When the owners of family-owned businesses decide to move on to new challenges, their businesses, sometimes decades in the making, often fade quickly into the sunset.

But David and Patricia Lyon, who have operated Pawz The Wild $ Store and Westchester Watch Works on Manchester Avenue in Westchester for 15 years, weren’t about to let that happen.

Sure, they’re looking to downshift and enjoy the fruits of a lifetime of labor, but they weren’t about to let Pawz fade into the sunset.

‘We have had the honor and privilege of serving the Westchester community,’ said Patricia, who also serves as the community’s honorary mayor.

‘We love this community, and we love our patrons. We know most of them by name, and we didn’t want to turn the store over to just anyone.’

Fortunately, there was another Westchester family waiting in the wings.

Gary and Antje Frei, who operate Togos Westchester and previously operated Robeks Juice, purchased Pawz, effective May 1st.

Antje said she hopes to continue the same family tradition at the store, getting to know her customers on a first-name basis and providing them with high quality items at low prices.

‘I’m sure we’ll do some things differently, and the merchandise might be different, but Pat and I share the same philosophy about keeping our customers happy and really listening to their needs,’ Frei said.

‘We’ve met so many great people in Westchester through Robeks and Togos, and I know we’ll meet even more through Pawz.’

The store sells a wide array of gift items, decorations and overstocks from national chain stores, and was also the headquarters of Westchester Watch Works, a watch sales and repair business David Lyon operated from inside Pawz.

That business has continued to grow, and the Lyons are relocating it to a new spot in the Westchester Triangle at 6207 W. 87th St. At the new location, the business will offer a selection of quality timepieces, watch repairs, engraving, personalized gifts, keys and locks.

For Patricia Lyon, who has been a resident of the West-chester area for over 40 years and is also a graduate of Orville Wright Middle School and Westchester High School, she’s glad her family business is remaining a family business.

‘Antje is going to do a great job, and we wish her all the best,’ she said. ‘It’s great to see small, family businesses still have a place in our community. I guess that’s why we love Westchester ñ it still has that small-town feel.’

MASONS’ EVENTS

Southern California Lodge No. 529, Free and Accepted Masons of California, has two events coming up.

The first is a Thursday, May 31st, Open House, where the public has a chance to find out who Masons are and what they do. Masons will share and discuss their organization, its history, traditions and principles, all in an atmosphere of fraternal camaraderie. All Masons, families, friends, neighbors and other interested persons are welcome to attend.

The event will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Westchester Masonic Center at 7726 Manchester Ave. in Playa del Rey. Light refreshments will be served.

The second event is a Rusty Trowel Ceremony. This is designed for all Master Masons who are new to this area and for those who have not attended a Blue Lodge for some time. It is open to all Master Masons in good standing, including sojourners (traveling or without a current Lodge affiliation), who feel their work to gain admission is rusty or who would like to meet with local Masons.

The ceremony begins at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 7th, also at the Westchester Masonic Center. There is a dinner available at 6:30 p.m. for $15, by reservation only.

For reservations, or to leave a message requesting additional information, (310) 354-4064.

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