By Marlena Chavira-Medford
Bixby & Ball, a coastal living-inspired boutique, is the newest addition to the Cedros Design District. Housed in a quaint 1920s cottage-the first to be erected on that street, in fact - the shop feels more like a home than a retail space, and that's the whole point, said co-owner Melissa Anderson.
"We don't look at this as just a storefront, but more like our own home, which is reflected in the kind of products we've hand-selected. We only carry things we'd put in our own homes because [Bixby & Ball] really is our second home."
So much so, that Bixby & Ball even has fully functioning kitchen, which customers can see decked out with merchandise.
"It's very important for us to know the story behind each and every product we carry - where it comes from, who created it and what it's made of," Anderson added.
The plates in that kitchen, for example, are made of recycled glass and the vintage items peppered in all have a back-story, like the antique milk pitcher set that Anderson recently unearthed during one of her flea market excursions. All of that inventory reflects a bigger coastal lifestyle, which co-owner Betsy Bracken said is all about designs that are "clean, fresh, classic and comfortable."
"It's not your cliche coastal living concept: You won't find anchors and seashells here," Anderson said.
Anderson, who has experience in retail management and interior design, and Bracken, who has experience in event planning and floral design, will also offer design and planning services through Bixby & Ball. An online boutique is in the works, as well, and soon there will be regular in-store events where neighbors can pick up some tips for entertaining.
Bracken and Anderson have been friends for several years, but this is their first joint business venture. It's fitting that they are now business partners, they said, considering they both come from a long line of entrepreneurs. Anderson is part of the Bixby family, which developed a good chunk of California near Big Sur after the Gold Rush; and Bracken's grandfather was one of the Ball brothers who launched the well-known line of glass mason jars. Hence, the name Bixby & Ball is a nod to each shop owner's family history.
Anderson and Bracken will celebrate the grand opening of Bixby & Ball the weekend of Oct. 9, when customers can drop in to look around and enjoy a complimentary glass of champagne. Bixby & Ball is located at 214 S. Cedros. For more information, visit
; (858) 436-7214.