Eleven years ago this week, 309 South Cedros Avenue was abuzz … delivery trucks unloading, display cabinets being installed, artwork going up, computers booting … excitement was in the air! SoLo was about to open its doors!
SoLo was the brainchild of Carole Carden, owner of Del Mar’s beloved and sorely missed Esmerelda Books & Coffee. Carole and I had boutiques in the Cedros Trading Company, which was a collective of about forty merchants, previously occupying the building that houses SoLo now.
In 2000, the building was sold and the Trading Company dissolved by spring of 2001. The new owner of this 10,000 sf warehouse enlisted the services of acclaimed architect Jennifer Luce to “gut” the warehouse and build it out to accommodate his landscape design studio and a retail operation to front the space. He then approached the owner of his favorite bookstore, asking her to bring an outpost of Esmerelda to Cedros Avenue. But with the book business suffering, Carole had a better idea. Take the standout merchants from the Cedros Trading Company (all looking for new outlets), bring in a few notable newcomers, and form a more selective collective of about eight merchants to offer a truly unique and diversified shopping experience. The result is SoLo, the standout of the bustling Cedros Design District for eleven years now!
The 4,000 sf space is anchored by Carole’s perfectly curated art/design/architecture/lifestyle book selections. SoLo offers diverse styles of home furnishings and accessories, antiques and art, cards and gifts, soaps and candles, toys … something for everyone. Most of our core group is still intact and I’m so proud to be a part of the talented and creative team that is SoLo!
Cheers to our eleventh anniversary! Love ya’ Carole!
// Photo: Jennifer Price