When Los Angeles native Montrese Chandler returned from college in New York, she had a clear plan.
“After graduating from Howard University in Washington D.C., I went to Parsons School for Design with the intention of pursuing jewelry-making and clothing design full-time. But when I returned to Los Angeles and settled in Marina Del Rey, I decided to help manage my family’s commercial real estate business instead.”
Although she continues to work on her jewelry and clothing line part-time, she wanted to live in an area “where I could walk every morning to get my coffee. In the marina, I owned a bike that I never rode! I discovered that I could bike a lot in the marina, but walking was a bit more difficult.”
So, Chandler headed to the walk-able Miracle Mile.
“Here I can walk my dog, walk to get groceries, walk to dinner—it’s really the best place to walk in Los Angeles.”
The Miracle Mile is also close to her family’s Beverly Hills and Larchmont area commercial holdings.
“I never have to get on a freeway,” she proclaims happily.
Chandler quickly discovered that her neighbors were a big benefit to living in the Mile.
“We look out for each other,” she says. “We know each other’s names and we see each other every day. Many have become my good friends.”
Their friendships and conversations led to the forming of a neighborhood coalition dealing with the construction of the new underground public transportation coming into the Mile. Chandler also started attending Miracle Mile Residential Association (MMRA) meetings, and after eight years became a board member.
“I am a huge supporter of small businesses, and I wanted to put the focus on our local community,” says Chandler. “If there is an opportunity to have a ‘small business day’ or something else in support of those businesses, I want to be there to help make it happen.”
“I am an equal opportunity supporter of all of the businesses in the Miracle Mile. Being in an environment where you know the storeowners makes such a difference. What it really comes down to is neighbors supporting their local businesses.”
Chandler is excited about the future of the Miracle Mile.
“Not unlike Abbott Kinney or Rodeo Drive, I want the Miracle Mile to become a renowned and sought-after destination place for people from around the world. With the amazing La Brea Ave., the Grove, Farmers Market, the museums and the future Academy Museum, there’s just so much this neighborhood has to offer. I truly believe I live in the best part of Los Angeles.”
By Sondi Toll Sepenuk