Friday, January 18, 2013

It's our BIRTHDAY! Come and celebrate both us and our community!

Love is all around at 144 N. Larchmont.
And love is literally in the air at 140 N. Larchmont.
We can't emphasize that enough.

Can you believe it... our Larchmont shop at 140 opened 4 years ago today?  We're sure you all already know this (your calendars are marked, right? No?  Well, that's okay!), but in case you didn't, we are having a small celebration in honor of our big day with treats, balloons, and raffles going on.  Four fun, enriching, and happy years.  That's gotta be something like 28 years in small business years. During those four years, we've acquired a sibling in the form of our Manhattan Beach shop, which is coincidentally having a tremendous sale this weekend, as well as the arrival of our somewhat conjoined twin shop at 144 N. Larchmont this past October.  We've lost count of the times we've heard a child squeal with glee, "Look!  It's a TOOOOOY store!", or the ever popular comment of adults, "Hey!  I remember this!  I didn't even know they made this anymore... this is awesome!".  There have been approximately 1.5 million smiles seen, a few teary meltdowns over having to wait 'til a birthday for that certain Lego set that is soooo cool, and enough gift bags wrapped to stretch from here to Antarctica and back again.  None have come back with real penguins, just to dispel that rumor going around.  But most importantly, in those four years since we opened our doors, we've become a part of the Larchmont community and truly feel like when we see our regular customers coming in that we are greeting old friends.  We love it when people come in just to say Hi and tell us about what achievements their kids have earned since we last saw them.  We also appreciate the feedback that you have given us, and we've done our best to put it to good use.  Our new teen/tween/adult section across the register at 140 N. Larchmont was entirely your suggestion, and it's been a huge hit with us and our customers (we are so excited about some of the news goodies coming in for that section this spring).  And opening up our location at 144 N. Larchmont could never have happened had you not celebrated each and everyday with us that we are open.

The Alexandria House
 We are also indebted to the many friends we've made at our local news publications, the Larchmont Chronicle, and the Larchmont Buzz, for continuing to be a vibrant herald for us and the community.  We are also overwhelmed at the support we've received from the local schools and charities who we work with... our holiday season was made even more joyous by requests from them asking us for our presence and help at their holiday fundraisers.  One in particular that we feel deserves to share our special day with us is the Alexandria House, a transitional shelter (which is more like a home), for women and children located at 426 S. Alexandria Ave., Los Angeles, CA, just a hop, skip, and jump away from Larchmont.  We chose to celebrate the grand opening of our shop at 144 N. Larchmont by holding a fundraiser for the Alexandria House, thanks to one of our regular customers being so moved by the people there that she came into our shop with tears still in her eyes and told us all about it.  It is an incredible organization, and unique in that it allows women and children to live in a safe, home-like environment for 10 months to 2 years, as opposed to the usual 1 month that other shelters offer.  We were both shocked and appalled to find out that many women's shelters won't allow women with sons over the age of 12 to live with them, and the boys are forced to live at a men's shelter instead.  With only a month to try and rebuild their lives, and the possibility of their family being divided, the reality is that many of these women simply cannot escape from a terrible existence.  This is why keeping the Alexandria House open and thriving is so vital.  We had the honor of visiting their house this week, and the beauty and warmth of the house was easily matched by the residents and workers there.  This is one of the few places where women and their families can go who need help and get it.  They have a care center in the back for children who aren't in school yet to go to so that their mothers can work, and they provide support to the women to get them to a place where they can thrive on their own.  But because they do offer all of this, they do not receive much in the way of government funds.  They rely upon volunteers and donations to keep their doors open, and highly encourage anyone who is interested in learning more to visit them.  They even invited people in to come to dinner with the residents, and by the aroma coming from their kitchen (we came just before dinner), I would say you should take them up on that offer!  Please consider contacting them to see what YOU can do to assist them in their mission.  They even mentioned hoping that maybe some locals might volunteer the use of their pools during the summer so that the kids can swim for a few hours and enjoy the summer.  They are open to anything that will enrich their residents' lives.  We're coming up with some ideas at the shop for what we can do to help them, but we hope that you will come up with some of your own as well :) 

In the meantime, we thank you all for supporting small businesses and organizations, and with that support, we fully expect to continue to celebrate our doors being open to you!

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