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
On a visit to a flea market in Buenos Aires 15 years ago, one of my vendors came across a family selling a collection of beautiful vintage seltzer bottles from the 1930’s. He bought all that he could carry, bonded with the family and promised to stay in touch. Back in the states, he showed them to designers and sold out of them immediately. Realizing the demand for these cool pieces, he contacted the family about getting more. On his next visit to Argentina, he decided to set the family up with their own business, collecting and restoring the bottles. He helped them learn to use the Internet, open a bank account, take orders by fax or email, etc., thus developing their own local enterprise. He then buys the finished products from the family and resells them to customers in the U.S. Since then, he’s worked with many families all over Argentina, fostering small business development and recycling classic pieces from the past.
For years, I’ve lusted over these amazing seltzer pendant lights and finally got to use them in a design project. Made from original metal-clad Argentine bottles, the nozzles removed, bottoms sheared off and fitted with UL approved electrical components, these lights create an industrial statement with a warm authenticity. Installed over the bar at Zel’s Del Mar, my favorite local café, I get to enjoy them regularly and love sharing the story behind them.
I currently have limited stock of the pendant lights available at my shop.
// Photo Zel’s Del Mar: Ed Chan