I recently spent a delightful two hours interviewing Jenny DeYoung, the owner of Santa Rosa’s beloved Disguise the Limit, which has provided costumes, oddities, and fun to the community for about as long as I’ve been alive. After acquiring the store in 2016 and giving her all to keep it afloat the past seven years, DeYoung has decided to call it quits. Her inventory (including costume rentals) is on sale, and they are throwing a goodbye bash on Saturday, March 4—open to the public. Around the corner and in a much quieter fashion, the English pub Toad in the Hole, another fixture of Railroad Square, also closed its doors. In the face of so much loss, it’s hard not to fret about the future of small local businesses.
But as I mourn the pub that kept me hooked on fish ‘n’ chips and the store where I bought my first costume wig just for the hell of it, it’s nice to simultaneously turn my lens onto the stories that give me hope—like Anamaria Morales, aka the College Confectionista, who at 24 is already slaying at the business of making cheesecakes; and Argo Thompson, Chief Eternal Optimist of the new California Theatre, which provides all manner of entertainment most nights of the week.
In the spirit of rebirth and renewal, this year we’ve created a new spread called Hope in the Spotlight, inspired by Rebecca Solnit’s #NotTooLate movement: possibility and progress as antidotes to despair. This issue features the Gold Ridge Conservation District, which, among other things, has helped to bring back the monarch butterfly from near extinction.
Also in this issue, new writer Mark Fernquest explores what can happen when a nonprofit teams with a small business to bring more gardens into people’s backyards, and veteran writer Ursa Born gives the scoop on the land preservation efforts of Ag + Open Space.
Though she hasn’t had enough customers to keep her store open, Jenny DeYoung remains positive, recounting anecdotes about regular patrons and new ones, many of whom are only just discovering this gem. Let her words be an affirmation and a mantra as we head into spring: “This community supports local businesses.” Thanks for keeping our local economy alive, and as always, for reading.
Jess D. Taylor EDITOR
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