By Lisa Paredes
Ready for another great Ladies Night Out in Magnolia Park? The August 30 event has just about every kind of food and dessert truck plus several area musicians and local artisans lined up along the sidewalks and in the stores of Magnolia Blvd. From Florence St. to Hollywood Way, participating shops stay open late and offer significant discounts and extras. It is the perfect Friday night out in Burbank for all ages.
Need a henna body decoration for your Labor Day weekend? Perhaps a swinging new skirt for date night? Up for an edgy rock band’s live performance? Home of the eclectic, wild and wonderful, Magnolia Park is Burbank’s most stylish shopping district.
“Once a month, rain or shine, we hold a party for our wonderful customers!” Susan Cade, co-owner of Encore Nouveau, explains excitedly. “Too many times, while dressing our ladies, we hear, ‘Oh I love this dress, but where would I wear it?’ So, in January 2010, Kathleen Bailey (co-owner) and I decided to host a party for our ladies, have some entertainment, complementary refreshments and throw in some discounts to make it more fun… but like any good fairy tale, when the clock strikes – the night is over.”
“Now, add in our Irish sense of humor to involve and become part of our family; we have games that you can play to receive our monthly deal. That’s how it all started, ” continues Mrs. Cade. “With the love of our customers first; then as this wonderful grass roots movement started growing, the small Magnolia Park community; now, three and a half years later, a wonderful festive night of laughter, strolling the Boulevard and reconnecting with neighbors, an entire community is growing.”
And grow it has. Amanda Vernon owns Mindfulnest, which sells jewelry, art and other items by local artisans and houses KleanSpa’s high-quality and hand-filled body care line. Ms. Vernon acknowledges that they have seen an increase in sales and customers directly from the monthly events. New visitors who discover the Magnolia Park shops from these monthly events often become returning customers.
“Yes, sales have increased, but that was never the reason behind the evening,” adds Mrs. Cade. “Encore’s growth is because of our customers and this night celebrates them. That has always been and will be our focus.”
“Now, the name Ladies’ Night Out has had its controversy, and during our growth period it has been suggested many times to change it so that people will not feel that we discriminate,” Mrs. Cade goes on to say. “The name came from the fact that Encore Nouveau is a ladies store, and where ladies go, men will follow, and now families, couples and strolling minstrels congregate. Add in 40 plus merchants, food trucks and an open-air small town USA, and you have success.”
New boutiques and restaurants continue to open along Magnolia Boulevard, with more set to debut in the coming months. Parking can be a bit of a challenge, but the surrounding neighborhood is picturesque and enjoyable to walk through. Most people who visit the area park politely and are respectful when walking and driving through the area’s residential streets.
In the formative years of Ladies Night Out, the shopping district was advised by the Magnolia Park Association. “They were so helpful, showing us merchants new ways of getting the word out and teaching us to be even more creative. We then lost this wonderful support group,” says Mrs. Cade, describing how the current group of merchants on Magnolia Blvd. came to be. “Since that time, we have banded together through bi-monthly meetings, emails and flyers. We have had many highs and lows, but each month we try something different until that magical formula is discovered.”
And the Magnolia Park merchants have, via their own sense of community and use of social media, indeed discovered a magical formula of sorts. In providing a gathering place, great food and varied entertainment, they have helped turn the Magnolia Park shopping district into a vibrant local scene.
“What is wonderful is looking out our store front windows each month and seeing just how many jobs have been created by this small idea that grew, how creative people are individually and the strength of a unit,” concludes Mrs. Cade. “Our reputation of eclectic and innovated businesses on our Boulevard is growing and we foresee wonderful growth for Magnolia Park District.”
Ladies Night Out is held on the last Friday of every month, from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Check out the complete list of food trucks and their locations, artists, musicians and specials from participating stores at www.ladiesnightoutburbank.com