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Friday, Jan 27, 2023
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DIY Trend Blossoms at Westlake Village ‘Bar’

Luna Garden Events, an event-planning company, will open its first retail outlet this summer in Westlake Village following the “do-it-yourself” trend now popular in retail. The company will set up shop in a 2,000-square-foot storefront at Westlake Plaza with a business model similar, for example, to Color Me Mine, a Glendale company where customers pay to paint their own ceramics. Luna Gardens hopes to attract customers equally excited to pay to make their own floral arrangements. “I began looking for retail locations at the end of 2013, and as I did research I noticed there were (floral arrangement) classes offered by florists but nothing direct to consumers,” said co-owner Sarah Zahran. “It wasn’t the initial concept for the retail store, but we thought it would be a really good idea that a lot of people would get excited about.” Zahran and founder Ricardo Luna will erect a 24-foot bar at the center of the store – but instead of serving drinks it will feature more than a dozen different flowers. The bar can accommodate 12 to 24 customers, allowing them to build their own floral arrangements and socialize. At the bar, customers can follow templates of nine sample bouquets to help guide them in their arrangements, filling vases with flowers that include pink orchids, green hydrangeas, fiesta roses, green dianthuses and flowering cabbage. Prices range from $65 to $155 depending on the vase and size of the bouquet. For those who prefer a more traditional approach, the shop will have prearranged bouquets available for sale as well. Luna Garden Events is based in Hollywood and has a warehouse in downtown Los Angeles. The Westlake Village location is its first retail outlet. Founded in 1990, it has established a reputation as an event planner for weddings, large parties and galas associated with major event such as the Grammy’s, Golden Globe Awards and Sundance Film Festival. The Westlake Village location will feature a second story 400-square-foot space for local event-planning consultations. Construction has begun and should be completed by June. Zahran estimates the company will spend $200,000 on the store. Patrick Conway, regional manager of Regency Centers, the Los Angeles developer that owns the 2725 Agoura Road shopping center, said Luna Gardens is a good match for the center, which received a $27 million facelift last month and introduced nearly a dozen new tenants. “A great floral boutique is very hard to find,” Conway said. “The fact that Sarah Z is local and Luna Gardens has such a long history of catering to prestigious events made the addition of Luna Gardens to Westlake Plaza a must.” Pedal to Metal Pedego Electric Bikes has ridden into Westlake Village at a time when electric bicycles are steadily growing in popularity. Linda Coburn and John Tajiri, a husband and wife team, opened Pedego 101 at 2859 Agoura Road as independent dealers of the Irvine company, which has 800 stores in 40 countries. Since the shop opened in November, revenue has increased each month. But Coburn noted that the shop’s revenue tends to be driven by bike sales rather than bike rentals, as in some other areas. “Our store doesn’t rely on rentals as a revenue stream because there are just not that many tourists in the area. We are working to sell more bikes, which is a longer term project,” she said. Coburn and Tajiri were eager to open the shop after spending a few days on vacation in Seattle early last year. As they vacationed, they traveled solely on two rental Pedegos. Riders pedal the bikes with an assist from the electric motor. “We were looking at different electric bikes and I couldn’t find anything that I could fit on (because) I’m 5 feet 1,” Coburn said. “Then in Seattle we rented these two fat-tire Pedego bikes and I thought, ‘there is no way I can fit on this,’ but I could because the bar was low.” Coburn said the couple opted to set up shop in Westlake Village because of the “affluence and the age of population which tends to skew a little on the older side.” Startup costs were about $75,000. The battery-powered bikes can operate for 20 to 30 miles before recharging and go nearly 30 miles per hour. The bikes come in a variety of styles and colors and with 24- to 28-inch wheels, in order to appeal to customers of various sizes. Prices range from $2,200 to $3,600 to purchase, and $50 for daily rentals. Other Valley electric bike companies include Currie Technologies in Simi Valley and ElectroBike in Encino. Staff Reporter Champaign Williams can be reached at (818) 316-3121 or cwilliams@sfvbj.com.

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