LABJ's LA Stories

Ranking Malls

South Coast Plaza and Fashion Island place first and second in Women's Wear Daily's Top 10 list of California shopping centers ranked by average annual sales-per-square foot.

South Coast posted sales-per-square-foot pf $800, according to the fashion newspaper. Fashion Island came in at $750.

Rounding out the group: The Grove, Los Angeles, $750 per square foot; Santana Row, San Jose, $700; Stanford Shopping Center, Palo Alto, $700; Westfield Shoppingtown Valley Fair, San Jose, $634; Westfield Shoppingtown Century City, $627; Fashion Valley, San Diego, $600; Glendale Galleria, $550; and Westfield Shoppingtown San Francisco Centre, $534.

Orange County Business Journal

Fashion Hounds

Dara Samson, owner of Wags to Whiskers, a dog-grooming salon in Long Beach, believes that lots of dogs want fashion accessories to match their personalities.

But the former merchandise analyst for Robinsons-May wasn't satisfied with the bows she was affixing to her clients' coats. So she launched her own line of $3 bows that can withstand the wear and tear of the average canine.

"We had a vendor who sold us bows but the color coordination used to bother me," said Samson, who owns four dogs.

The bows are made of durable fabric that is treated to hold its shape with a non-toxic stiffening formula. The two most popular styles are a hot pink polka-dot bow with a yellow happy face in the center, and a sheer pink with a pink rose. Other styles include denim, a brown paw-print bow and a blue-and-white polka dot with a dog face in the center.

Kate Berry

Holy Condos

In the Pico-Robertson neighborhood, a developer is betting on kosher condos.

George Saadin, managing partner of Landmark West Enterprises LLC, is nearing completion on a $9 million condo building at 8555 Cashio St. where the 16 units come with kitchens designed to facilitate keeping kosher and timers that control lights during the Jewish Sabbath.

Each unit has two dishwashers, separate counters and two sinks to allow separation of meat and dairy during food preparation, cooking and cleaning.

"Everything is what (an observant Jew) is looking for," Saadin said. "The condos have all the kosher amenities they would have in a kibbutz in Israel."

Those additions, including refrigerators with lights that remain off during the Sabbath, place two- and three-bedroom condos at between $600,000 and $850,000, Saadin said. The median price of a condo in the same ZIP code was $497,000 in July, according to DataQuick.

"To do something like this, you would have to have a house," he said. "You have to run new piping, electricity and things of that nature. As far as condos go, it's almost impossible to install these things after construction is complete."

Saadin is planning three more kosher condo buildings that would add another 48 to 50 units to Pico-Robertson.

Andy Fixmer

Ringing Endorsements

How many people are willing to hear a recorded advertising message when they use a prepaid phone card? Enough, it turns out, to launch a fledgling business.

Mandel Tropper and Steven Posen have started Pocket Billboards in Studio City with the hope of finding a way to use the phone card as a marketing device. The company offers something called "Promophone."

"At the start of your call you'll hear something like: 'Press one to place a call or press two to enter a sweepstakes,'" explained Posen. He said tests earlier this year involving 20th Century Fox's "Garfield: The Movie," found that about 15 percent of callers opted-in to hear a message so they could enter the sweepstakes.

The cards themselves include a direct response coupon that plays off the message and encourages participation. Because of the interactive nature of phone cards, advertisers can also glean information about those who respond.

"What is beautiful about the program is that it is unintrusive to the consumer," said Posen. "We are very sensitive to that."

Al Stewart


1989: Her-Ex Shuts Down

Hearst Corp.'s Los Angeles Herald Examiner, founded in 1903, was once a rival of the Los Angeles Times, creating fierce competition for headlines. But the rising popularity of evening newscasts drew readers away from afternoon dailies like the Herald.

A decade-long walkout by the Herald's unionized employees that ended in 1977 "caused the paper's circulation and advertising revenues to plummet, while the non-union Times flourished," the Business Journal reported on May 15, 1989.

By then, the Herald was losing as much as $2 million a month and could only muster a circulation of 238,392, compared with 1.12 million for the Times.

"'We've been a (money) losing paper for more than 20 years,'" Chief Operating Executive John McCabe said at the time.

After buyout offers from the Toronto Sun and Los Angeles oil baron Marvin Davis fell through, Hearst finally closed the doors on Nov. 2, 1989.

Though the Herald couldn't earn enough to survive, its legacy has fared better. More than 370,000 copies of the final issue with the banner headline "SO LONG, L.A.!" were sold, some going for as much as $20 each from collectors. Today, the Los Angeles Public Library holds the Herald's immense photo archive. And the old downtown Herald building at 1111 S. Broadway, still owned and operated by Hearst, has been the backdrop for music videos, TV shows and movies, including the current release "Collateral," with Tom Cruise.

Rebekah Sanders

"Out of the Past" is published each week to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Business Journal.

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