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Meet Shaheen and Linda Sadeghi of The LAB in Costa Mesa

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shaheen and Linda Sadeghi.

 Shaheen and Linda, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
We are a husband and wife design team, who after 20 years in the apparel industry, took to brick and mortar as a new design medium. With “The LAB” as our working title, an acronym for “little American business”, we endeavored to create a fertile ground for local entrepreneurs to launch their business ideas/artistry in an nurturing environment by establishing The LAB Anti-Mall in 1993. We targeted the “young at heart” demographic that we seemed to know well from the apparel field, who were looking for an eclectic and welcoming “hang out” shopping experience. We sprinkled live music, rotating art gallery, community based events and a “Living Room” area in the “anti-mall” environment to great success (knock on wood!) Next year will be the 25th anniversary of our experiment, The LAB, in Costa Mesa, City of the Arts!

Today, we are accepting other challenges – with historical building renovation and repurpose at the heart. We added The CAMP eco retail campus in 2002, Anaheim Packing House authentic food hall in 2014, and historic Casino San Clemente dance hall turned event venue in 2009 to our resume. We design and operate our own retail operations as well including SEED Peoples Market, Healthy Junk vegan eatery, BXCR wine bar, Ink & Bean Coffee Saloon and Word Shop, Barbeer barber shop and craft beer bar and several more. New projects in the works include the rehab of the historic Balboa Theater; the BARN artisan residential project and HOMEMADE mixed use projects in Anaheim; Cottage Industries repurposed homes-into-small-businesses project in Garden Grove and more!

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
No smooth road since we were entering a new field of endeavor and we were operating without a commercial real estate “rule book”. For example, Orange County was bankrupt when we started The LAB, so no financing to be found. (Luckily private resources came to our aid!) Also, our CAMP project in Costa Mesa contained several “eco” amenities for which City building code had not yet been written i.e. underground percolation tanks (to capture rain runoff) and grass roofs – so experienced unexpected delays in getting building inspections. Also, many of our projects are rehab of historic structures now land locked by urban growth and modern parking and ADA codes are challenges for compliance.

The LAB – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
We are artists at heart which colors our design as well as our day to day operation of projects. Traditional “developers” (we cringe at that name!) typically “flip” projects and/or do not operate holdings directly. We take pride in our projects and walk the properties regularly – evolving the art installs and maintenance seasonally. Our eclectic touch and personal involvement is atypical in the commercial real estate industry, but the core of our niche approach. We feel we were pioneers of sort to have live music, poetry readings, fashion shows, art installations and “hang out” areas within a retail environment exclusively featuring the small business person.

What quality or characteristic do you feel is most important to your success?
Keeping art engrained in all we do, staying in touch with our local community and supporting local entrepreneurs, avoiding traditional retail chain operators/monotony.

Contact Info:

  • Website: www.thelab.com
  • Phone: 714.966.6661
  • Email: info@thelab.com
  • Instagram: @thelabantimall @thecampoc @packingdistrict @anaheimmake @thecasinosc

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

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