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Couple Caters to Autistic Kids at Northridge Gym

We Rock the Spectrum, an indoor gym for children on the autism spectrum, will hold a grand opening at its Northridge location on Oct. 27 to celebrate new franchise owners Howard and Rebecca Luck, who themselves have overcome significant learning disabilities. We Rock the Spectrum owner Dina Kimmel said the married couple began working at gym locations in the Valley as volunteers before being hired as employees. When the Northridge franchise became available this year, the Lucks and their families purchased the gym. The couple now manages the day-to-day operations at the center. “They were so motivated and had such a drive a to do this,” Kimmel said. Kimmel founded the company in Tarzana in 2010 after her son Gabriel was diagnosed with autism. She wanted to provide a safe place for children with sensory processing disorders to play together. “We had built a mini-gym for Gabriel, and I just felt we needed to pay for it forward,” she told the Business Journal. The gym concept quickly developed a following, and We Rock the Spectrum has since opened 72 locations in five countries, including Australia and Dubai. The Lucks first met when they were 12 years old and have been together for 25 years. Both have an auditory processing disorder, which makes it difficult to distinguish between similar sounds and understand speech in noisy environments. Howard, who also grew up with attention-deficit disorder and has dyslexia, was told by his high school counselor that after graduation the only job he’d be able to land would be bagging groceries. Kimmel says that as business owners, the two serve as role models for children with similar disabilities. “It gives them hope that one day they can own a business, too,” she said. The grand opening — which will feature food, raffle prizes and a ribbon-cutting ceremony — will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 19520 Nordhoff St. Lids Glendale Opening Hat and athletic gear retailer Lids Sports Group opened its second store at the Glendale Galleria on Sept. 21. The location features an store design which aims to showcase its products and highlight its custom embroidery machine at a “Custom Zone” area. The company is currently in the process of revamping many of its 1,100 retail locations across North America. “We’re excited to grow our footprint in California and bring a new destination for headwear to the area’s passionate fans,” Jeff Pearson, senior vice president of e-commerce and marketing, said in a statement. Lids decided to open a second location at the Glendale Galleria because the high-traffic mall is large enough to handle two stores, the company said. The grand opening for the new store featured live music, giveaways and special deals. The first 25 shoppers received Lids gift cards. Lids Sports Group operates out of Zionsville, Ind. and is a subsidiary of Nashville-based Genesco Inc. Henri Bendel Closure Women’s luxury accessory retailer Henri Bendel is set to close all 23 of its stores, including its location at the Westfield Topanga mall in Woodland Hills. Columbus, Ohio-based L Brands Inc., which owns the New York fashion company, announced on Sept. 13 that the stores would remain open through January. L Brands estimates Henri Bendel’s operating losses at $45 million. The company also owns women’s apparel and accessory brands including Victoria’s Secret, PINK and Bath & Body Works. “We are committed to improving performance in the business and increasing shareholder value. As part of that effort, we have decided to stop operating Bendel to improve company profitability and focus on our larger brands that have greater growth potential,” Chief Executive Leslie Wexner said in a statement. “This decision is right for the future growth of our company, but not easy because of the impact to our L Brands family. I want to thank our Bendel associates for their dedication to this iconic brand and to our loyal Bendel customers.” The store closings add Henri Bendel to a growing list of brick-and-mortar retail chains that have gone out of business this year as consumer shopping habits shift online. They include Toys R Us, Orchard Supply Hardware, Bon Ton and Starbucks-owned Teavana. Henri Bendel employees that stay on through January will be offered retention bonuses. They will also be invited to interview for other positions at the company or offered separation pay and job search services. Staff Reporter Ethan Varian can be reached at (818) 316-3130 or evarian@sfvbj.com.

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