Magnolia Park business owners endured the hot sun while gathered to discuss how best to save their businesses from skyrocketing rents which have left many owners seeking solutions to stay in Magnolia Park.
A crowd of 200 plus business owners, customers, and local residents gathered in Geeky Teas and Games’ patio to suggest ideas and volunteer for one of several committees charged with creating ideas and strategies to stop the higher rents. The popularity of Magnolia Park is now causing rents in the Park to double or more putting many small shops out of business or making them move to locations not as suitable.
“We are going to crowdsource ideas to maybe preserve this unique area,” said Donna Ricci owner of Geeky Teas and Games.
Small business zoning, co-ops, purchasing the building they are established in, and increasing sales in the area were a few of the possible solutions suggested at the meeting.
Ricci’s shop will be moving from Magnolia Park due to her own rent increasing $1800 dollars, pricing her out of the Park.
The 400 businesses in Magnolia Park are an assortment of eclectic shops, boutiques, and eateries selling everything from clothing, antiques, movie memorabilia, books, Halloween costumes, and cupcakes. One such shop is Dark Delicacies, the only all horror books and gifts shop in the nation.
“The small businesses all get together organically, and they create a unique area that builds up business in an area,” said Dell Howison, Dark Delicacies’ proprietor. “Landlords notice it and say look at all the foot traffic, now I can jack the rents.”
Several merchants have shuttered because of rent increases: Creature Features, The Writer’s Store, and Pin Up Girls are a few of them. Other businesses are in danger of the same fate.
Burbank Vice Mayor Sharon Springer and Councilman Bob Frutos were in attendance as well as many customers and neighborhood residents.
“My shopping experience is sort of at stake here as well,” said Jim Terry a local resident. “I’m a frequent customer of these places up and down Magnolia Boulevard.”
“It’s quirky. I like that,” said Nora Johnson a neighborhood resident. “I just love Magnolia Park, I love living here, I love the fact that it drove up the value of my home. I don’t think people come here for the big box stores, they come here for the charm.”