In recent years, I’ve watched a remarkable new source of pride rise in my neighborhood: the cool, clever, quirky corridor of Magnolia Park. Astonishingly, this citywide destination for what’s hip has been created, on a shoestring, almost entirely by the energetic, dedicated and resourceful merchants who populate its can’t-find-it-anywhere-else retail shops and eateries.
Now this stunning success is under brutal pressure from skyrocketing rents, limited parking, a whole bunch of other stuff I’m sure I don’t understand, and most of all — a surprising lack of knowledge among too many local power brokers and absentee landlords about what makes Mag Park extraordinary.
News outlets wail about the apocalypse of online shopping and the death of the corner store. But the merchants of Magnolia solved it, asking: “What’s cool enough to get people away from their computers to shop?” It’s a powerful answer: You offer them a modern village. You offer unique products they can’t find online. You offer experiences and relationships beyond mere items on shelves. You give them a seat at the cool kids’ table. You create events — like Ladies & Gents Night Out and the completely donation-funded Holiday in the Park — that draw shoppers from all over Los Angeles and bring Burbank neighbors out to meet neighbors. In short, you build a fiercely loyal community of people who feel a part of our “Magnolia Miracle.”
No Realtor sells an increasingly valuable Burbank home to a highly paid jobholder and their family without emphasizing our city’s small-town feel. But it’s not the skyscrapers or the airport or the studios that create that — it’s Magnolia Park.
Folks, this crisis is real. Shops beloved by the Burbank and L.A. faithful have begun to close: Creature Features, Geeky Teas, the globally successful PinUp Girl Clothing. And more businesses are on the bubble. Don’t let the miracle die. Shop Magnolia Park, get to know Magnolia Park, VisitMagnoliaPark.com and SaveMagnoliaPark.com.