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Meet Anna Lopez of Boulevard 34 in Glendale

Today we’d like to introduce you to Anna Lopez.

Anna, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My very first job was working in a clothing shop at the local mall. I enjoyed the customer service and energy of the retail world so from there I went on to work at large chain stores such as Abercrombie & Fitch and Tilly’s. A much as I loved retail, however, I did not enjoy the corporate aspect of it.

I took a year off to travel and found myself back in the retail world when I returned, but this time I was the manager for a large mom and pop owned gift shop called Handmade Galleries in Sherman Oaks. I quickly fell in love with my new job. We had over 75 local artists on consignment and I loved working with them and helping them grow their businesses.

After I had been at Handmade Galleries for about 5 years, the owners decided to move on to other things and closed the doors. I was lost as to what to do next. I knew I couldn’t go back to a corporate job. I had loved the small business aspect of Handmade Galleries so much! And so I got my mom on board and we decided to make a dream we had been talking about for a long time, come true.

We opened {Boulevard 34} in 2013 in my hometown of Montrose, CA. We brought many of the artists in that I had worked with previously at Handmade Galleries. We have been open almost 3.5 years and I am thankful every day that I get to do what I love, on my own terms!

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Is it ever a smooth road when you own your own business? Haha 😉

There have definitely been hard times. No one prepares you for the emotional rollercoaster you are about to board when you start a business. I take everything very seriously and have had to learn to walk away and take a break sometimes.

We have dealt with a lot of personal issues over the last few years that have nothing to do with the store but when you own a business it is a huge part of your life so everything is affected.

We really have been blessed with amazing customers who have become friends and an amazing support system through our family. I think anytime you work with family you have good times and rough times. But my mom and I make a great team and we wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for her constant support.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Boulevard 34 story. Tell us more about the business.
We started Boulevard 34 with the hope of making it a place where our community could get unique and thoughtful products without having to leave town and go to the mall. We are extremely passionate about the ‘Shop Small” movement and would like to bring back the face-to-face experience of shopping in a local store.

We offer crafting nights in our back room for the local community, we serve beverages while people shop, we host parties and shop nights and we just really strive to make it a comfortable place where people can enjoy themselves.

We carry the work of over 15 local and US based artists, many of whom I have been working with for over 8 years now! I love helping other entrepreneurs by carrying their lovely work in my shop. We work towards carrying products that give back to the world in some way and we love supporting our local community through fundraisers, etc.

I love the community we have created at our shop. Our customers, friends, and family are alway stopping in to visit, have a glass of wine, chat, and shop. I still can’t believe I get to call it work 🙂

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I really don’t believe in luck…I think that life is full of experiences, good and bad, and it’s how we handle those experiences that shape us.

Not even a year into opening my business my husband left me. I was devastated and considered closing the shop. But with the help of my support network, I put one foot in front of the other every day and kept going. I used the hardship as motivation to be really successful 😉

We have also dealt with medical issues, a death in the family, financial hardships and so much more in the last 3 years. Those could all be considered “bad luck” situations but I just call it life. The shop has really become a place where I have been able to heal, grow, learn and become a better version of myself.

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