Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Filming Roundup: Neon Trees Buick Commercial on Air

Old Town Monrovia continues to be a popular filming location for car commercials. In recent months, we have seen Honda, Buick and now Jeep all select S. Myrtle Avenue as the backdrop to highlight their latest car models.

In February, the Office of Filming reported one filming. S. Myrtle Avenue and neighborhoods along Foothill Boulevard served as the location for a one-day shoot of a Jeep Commercial on February 13.

In other filming news, the Neon Trees shot a Buick Commercial commercial back in January, and it has already started airing. Check it out below...

Side note: Monrovia got a shout-out in a Santa Barbara Independent article for its abundance of film shoots and cooperative attitude by the Monrovia Police Department towards the CHP. Here's an excerpt:
"Fauntleroy also said that oftentimes [Santa Barbara] police did not have enough officers available to monitor large film shoots, and that they were unwilling to let the California Highway Patrol come in and take over the job. One of the officers in the audience commented, “Since this is a local matter, chiefs will never give over the responsibility to the state police.” He was quickly contradicted by a CHP officer, who said that police in cities like Monrovia and Malibu (both known for having an abundance of on-location shooting) have no problem with the CHP coming into their city for a film shoot."

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Former Entertainment Attorney Has Passion for Antiques

Owner Francesca de la Flor, left, shares her story on Monday.

Antiques On Off Fair Oaks was officially welcomed by the Monrovia business community on Monday when the Monrovia Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon cutting for the 15,000-square-feet antique store.

The store, which opened in Monrovia late January, is located at 137 W. Walnut.

Councilman Tom Adams, left, welcomes de la Flor to the city.
Occupying part of a warehouse that once housed Soliant, owner Francesca de la Flor said she was attracted to Monrovia following a parking debacle with her longtime landlord in Pasadena.

De la Flor was first lured into the business nearly 20 years ago, switching her career from an entertainment lawyer to an antique afficinado.

But it wasn't an immediate success.

On Monday, de la Flor said that it took her many years of attending garage sales and shows before she got the hang of the business. Five years later, she opened her own store.

Previously Antiques On Fair Oaks, the former Pasadena store was voted for having the "Best Antiques" by the Pasadena Weekly in 2010. They had operated in Pasadena for 15 years.

One of the gems spotted on Monday was what appeared to be a pair of smiling lions.

And yes, this business is dog friendly. Below is one of the two pouches that was spotted on Monday. The other dog, Violet, is the store's official mascot, according to the store's blog, where you can also find write-ups on the newest items in the store.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Gold Line Invites Small Businesses to Come On Board

Public rail is coming through northern San Gabriel Valley, and that doesn't just mean traffic relief: it also means jobs.

Small business owners who want to learn more about the Gold Line Extension project - and how to bid on the associated subcontracting opportunities - are invited to attend a networking event at 8:30 a.m. on March 9 at Monrovia's Doubletree Hotel.

The event is hosted by the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority. Deadline to RSVP for this event is this Friday. Just email or call (626)305-7026.

Here's more info...

Click photo to enlarge.

Old Town Business Shuffle

Old Town has some new kids on the block.

Michelle's Upscale Retail Boutique is relocating from 113 E. Olive Avenue to 519 S. Myrtle Avenue, located right next door to the Candy Connection. The space was formerly occupied by Friends of Dorothy, a gift and movie memorabilia store that relocated to 139 E. Lemon Avenue.

R.W. Taylor Antiques and Jewelry recently opened at 112 S. Myrtle Avenue, filling a vacancy that was left when Burning Earth Smoke Shop moved to 103 W. Foothill. 

Diggin for Daises, an eco-friendly children's clothing and toy store, is now up and running at 420 S. Myrtle Avenue, Suite C. 
Photo from
Yogurtland will replace Quizno's at 104 S. Myrtle Avenue.

Photo from

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

New Business: What's Your Favorite?

Over the past year, we've seen a number of new businesses pop up in Monrovia, ranging from new restaurants to new retails store. Which is your favorite?

Click here to take survey

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Business Tip: Assistance Programs Available to Businesses

Do you have questions about how to expand your business? Do you want to take advantage of free marketing opportunities? Do you want to learn more about City-sponsored team building events, job fairs or free programs available to help save you money? 

Then the City’s Economic Development Team is here to help. Among the things that you have access to are:

  • Free Marketing Opportunities on the My Monrovia Business Blog
  • A Project Coordinator, who will hand hold you through the process of opening or expanding your Monrovia business.
  • A Job Fair, where local businesses can participate for free on June 19 at the Community Center, 119 W. Palm Avenue.
  • Free Programs, such as the Monrovia Fire Department’s Business Emergency Response Training for your employees, potential cost savings opportunities through Southern California Edison or the Business Visitation Program, which is your chance to chat with City representatives and discuss how the City may be able to help your business succeed.

So how do you learn more? All you need to do is contact Jennifer McLain, (626) 303-6601 or by email at You can also learn more by visiting our website at  

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Bio-Tech Company LabCorp Buys Genzyme, is Hiring

Genzyme, a leading bio-technology company whose products focus on genetic diseases, multiple sclerosis, cardiovascular disease and endocrinology, has operated a business in Monrovia since 2005 in our High Tech Corridor - until recently.

Just last week the Genzyme sign came down and it was replaced with a sign from LabCorp at 655 E. Huntington Drive. The permanent sign replacement will be discussed at this week's Development Review Committee.

This business shuffle actually goes back to 2010, when LabCorp bought the genetics unit from Genzyme.

Side Note: According to their web site, LabCorp is hiring at its Monrovia location 

Monday, February 13, 2012

And the 40-inch Teddy Bear Goes To...

Nic and David Conway, the Monrovia couple who won the Old Town Valentine's Day drawing.

Participants submitted receipts for a total of more than 400 purchases for a chance to win a 40-inch Teddy Bear, a dozen roses and a meal at any Old Town restaurant of the winner's choice. In order to compete, participants had to submit receipts from three Old Town businesses.

Congratulations to the Conways. As for those who didn't win, you'll just have to pony up for a meal to treat your Valentine - and hopefully, it will be at a Monrovia business.

And if you DON'T have a Valentine and want to avoid all those sickening-sweet romantic couples, you can always head into London's Gastropub, who is having a singles-only, anti-Valentine's Day event.

So have a Happy Valentine's Day. Or, depending on your relationship status this year, an Happy Anti-Valentine's Day.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Let's Go Boutiquing

Monrovia isn't just a great place to eat. It's also a great place to shop, especially if you prefer independent boutiques over packed malls.

Scattered throughout Monrovia are a number of boutiques, including one that received regional attention a few months back when it was featured in the Los Angeles Times. Suo, located at 601 W. Huntington, has been in the City since 1999, and features a variety of affordable and fashionable clothes, jewelry and accessories.

Suo is located at 601 W. Huntington, and is one of two locations in So. Cal.

A cluster of boutiques can also be found up and down Old Town. These include Allure at 417 S. Myrtle, L & G Fashion Boutique at 302 S. Myrtle, and Jenni B. at 106 E. Lime.

Photo from

So what are you waiting for? It's Friday...time to go shopping!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Business Tip: Tap into $1 Billion in Government Contracts

Two of our local water agencies - one of which is headquartered in Monrovia - is hosting an event that teaches businesses how to be awarded governmental contracts.

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and the Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District are reaching out to the public with a presentation on how you can use social media to better promote your business, in addition to tips on how to obtain these governmental contracts.

This free event will be held from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. on February 24 at the Double Tree in Monrovia. Check out the flyer below for more information...

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Mt. Sierra Students Step Up to Global Game Jam

Photo by Alexis Newell
Here is an inside look at Mt. Sierra College at 101 E. Huntington Drive in Monrovia.
Monrovia's Mt. Sierra College - an information technology and media arts and design school of nearly 600 students - hit the headlines recently when it became one of only three Southern California schools to compete in a global gaming competition.

In late January, Mt. Sierra College was featured on CBS2 when it was among just 247 locations around the world that participated in the "Global Game Jam." This 48-hour competition challenged students to create a board or video game using the image of a snake eating its tail as inspiration.

What we learn is not just that this type of activity takes a lot of energy drinks, but that these students are extremely creative. Here's the video.

Mount Sierra College Students Take Up Challenge To Create New Games « CBS Los Angeles

Photo by Alexis Newell
Mt. Sierra College first started in Pasadena before it relocated to Monrovia.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Job Fair for Coffee Bean on Tuesday

The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf at 702 Huntington Drive in Monrovia had this poster (below) advertised on its window. They are hosting a job fair from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. tomorrow in Burbank at 340 N. San Fernando Blvd. in search of general managers.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Relationships for Better Wants to "Help Couples Thrive"

Megan Lundgren, top left, has a love for Monrovia and a passion for couples therapy. That's why this Monrovia resident - and MAP leader - started her practice at 140 E. Colorado Avenue, Suite D, back in October.

"Relationships for Better" provides relationship and marriage counseling (including pre-marital, separation, and divorce therapy) from a "home-like environment."

According to her online bio, Megan graduated from Fuller Seminary with a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy. She attended Seattle Pacific University, where she earned Bachelor of Arts in both Psychology and Educational Ministry.

Relationships for Better can be reached at (626) 272-4908, or by emailing

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Business Round-Up: Optical Center, Antique Store and More...

New businesses continue to crop up around Monrovia. Here's the latest:

This picture was found on the website Children's Hospital
Los Angeles Optical, located at 509 S. Myrtle Avenue.
Children's Hospital Los Angeles Optical: This eye-care center provides services to people from ages 21 and under. It is located at 509 S. Myrtle Avenue, formerly located by Monrovia Beauty Supply. Store hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Phone number is (626) 303-2030.
Antiques Off Fair Oaks: This store opened nearly two months ago in a 15,000 square foot space at Walnut and Ivy, 137 W. Walnut. The antique store, which relocated from Pasadena, features items from 12 different dealers, and is a popular space among many Westside decorators. Look for their Business Profile next week.

Sherwin Williams: This paint store at 503 W. Huntington opened last month, and will be celebrating its official grand opening with the Chamber of Commerce with a ribbon cutting ceremony in March.

Salon Cheo: This hair coloring and cutting salon officially opened on Jan. 11 at 147 E. Foothill Blvd. Business phone is (626) 359-1272. 

#1 General Merchandise and Gift Shop: This stationary and household item store opened on 346 W. Foothill Boulevard in the fall. Their business phone number is (626) 301-0504, and hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Is there a new business is your neighborhood? Shoot an email to

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Business Profile: Pages from the Heart

Kathy Kniep, owner, started Pages from the Heart in 1999.
She and co-owner MaryJo Lawson moved the store a year
ago to its current location at 137 E. Colorado Avenue.
Step into Pages from the Heart, and it won't take long before you are sucked in to the papercrafting world.

It's in part due to how darn cute everything is. Like the Celebrate Spring little photo album they have on display. Or the rows and rows of colorful paper, festive stickers, and small cut outs for Valentine's Day and Easter.

It's also in part due to the simple fact that these "papercrafters" - which is a term that includes scrapbooking, invitation making and about anything else you can make with paper - seem to have a vocabulary of their own.

On Friday afternoon, owner Kathy Kniep dropped terms like "scraplifting" - it's when other scrapbookers exchange (or sometimes steal) scrapbooking ideas from one another - or "Pages Peeps," which is the affectionate name given to the regulars at this longtime scrapbooking store.

For Kniep, this store is a testament to her more than decades-old love affair with the hobby.

Pages from the Heart was started by Kniep 12 years ago at the Aztec Hotel along Foothill Boulevard. But a year ago last week, Kniep moved her longtime business to a new location in Old Town, at 137 E. Colorado Boulevard, next to The Peach Cafe. It was then she also began a new partnership with co-owner, MaryJo Lawson. Their store - located in a beautiful building that features exposed wooden beams and brick - is filled with materials to complete scrapbooks, invitations and cards. And even though it's just a mile away from Scrap-N-Yap, another papercrafting store, there is plenty of business to keep Pages from the Heart beating. 

Kniep likens papercrafting and those who participate in it to the "old quilting bees," she said. 

 "It's a very cathartic activity," said Kniep as a calming scent from a candle wafted through the store. At a time when people are so glued to their smart phones, iPads and laptops, Kniep said that it's gratifying to have a hobby that allows you to actually glue things together. "It's nice to set time aside just to relax and do something creative."

Pages from the Heart offers classes - such as the Celebrate Spring class that will teach you to make that cute little photo album shown above. That class is from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on March 10 for $28. There are also "crops" - where for $15, participants can drop in, bring a project they've been working on, chat with fellow "peeps," use their tools, get access to their material, and, if necessary, "scraplift."

To learn more about Pages from the Heart, call them at (626)358-5334, or visit them on their blog at