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Reconstruction Written by OLD SCHOOL BRAND

Time flies when you’re knee deep in a project. It’s been a flash of nine months since I’ve started this renovation and there is so much yet to do! ugh! The short of the story is that I’ve been given an amazing opportunity to create change…and let me tell you change in every sense of the word! What was once a Japanese nursery in the forty’s, morphed into an open air thrift store serving the community for the past twenty plus years. One could find just about anything on this corner lot of 6,500 square feet, and I mean anything!!!
The original brick paths and flower beds have been covered in alternating layers of carpet,plastic tarp,plywood, roots and whatever was caught between the 6 to 8 layers. This was an effort to create a “dust-free"environment to sell clothes, couches, records,lamps and whatever came through as donated items.

Generations have shopped the thrift store through demographic changes, riots, earthquakes and the introduction of crack. Through it all a wonderful salt of the earth woman serviced the needs of the community by supplying an ever changing client base with a treasure hunt of a space. We met about 4 or 5 years ago when I would stop in to see what treasure had my name on it. September of last year she asked if I would partner with her as she was growing tired and wanted to have time for herself before she met her maker.

I took on the project with the intention of organizing, merchandising, throwing out stuff, donating stuff, selling stuff and whatever it took to create paths between the mounds of stuff collected over the twenty years!

I have since been given full reign to transform the entire space into what will be a general store for sustainable living! URBANSCAPES I thought to myself, this is what this community needs, a resource for living fully, healthy, environmentally! These kinds of concepts exist on the west side of town, but nothing in perceived marginalized mid-L.A.

So! That’s what I’ve been working on. It is a monumental task, and at times I wonder what the hell was I thinking??? The reality is, it’s bigger than me, and it’s not about me although I am the messenger of creativity. It’s really about standing up for positive revitalization! This corner lot has the ability to transform an entire community of apathy. The street does not need another liquor store, lawnmower shop, car repair shop, vacant lot, adult care facility, pawn shop and the list goes on. I guess someone had to be the change, create the change for what is sustainable in the big picture. Living not just surviving.. I will offer recycled, repurposed, goods for sustainable living. Workshops on saving and protecting natural resources (including $‘s), drought tolerant plants, goodies for the garden and outdoor living including a demonstration vegetable garden! It will be a welcoming green-space in the heart of the city, with fruit trees for shade!!!!!

I will keep you all posted on the progress..in the meantime this project has tested me on so many levels.

I will not give up as some have hoped, it has tested my resourcefulness, patience, finances, belief in mankind, but I won’t give up! It’s not about me, it’s about community in the fullest sense of the word.
By the way, I found the stools and typewriter buried under 6 feet of debris.

Anyone out there want to offer support, ideas, contributions to the cause, by all means, please drop me an email! We are a village!!

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