Mother taught us long ago to keep quiet if we had nothing good to say, so it's been quite a while since we've posted here. What was once a weekly blog of exciting experiences at our store and informative posts about how we all can support our towns has been silenced. Why? The very thing that we've been writing about for years has happened here - the Webster's shopping complex has been sold to an investment firm in Beverly Hills, Greenbridge Investments, and WFS is not a part of their plans for the future. Our last day will be on January 31, 2014.
What will they put here? It's anyone's guess, and we've heard everything from a bank with a Starbucks, to a holistic medical center. We'd love to stay but the rent and common area maintenance would be prohibitively expensive ($2.75 per square foot, plus approximately $1,000.00 NNN). Who's leaving? The Daz-e Thrift Shop, affiliated with the Philathropic Educational Organization (PEO) of whom both my grandmother and great-grandmother were members of, will be leaving. We'll be leaving, and the Altadena Arts Center has already left. We hear that the new owners have a buyer for the liquor store. and the pharmacy, no longer owned by the Webster family, will remain. Here is a rendering of the improvements these new owners will make:
With rental prices as high as they've set, we sincerely hope that they won't be sitting on empty storefronts for very long. We're afraid, though, that only corporate businesses will be able to afford that amount monthly, and unless Altadena changes its shopping habits drastically, whatever they put here will not get much traffic. Sure, some people will patronize Starbucks (or whatever coffee joint they end up putting here), but there are many people loyal to The Coffee Gallery, Foxes, Sidewalk Cafe HTS, and the Little Red Hen, just as always, and we don't see that changing much. We wish them luck in their endeavors, though.
Scott and I found out about this about a week before Thanksgiving, and apparently, our store was up for rent before we even knew about it. It's been difficult to process, particularly during the holiday season, but we've come to realize that this is all for the best. Who knows if this new development here at our 87-year old family complex of stores will be good for Altadena? What we do know is that starting fresh somewhere else is necessary, since we have never seemed to be able to escape the grip of nostalgic rancor because of the splitting up of the stores six years ago. We'd like to leave that as water under the bridge, since we were unable to stop what happened. Instead, we'd rather celebrate the six years we had here - the jobs we provided to the recovering community; the artists, writers, and budding entrepreneurs we were able to highlight; and most of all, the fact that we helped provide some continuity to the family name and business, and had a whole lot of fun along the way! We loved being part of Authors Tour USA, and are proud that Pasadena's Mayor Bill Bogaard actually came up to the store and spoke to the attendees of their launch party in March of 2013. We enjoyed bringing the art of local teacher Jay Carlton's greeting card line, Mr. Ferguson's, to the public before anyone else did, and seeing our monthly Eccentric Poetry Jams evolve into the spoken word and musical extravaganzas that they became.
We took a pass-through department (no windows, remember?) that didn't have its own identity, like the pharmacy or the Hallmark store did, and turned it into a vibrant, art-filled wonderland unlike other stores. We celebrate our community every single day here, and I'm sure that once we find a new home we'll be doing the same thing! Follow us on our Facebook page, on Pinterest, or LinkedIn so you can keep in touch with us. We won't say goodbye, instead, we'll just say see you later, until we meet again!
Scott and Lori Webster