By BRETT SPORICH Staff Reporter
Rocky Rhodes' Canoga Park coffee house was facing a rocky road.
He wanted to build a business that would compete with the national chains, but he felt his location wasn't well suited to retail. So he focused a big part of his business on wholesaling to area restaurants.
Enter the Style Network. Scouts for a reality show about businesses picked his establishment, called Rocky Roaster, for a makeover. Now Rhodes feels better about the road ahead.
The shop is one of several area businesses that will be featured on the network's "Peter Perfect" reality series, which specializes on retail makeovers. It is to premiere nationwide Saturday nights beginning April 19.
The series' host is hairstylist-to-the-stars Peter Ishkhans. He takes control of the entrepreneurs' lives for a week, snipping their hair, changing their wardrobes and then completely remodeling their shops while they're kept away from the site. The show's finale comes when the business owners are driven back to their stores in a limousine to view the remodel on camera for the pleasure of the TV audience.
The network pays for the store remodels and the primping of the business owners. Rhodes' shop got new paint, flooring and furniture.
"I always thought that people were crazy to go on a reality show," Rhodes said. "But you know what? It has really improved my business outlook and energized my staff."
Rhodes said sales on the retail side of his business are up 5 percent, but the makeover has really increased foot traffic. He's hopeful that once the show airs more people will seek out his shop, which sets itself apart from chains such as Starbucks by roasting imported coffee beans on site.
Other show subjects includes the Rider Shack, an auto garage-turned-surf shop in Culver City; Village Sweets, a candy store in Whittier; and For Heaven's Cakes, a cake bakery in Thousand Oaks.
Sarah Weidman, the show's executive producer, said she doesn't know of another makeover reality show that focuses solely on small retail businesses.
"The Style Network's target demographic is women 18 to 49," she said. "But with this show we're hoping to broaden the appeal to include more men who may be watching along with women at home."
This is first time that Style is launching a series on a Saturday night, a time slot typically set aside for repeats of the network's shows debuting earlier in the week because of heavy competition from other cable and broadcast weekend fare.
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