This Store Spotlight features Gum Tree: a cozy shop in Hermosa Beach, California that carries home and gift items and also houses an Australian-inspired café. Owners Lori and Will Ford opened their business in November of 2008 and split their responsibility between the shop and café, respectively. Read below to find out some more about this great store!
Q: How would you describe your store aesthetic?
A: We carry an eclectic mix of products from all over the world. We are in an old house, and the shop is set up that way…you enter the living room where you’d find a couch piled with Thomas Paul Pillows, and a coffee table full of great books. We also have a dining room where we house a great selection of cookbooks and servers, Jonathan Adler salt and pepper shakers, hopefully the perfect hostess gift. We have a kids room with great baby toys and books and a bedroom area with soaps, lotions, candles, accessories and much more.
Q: What’s a fun or interesting store fact?
A: We’re housed in a 1911 Craftsman bungalow a couple of blocks from the beach in Hermosa. We have both a shop and a café in the little old house, and a great front patio with ocean view seating. My husband is Australian so there are little bits of Aus in both the café menu items and shop products.
Q: Tell us about your city/neighborhood. Why do you love it?
A: Hermosa is a funky little beach town just south of Los Angeles. The setting is amazing, but the people are better. A very eclectic mix of the old timers who used to party down at the pier when it was a haven for motorcycle gangs, mixed with tons of young people right out of college, and lots of families who come for the great schools and laid back beach town vibe.
Q: When not in your store, where is the next most likely place you’d be?
A: At the beach or Valley Park with the kids.
Q: What’s your favorite restaurant in your city/neighborhood?
A: Gum tree café of course! But we’re only open for breakfast and lunch so for dinner we love Abigaile across the street for a grown up experience or La Playita for inexpensive Mexican with the best view in town if we’ve got the kids.
Q: If there is one thing someone “must do” when they visit your area, what would you recommend?
A: A walk or bike ride down the strand. For the more adventurous, rent a stand up paddleboard from Tarsan and hit the water.
Q: What was your inspiration/motivation to open your store?
A: As long as I could remember I wanted to have a shop of my own. My previous job in product development and design took me on shopping trips all over the world and I had notebooks full of products I wanted to carry when I finally opened my own place.
Q: How did you come up with your store name?
A: My husband is Australian and when I was trying to come up with a name I was thinking of names of trees and plants, but nothing was sticking. we wanted something that conveyed a natural eco friendly vibe, and also that would work for our shop/café concept. I asked him for some Aussie slang words and after about 20 ridiculous ones he spit out gum tree, and it was perfect! I saw the logo in my head right away and never looked back.
Q: What’s next for you/your store? Any upcoming sales/events?
A: The summertime is busy with more tourists coming to the beach. I love to buy all the sunhats and bags, beach umbrellas and Turkish cotton towels. We’ve recently launched an online site and we’re very excited about the potential there.
Q: What blogs/magazines do you follow?
A: I follow Décor 8, Apartment Therapy, Beach Bungalow 8, Design Sponge, A Fashion Gal and a Fireman. I also always read House Beautiful, New York Magazine, and elle décor, and I am of course obsessed with Pinterest.
Q: Where do you find all of your products?
A: I love the New York gift shows and I go twice a year. I also do the LA gift shows and all the jewelry and accessories markets in LA. And when I can I go to the flea market, unique LA shows, and sometimes I get lucky during my late night blog trolling.