Biz Buzz: a monthly dispatch of interesting business news
The Guilded Cage Is Closing
Westchester Mental Health Guild’s nonprofit gift shop is beset by rising costs and competition online
By Christina Campodonico
A neighborhood fixture is about to bid adieu. The Guilded Cage, a nonprofit gift shop started by the Westchester Mental Health Guild in 1975 to raise funds for the Airport Marina Counseling Service, will close its doors after 41 years in Westchester.
A final closure date has not been set, but the shop will definitely close by Sept. 30, when the boutique’s lease expires, Guilded Cage Advisory Committee Member Linda Peterson said. She hopes the shop will stay open until Labor Day, but that depends on sales and how long it takes to unload the Guilded Cage’s existing inventory.
“We’ll take it by month by month,” Peterson said.
The Guilded Cage Advisory Committee convened a meeting in April and decided that keeping the shop open was no longer feasible, as rental and overhead costs overwhelmed the shop’s ability to raise funds for its primary cause: the Airport Marina Counseling Service, which provides funding for affordable psychotherapy services and training for mental health professionals.
“We’ve found that our revenues have declined substantially over the years. [We were] working to pay the landlord and not really raising funds for Airport Marina Counseling Service,” Peterson said. “It’s very sad for all the volunteers. None of us wanted to see this happen, but we have a fiduciary obligation to make sure we’re raising money for the Airport Marina Counseling Service.”
Peterson also attributes the closure to a combination of other factors.
An aging volunteer workforce decreased volunteer staff from 50 to 30 over the years, making it difficult to keep the store staffed at regular business hours and fully operating behind-the-scenes with tasks such as buying products and doing inventory.
Declining consumer interest in buying gifts from brick-and-mortar stores as opposed to shopping online and a drop in local foot traffic after a neighboring bank moved out hit the business hard.
“When the bank left that was tipping point,” Peterson said.
While the shop will continue operating for as long as it can, Peterson says the Westchester Mental Health Guild will aim to continue raising funds for the Airport Marina Counseling Service, just in other ways — restaurant fundraisers, fashion shows and the guild’s annual holiday home tour.
For volunteers like Angela Mosinskis though, The Guilded Cage’s closure marks the end of the era. A volunteer jewelry buyer for the store, she’s helped a lot of customers pick out just the right gift for a special someone or occasion.
“It’s a dying art,” she said.
The Guilded Cage is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays through Mondays at 8917-B S. Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester.
A 20%-off sale began June 1.
La Magazyn, a lifestyle boutique specializing in products by Brazilian brands and artisans, opened in May at 904 Pacific Ave., Venice. lemagazyn.com
1212, an expansive restaurant and bar occupying 10,000 square feet, opened on May 27 at 1212 W. Third St., Santa Monica. 1212santamonica.com
Men’s hair salon chain Sport Clips recently opened a Westside location at 4290 Lincoln Blvd., Marina del Rey. (310) 574-2627; SportClips.com/CA645
Seafood and specialty brews restaurant Lobster & Beer opened May 26 at 3456 Motor Ave., Palms. (424) 298-8106; ilovelobsterandbeer.com
Venice Bistro recently shuttered after operating 25 years at 323 Ocean Front Walk.
Online record membership service VNYL closed its brick-and-mortar shop at 1136 Abbot Kinney Blvd. in May. Suitsupply, a European menswear label, replaces it with the brand’s first pop-up shop on the Westside through March 2017. (424) 206-6180
MILESTONES & AWARDS
State Assemblywoman Autumn Burke named the Three Weavers Brewing Company in Inglewood the 62nd Assembly District’s Small Business of the Year, and state Sen. Ben Allen named the Brentwood dental practice of Dr. Jay Grossman and Associates the 26th Senate District’s Small Business of the Year.
Safe Place for Youth (S.P.Y.) honors Dori and Avi Rechental and Venice-based tech firm Snapchat during the June 16 grand opening celebration for its 2469 Lincoln Blvd. location in Venice. Participating local restaurants include Gjelina, Superba and The Tasting Kitchen. safeplaceforyouth.com
Sat., June 4: The LAX Coastal Chamber of Commerce hosts a presentation by Jory Rosen of the J. Rosen Group to help business owners perform a midyear evaluation of their 2016 goals. The presentation is from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the chamber office, 9100 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Ste. 208, Westchester. Free. (424) 290-8745; laxcoastal.com
Thurs., June 9: The Venice Chamber of Commerce’s Venice Beach Young Professionals host a mixer from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Wurstkuche, 625 Lincoln Blvd., Venice. Free entry, pay for food and drink. (310) 822-5425; venicechamber.net
Fri., June 10: The LAX Coastal Chamber honors outgoing board chair Kristen Lonner of Burns & Bouchard and chair-elect Charles Bassett of L&R Group, plus 2015-16 Honorary Mayor Keith Greville of Arup, during its annual installation gala. The event is from 6 to 9:30 p.m. at the Marina del Rey Marriott Hotel, 4100 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey. $155. (310) 645-5151; laxcoastal.com
Wed., June 15: The LAX Coastal Chamber’s Marina Affairs committee discusses recent land- and water-side developments in the marina from 8 to 9 a.m. at Fantasea Yachts, 4215 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey. $5, or free for members. (310) 645-1515; laxcoastal.com
Wed., June 15: The Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce hosts its 2016 Installation Dinner at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows, 101 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica. $150+. (310) 393-9825, ext. 114; firstname.lastname@example.org