Biz Buzz: a monthly dispatch of interesting business news
Back to the Future of Healthy Eating: Erewhon, a pioneer of the natural foods movement in the 1960s, expands its organic and non-GMO mission to Venice
By Christina Campodonico
Tony Antoci, 40, thought he was done working when he sold food distribution company Superior Anhausner Foods to Sysco Foods Los Angeles in 2009. But two years into his early retirement, Antoci decided it was time to get back into the business — this time with organic groceries.
In 2011 he acquired Erewhon, a natural foods grocery mini-chain that started in Boston in 1967 and expanded to Los Angeles the following year. You could say that Erewhon was the hippie-friendly predecessor to natural food grocers like Whole Foods Market, now a staple of the hipster set.
But Antoci was far from content to let the brand live in the past. Instead, he’s brought Erewhon back to the cutting edge of natural foods retail.
At the end of the month, Erewhon is opening a new location in Venice with the most contemporary of specialty features: a juice and tonic bar offering 100% raw juice, a wood-burning grill, delivery options by Instacart, and a nutrition department staffed by doctors who can answer questions about vitamins, supplements and foods.
When Antoci took over Erewhon, he found the operational side of the business in shambles but believed in the company’s motto: “If it’s here, it’s good for you.”
And he continues to live by it. Antoci hasn’t had a soda in more than 10 years, and his fridge is stocked with Erewhon’s organic and non-GMO food products.
“You feel so much better not eating Twinkies and Cokes,” he says.
But Antoci’s passion for healthy food didn’t start until later on in life. Like most kids he grew up eating junk food, but it wasn’t until he was older that he started to think about the ramifications of an unhealthy diet.
“Both my parents died when I was extremely young,” said Antoci, how was 15 when his father died and in his early 20s when he lost his mother. “By the end of the ‘90s, I figured I had to find a way to live past 50. Hoped that eating right was a way to do it.”
Eating right and running a business that offers healthy choices feels like a natural fit for Antoci now as he expands Erewhon beyond its well-established Beverly Boulevard and Calabasas locations to a newly renovated 11,000-square-foot location just a block away from Abbot Kinney Boulevard.
“We’re excited to serve the Venice community,” said Antoci, who hopes to open 10 more Erewhon locations throughout Southern California in the years ahead — including a store in Santa Monica as early as 2017.
Erewhon Venice opens on March 31 at 585 Venice Blvd. Visit erewhonmarket.org for more information.
LAX Chamber hosts the 2016 City of Angels Awards
The LAX Coastal Chamber of Commerce celebrated its annual City of Angels Awards Gala on Feb. 10 at the Los Angeles Airport Marriott.
The awards honor individuals and companies who have done something extraordinary to enhance the business climate of the Los Angeles region.
The 2016 City Of Angels Award recipients are Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, Google Inc., and “Happy Days” actor Anson Williams, the co-founder of StarMaker Products.
The ceremony also cheered chamber members celebrating business anniversaries this year, including:
• 105 Years: Chevron Products Co., Loyola Marymount University
• 100 Years: American Red Cross of Santa Monica, The Boeing Company
• 80 Years: Water & Power Community Credit Union
• 70 Years: James G. Wiley Co.
• 65 Years: Wright Middle School STEAM Magnet
• 60 Years: Mercury Air Group Inc.
• 55 Years: BDP International Inc., Jamaica Bay Inn
• 45 Years: Leman USA Inc., Marina City Club & Promenade Marina, Southwest Airlines Co. and The Argonaut
• 40 Years: Ballerini Cooley Studios, RPM (Referral Packing Moving) Service
• 35 Years: Jenkins/Gales & Martinez Inc., Los Angeles Arts Collective, Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles Hotel and Westside Neighborhood School
• 30 Years: Arup, Concourse Concessions Inc., EmpowerTech, LAXFUEL Corporation and Realtor Nanci Edwards
• 25 Years: Bluch Pacific Boating, Cafe del Rey, Renaissance Los Angeles Airport Hotel, Sievers/Burnett Pres, The Ritz-Carlton Marina del Rey and Voss, Silverman & Braybrooke LLP
• 20 Years: All Logistics Cargo Inc., Concourse Ventures Inc., Maleman Ink Public Relations, Race Communications, The Dibble Institute, Vergari & Napolitano, Westin Los Angeles Airport and World Exchange
• 15 Years: Community Outreach and Opportunity Programs, Don Miller Design, Animo Westside Charter Middle School, Marina del Rey Convention & Vistors Bureau and Seven For All Mankind
Guys Want to Look Good, Too
18|8 Fine Men’s Salons opens March 16 in Runway at Playa Vista
Poetic attempts at describing beauty often involve rainbows, flowers and sunsets.
A new hair and beauty salon for guys that opens this month in Playa Vista takes inspiration from stainless steel.
18|8 Fine Men’s Salons is named for the key ingredients of inventor Harry Brearly’s original 1913 formula for the rust-proof metal, which involved adding 18% chromium and 8% nickel to prevent oxidization.
The idea is to help men look their best and go out into the world with the strength of confidence, says Playa Vista franchise owner Lee Short, formerly VP of finance for a division of Time Warner Cable.
The upscale salon offers haircuts with a five-minute massage, manicures, pedicures and waxing in a head- ache- and drama-free environment.
“We try to admit each client to one station, a one-stop shop for the entire experience so they aren’t moved around from area to area,” says Short, who believes salon care is “an undiscovered need” for most men.
“It’s very important for professionals to have the right look,” says Short. “Try to look like you belong in the job you want to get, not the one you have.”
— Alyssa Bruell
18|8 Fine Men’s Salons opens March 16 at 12775 W. Millennium Drive, Ste. 155, in Runway at Playa Vista. Call (310) 596-8018 or visit eighteeneight.com/playa-vista-ca.