, that a link went out anyway, and for that, I'm sorry.  Let's try that again and we'll be back next week with our regular blog posts!

WFS' Mid-Summer Newsletter & Back To School Special

Dear Friends,

We find ourselves at that bitter-sweet junction of summer where we look toward sending the kids back for another exciting semester of school.  We'll explain how we can help you save time and money in the article below.  WFS carries much needed office essentials, too - most of them made out of recycled materials and made right here in the United States - come see us instead of "running down the hill"!  With gas prices still on the increase, it only makes sense to shop locally.

Scott and I attended the California Gift show recently what a show it was!  So many great things we're finding that are American made or made by local companies.  Look for these exciting new products to be delivered from now though the fall season!  We're also in the planning stages with several Altadena artists, and we can expect to see their creations in store soon. 

Things are heating up in Altadena - not just from the summer heat, but from all the great events going on around town!  Never say there's nothing to do here.  From the wonderful Concerts In The Park series from the Sheriffs Support Group to individual events put on by local businesses, there's a whole garden of activities available to enjoy.  This month will see our next Fancy Food Truck Fridays, a joint venture with Webster's Community Pharmacy and Webster's Liquor, on August 12th.  Our wonderfully intimate, humorous and delicious Wine Tastings With's Anne Bannon and Michael Holland continue this month, on August 20th.  Scroll down for all the pertinent information on both events!

July was an incredible month, with such an outpouring of caring and love, exhibited through our collection of canned food items for Friends In Deed! It started early on in July and stemmed from this article in the Pasadena Star News. We'd like to thank them for their help passing the message along with this article and thank you all for answering the call.  We now have a huge box of food that we'll donate to them this week - well done, Altadena!  Just a note to remind you that we take donations of those small toiletries received at hotels or travel-sized, unused toiletries for All Saints Church all year 'round, as well as monetary donations for the Bright Future Scholars via the "Dollars For Scholars" collection jars - look for these collection spots next time you're in the store.

Speaking of good deeds, who hasn't heard about Altadena's canine hero, Brave Paco, the chihuahua that's taking a bite out of crime!  He's ten pounds of lean, mean, burglar-chasing muscle and we're glad he's patrolling the streets of the North Lake Business District!  Your chance to meet Paco and his owner is coming up at the next Fancy Food Truck Friday event - you don't want to miss this paw-tograph op!

We hope to see you soon!

Lori & Scott Webster

Stay Local & Save!  WFS' Back To School Special
It's the time of year for getting your children ready to get back into the swing of the new school season!  We know that times are challenging and that you're all pressed for time, so we're offering you a way to shop locally and save.  From August 1st through the 31st, when you spend $50.00 on back to school items, you'll save 25% - that's our employee discount plus 5%! That's $37.50 for $50.00 worth of school necessities! Tell your friends and neighbors and forward this email to them, so everyone can take advantage of this historic savings opportunity!

From binders and notebooks, to filler paper, composition books, index cards, pencils, pens, erasers, rulers, scissors, crayons, protractors and everything in between, Back To School shopping has never been easier or more fun.  Sip a cup of ice cold lemonade, have a cookie and listen to our classic oldies playing in the background, WFS is THE place for buying your school essentials!  We defy you to find better service anywhere else! This year, we even have paper book covers - yes, we finally found someone who makes these, and they're on our shelves now!


Fancy Food Truck Fridays!
Great Eating, Community Style                            
Every 2nd Friday of the month we have at least six different Fancy Food Trucks in the Webster's parking lot.  A community favorite since its inception in February, everyone looks forward to greeting friends at our tables where everyone eats family-style!  Brave Paco, Altadena's canine crime fighter will be making an appearance so you won't want to miss this opportunity for a paw-tograph!

Our event this month is on Friday, August 12th, from 5:00 pm until 9:00, and the Shops At Webster's will be open for your enjoyment.  Each shop has it's own ambiance, entertainment and/or specials, so please come in and enjoy it all before or after you eat! 

This month's Fancy Food Trucks are:

A Rockin Ice

Look for the event announcement on our Facebook page soon to see what's happening that evening inside the store!

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Engagement Exercise

What do you get when you combine a fabulous international shopping venue with a retailer that loves to decorate?  You get the most incredible week, and if you've been keeping up with us on our Facebook page, you'll know that Scott and I've been at the California Gift Show.  So many fascinating things to look at, so many places to go and people to see, it truly can be a scramble - but a very exciting scramble it is!  It's always a special treat to connect with the leaders in our industry, even more so to listen to their synopsis of the hot topics affecting retailers today. 

On Saturday, Scott and I hit the Convention Center for a retailer's roundtable discussion with four such ladies.  The group of four was moderated by Marisa Marcantonio, former style editor for House Beautiful and O at Home, an Oprah Magazine, and author of the Stylebeat blog.  She gracefully led the three panelists, Gifts and Decorative Accessories Magazine's editor-in-chief Carolyn Kennedy; Jenny Heinzen York, the editor-in-chief of Home Accents Today; and Traditional Home Magazine's Senior Design and Style editor Krissa Rossbund; in a discussion that was informative, inspirational and touching. 

The discussion centered around what retailers in today's rough market should and could be doing to not only increase their bottom line, but reach beyond that to touch their customer's lives in a positive fashion.  There was talk of target markets and knowing who your customers are.  For those of us who are struggling to make it to the next season, their advice was to engage!  Engagement takes many forms these days, but we retailers should be using all the new sources, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to communicate with and grow our customer bases.  But that's not the only way to reach people.  Have you ever noticed that when you tell your kids, or anyone else, a story they tend to settle back and listen?  How many retailers out there are only using the avenues I mentioned to blindly shout "Here we are and this is what we've got!" into the world-wide web without giving your potential followers and customers anything else to identify you with?

Tell them your story, the ladies advised.  Let people know who you are, what you stand for and what you can do for your community!  What a waste of time if you're not thinking of how to impress your brand - your store and your story - into your customer's mind.  I've often told our crew here at WFS that when we're at the store, it's like we're on stage.  Every time we interact with a customer, we should be giving them not only service, we should be giving them an experience (and hopefully, a pleasant one).  We should be giving them something to talk about, so they can in turn tell their friends about you.  In essence, creating a community of people who are willing to come to you, to listen to your story, to recognize your brand and identify it with a positive experience.

In towns and cities across the nation, small stores like WFS are creating communities of people who want to shop with them.  They know the story of the store, what they're about and what they do.  Don't leave them guessing, my friends.  Reach out and touch the people with your story and let them know how you can help them, make their lives easier, and most of all, make them feel they matter!  It's a harsh world out there - a savvy retailer will make sure that her customers are experiencing shopping bliss, even if just for a few minutes.

We'll talk more about engagement and important trends you can take advantage of next week.  Until then, have a wonderful week.  Don't forget, our Fancy Food Truck Fridays is coming up on August 12th, and our monthly Wine Tasting Event (Frosty Whites For Summer!) will be on August 20th!

Lori & Scott

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Believe In Change

As I sit here and type, I'm reflecting on the two days Scott and I took off of work because of Carmegeddon.  While it was fun to putter around the house we see so little of, we found ourselves antsy about not being there.  It's a funny feeling to be away from the business you're running, especially these days, but I'm glad for a little bit of distance.  Perspective is good as is planning, and we did some of both this weekend. 

As we were discussing the very real need for increased business in our store, Scott mentioned some of the online reviews he's read about Webster's, and the many comments he's heard over the years from the store's customers.  He says that the general consensus of opinion about the store was this statement: "If you can't find it anywhere else, you'll be able to find it at Webster's".  No matter what "it" was, people thought that you could find it here.  He's also heard people sat repeatedly "I went to ____ and ____ and couldn't find it, but you have it!"  Scott asked me this question - "Where would Webster's be today if people would've come here first?  Why, if in the majority's mind, we carried everything, didn't they come to us first?"

That's a question that isn't simple to answer and is a moot point anyway, as the pharmacy business is owned by a different family now.  The aura of the Webster's of old still affects us all today, however.  Change is never comfortable, especially with a store that's been in the community so long.  One whose cachet was fading, maybe, and one who was a last resort shopping destination, but was one who was still there - safe and predictable.

Now the game's changed and the store is not the same as it was.  Times have changed, as we all know, and shopping habits are in flux.  The wholesalers who supply what our old store offered are getting more and more difficult for small, independent retailers like us to work with.  The minimum purchase is getting higher and their short terms are not negotiable.  Some small office supply and business product manufacturers have gone out of business altogether, which gives the impression that we've chosen not to carry that item anymore.  All of this together doesn't exactly smack of confident retailing and our dwindling sales are proving it true - you can't sell it if you don't have it.

All of us here at Webster's need your support, because all of us want to be strong enough to support you, the community.  With the anticipated revitalization of the pharmacy, we are placing our hope in your continued goodwill and trust.  Trust us that we intend to bring you the very best shopping experience we can.  Both Scott and I are working with Michael and Meredith to support their efforts to accomplish this because we believe.  We believe in ourselves, our crew and our talents.  Let us show you what we can do - be a supporter of positive change and tell a friend about us!  Your good word of mouth is more powerful than a thousand dollars worth of advertising, so go tell someone about us or share this post - we deeply appreciate it!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Community In The Works

Last week we celebrated Independents Week, as we discussed in my last post, and I've never been more proud to be a part of the business landscape in Altadena.  Even though times are tough financially, there is an undercurrent running though our community that is so exciting, it's really inspirational!

Scott and I have the honor of knowing so many individuals, most of whom are active with various civic groups in town, that have been working tirelessly to challenge the status quo and improve our daily lives.  From the Arroyo Time Bank and the Altadena Urban Farmer's Market to the Altadena Town Council, Altadena Heritage, and the Altadena Historical Society, these folks are devoting their time and effort to make a discernible difference here.  They're paving the way for a sustainable future for Altadena and along the way, they're also educating our residents how to achieve and maintain it.

On Friday, during our Fancy Food Truck Friday event, we had two such people in the store, donating their time to making the evening more enjoyable for everyone.  Susann Edmonds, owner of A Chair In The Garden and head chef at Jabberwocky Smooth Jerk was there handing out samples of pork roast cooked with the proprietary sauce while local artist HB3 (Hugh Bonar) made magical sounds with his guitar, utterly enchanting everyone who came in.  It was quite a night and I'd like to thank both Susann and Hugh for helping make the event even more of a community party!

The groups I mentioned above, and others that I haven't yet mentioned, all need our help.  Not just some of our money - what they need is your attention and most of all, they need your participation.  You can find out more about them at the websites the links will take you to.  I can tell you that they can't do what they need to do without our caring about them.  In my ideal world, we would all be working together for the common good, businesses and community members alike.  If you live in Altadena, we urge you to take a moment, check out these sites and get invested in the town you live in.....only good could come of it!

Thanks for listening and we hope you all have a fabulous week!

Lori & Scott

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Independents For All!

As America prepares to celebrate Independence Day, communities nationwide are using the occasion to celebrate independent businesses that provide opportunities for personal freedom, local self-reliance and form the backbone of most local economies. Running from 7/1/11 to 7/7/11, WFS salutes all our brothers and sisters in independent businesses!

Public education is at the core of Independents Week. “Where we choose to spend our money plays a vital role in forming the character of our communities,” said Jennifer Rockne, director of the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA).  By patronizing locally-owned businesses, we not only can get competitive values, but create more opportunity and wealth within our communities. "The events also help inform government officials", Rockne says. “Many elected officials aren’t aware their hometown businesses provide far greater local economic benefit from each sales dollar than chains. Our role is to help them make more informed decisions.”  If you ever have questions in regard to this subject, please feel free to contact us, we'd be happy to provide you with information!

 Scott and I hope you have a fun-filled Fourth of July!  Remember, next Friday evening is our Fancy Food Truck Fridays event, with star truck Ragin Cajun   Make sure to check for the event notification in our newsletter going out this week and on Facebook!   Our next Wine Pairing event will be held on Saturday, July 16th.  Our theme this month is in honor of Bastille Day, so we'll be pairing French wines with some tasty French-inspired cuisine.  Stay tuned to our Facebook page for further information!

Until next week, my friends!

Lori and Scott

                                                     My Country 'Tis of Thee
                                                     Written by: Samuel Francis Smith

                                                     My country, 'tis of thee,
                                                     Sweet land of Liberty,
                                                     Of thee I sing;
                                                     Land where my fathers died,
                                                     Land of the pilgrim's pride!
                                                     From ev'ry mountain side,
                                                     Let freedom ring!

                                                    Our fathers' God, to Thee,
                                                    Author of Liberty,
                                                    To Thee we sing.
                                                    Long may our land be bright,
                                                   With freedom's holy light;
                                                   Protect us by Thy might,
                                                   Great God, our King!