Tag Archives: Community Spotlight

Community Spotlight: House of Secrets

Photo By: Kelsie Hernandez

House of Secrets is a staple in the comic book community here in Burbank. With over 26 years in business, House of Secrets continues to provide the latest books, and special events free for the community to enjoy. However, House of Secrets wasn’t always located in Burbank.

According to the shop owners Erik Warfield and Paul Grimshaw, House of Secrets relocated from La Cañada Flintridge to Burbank in 1996 for its “greener pastures and access to studio clientele.” Since the move, the owners have maintained the status of separating themselves from stiff competition in Los Angeles by offering a “larger variety than most stores.”

Their formula seems to be working. House of Secrets has many longtime customers, including co-creator and producer DJ Wooldridge. On the subject of those behind the counter at House of Secrets, Wooldridge said, “Paul, Erik, and Amy aren’t just the people that work at my favorite shop, they are my friends. They are the first people that made me feel welcome in my new home city, on a whole new coast. Finding the right shop is about finding a place that fosters a community that you want to be a part of and is welcoming. That last part is pretty important, especially for people that are just getting into comics for the first time. The comics community can be pretty insular, good shops make every new visitor feel like part of the family. Paul and the folks at House of Secrets do that in spades.”

Having spent a couple of decades here in Burbank, Paul’s enjoys Burbank’s “small town feel” and being able to shop locally. Erik feels the same way, adding that he enjoys eating at Don Cuco’s on Orange Grove Ave. Before either of them began living their dream of owning a comic book shop, Paul worked at Wire and Cable operations and sales. Erik worked in the Insurance industry and waited tables. Now the two enjoy the freedom of doing what they love.

In dealing with comic books, it is not unusual for a shop to buy and resell vintage books. The most expensive comic book ever sold at the shop was Amazing Fantasy 15, which sold for $4,500 dollars. Still, owning a shop doesn’t come without its pitfalls. According to Paul and Erik, “owning a store in Burbank is harder every year [with] insurance, fee’s, and permits increasing annually.”

To help business, House of Secrets regularly hosts events, often supporting independent comic books or small companies. Today, there is a signing for Chaos Theory, with creators DJ Wooldridge and Tom Neely in attendance. Wooldridge, who also co-hosts the podcast “Only Stupid Answers” with Sam Bashor, had a lot to share about House of Secrets, and their importance to the Burbank community.

“House of Secrets is literally the first place I stopped when I got to Burbank for the first time,” said Wooldridge, “I had driven out from Florida, spending a couple weeks on the road, and hadn’t been able to grab any comics in all that time. So the second we settled I hit up the nearest comic shop, which just happened to be House of Secrets. Amy Dallen was working the register and the place had such rad atmosphere that it quickly became my home shop for the years I lived in Burbank. I unfortunately no longer call Burbank home, but House of Secrets is still my ‘home’ shop and drive over as often as I can to pick up my books.”

The signing taking place at House of Secrets begins at 5 PM, Wednesday, November 14th. You can find House of Secrets at 1930 W Olive St.

 

To read more about Only Stupid Answers and Chaos Theory, you can find a short synopsis of each below: 

Only Stupid Answers – “You want a way to celebrate the things you love? Whether it be movies, tv shows, comics, or other podcasts, Only Stupid Answers is a podcast you need. You can join us weekly for our reviews, our recommendations, or our silly opinions on which is better: Marvel or DC? We drop new episodes every Monday morning on every platform you can think of.”

Chaos Theory – “Chaos Theory: Zombies VS. Dinosaurs are the comic you never knew you always wanted. I like to describe it this way – You know at the end of the Dawn of the Dead remake where the remaining survivors sail to a tropical island to escape the zombies? Well, what if that island was the one from Jurassic Park? From there, its a crazy action-adventure ride with a little bit of heart for good measure, as a handful of survivors struggles against the onslaught of the undead and the extinct. Hopefully it’s as fun to read as it was to write.”

Community Spotlight – Universal Service Station

We here at myBurbank News feel it’s always a treat to get to know the small business owners that call Burbank home. This week, we talked to Jesse Clark of Universal Service Station, located at 2005 N Glenoaks Blvd. Universal Service Station acts as a gas station, convenience store, car wash, concierge services, and an auto-repair shop.

Without further ado, let’s get to know Jesse!

How long have you been operating in Burbank?

The mechanic and gas station have been open since 2011. We took ownership in early 2011 and shut it down for remodeling and getting it up to code. We reopened in late 2011. 

What drew you and your business to Burbank? 

I kinda fell into it and took a liking to it. I was on the westside for so long, ended up in Burbank in a roundabout way and made it my home. Burbank is such a different world. That’s what attracts me

 to the city. And safety. I’m raising a little girl and I’d rather her be here than in Venice. 

We’ve made the city sort of our own community here. A lot of the people I know I’ve gotten to know over the years. It’s cool to walk around Burbank and hear, “Hey! It’s Gas Station Guy!”

Speaking of the people, what’s your favorite thing about the city and/or its people?

The city is warm. I mean, to put it like that, there’s warm and cold to me. In Venice and in the westside, it was just so populated and so busy. This is a little slower paced and warmer people. You get the time to know them instead of a rush-rush. Since I’m here all the time, I’ve gotten the luxury of meeting a lot of cool people from here. And there are a lot of cool people in Burbank. 

How difficult would say owning a small business in Burbank is? 

It’s my first business venture. Everyday is a challenge. It’s always evolving, and if I don’t figure out ways to evolve, then we fall behind, and I don’t want to do that. We have added, and will continue to add different services, which is also fun. It’s a learning process, a growing process, and a catering process because I like to cater to my clients. 

What did you do before this? 

I managed a Jaguar, BMW, Landrover Auto-Repair Shop for many years. I was a service-advisor, manager, car washer, parts order – just everything. Every hat, I wore it. I still do that because it’s just in my nature. 

Does you past experience make this position a little more appealing? You’re essentially doing the same things, but now its your own.

Well it is my own. And it’s not just my own. It’s our family business. My wife, my sister-in-law, my step-son, my nephews, everyone is a help and a contributer to our family business. The auto-repair is second nature to me. Knowing the ins and outs of that made for a relatively easy transition. Never had dealt with gas before as a gas station – that’s…interesting. Gas is an interesting business.

Managing the convenience store is always strange to me. It’s quite a menagerie, and I like that. I like being able to offer whatever I can of good quality. I don’t want to stretch myself too thin and do anything low-quality. I haven’t done that and I don’t see that happening. I love it when people are like, “Best experience at an auto-repair shop ever” or “Best car wash ever” or “Did you just paint that car?” I have to tell them, “No, it’s a ten-year-old car, I just gave it some love!”

I saw you were started a Breast Cancer Awareness promotion. Could you elaborate on that? 

Yeah, it was an idea for a pink car wash. I want to donate to cancer research. I just saw that Julia Louis-Dreyfus posted today that she has breast cancer, and that should gain some some more eyes and donations out of people’s kindness in their hearts. But for me, I want to do something as well. I’m doing pink snow-foam car washes, which not only look cool, but it cleans well. All for a good cause. We’re going to tally up the amount of washes we do and donate it at the end of the month. 

 

You can find Jesse and his crew at Universal Service station, located at 2005 N Glenoaks Blvd Burbank, CA 91504. To read more about his business and his clients, you can visit his Yelp page here.

If you have any recommendations on who myBurbank News should feature for the next Community Spotlight, comment down below or tweet using the hashtag #CSmyBurbank!

Thanks for reading!