Photograph by Albert Sanchez
Known for her fuchsia locks, chunky Lucite jewelry, and nostalgic collections featuring Barbie and Hello Kitty that are sold worldwide, Tarina Tarantino has never shied away from the bold statement. Long before downtown was in revival mode, she was manufacturing jewelry and accessories in a rented space. But she’d always hoped to own a building to house each facet of her ever-expanding > business. She already had a name for it—the Sparkle Factory—and her eye was on a seven-story bastardized Gothic revival at Broad-way and 9th Street.
“We looked at so many turnkey places,” says her husband and business partner, Alfonso Campos. “But for Tarina it had to be L.A., it had to be downtown, and it had to be this building.” “This building” was the original location of L.L. Burns’s Western Costume Company, which Tarantino had passed on her way to work and fallen in love with. “My great-grandmother, my grandmother, and my mother used to come downtown to shop, and they would talk about all the beautiful stores and the opulence,” says Tarantino. “You look down the street now and it’s hard to imagine, but the buildings are still there.”
Thanks in part to Bringing Back Broadway, an initiative that provides financial incentives to renovate vacant storefronts and commercial spaces, Tarantino, who purchased the building in 2007, can now afford to remodel it. By this fall her manufacturing and retail operations will be under one roof, and down the line she plans to add a salon, an art gallery, and locally made products that include furniture and home accessories. “We feel a tremendous responsibility to bring the building back to its former glory and give something to the community, not just a retail space,” says Tarantino. “We may be calling it the Sparkle Factory, but don’t expect the floor to be covered in Swarovski crystals. To me, sparkle is more than a shiny object—it’s a state of mind. It’s about optimism.”
Broadway Bound: Coming Soon
The hipster home away from home will occupy the old United Artists Theatre building at 9th.
Ross Dress For Less
The chain plans to set up shop in the historic Woolworth’s building between 7th and 8th.
Adam Fleischman is opening his restaurant/deli in the Orpheum Lofts at 9th.