By Breeana Greenberg, Special to the Independent
Heidi Miller’s World Newsstand reopened at a new South Coast Highway location on Saturday, after outdoor dining parklets crowded out the old location’s loading zone on Ocean Avenue.
With the Pacific Edge hotel being remodeled, and the newsstand reopening next door at 689 S. Coast Hwy., Miller felt that the surrounding area was bustling with energy.
“There’s new energy coming into this little area,” Miller said. “I want to be part of the change, part of the positive part of moving forward, and part of the success of Laguna Beach as I always have.”
When the commercial loading zone in front of the newsstand was converted into a parklet for outdoor dining, Miller decided to search for a new location in June. However, the parklets are old news, Miller said.
“I’m not against the parklets, I really don’t want to focus on that,” Miller said. “When they put three in the newsstand, that was a little overkill. Right then I knew, okay, let me go find a new location.”
Miller finds that there’s a lot more foot traffic at the new location, surrounded by hotels, adding that tourists and locals are more likely to shop at the newsstand as opposed to the “day trippers” passing through downtown Laguna to get to the beach.
“What I have found here in just the four days I’ve been open, is all the hotels around me, there’s people walking by constantly, there’s actually more foot traffic here than there is downtown, and they dine, and they shop and they eat, and they support these businesses down here,” Miller said.
The new location is also indoors, which protects the newspapers and magazines from the humidity and the sea breeze.
“We went from being outside, in the elements, to inside,” Miller said. “So our magazines and everything aren’t going to get ruined.”
Miller called on a local effort to reopen the World Newsstand. Hoping to recycle, when she wanted to buy some mirrors for the shop, she put out a call to locals to see if anyone had mirrors they weren’t using that she could buy.
Outside of the newsstand, the front wall is painted to look like a newspaper. The newspaper reads “Laguna Beach News” and lists Miller’s 30 favorite places to visit in Laguna.
“It lists what’s newsworthy in Laguna, and it’s all of our famous places in Laguna, and our 30 beaches and coves,” Miller said. “I mean people stop dead in their tracks and they look at that, and I watch them every day, sometimes I can watch 20, 30 people stop and they’re reading and seeing what’s on there.”
Miller also hired a local graphic artist to paint the newspaper wall outside of the newsstand.
“It’s a local effort really to put this thing together, it really is,” Miller said. “It’s a lot of positive people wanting to see a nice positive change.”
The World Newsstand has been around for over 40 years, Miller explained, though it’s had several owners. One day, on her way to her store Tight Assets, she noticed that the newsstand was shuttered.
“I walked by and it said, ‘thank you Laguna for 10 wonderful years’ and ‘I thought oh my goodness,’ that corner just died,” Miller said.
When Miller decided to reopen the newsstand, she took inspiration from newsstands she’d seen in New York, Chicago, and Boston.
“It was wonderful because our Chief of Police at that time, came in and said how wonderful it was that I had reopened it because one of the complaints the police department got was ‘what happened to the newsstand?” Miller said.
Her father’s career as a professor at Berkeley also inspired her to pass on a love of literature to future generations.
“I don’t want young kids, teenage and younger, to not know what a newsstand is and have that one of those words that they go ‘What does that mean?” Miller said. “I want them to know what a newsstand is and maybe read one or two things that might spark their interest, and keep that treasure alive for the whole community. It’s super important to me.”
Miller has no plans to return the newsstand to Ocean Avenue.
“We’re going to be here for a long time,” Miller said. “I love it here, I am grateful. It’s absolutely perfect for me.”View Our User Comment Policy