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.”
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.”