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High Rents Prompt Relocation for Horror Store

Horror-themed novelty shop Dark Delicacies has raised more than $30,000 through an online crowdfunding campaign to relocate the business from Burbank’s Magnolia Park district to a nearby site on Hollywood Way. Owner Del Howison had planned to close the store at 3512 Magnolia Blvd. after his landlord began increasing the rent by $1,000 to $1,500 a month, he said. But once a retail space a few blocks away became available, customers urged him to create a GoFundMe campaign to facilitate the move. “I didn’t want to do it at first” he said. “But our customers and friends kept saying, ‘You’ve got to do this. We don’t want to see you leave the area.’” The effort got a boost when Oscar-winning director and Dark Delicacies patron Guillermo del Toro tweeted a link to the GoFundMe page last month. As of Jan. 29, it has received over 560 individual donations totaling $30,830. “That took it from step A to step D,” Howison said. “It really gave it a kick in the butt and put it over the top.” He plans to move in to the new location on Hollywood Way in the next few months. Magnolia Park, known for its vintage clothing and novelty shops, has become an increasingly popular destination for shoppers and tourists. But with the neighborhood’s raised profile has come higher rents for some local businesses. Magnolia Park runs along Magnolia Boulevard from Claybourn Avenue to Victory Boulevard. Last year, 1950s-style clothing store Pinup Girl Boutique, horror shop Creature Features and board game seller Geeky Teas and Games relocated after landlords raised rents by as much as 100 percent, according to Ashley Largey, owner of Darling Nikki’s Salon and an organizer with the Save Magnolia Park campaign, a grassroots group that aims to preserve small retailers in the area. The effort gained attention in June after it produced an online video about the rent hikes that viral on social media. Largey and other business owners have since petitioned the Burbank City Council with proposals to help local retailers such as establishing a local business association, designating the area as a historic district and rezoning the neighborhood so that only smaller retailers can move in. “If that’s possible, that means we can keep the small-town charm,” Largey told the Business Journal in August. Howison was featured in the Save Magnolia Park viral video but is skeptical that the movement will be able to curb rent increases. He’ll no longer be involved in the campaign now that Dark Delicacies is moving a few blocks from Magnolia Boulevard. Going forward, Howison wants to prove to his GoFundMe donors that the money is well-spent. “I think of it like a movie production, and I want all of the budget of the movie to be up on the screen,” he said. “When you walk in the store, you’ll see where your money is spent.” Gymboree Liquidation Great American Group LLC, a subsidiary of Woodland Hills-based B. Riley Financial Inc., has begun liquidation sales at all 798 Gymboree and Crazy 8 stores in the U.S. and Canada. Great American is leading the closing sales in coordination with financial services firms Tiger Capital Group, Hilco Merchant Resources and Gordon Bros. On Jan. 16, San Francisco-based Gymboree Group Inc. announced it had filed for bankruptcy protection. It plans to close all of its North American stores. During liquidation, the children’s clothing retailer is offering discounts of up to 50 percent. All the furniture, fixtures and equipment in the stores will also be sold. The company expects all sales to be completed by April 30. The company has eight Gymboree locations in the Valley area including Northridge, Sherman Oaks, Valencia, Glendale, Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks, Camarillo and Ventura. Limoneira in Asia Limoneira Co. will open a sales office in Ho Ch Minh City, Vietnam, the Santa Paula agribusiness company announced. The office will be headed by Francis Lee, who will join Limoneira as the Asia Pacific regional manager. “Limoneira has been exporting to the Asia Pacific region for more than 60 years,” said Chief Operating Officer Alex Teague in a statement. “The growth of both established markets and emerging markets is a key component of our One World of Citrus strategy. Francis’ knowledge of the entire region is extensive, and we are more than excited that he has joined the team.” Limoniera grows lemons, avocados, oranges, specialty citrus and other crops in California, Arizona and Chile.

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