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Guest Blogger: Magnolia Park merchant speaks out

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Photo: FLLewis / Media City G -- Ralph Persinger Magnolia Park merchant August 8, 2014

Photo: FLLewis / Media City G — Ralph Persinger Magnolia Park merchant August 8, 2014

My wife and I own BURBANK ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES at 3423 West Magnolia Boulevard on “Antique Row.” Our store specializes in mid-century and baby boomer collectibles. We’re not a thrift store or junk shop! Our merchandise is highly collectible. Many of our customers say our store brings back happy childhood memories. It would not be the same if “Antique Row” is replaced with new trendy electronics and new fashion accessory stores!

There are already enough vintage clothing, Halloween stores, new retail outlets, coffee shops & restaurants in our business section of Magnolia Park, which brings us to the Magnolia Park Merchants Association. Can you imagine being on a boulevard full of small businesses and stores and a handful of merchants are determining the fate and direction of the entire district? Of course like anything else in life, people who have the same desires and vision group together. The president of the organization, Ashley Erikson, does not even own or rent a storefront in Magnolia Park or Burbank for that matter.

The group that runs the association is like a clique back in high school. They’re very devoted “good buddies” who would not cross lines to reach out to someone else. If our businesses do not benefit from their promotions and parties, we can lump it. It’s  outrageous. They want us to pay $360 a year to give them more power to plow ahead over anyone who gets in their way. We have been personally bullied by one member of  the board, Kerry Krull of Romancing the Bean –also on the 3400 block of West Magnolia.  She tried to intimidate us.  Her business has impacted our business  in a serious way (as well as other businesses on the block).

The Magnolia Park Merchants Association board should have members who have a deep understanding of all the various types of businesses and their needs. At this time, if you’re not in their clique, your business may be discussed at their meeting (in an unfavorable way). Bottom line is if you’re not of their mind-set you won’t be welcomed on this board. Also, they give the impression they would rather you didn’t attend the association meetings. Magnolia Park Merchants Association has some big problems that need to be fixed.

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Ralph Persinger is co-owner of Burbank Antiques, 3423 West Magnolia Boulevard on “Antique Row” in Burbank’s Magnolia Park (818) 845-5700. They carry a wide selection of  collectibles including vintage toys, dolls, phones, record albums, record players, oil paintings, Fiestaware, and hundreds of lunch boxes.

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11 Responses to Guest Blogger: Magnolia Park merchant speaks out

  1. Adrian Danescu Sunday, November 2, 2014 at 4:51 pm #

    I just read Ralph’s comments and I fully support his comments. My wife Alice and I are the co-owners of Burbank Books & Antiques on the 3400 block of Magnolia Blvd. We specialize in European and American 1800’s antiques and rare books. There are not too many of us around anymore as it was back in 1988 when my wife and I first moved to Burbank. Nevertheless, there are still lovers of collectibles, antiques, art and rare books who come to our stores and enjoy what they call “hidden treasures”.
    With few exceptions, we are not bothered or threatened by our neighbors but there is definitely a strange attitude towards us from some of the owners who are members of the Magnolia Park Merchants Association. Most of them are friendly people who mind their own business and joined the Association in order to grow their business. However, there is a small group within this Association which is more of a clique and who has chosen to treat the antique stores owners with disrespect. I was struggling to determine what the reason is and what makes them special, but I gave up and I decided to mind my own business. I am just hoping that their attitude is not contagious to affect other members!
    To me, this is not a legitimate organization in a position to make decisions as suggested by a member of the City of Burbank Traffic Commission. To start with, the President does not have hardly any experience or background in retail, sales or marketing nor does she own a brick and mortar business. The first Board member was chosen not by vote, but because she allows her facilities to be used for their meetings. By the way, I know this as fact from multiple sources who are now members of the Association and even the Board.
    And now, let me be frank about this “Board”! Prior to my retirement, as an executive in the financial industry, I was member of various non-profit organizations Board of Directors. They followed the By-Laws and were registered with the state. Does this association have the By-Laws? Is this Association regulated by the California state Laws? If not, why is it recognized by the City Traffic Commission and mentioned by some City Council members?
    I attended a meeting few weeks ago of the association and to be honest, I haven’t heard or seen anything to encourage me to join them. I wouldn’t mind paying a fee and becoming a member of an organization legally established and run by real business people who understand the needs of the community.
    Bottom line, this Association with its small group of disruptive individuals will eventually fall apart unless their whole mentality is changing. And then, maybe I will join them!
    Happy Holidays!
    Adrian Danescu

  2. Al in SoCal Wednesday, November 5, 2014 at 10:33 pm #

    I’d be interested to know what type of solutions they are looking for? An association is just that – you can choose not to be a part of one.

    I’m not clear on the point of this article other than to say that they are a clique. What can anyone do about this IF everything they do is legal and by the “books” – no pun intended.

    Just looking for more information about this and what is being asked or is this an opinion on the association for whom most readers have no knowledge of and can do nothing about?

  3. Tina Van Curen Friday, November 7, 2014 at 4:05 pm #

    I am the owner of Autobooks-Aerobooks at 2900 W. Magnolia. This store has been a part of the Magnolia Park community since 1951.
    I was encouraged to see the establishment of a Merchants Association and paid my dues in hopes of helping generate business in our neighborhood and give merchants a voice with the city of Burbank. These were the goals of the now defunct PBID. Organizing ourselves and working toward these goals is a great idea.
    The problem I see at this point is that the association is controlled by a small group who took up the Ladies Night Out events after the demise of the PBID. They have a very limited view of the purpose of the association and do not welcome input or participation of the broader group of Magnolia Park merchants. They elected themselves to the Board of Directors and selected a “President” who has NO business experience or acumen.
    As a result, many businesses have opted not to join the association and others are considering not renewing our membership.
    The Mechants Association is a CA corporation which has legal responsibilities to hold open elections, publish financial reports and generally conduct business according to standard corporate practices. If it is to continue and succeed current and potential members need to help it become a businesslike organization which will be able to work with the local government and promote Magnolia Park to new businesses and consumers.

  4. Al in SoCal Friday, November 7, 2014 at 8:58 pm #

    I’ve seen organizations run like this, unfortunately you state here “As a result, many businesses have opted not to join the association and others are considering not renewing our membership.”

    Without membership you can’t vote on board members or sometimes attend meetings or have any say whatsoever. The goal would be to recruit MORE participants than the “small group” that now controls that organization enacting a takeover to a more balanced association. You can’t have a say if you’re not a member – though if they are not doing things by the books, that is also an avenue to push forward with.

  5. Adrian Danescu Saturday, November 8, 2014 at 9:44 am #

    Al in SoCal (I wish I knew who you are) raises couple of valid points in his/her comments. What is legal about this organization? Are they a legal entity? Nothing was published or discussed to neither the best of my knowledge nor some of the members I spoke with. Are they a 501c3 corporation or an S, C or LLC?
    (By the way, I checked the Directory of the State of California for Magnolia Park Merchant Association and there is NOT such entity).
    Let’s say they are a legal entity! If so, do they have the proper Articles of Incorporation and the By-Laws? Are they governed by the State of California? Why would I put in jeopardy my corporation if this organization is not a legal entity and becomes liable to a law suit? Then all the members and the Board are liable as you probably know. This is one of the reasons I have chosen not to join this association so far. So, “the proof is in the pudding” in reply to your comment ”What can anyone do about this IF everything they do is legal and by the “books” – no pun intended”.
    More so, a legal entity will question the potential conflict of interest when both husband and wife are members of the Board. They need legal advice more than cheerleading and chatting about the next Ladies Night Out while sipping a glass of wine. (talking about being cliquish).
    Further on, the association needs a strong business person with some legal knowledge to become the liaison with the City Council. Maybe the Chair Person of the Board of Directors should be the person responsible for this. Is there a Chair Person of the Board?
    There are over 60 members in this association and I am sure that there are few people who have a background in corporate business. They should be members of the Board. .
    And now, here are my last comments in case someone wonders:
    1. I have no intention to run for any of the above positions.
    2. I will join the Association in order for me to fully support my goals and the merchants who believe there is a need for a change.

  6. Ralph Persinger Monday, November 10, 2014 at 11:36 am #

    Fronnie So glad to hear people are catching on to this disfunctional association. Even though some minimize the decisions they make, we as a district are all subjected to their decisions.When a sugestion is made at a meeting, one board member can knock it down & move on if it’s not good for their personal business ” And They Do”. It,s teamwork with them only. One example is to have the “Christmas Party” after Thanksgiving instead of before — Forget it.This group is very closed minded. If anyone is in disagreement—They are deemed “Negative”.The president Ashley Erickson has now fallen into collateral damage by allegiance or association with Kerry Krull the owner of Romancing The Bean. As a leader,Ashley not only is bias to her friend ( Kerry Krull) she is in denial of major issues in Magnolia Park.The 3400 block of W. Magnolia was experiencing a parking problem that was unsurpassed. We have since obtained “One Hour Parking” on this block which has helped tremendously. Ashley went on record to state there was not a parking problem on this block How out of touch is that? Ten merchants on the block signed a petition for “One hour Parking because we needed the turnover so badly. Why would a leader not acknowledge (TEN PEOPLE) on one block? To be “Allegiant to her friend” ???

  7. Kevin Harrop Tuesday, November 18, 2014 at 1:22 pm #

    This is all an interesting and at times an emotional discussion, but to my mind as a resident of Burbank I want to ask the larger question:

    Is Magnolia Blvd a highway that gets people from North Hollywood or is it a pedestrian friendly shopping district populated by a charming mix of book, antique, clothing stores and restaurants that draw Burbankers and others for a pleasant few hours of shopping?

    My vote would be for the second, if I had one to cast.

  8. Fronnie Tuesday, November 18, 2014 at 2:43 pm #

    Kevin,

    I would vote for the second choice, too.

  9. Gramma Linda Wednesday, November 26, 2014 at 1:46 pm #

    I just had another neighbor remark about the rat problem and thought more folks may benefit from the reponse I received from Fronnie when I told her about my experience! This is what I wrote:
    When I visit my mother on Avon Street, her new topic of discussion is also happening on the 3400 block of Magnolia Blvd. There is a serious rodent infestation in the alley between Avon and Lima behind the food store and restaurant. I hope they don’t end up on our beautiful Avon street. I’m not the only neighbor who has seen them. I take a walk with my dog thru the alley sometimes after 11:00 pm and it’s RAT CITY! My dog goes crazy. My mother says it’s unsafe to walk in the alley anymore after dark. Gramma Linda, A concerned neighbor.

    Fronnie Replied:
    How’s about contacting Bob Kramer,
    Community Assistance Coordinator? I know Kramer drives around the city, including the alleys, and frequently has abandoned furniture and junk removed.This sounds like a serious problem. Here’s his information.
    Call (818) 238-5795 (office) or (818) 953-0963 (pager)
    Send an e-mail to Bob Kramer (bkramer@burbankca.gov)
    Visit Bob at his office on the second floor of City Hall, 275 East Olive Avenue.
    Keep me posted on what happens.

    Thanks,

    Fronnie

  10. Fronnie Wednesday, November 26, 2014 at 1:51 pm #

    Okay, has anyone contacted Bob Kramer? It’s fine to post here, but residents need to be proactive if you want to get results.

  11. FRED Sunday, November 30, 2014 at 11:30 am #

    Fronnie I may be an old man but I think I feel as most of the neighbors do.I was glad to see only a few food trucks last Friday.It’s really an eyesore and very overwhelming for our home to be so close to so many of these trucks. Is anyone monitoring this? Are these people required to stop at some point? Do we as neighbors have a say? I don’t think it’s in anyone’s best interest to continue at this pace.Magnolia Park is not an industrial area. I see a lot of alcohol served in stores__it’s just no tright! Changing gears= What happened to the Christmas Party this year? We took a long drive after to make up for our disappointment. I laughed when the neighbor lady said,”Those guys need a little therapy”.

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