Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Happenings: A Business is Blessed

Julie Mair, flanked by husband and progeny, looks for approval from shopgirl before delivering the coup de grâce to the ribbon. I've shamelessly borrowed this and other photos of the event from accomplished photographer Jeff Lowe (Julie's brother) whose excellent work can be viewed here and here.

Those who bemoan a lack of ceremony in these secular times of ours have clearly not attended a store opening in SCV. They are, for all intents and purposes, modern-day baptisms, one of the sacraments of commerce. Thursday past I had the good fortune of going to the grand opening of Julie Mair’s Rooms to Roam[1]. While Julie is atypical of SCV (being genuinely nice and friendly[2]) the ceremony spoke volumes about business-as-usual in the Clarita.

First, one noted that there were two kinds of people at the event. The first were family and friends of Julie and local business owners. The second kind were the de facto clergy, people I shall call GBs (“Gold Badges”; I’ll explain soon enough). Clad not in robes and rosaries but in suits and slacks, an aura of importance surrounded them. This was due in no small part to their highly conspicuous gold badges, tokens of their undying loyalty to the Chamber of Commerce (reverentially, “the Chamber”[3]).

The gold badge gives its wearer the ability to determine anyone's net worth instantly.

I managed to talk to one real life GB. She mentioned how wonderful the store looked. I agreed and noted how nice it was that the cool streak in weather had held out for the opening. Alas, she chose to go get food (catered by StoneFire Grill) rather than continue the conversation. My chance to network was over before it had begun. It’s not that I really needed to network, but I wanted to try it at least once.

The event itself was befitting of a home store. The shop was perfectly put together and even the desserts[3] matched the chocolate brown and light blue color scheme[4]. The service provided by the store, incidentally, is essential to valley homeowners. Indeed, it offers an assortment of all the things needed to furnish the 4,000 square-foot estate we now call “a single family home”. From candle holders to ceramics to exceptionally large clocks, it's all there.

Offerings to the consumer include sources of light both medieval (candle-based) and modern (electrical); plates in colors that show both daring and taste; and martini glasses one woman referred to as "themed but not themey."

Anyhow, after a half-hour of mingling a call went out for those tightly associated with the business to enter the store. Priestess of Profit Traci Pontecorvo noted that the “party part” was going to pause for a moment so that the “ceremony part”[5] might begin. Reminded of the task at hand, people filed out from the latticed arena of tables and chairs set up for lounging/grazing and headed for the store.

What happened next is, appropriately, shrouded in mystery (i.e., I was not in the store for the central ceremony). I saw the GBs enter, along with Julie’s family and friends, and a large pair of scissors[6]. Cheers were heard from inside the store as (presumably) certificates of recognition and membership plaques—physical symbols of the blessing bestowed by the Chamber—were offered and accepted. A ribbon red as the debt feared by Chamber members was cut by Julie with the hallowed, over-sized instrument of severance. To be more precise, the ribbon was symbollically cut; the scissors were non-functional.

To thank her guests for gobbling up all the food she’d had catered[5], Julie then raffled away several gift baskets. Naturally, Little Miss Canyon Country pulled the names of winners. It seems Little Miss Corner of McBean and Old Orchard had a prior engagement. With that, the festivities continued and the store gleamed under the attention of a doting Chamber. As a sign that “all was well”, Tony and Rena Newhall (yes, as in that Newhall) stopped by to offer congratulations to their own store’s neighbor.

Rooms to Roam, anointed with a plaque and blessed by the Chamber, now stands ready to do its sacred duty: earn money for the City (and, perhaps, the storeowner too).

[1] The store is located at 23300 Cinema Drive and can be reached at 661-259-7890.
[2]Even if you don’t know her, how can you not like someone who puts out a frozen Margarita machine and gourmet dessert bites for her store's grand opening? This is a decidedly better way to go than handing out grand opening balloons.
[3]Dare ye enter The Chamber?
[4] The desserts were created by Babe's Dessert Bar and I can thoroughly endorse all of them. I found the Baby Bostons, Denise Kane’s artful homage to the Boston Cream Pie, a fully realized attempt to make perfection edible.
[5] Her words, and she’s actually the Membership Director.
[6] I was considering going with a circumcision motif—scissors, cutting and all, but thought better of it (though, apparently, not better enough of it to forego a mention).


Jeff - Casual Clicks said...

Well written! Love that big cheek puffed out by a great bit of tongue!
You hit the festivities on right on the 'altar'. In retrospect, I only wish I had communed at the dessert table and supped in more of the communion wine...ahem, tequila laced slurpees.
Jeff - the brother photo taking guy

Jeff - Casual Clicks said...

ooops...thanks for the properly reverential photo credits...most folks just plain ole' steal my pics...not that's not very holy.
Thanks again!

A Santa Claritan said...

It's I who should be thanking you; I'm glad to know that my stealing-with-credit-giving was tolerable.

As for the "tequila laced slurpees", I think they'd be a hit in 7-11s standing right next to the slurpees-proper.

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