Tuesday, April 3, 2018

SoCal Made Opens in Mission Valley

The latest retail shop featuring handmade products created by local artisans has opened in Mission Valley at Westfield Mission Valley near the AMC Mission Valley movie theaters and across from Ruby's Diner. SoCal Made is the baby of Denise Robles, who told me at the store's Saturday afternoon grand opening that she handpicked 48 vendors basically via Etsy, looking at their sales and reviews, and referrals from other vendors.

What you'll find is a collection of jewelry, candles, sunglasses, bags, textiles, and some very cool coasters.

But there are also edibles. When I was there, I found four vendors of sweets. The first, at the entrance, actually, was Crumbles' sugar cookies, which I wrote about last week (and how I learned about the shop).

Then I stumbled onto a cute collection of caramels from Sugar Mamma. The company has sea salt,  vegan, coconut, and coffee flavors, along with marshmallows and white chocolate bark.

In the far corner of the SoCal Made shop is a whimsical display of Swoonful Cotton Candy. You won't just find pink cotton candy, but also horchata. The company also displayed unicorn and bunny bark.

Finally, there was Allegro Vegan Chocolate Truffles. Owner Gloria Garcia was there handing out samples. I'll be meeting with her soon for an interview to learn how she achieves such a rich, chocolate truffle flavor and texture sans butter and heavy cream.

Robles has divided the space in half. The front is the retail area, but there's a large space in the back where workshops and classes will be taught by Robles and the vendors to allow customers to try their hand at making these objects--and perhaps food. Class subjects so far include sewing, jewelry making, candle making, heat press for vinyl, succulents design, and many other types of craft-related classes. Robles also welcomes others in the community to teach workshops or classes. Send a note to info@socalmade.com. Once classes are scheduled you can sign up on the website or in the shop.

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