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Visit faraway places on Higuera St.

Learn new moves, buy new threads, hear new sounds at an exotic SLO outpost.



MERRYMAKERS :  Wendy Oliver and Ras Danny enlighten customers about the greater world beyond San Luis Obispo. - PHOTO BY DYLAN BAUMANN
  • MERRYMAKERS : Wendy Oliver and Ras Danny enlighten customers about the greater world beyond San Luis Obispo.
As you enter Bali Isle Imports in its new downtown SLO location at 587 Higuera St. enticing aromas of exotic incense swirl as upbeat reggae music lays down a positive vibe. This unique store features handcrafted goods from Jamaica, Guam, Guatemala, Morocco, Indonesia, Egypt, Afghanistan, China, Tibet, Nepal, India, and South America. That’s just the beginning. The store offers belly-dancing classes, features weekly live music by Ras Danny and The Reggae All Star Band, provides special art classes, has its own local TV show and website, and also produces festivals.

Since moving from its old home on Chorro Street to the new digs, which are four times larger, the store has greatly increased the range of merchandise. New products include hemp clothing, children’s clothing, Huasna Organic Farm soaps, Marley coffee, silks, and Peacock Goddess Wear.

“We were the first place in the state to be official and authorized Bob Marley dealers, so we carry all the things from the Marley family,” said Bali Isle owner Wendy Oliver. “My husband Ras Danny was a friend of Bob Marley as well.” Bali Isle Imports has called SLO home for 22 years. “I’m getting all new customers since I moved and the old ones are finding me as well,” said Oliver. “I have my online customers too. We ship all over the world.”

It’s not all about merchandise. The broadcast venture of the business, Bali Isle TV, presents live music, festival clips, belly dancing, and other content on Charter Cable channel 25 every Monday night from 11 p.m. to midnight, and Tribal 101 Bellydance Basics gets torsos undulating inside the shop from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The drop-in class accepts all levels of experience. Amy Harway, the president of SLO Middle Eastern Culture and Dance Association, shows dancers the moves.  According to Oliver, a dozen people usually participate, ranging from 18-year-olds to students four times that age.

The store stages the annual SLO Music Fest in Mission Plaza and the Tribal Fusion Fair at Veterans’ Hall. Oliver’s husband is putting on two reggae fundraisers in February. On Feb. 4 from 7 to 11 p.m. at Downtown Brew, Ras Danny and The Reggae All Stars will play a Trenchtown Tribute: a benefit for Trenchtown youths. On February 6, Bob Marley’s birthday, the 10th annual Bob Marley Birthday Bash, which was founded by Ras Danny, will raise the roof at the same location. It will be a fundraiser for the SLO Senior Nutrition Center.

Call the store at 544-7662 or e-mail Oliver at [email protected].

Fast facts

Enjoy a Valentine’s eve vegan dinner and dessert while savoring a fabulous fur-free fashion show presented by Central Coast Vegetarian Network at Veterans’ Hall in SLO. Adult admission to the festivities is $15; children’s tickets cost $10. Call 748-7733 or contact for details

Cal/OSHA recognized Mission Linen Supply in Morro Bay for an outstanding record of employee safety. It is the only commercial laundry awarded approval by the agency’s Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP)

The City of Atascadero is forming a Spring T-Ball League for girls and boys five and six years old. Parents must attend a 30-minute program or complete a clinic online prior to registration. Registration ends Feb. 4; the cost is $80 per child, which includes a team T-shirt, hat, and photographs. Call 461-5000 and visit

The 5 Cities Swim School is offering a free infant CPR class and information on children’s swimming lessons on Feb. 1 at 6 p.m. at 425 Traffic Way in Arroyo Grande. Call the school at 481-6399

The Exploration Station will host a Super Sitter Class, instructed by the American Red Cross, on Saturday, Feb. 13 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Successful completion of the class will earn a Red Cross certificate in baby sitting. Students must be at least 11 years old. The fee is $50. Call 473-1421 or contact [email protected] to register

Maxine Lewis Memorial Shelter and Prado Day Center urgently need donations of new socks and underwear, as well as new or gently used shoes, backpacks, and towels. For more information, contact Dee Torres at 786-0617.

Intern Dylan Baumann wrote Strokes&Plugs this week. Send your business and nonprofit news to [email protected].


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