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Thursday, December 25, 2014

Silver Lake renegade retailer to close Sunset Junction shop

Sarah Dale was  a twentysomething  Silver Lake waitress and punk rock drummer in 2000  when she heard that Pull My Daisy, a the Sunset Junction dress shop, was up for sale. “I thought I could totally do it” said Dale, who ended up buying the Sunset Boulevard store, where she worked in the afternoons after her morning waitress shift at Eat Well, a former diner down the block.  This was  Sunset Junction before Priuses and permit parking and gourmet cheese shops and stores selling $80 candles.  A Mexican carneceria attracted primarily Spanish-speaking customers to the same spot where customers now line up for Intelligentsia lattes. Things were so slow at times that Dale would play foursquare on the sidewalk against the employees of the former record shop next door. “It’s a different place now,” said Dale of Silver Lake’s Sunset Junction.  And, soon, Sunset Junction  shoppers and diners will notice another difference as Dale prepares to close down Pull My Daisy later this month.

“I do really feel like I’m the last of the old guard,” said Dale of the merchants whose form of “renegade retailing”  turned Sunset Junction into a hot spot for shopping and hanging out.

Dale, whose dog Bingo became her store’s mascot, doubts that a punk rock drummer and part time waitress could open a shop in Sunset Junction today.  Her monthly rental rate, for example, is three times higher than what she paid when she took over Pull My Daisy a dozen years ago. But Dale, who lives only a few blocks from her store, said she is supportive of the changes that have taken place at Sunset Junction. Despite higher rents,  business has been good enough to allow  Dale to double the size of her store.

Over the years,  Dale and her business changed, with a punk rock sensibility giving way to a more stylish  and, well, grown up style.   “We were lucky to evolve with with our customers,” said Dale. “My own style changed. This neighborhood and this shop have really defined who I am.”

Sarah Dale preparing for final sale

Dale’s decision to sell the business was not prompted by rising rents or poor sales. Instead, she wants to spend more time with her two-year-old son and perhaps devote more time to neighborhood activism, including her interest in assisting Silver Lake’s homeless residents.

“It’s still super fun,” said Dale, who is holding a close out sale before shutting her doors on March 24.  “I’m just ready for new stuff.”

Dale has sold her business to a local couple, the owners of Porridge Clothing,  who plan to open a store selling apparel for women and men.

As for Dale, she will be busy the next few weeks marking down merchandise  and selling off everything from shelving and fixtures to a case of Helly Kitty vibrators she found hidden in storage.  She’s also bracing herself for the last day of Pull My Daisy, which named after a line in an Allen Ginsberg poem: “Pull my daisy, tip my cup, all my doors are open.”

“I’m gong to spin records in the window and cry little bit.”



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50 comments

  1. Not really the “last of the old guard”, props to Ragg Mopp Vintage who has been in Sunset Junction since the 90s!

  2. Hello Kitty Vibrators?!

  3. You will be missed Sarah and Pull My Daisy. Much love.

  4. She led the new guard against told when she went all in stopping the sunset junction festival so she could make a few more sales. She was and is a short sighted self-centered granny and will not be missed by anybody. Adios!

    • What are you even trying to say. Your comment makes no sense.

    • Manzanita Resident

      Ollie, you are so obviously a stooge for Michael McKinley. Nice try though… ha ha!!!
      Hope to still run into you occasionally down at The Junction Sarah. You will be missed!

    • The Sunset Junction fest was an annoyance to not only the merchants on Sunset, but the residents as well. I heard nothing but relief when it was called off. Don’t know this gal, but you are in the minority with your opinions on the fest.

      • I loved the junction AND I had a shop there for six years. so did a lot of other people. There is a lot of people who miss it.

  5. Sarah – it’s been a great pleasure! Let’s hope the next generation is as pro-neighborhood and generous as you have been with your time and heart.
    Those of us who know you also know that you opposed the Junction Fair for it’s exclusionary ticket price and not it’s impact on your sales.

  6. Pull My Daisy will be missed terribly in the Junction. Sarah has spent so much time and effort keeping “it real” down on the blvd. PMD is an institution that has driven tourists and locals to spend their dollars at all of the shops and eateries….Sarah will be loved and the legacy of PMD will remain an icon.

  7. Just mad this artocle had to be a cookie cutter gentrification story even though it was not a factor in her decision to quit.

  8. couldn’t sell the shop a few years ago…trying again.

    http://www.trulia.com/blog/curbedla/2009/02/still_on_the_block_pull_

  9. This was one of the first Silver Lake shops I ever stopped into – about 10 years ago – specifically because I recognized the line from the Ginsberg poem. I’m glad to know Dale is not closing down due to lack of business, but rather because she’s moving on to another stage in her life. I’ll have to revisit the place one last time before it closes.

  10. ““I do really feel like I’m the last of the old guard”(?). Wouldn’t the “Mexican carniceria” who was previously priced-out be the actual old guard? Otherwise, 12 years doesn’t qualify for “old” anything. Not even in L.A.

  11. Yeah, I remember when Sarah bought this store and had the cute lil weiner dog. SL was already well into the throes of gentrification by then, regardless, I always thought it was a cool shop and she had fun sunset junction parties. She was one of the ones that made it a real neighborhood. Good luck to you, Sarah.

  12. I am so sad to see Sarah go! I really like her and her store! I always made a point to pop in and say hello to Sarah and check out her cute dresses and on good days, buy one!
    Sarah is a great Silverlake citizen and will be missed!

  13. I love this blog but what a bunch of mean, sour and judgmental commentators it seems to attract. Why does everything in this neighborhood have to be a 100 years old to be authentic? Seems people should be happy to have local, independent (and quite a few women owned) businesses around instead of watching everything turn into a strip mall or a franchise. (Or should we go back to when the neighborhood was known more as a place to score some dope or a blow job instead of scoring a decent cup of coffee ;)
    Good luck to Sarah – she worked hard to grow her business, was a great supporter of the neighborhood, and will be missed.

    • “(Or should we go back to when the neighborhood was known more as a place to score some dope or a blow job instead of scoring a decent cup of coffee ;)”. This comment captures the snobbery and prejudice that compels longtime residents to resent the gentry. I attended school at King and Marshall, knew several families in the area, and recall it as a nice suburb not a notorious dope spot(?!). I do recall shopping for second-hand clothes at the Aardvark’s Odd Ark in the 70s/80s though, hanging at McDs, and watching matinees at “H&K Studios” (now Mohawk Bend) as a kid. The Brite Spot was a great place to have breakfast (and coffee) and Echo Park was where we could fish or simply practice casting. These activities were just as normal as the negative features common in communities throughout the country. The capitalist “hipster” vibe is not necessarily an improvement and crime in L.A. has miraculously decreased in non-gentrified neighborhoods as well, i.e., Act like you Know, people.

      • Aldo Thee Apache

        @procopio
        And you pretty much just confirmed everything xoxo said. Maybe we should dig up some 90 year old residents and ask them what they thought of Aardvarks moving in back in the 80s.
        BTW glad to know the authentic, local flavor of McDonald’s holds a special place in your heart though.Here’s to keeping it real, lol.

        • It’s a lame comment yes but ive lived and shopped here since the late 70’s too and it is much nicer and safer now, noooo doubt about that. It definitely wasn’t known as a nice suburb it the early eighties haha. At best it was a place you could afford a house but it wasn’t anyone’s first choice, at least no one I knew of.

          • It’s much nicer and safer EVERYwhere in L.A. not just Silverlake and Echo Park. Btw, for those of us growing up north and east of Fletcher/Riverside, the quiet tree-lined neighborhoods around King and Marshall were a cut above and still are and not unlike today, the first choice of anybody wanting to remain in L.A.and I am one of those lucky ones.

        • McDonald’s holds a special place in the hearts of every teen who socialized with friends or hung-out with their girlfriend after school. “Sorry” to hear you weren’t that popular.

          • Violent crime is down everywhere no doubt but violent crime is %9 less in Silverlake than even the current Los Angeles average. Plus its much nicer now from a rehab stand point. Just look outside the immediate boundaries of the revitilzed SL, EP, LF and its easy to see those areas haven’t improved nearly as much although they’re starting to… btw are you seriously using McDonalds to make your point about what a great place this used to be.

    • A salted (with a deadly) peanut.

      Or should we go back to when the neighborhood was known more as a place to score some dope or a blow job instead of scoring a decent cup of coffee. Really? Thanks for clarifying what “mean”, “sour”, and “judgmental” actually is.

      Look, the people that have lived here all their life didn’t need or want your help. In fact the people who have moved into these tacky looking lofts that ruin the city’s landscape by the way and or have moved into one time rent controlled apts. originally intended for lower income or working class families I might add, all the while driving rent prices up by doing do so are only out here for themselves, plain and simple, admit it! If you even have attempted to get to know people who have lived here all their life, you will find that you’re statement has no merit. I doubt that you have though.

      And about you’re comment about something having to have been here for over 100 years to be authentic, well I’d take Cesar Chavez’ history any day over some lady lamenting about going out of business. The economy’s tough for everybody right now. But it’s even tougher for the people who don’t have much to begin with and this lady doesn’t strike me as such.

      • did you read the article deadly peanut? she’s not lamenting anything:
        “Dale’s decision to sell the business was not prompted by rising rents or poor sales. Instead, she wants to spend more time with her two-year-old son and perhaps devote more time to neighborhood activism, including her interest in assisting Silver Lake’s homeless residents.”

        • A salted (with a deadly) peanut.

          My comment was in response to xoxo’s comment Michael. And where I was coming from was, I felt compelled to respond to the belligerent comment xoxo made that Silver Lake was a neighborhood full of druggies and prostitutes before gentrification started to happen in the late 90’s. I lived in the neighborhood before that time frame she is speaking of and she is completely wrong.

          Okay, Dale woman wants to raise a family and help the homeless out which is commendable even though in reality anyone can volunteer their time to help out the homeless, fine then. She isn’t closing shop because she was struggling financially. Okay, you got me there dude.

          But my other comments are still pretty relevant IMHO when you think about just who was shopping in her store these past 13 yrs or so that she’s been in business and I’m sure it wasn’t people who work minimum wage jobs. That’s why this notion the article is promoting that this business somehow represents the last of the mohicans of Silver Lake bohemian clothing stores or that it was this glowing example of what local proprietorship in pre-gentrification SL was like is so laughable to me. It completely caters to the rich elite of Silver Lake.

          Anyways, just remember there are some people living in this neighborhood that don’t have that choice to just stop working indefinitely and devote all of their time to raise a family. They have to do both: work and raise a family. And where’s their acknowledgment? I’d much rather acknowledge them.

  14. Anyone remember Destroy All Music next to this shop? They had a great punk selection.

    • you beat me too it! yes they were the punk go to store. spent many a time here during high school.

    • yep. and when there was a gallery and music upstairs from where intelligentsia is. and that awesome little thrift shop that was where the conservatory is now (I think it was that spot). the guy and his wife raised money for animal causes. used to do my grocery shopping at the carniceria. they sold taco’s out front, had excellent pastries and were really nice people. and who could forget Don Bosco? how is that storefront still open (at least it was the last time I went through Silver Lake).

  15. I am a sunset junction resident who predates Pull My Daisy. I live around the corner on Sanborn. Although I rarely shopped there it was always a welcome addition to the neighborhood. Indeed the shop embraced what the junction was about. Sarah was a good neighbor, I hope the new owners can live up to her standards. I am glad to hear the purchasers are locals.

    Sunset Junction can not and should not live in a time capsule. There will be change, but there is also an attitude and an aesthetic that make our community so special. I look forward to a new neighbor as much as I will miss the old one.

  16. you guys are dicks. sarah was sweet and kind when she was in a band, and when she took over the store. she never did anything to harm the neighborhood and she actually kept a store open (and employed locals) for more than 3 months on a seemingly transient strip of businesses. she served on the neighborhood council and I can’t ever remember her tearing down an old building to build condo’s. not really sure how anyone can talk smack about her. i wish her the best of luck.

  17. 12 years is a damned long time and retail in LA is not easy. Good for her for making it through the financial bubble and bust and all other ups and downs. Many stores did not. I’ll miss this store and its lovely owner.

  18. just curious ES if shes making down merchandise “and selling off everything from shelving and fixtures to a case of Helly Kitty vibrator'” exactly what part of the business is she selling the lease?

  19. Hello Sarah….I want to thank you for supporting the clinic and for your tireless
    community service on the SLNC among many other things that you do. I wish you
    all the best….don’t be a stranger!

  20. What IS gentrification? Am I gentry because I moved into Echo Park and I am white? My dad was a sheet metal worker, a blue collar guy. I am not even from a MIDDLE CLASS background. I think the word “gentrification” is just another way of people being racist. If this lady came into a community and worked hard to make it as a sole proprietor with her business, I hardly would call her “gentry.”
    I call her someone trying to make a living.

    • not really a racist term. you can have gentrification in any neighborhood. if a bunch of middle class African Americans moved into a neighborhood and displaced the current residents, it would still be gentrification. not really a fan of wikipedia, but this is a pretty good overview:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gentrification

    • For a lifetime resident of NELA, gentrification is a class-related term that refers primarily to transplants and outsiders who displace poorer but longtime residents and essentially take over hubs of community activity with businesses and services that appeal almost exclusively to more transplants and outsiders. Btw, never mind your background. If you can afford to move into NELA nowadays, then you are no longer poor, i.e., there are no poor or blue-collar types buying homes in Echo Park, Silverlake, or Highland Park. What is mysterious(?) is how this same gentry avoids moving into neighborhoods in South L.A. no matter how cheap homes and leases are in those areas. Is that “racist”? Because if you’re truly poor but want to stake a claim in L.A., those are the logical areas to move into not NELA. Just saying . . .

      • yes, definitely a class thing. you don’t see people moving into south LA because it’s not centrally located. I work there and it’s a bummer of a commute. one thing you do see in South LA is tensions between Latino’s and African Americans as the demographics change to a majority of the population being Latino (after being primarily African American for decades). In that neighborhood, Latino’s are seen as transplants and newbies. And the rents have gone up a bit as a result of them all moving there.

        • Michael, you’re embarrassing yourself with your ignorance about L.A. culture and history. First of all, there were ALways Mexicans in south L.A. (including my parents) along with whites and a notable Japanese population. Blacks didn’t start arriving until after WW II resulting in white and asian flight, “historically Black communities” by the 60s, and affordable destinations for latino immigrants by the 80s, i.e., that is correct: South L.A. was “historically Black” for all of 20 years. Unlike hipsters or other transplants, latinos had no problem settling next to Black neighbors and starting businesses in “historically Black” communities. Can’t say the sentiment was mutual. 70% of businesses destroyed during the riots were latino-owned. Anyway, latinos are now the majority in a city founded and settled by latinos, i.e., whose the “newbie”?

          • “Unlike hipsters or other transplants, latinos had no problem settling next to Black neighbors”

            Thank you for that scientific study. You must’ve gone door-to-door to collect your data.
            ;P

        • Btw, the intersection of San Pedro and Washington is more centrally located than the intersection of Rowena and Hyperion . . . Get It?

        • Michael, I apologize for that last outburst but I’ve simply become faigued with the constant revisionist history that invariably relegates latinos to last place. Documented facts and history be damned! Anyway, your points are well taken and I hope you see the validity in most of mine . . . Peace.

          • it’s cool procopio. i wasn’t trying to say that Latino’s were never there, or that they never had a place in the community. I was just mentioning that there are tensions down there which bear similarities to the tensions in our own neighborhood (I work at Nickerson Gardens, Jordan Downs and Grape Street in a mobile clinic). My point was that people often get upset when “new” people start moving into their neighborhood (regardless of race or heritage); which is sad because it’s a fact of life. rent is getting more and more expensive, so people will always be looking for a better deal. I personally can’t stand the idea that the working poor are so easily pushed out of neighborhoods (especially since the majority of people are in that category).

  21. Silver Lake’s loss will be our (PATH’s) gain. Thanks for everything you’ve done to help, Sarah. Looking forward to working with you more to help the area’s homeless.

  22. Sarah is such a big-hearted personality, it was always a pleasure to see her at her store or getting a coffee next door at Casbah. She has always been brimming with energy and enthusiasm for the neighborhood, we can’t wait to see what she does next!

  23. Sarah is the best. Anyone who attended Bingo’s memorial service can tell you that she exemplifies what’s best, not just about the Junction, but this whole city.

  24. Sarah – thank you for being the rock of the Junction for so many years. I loved your store, I loved talking and hanging out. I will be sad to see you go. You are an incredible chick and have made a difference in our community. Much love and luck.

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