The doors of Glendale’s historic Chazan Building opened again when the mayor of this southern California city, Frank Quintero, joined the great grandson of the original owner for a ribbon cutting ceremony this past June 18. The event proved a fine reminder of the 1991 festivities when Benjamin, the building’s 1955 founder, hosted his 100th birthday party and was recognized as the then-oldest working retailer in Glendale, a community now boasting a population of over 200,000. Benjamin’s son, Gerald, continued the tradition of making “Chazan Interiors” a successful business in home decoration and high-end furniture for over 35 years.
Kevin G. Boasberg, who is as entrepreneurial as any of his forbearers, has called upon fondest memories of grandfather, Gerald, and his own background of 14 years as a commercial realtor to act out his 21st century vision. By opening Brand Central Company in the old 7,000-square-foot building and converting it into a modern mall, he is reaching out to a new generation of dealers and shoppers.
He says, “I saw how turning the building into an antique, collectibles and gift mart with many dealers would be an exciting and creative way to go, one good and affordable for the vendors and interesting for the shoppers.” Boasberg recalls, “I got into the business when a friend gave me an idea about starting at the grass roots level and giving people in today’s tough economic times an opportunity to start their own businesses: i.e. dealer stores. It provides them an opportunity as a hobby, a side business or as the choice to sell their wares and create their own special environment.”
Ten dealers are already established at Brand Central and some 20 more can be accommodated in 10-foot by 10-foot, 10-foot by 20-foot, or customized spaces, or with 5- and 6-foot showcases. Like the founder himself, the majority of the mall’s dealers, who often find short-term leases to their advantage, are in their 30s – and they are already reaching out to their contemporaries and younger shoppers.
Traditionally, antique shops have catered to folks enthralled by nostalgia, people who cherish memorabilia from the past. But along with these customers, Brand Central Company sees the potential suggested by those who are captivated by ecology, sound values and practical good sense. Many in this younger generation cherish re-using and re-cycling efforts that help the planet as well as teach about the past.
“I am certified as an EcoBroker,” explains this businessman. “That means I’m a real estate professional who specializes in green design, environmental and energy efficiency. This designation is recognized by the California Department of Real Estate.” Such efforts involve using all modern technology and reaching out by appearing on Facebook, MySpace, blogs, text messages and Twitter … I’m trying to appeal to the younger generation by giving them the opportunity to buy an item with some history behind it as opposed to a newer item. It’s a treasure hunt!”
The range of merchandise is outstanding. Included are furniture, lighting fixtures, rugs, collectibles, pottery and statues, rare books, vintage clothing, gifts, accessories and more. Prices also represent a wide range. For $5 to $15 one may purchase earrings, candles, some figurines and books. A 1920s European perfume bottle has a tag of $130; a large 19th century American mirror with an ornate frame is priced at $8,000; so every purse and pocketbook can be accommodated.
Coupled with the family history in the furniture business and the loyalty of long-term clients, the location of this business is important in addition to its walk-in and “word of mouth” patronage. Boasberg notes, “Almost next door is the Hollywood Production Studios that houses movie and TV shows. Disney, DreamWorks and Warner Brothers are within a 15-minute drive.”
Many employees from these facilities, who frequently rent furniture and artifacts from Brand Central for their shows, are quite young.
They, as well as up-and-coming interior decorators, have discovered this source of affordable and quality merchandise that is desirable for their newly acquired dwellings. And they are knowledgeable about vintage and retro styles both in clothing, furniture and décor. Shabby chic is popular, a style that and in this age of big box stores and mass production, helps establish individuality and personal statements.
Learn more about this modern mall that honors and respects past, present and future by visiting the Web site http://www.425brandcentral.com.
Brand Central Company is at 425 North Brand Boulevard, Glendale, CA 91203 and is open Monday-Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Phone 818-553-3800 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.
Photos courtesy Brand Central
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