By ELAINE ALFARO
Downtown La Mesa was once known as a hub for consignment and antique shops. Over the past 10 years, there have been stark changes characterized by an influx of new restaurants and the decline of novelty stores. However, these changes did not deter The Corner Store from opening its doors to La Mesa for the first time on March 3.
“We were welcomed by many of the other store owners who came by welcoming us to the neighborhood with cards and gifts,” she said. “We’ve had really good days. Our customers seem extremely happy to have us here in La Mesa.”
After having lunch at Konichiwa Sushi, Lisa, a La Mesa resident, was drawn to the restaurant’s new neighbor, The Corner Store.
“It’s darling,” she said. “I love the rustic feel and I can’t wait to come back.”
This rustic feel is represented by a barn house chic deco design. As The Corner Store’s website puts it: “Vintage to New, Rare to Collectible, Essential to Fanciful.”
Carlson’s design inspiration for her shop stems from her experience.
“I have had this store for 20 years with three or four different locations and it has kind of just morphed into this,” she said.
Her design is also a reflection of the family ties within the store. Her daughter creates the stationery that is sold in the store with dried flowers and leaves. In addition to stationery, the store offers novelty decorations, furniture, and chalk paint classes.
Despite a successful first week in La Mesa, Carlson said the past year took a toll on her business. “COVID-19 certainly was a huge setback for many businesses and being closed for three months as well as people staying home definitely hurt our business,” she said. However, Carlson said being a stockist for Annie Sloan Chalk Paint opened some doors for keeping the business thriving.
“We have been able to keep that part of the business going by offering online sales and curbside pick up,” she added.
Carlson said The Corner Store offers new opportunities for home renovation and design with the chalk paint. “Many have been using the chalk paint to fix up old furniture and kitchen/bathroom cabinets,” she said.
All the modified furniture in her store is painted with the chalk paint. It is an alternative way to paint furniture without having to sand and prime. The Corner Store will have its first chalk paint workshop on March 27 with more events scheduled in April as well.
Despite the pandemic and unprecedented challenges of temporarily closing their doors, Carlson said the move to La Mesa was meant it be.
“La Mesa was the perfect place,” she said.
Even though the downtown has become well-known for its restaurants, Carlson said The Corner Store has much to offer.
“I hope to encourage other stores like ours to join us, so La Mesa has a balance of restaurants and interesting stores to poke around in after a good meal.”
— Elaine Alfaro is editorial intern for San Diego Community Newspaper Group.