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Saturday, Jun 10, 2023


A Different Balance Sheet Veronica Villaclara, an accountant by trade, always had a love of lingerie, and now it’s become the underpinning of a new career. After being laid off, the Northridge resident was thinking about her next job when she came across a magazine article about people who made millions on seemingly insignificant inventions. That night, Villaclara woke with the idea of developing the Brassiere Strap Hider, a contraption that allows women to keep their bra straps hidden when they wear sleeveless tops. After researching the field, she created a piece of cloth that fastens with hooks and eyes, built up an inventory, and made her first appearance at an intimate-apparel trade show in New York. After one year and a $35,000 investment, Valmimio Enterprises Inc. is in full swing, and Villaclara’s Brassiere Strap Hider is in 140 stores. Though she has recouped her initial investment, sales have been slow over the winter months, and Villaclara had to take a temp job to tide her over. But with spring fashions now in stores, she says business has picked up. She’s even working on some line extensions. “I’m hoping not to go back to accounting,” she said. Cookie Monsters The Studio City Residents Association is thrilled to have a new supermarket in the neighborhood after waging a long fight to get Ralphs to divest its Laurel Canyon Boulevard location. The residents have wanted a Vons market at the site since regulators ordered Ralphs to sell some of its properties, including that location, to avoid a monopoly in certain areas of the city. But the opening of Vons brings another benefit that’s particularly important to resident Gloria Woods. Woods is in charge of refreshments for the monthly Studio City Residents Association meetings. During the battle against Ralphs, it was she who had to cajole the $25 worth of donated refreshments from store staffers who weren’t feeling too kindly toward the group. “I’d go in and (the assistant manager) would roll his eyes and say, ‘You’re here again. I can’t believe you’d come in here after you made us move,’ ” she recalled. Woods says after a while it became a running joke between her and the assistant manager. When the store finally did close, she gave her card to him and asked that he let her know the location of his next store. “I said, ‘I’m really going to miss you. Let me know where you are and I’ll come and hassle you there,’ ” she said. She’s still waiting for his call. A Sporting Fellow Many residents and businesses in the San Fernando Valley know Walter Prince for his community activism. Among his many civic credits, Prince heads a group called Porter Ranch is Developed Enough (P.R.I.D.E.), and he also works closely with several Northridge associations. But Prince now has another claim to fame. He recently received the Award of Distinction from the Water Ski Hall of Fame for his contributions to water skiing. Prince, it turns out, authored, “Water Skiing for All,” one of the earliest books on water skiing, published in 1956. He has also contributed a piece on water skiing to the American edition of the Oxford Junior Encyclopedia. While living in the San Fernando Valley keeps him somewhat landlocked, Prince has remained an active member of the American Water Ski Educational Foundation. Tale of Two Dans When you call Mayor Richard Riordan’s Office of Economic Development and ask to speak with Dan Margolis, you’re likely to be asked which one. That’s right, there are two guys named Dan Margolis on Riordan’s economic development staff. And to make matters more confusing, their offices are literally across the hall from one another and they share a fax machine. They’ve even been asked to attend the same meetings with business owners whom the office is trying to attract or retain in the city. “We get each other’s faxes all the time,” said Daniel Reuben Margolis, who has worked as an economic and financial analyst in the office since November 1997. He uses his middle initial to distinguish himself from the other Dan, a communications deputy who joined the office two months later and goes by Dan I. Margolis or just Dan Margolis. Analyst Dan R. Margolis said there is one advantage to the similar names: “If something ever goes wrong, saying the other Dan Margolis did it is a convenient excuse.”

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