Forget Brooklyn: The Los Angeles County Store (not a supply house for municipal employees) is one-stop shopping for uber-artisanal design—and tucked into a strip mall, no less. Perched between a nail salon and a liquor store on Sunset Boulevard in Silver Lake, this unique art, apparel, jewelry, apothecary, food and gift emporium is exclusively stocked “for people who would like to buy local in L.A.,” says founder MaryAnne LoVerme.
Carrying products by some 200 area designers, favorites include plush “drumstick” baby rattles by Janie Xo (comically packaged like a grocery store chicken leg), Gary Silk’s California-shaped cutting boards, Compartes chocolates, 62/50 Map Haus T-shirts depicting local neighborhoods, and cityscape prints by Pixar animator Chris Turnham.
To build up a sense of community, there are weekend trunk shows where customers can meet the makers, and the opening events for the store’s monthly art shows draw a reliably cool crowd. Its most recent installation, “L.A. River: The Fiber of a City,” is an ode to the nearby and nearly dry concrete channel immortalized in films like Grease and The Terminator.
Artist Billy Kheel, who has gained local acclaim for his hand-sewn stuffed-felt renditions of strip mall signs and taco trucks (from $60 at the store), filled his imaginary “L.A. River” tableau with fish, beer cans, snack food bags, a discarded flip phone, gun, police badge and grocery cart.
Prices range from downright reasonable to how-do-they-make-a-profit? Try the candles, cayenne salted caramel corn, Vampire Slayer garlic pickles and tea towels imprinted with L.A. landmarks like the Capitol Records building and Watts Towers—and you’ll still get change back from a $20. You’ll never need another souvenir stand with fake Oscar trophies again and, best of all, you can order almost everything online.
More good reads from T+L:
• A Technologist’s Guide to: Los Angeles
• New York’s Mexican Moment: 9 Restaurant Debuts that Will Make You Forget California and Texas
• Three New Boutiques Adding to the Hip of San Francisco’s Mission District