Jim Cascone didn’t realize becoming a partner at Huntington Meats & Sausages at the Farmers Market in L.A.’s Fairfax District a decade ago also meant inheriting a shiny new hobby: owning a collectible car.

Partners at Huntington Meats have owned vintage cars for decades. Co-owner Dan Vance has an Inca silver 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air and former owner Jim Wellavier had a fire-engine red 1970 Corvette convertible – one of only 7,000 made that year.

So when Cascone joined the butcher shop in 2002, he also bought and restored the former partner’s convertible.

“I always wanted a car for the Gilmore Auto Show and this was my opportunity,” he said. “We started working on the car and getting it to look prettier – it had been just sitting for 10 years.”

Cascone, 58, has showed it for the last five years among 100 vintage and classic American cars at the annual Gilmore Heritage Auto Show at Farmers Market. The owners will shut down the shop again this year to display their cars June 1.

Lest one worry the one-day shop closure is bothersome to the loyal clientele, Cascone said it’s become a welcome tradition.

“My customers – it’s kind of funny – they try to seek out Dan’s car and my car,” he said. “We are parked in the adobe area; it’s really nice.”

Idol Occurence

Meredith Red, 35, has been a fan of “American Idol” since the show went on the air a dozen years ago. But her job in corporate PR hardly seemed a likely way to get her onto the show’s red carpet.

That all changed when her client, AT&T, asked Red to get involved with its sponsorship of a contestant, Aubrey Cleland, this year. Cleland was voted off the program but was asked to tour with the show’s 10 finalists after the season as part of a promo called AT&T Summer Tour Fan Save.

With the season finale approaching, Red suggested that Cleland, who lives in Portland, Ore., be flown in to attend the show at Nokia Theater on May 16. Not only was the idea approved, but Red, a vice president at PR firm Casey & Sayre, was asked to join Cleland on the red carpet.

She said walking alongside past Idols such as Scotty McCreery and Bo Bice was about as good as it gets. She spent more than two hours on the red carpet and the whole experience made the corporate spokeswoman gush like a teenager.

“I obviously did not think (my job) would take me to the finale,” she said. “It was the most amazing and surreal experience ever.”

Staff reporters Jacquelyn Ryan and Jonathan Polakoff contributed to this column. Page 3 is compiled by editor Charles Crumpley. He can be reached at ccrumpley@labusinessjournal.com.

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