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Thursday, Jun 1, 2023

Valley Country Mart Seeks Boutique Tenants

A new outdoor shopping center called the Valley Country Mart is set to open this fall in Woodland Hills. The developer on the project is Los Angeles-based retail brokerage firm Runyon Group. Over the past few years, the agency has opened two high-end shopping centers – Platform in Culver City and Row DTLA in downtown L.A. The Valley Country Mart will feature 20 boutique merchants and eateries. Tenants that have already signed on to lease space include Blue Bottle Coffee, Lodge Bread Co. and Maude Woods. “We saw there was a missing piece in the market where we could bring great independent merchants to serve customers in the West Valley,” said Runyon Group co-founder and principal David Fishbein. Fishbein plans to lease the remaining storefronts to a variety of fast-casual restaurants, retailers and fitness centers to get people to come and shop more often. “We’re making sure we’re catering to a large variety of demographics,” he said. The Country Mart will replace an older strip mall at 20929 Ventura Blvd. that was purchased two years ago by Atlas Capital Group. In addition to leasing, the Runyon Group is overseeing an extensive remodel of the 70,830-square-foot property, which began last spring. The new center’s 1950s-style design aims to stand in contrast to the large indoor malls that are now waning in popularity. Fishbein said it will host local events and outdoor programs to entice shoppers. “It’s very important to be a destination but also to serve the needs of the community,” he said. Flip Flop Divestiture Cherokee Inc. has sold its Flip Flop Shops retail chain to footwear manufacturer Bearpaw Holdings LLC for an undisclosed amount, the company announced June 5. The Sherman Oaks-based apparel brand licenser plans to use the sale proceeds to pay down its long-term debt. As of February, the company was carrying $49.5 million in liabilities, according to a fourth quarter earnings report. Cherokee originally acquired the brick-and-mortar Flip Flop Shops franchise in 2015. The store sells sandals and other casual footwear from brands including Quiksilver, Roxy and Reef. But retailing strayed from Cherokee’s core business model of licensing it brands—including Tony Hawk, Liz Lange and Everyday California—to clothing manufacturers and retailers. So the Flip Flop sale reflects a shift by Cherokee back to its historical strength. “We’re pleased with the transaction, which aligns with our strategy to focus on scaling our high-growth brands through global licensed partnerships,” said Cherokee Chief Executive Henry Stupp in a statement. “We’re confident that Bearpaw Holdings is positioned to realize the full potential of Flip Flop Shops.” Cherokee reported a net loss of $45.6 million last year, reflecting a $35.5 million impairment charge stemming from “significant changes to the company’s cash flow projections based on recent experience.” Expedia CruiseShipCenters Online travel platform Expedia has opened a brick-and-mortar branch in Santa Clarita to help customers book cruise ship vacations. Expedia’s CruiseShipCenters offers personal consultations online, over-the-phone or in person. Expedia operates 250 franchise locations across North America. Franchise partner Francis James will run the new location at 26512 Bouquet Canyon Road. “We look forward to working with the community to help them find the cruise or vacation that is a perfect fit for their needs,” James said. “The Internet can become overwhelming when trying to plan a vacation. With so many options available, customers really want to speak to an expert. Our team of knowledgeable vacation consultants are passionately committed to helping our customers plan their next big adventure, and it’s this level of exceptional service that sets us apart.” Tooshlights Tooshlights, a company that manufacturers an automated lighting system in public restrooms that helps guests “know where to go,” has made appointments to its senior management team. Tooshlights is owned by Woodland Hills-based parent company Modus Systems LLC. Jorge Molina will serve as chief operating officer and Jason Samuelian will join as director of business development. The company aims to “eliminate the awkward experience of having to peek under stalls to see if they are occupied.” Its technology uses a smart latch and indicator light that flashes red when a stall is occupied and green once it becomes available. Tooshlights installed the system at the Los Angeles International Airport in April and plans to expand to commercial spaces and venues including arenas, malls, hotels and office spaces. Staff Reporter Ethan Varian can be reached at (818) 316-3130 or evarian@sfvbj.com.

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