By Mary O’KEEFE
Businesses along Foothill Boulevard offer a variety of choices. A consumer can grab a quick bite at a fast food restaurant then work it off at a gym. They can drop their computer off at a repair shop and get their nails done next door.
One can find new businesses sprouting up as well as ones long established … and some that are leaving.
Jean Maluccio and Steve Pierce are longtime members of the Crescenta Valley Chamber of Commerce. Pierce is presently serving as president. Each year the organization produces the CV Chamber of Commerce Directory that lists local businesses. Maluccio has been proofing this year’s directory and said she found one notable change.
“The [increasing number of businesses] are work out studios and learning centers,” she said. “We have some retail and a lot of [automobile] repair shops.”
Although there are some in the chamber who would like the businesses along Foothill Boulevard to be more conducive to consumers walking from place to place, that does not seem likely. The directory was designed to encourage consumers to “stroll” down the boulevard to find a specific store, or just to window shop.
Maluccio added that although there are some chain businesses in the area, many of the franchises are still owned by longtime residents of Crescenta Valley.
There are also a lot of mom and pop stores. One of the more popular new business is TC’s Scooterz. The store has filled a niche for a group of kids, and adults, who love to scooter. The store specializes in pro scooter and skateboard equipment.
Owner Calvin Chock supports the community, mentoring local kids when they worked with the Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation to create a new scooter/skatepark that will be built at CV Park. He also hires local high school students to help out at his store.
“It is the local businesses that help support our schools,” Maluccio said.
The local mom and pop stores, even those mom and pops who own franchises, help schools with fundraisers, like Straw Hat Pizza, a franchise that is owned by a local family. Then there’s family-owned Bob Smith Toyota that donates to schools directly. The school benefits and, in turn, so does the community.
David Khudaverdyan graduated from CV High School in 2007. He was a member of the school’s robotics team, which benefits from local business support. He began to work for Glendale Unified School District in the Information Technology (IT) department. There he met Clark Magnet High School graduate Zaven Ohan.
Khudaverdyan said he learned a lot from working at the district.
“I like working at the district,” he said. “I knew computers when I started there but I learned how to network. It was a good experience and [I saw] how a structured business works.”
Being an IT specialist is kind of like being a doctor or a lawyer; everyone comes to you for advice. There was always a computer or Internet issue that had to be dealt with. Khudaverdyan and Ohan decided their skills were of value and opened their own business, Excited Bit, at 3514 Foothill Blvd.
Excited Bit is an IT consulting company that does computer repair, office networking installations, IT phone systems and website support.
Starting a business has not been easy but it is exciting.
“Personally, I like [the challenge]; it can be rewarding,” he said. “When there is a complex computer problem you haven’t encountered before, it can take hours to solve.”
As new stores open, others are leaving Foothill Boulevard. Pyramid Sleep Shop is moving from the location it has held for about 35 years at 3131 Foothill Blvd. Owner Denise Lenardson purchased the store six years ago from longtime owner Armando Cardenas, her friend, former employer and mentor.
Lenardson used to be in sales and the waterbed store was part of her normal route. Each time she came to the store, Cardenas would talk about retiring and selling the business.
“He talked about retiring and selling a good 10 years before I bought the [store],” Lenardson said.
She began working for Cardenas and learned the business under his tutelage. At the time the waterbed business was busy.
Lenardson bought the business six years ago just as the recession hit. There have been some struggling times, but the one thing she could depend on was the loyalty of her costumers. She began expanding the business to add more furniture and a variety of mattresses. However, her foundation has and remains the waterbed clientele.
She has decided to downsize; her children have grown and have started a business of their own. She wants to maintain the waterbed portion of the business, but not the additional furniture.
So she has made the decision to move into a smaller location.
“It truly has been an honor to be here. [I like] meeting all the customers. These waterbed people are [loyal],” she said. “I have enjoyed the stories they tell me, the friends I have made.”
Due to the smaller location she is moving to, Lenardson must sell everything in her store. The final day is April 12; moving day is April 15. There are mattresses and furniture marked down to move and, in addition, she has items from an estate sale available.
Her hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.
Lenardson wanted to make certain that her loyal customers know she is not closing her doors, just moving.
Her clients knew where they could get their waterbed equipment, and their questions answered, for 35 years.
“I have customers who are children of our original customers,” she said.
For information on Pyramid Sleep Shop, call (818) 957-0261.
For information on Excited Bit, call (818) 280-9248 or visit www.excitedbit.com.
For information on TC’s Scooterz, call (818) 330-7303 or visit www.tcscooterz.com.