Part-time job as a teen led to Vine American ownership

| July 31, 2014 | 0 Comments
PARTY PROFESSIONALS, left to right: are Cesar Gonzalez, Leslie Macias, Sonia Arriaza, Nicole McLaughlin and  Dennis Corsino

PARTY PROFESSIONALS, left to right: are Cesar Gonzalez, Leslie Macias, Sonia Arriaza, Nicole McLaughlin and Dennis Corsino.

If it seems that we just covered the story of the Vine American party store’s 75th anniversary, you would be wrong. That was five long years ago. Now, as we move into the store’s 80th year, we can officially confirm that time waits for no one.

Vine American opened its doors in 1934, providing tents, tables, chairs and other festive rental equipment to the local studios and residential party-planners. Over the years, Vine American, still at its original location at 5969 Melrose Ave., slowly moved away from the rental business and focused more and more on the party supply aspect of the business.

“I think longevity is key,” says Leslie Macias, president and owner of Vine American, who has been with the company for 35 years. “People know us as the corner party store.”

With clients such as Nickelodeon and Paramount Studios nearby, as well as local families, the store is in high demand. The 10,000-square-foot shop carries more than 60,000 items, including dozens of balloon colors, piñatas, candy, birthday supplies, wedding décor and supplies for every holiday imaginable, including Halloween, Christmas, St. Patrick’s Day, the Super Bowl, Mardi Gras, Valentine’s Day and all kinds of parties. “We used to sell Rolling Stones plates, but now we sell One Direction plates,” laughs Macias. “It’s just crazy to see how the times change!”

She started working at the store for the original owners, the Irvings, when she was in high school. “I could walk from my house to work, and then go home for lunch, and then walk back. It was the perfect place for a kid to work.”

During the store’s 80-year history, the employees have witnessed many ups and downs with the economy that have forced other party stores out of business.

“I think that since we’ve been here so long, we’re able to sustain the rough times. The hard work and dedication of the employees is a big reason for that.”

In addition to Macias being with the company since her teens, several of her employees have been with the company for decades.  Sonia Arriaza has worked at the store for 20 years, while Dennis Corsino clocks in around 12 years. “I can’t remember,” he laughs.

One of the biggest changes Macias has noticed since the 75th anniversary five years ago is the legalization of gay marriage in California. “Weddings have increased greatly with the passage of gay marriage, which has helped a lot of businesses, including ours,” she says.

Vine American’s employees plan a modest, low-key celebration for the store this year.  The front window advertises the store’s 80 years, but other than that, it’s work as usual. “I like the constant change of seasons,” says Macias.  “It keeps you moving, always looking forward to the next holiday.”

Or the next anniversary. How about 100 years, Vine American? It will be here sooner than you think.


By Sondi Toll Sepenuk


Category: Entertainment

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