Sherman Oaks has always attracted customers who are well-known in the entertainment industry, but now a number of the businesses along Ventura Boulevard are actually owned by high-profile people—in fact, a strip along the boulevard is becoming known as "celebrity row."
Sherman Oaks Patch caught up with actress Lisa Rinna having lunch at Sweet Butter restaurant next door to her store, Belle Gray. Rinna told Patch she and her husband, actor Harry Hamlin, were the first celebrities to open a business on her block. Belle Gray is a high-end women’s clothing boutique at 13812 Ventura Blvd. Rinna said she moved in 7 1/2 years ago and is thrilled to have her friends opening businesses a few doors down.
Patch on several unsolved burglaries at Belle Gray last year.
Floor manager Cat Wellman, busy waiting on several customers at Belle Gray said business has been good, although Rinna and Hamlin have recently condensed the merchandise and downsized the store’s space by half.
“I am so grateful that Leslie [Danelian] opened Sweet Butter. It’s also fun because I can just walk down and visit with my friends Tori [Spelling] and Dean [McDermott], and they come down to Belle Gray. It’s very cohesive and lovely. We bring all our clients to the restaurant here too,” Rinna said.
Rinna said she is enjoying a break from television production right now and can be seen currently on NBC's Celebrity Apprentice, which finished shooting last October. She and Hamlin also wrapped their reality show Harry Loves Lisa.
"I'm co-hosting Live With Regis and Kelly at the end of the month but mostly I’m just being a mom,” Rinna said.
Spelling opened her antique store, InvenTori, at 13826 Ventura Blvd. on Valentine’s Day.
"The store is such a fun family business," Spelling said. "We love the feedback we get from customers. Thanks to their recommendations, we have beefed up our baby and dog products and are very excited for all the new product lines we'll be carrying and the events we'll be doing on our patio," she said.
Sally Smoody, manager of InvenTori, told Patch that the store is being stocked with new items from Spelling’s personal inventory.
“We call ourselves a 'life-style' store," Smoody said, because all items are things Spelling has picked herself to use in her home. Smoody explained how the star has used the networking site Twitter to sell items from the store.
“Our online store isn’t up yet but we have been selling specific items on Twitter," she said. "Tori will put up photos of one or two pieces and they sell all over the world. Whenever a customer buys an item, Tori will write a thank-you note on the label card, which is pretty nice for the fans.”
Just down the block, former Sabrina the Teenage Witch star Melissa Joan Hart opened Sweetharts at 13704 Ventura Blvd. Sweetharts has gelato, cupcakes, baked goods and hard candy.
Hart was unavailable the day we visited the shop. But Sweetharts manager Aidan McConkey said the dessert store has just launched a new concept called “Play Dates,” which are groups of five to 20 kids that get an hour of either fairy tale story time, candy crafts or arts and crafts, karaoke or a pizza party. Prices start at $16 per child.
McConkey said another new thing at the store is the “Fro-Yo Challenge,” which is popular with high school kids. It's a massive 75-ounce frozen yogurt that costs $25—if you finish it in one hour it’s free, and you get the brain-freeze bragging rights with your picture up on a board in the store.
A few blocks away, Steven Bauer, who co-starred in the movie Scarface with Al Pacino, told us his Cuban restaurant Café Con Leche will soon be open.
And let's not forget Christina Vega, co-owner of the popular Casa Vega restaurant, which is featured on the Bravo reality show Flipping Out.