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Drop by Dizzi for some shopping--if you can find a place to park

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From the recent New Times article concerning business closures on Marsh Street ("What do empty shops on Marsh mean?" Dec. 13), a reader might get the impression that the store Dizzi is closing its doors. This is not the case at all. We are open, and we are staying open. Dizzi is alive and well. A sincere thank you to all of our customers.

Dizzi first opened its doors in the Marigold Center in the spring of 2001. It was the second store that my partner and I opened. Our first store was in North Morro Bay, The Clothing Sale. My partner and I both had a lot of fun running the stores, and eventually we opened another store, Lucky Lulu's, which is on Higuera Street in downtown SLO. Lulu's has done so well that when our lease ended at the Marigold Center, we decided to bring Dizzi downtown also.

At that time, the only space we found that could work for us was at 720 Marsh St. It had previously been the Tom Mel Salon. They had relocated to Chorro Street. That summer, my partner and I--with some help--did most of the interior construction on the new Dizzi. We put in all the lighting, textured and faux finished the walls, built a stage and some of the tables, designed the wall racks, finished the floor, repaired the ceiling, framed all the mirrors, and even made and installed the baseboard ourselves. It was an incredible challenge--at times overwhelming. There seemed to be endless projects. When it was done, I felt like we just finished a giant art installation.

We are very proud of the final result. It is elegant. The atmosphere is urban and chic. Vintage chandeliers hang from the ceiling, the racks of clothing against the walls are supported by 16 giant columns made to look like railroad ties, there is original art on the walls, and the dressing rooms are big and roomy--one is an art installation by itself. Come in and take a look.

San Luis Obispo has a fantastic downtown. We are happy to be a part of it. I feel that our downtown is extremely unique and inviting. From the river walkways to the tree-lined streets, the beautiful architecture, the quaint little shops mixed in with the name-brand stores, the hometown offices, the multitude of places to eat, and, of course, the comfortable weather---who could ask for more? Oh, there is the really cool Farmers' Market and the endless events, such as concerts and art shows. And let's not forget the pleasant manners of the locals. I like it a lot. We have a wonderful place to visit and a great place to live.

Concerning business in downtown SLO, I am very optimistic. Our downtown offers a rare shopping experience. It's like going to the city, but not. It's safe, it's nice, it's clean, and it's friendly. In San Luis Obispo, one can walk from shop to shop. It is definitely a pedestrian shopping experience. It may be small, but the town offers a lot of variety and choices. San Luis Obispo is becoming a shopping Mecca. The town draws customers from Santa Maria to Paso Robles. The arrival of the big-name brand stores to our little town has helped immensely. We have now what Santa Barbara has. And somehow the word is getting out. Only a few years back, everyone used to drive to Santa Barbara to shop. That is becoming more and more uncommon. During the summer months, many of our customers are tourists--people from places like Los Angeles and San Francisco, and many, surprisingly, are even from Europe. They all seem to be having a great time.

The only problem I see is the parking issue. It is limiting the amount of business our town can handle. When you are looking for parking in SLO, all the town's bliss is shattered, the good feelings end. It is a struggle to park and to avoid a ticket--a very unpleasant experience for sure. There are the measly half-hour meters. What can you do in half an hour? Not even get and eat a sandwich. The two-hour meters cost $2. That's eight quarters! Quarters are heavy! There are swarms of meter maids to write you a ticket if you are a minute late, at $15 a pop. You have to be a local to know where to park. Our backwards, unfocussed, petty, short-sighted, self-serving local government cannot even post signs on the corners to direct drivers to the parking garages. Government should be for the people, not a force against the people. Yes, our town could be much more vibrant and have a greater future, if only something could be done with the current parking system!

I know eventually we must move our store, Dizzi, due to the planned development on the block. (By the way, that entire meter parking lot behind us is going to soon disappear.) But for the time being, Dizzi is here and staying.

We are committed to offering our customers the cutting edge of fashion, easy basics, fun outfits, and great denim, all at super affordable prices and offered by the nicest sales staff you will find anywhere in the world. So come and visit us.

Thank you to San Luis Obispo, all our customers and friends, and I especially want to thank our staff at Dizzi and Lucky Lulu's. Thank you!

Eron Betan owns half of the controlling interests of Dizzi and Lulu's. E-mail comments to the editor at rmiller@newtimesslo.com.

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