The pink hard hat was perfect for her, although she might’ve preferred purple. The girly hard hat was on site at the under-construction Village at Pacific Highlands Ranch as punishment for any worker who forgot their hat — but for Annie Glenn, it was just the right color for a recent tour of the space that will soon be her newest Urban Girl Accessories store. This will be the third Urban Girl location, along with the one in Del Mar Plaza and one in Seaport Village downtown.
Glenn, a Pacific Highlands Ranch resident for the past seven years, couldn’t be more excited to be a part of her community’s center. Urban Girl is shooting for a May opening, alongside fellow confirmed tenants like Trader Joe’s, Rite Aid, Panera Bread, Crunch Fitness, Starbucks and Baked Bear ice cream sandwiches.
“I really feel like this mall is going to be phenomenal. It’s stunningly beautiful,” said Glenn, whose store was hand-picked to join the Village line-up. “We were so flattered and honored and excited to be able to live and work all in the same place. Our life is in Carmel Valley, so I know exactly what people are going to want so we can really cater to locals.”
Glenn talks about her commitment to the locals while wearing a cute black Carmel Valley hat, just one of many locally inspired items she plans to sell in the new location.
Glenn and her husband, Chris, met in college at Point Loma Nazarene and both knew from the start they wanted to be entrepreneurs. After graduating, they pooled their money, all $5,000 of it, and got a kiosk in Horton Plaza in 1993.
That initial $5,000 grew into a store at the Hotel del Coronado for several years and eventually five stores in Seaport Village in 2007: Urban Girl Accessories, Urban Beach House, San Diego Surf Company, Seaport Shoe Company and American Nostalgia.
American Nostalgia was that first kiosk 17 years ago, and the Glenns have been married for 20 years.
“Because I lived in this area, all of my girlfriends were asking me to open up another store locally,” Glenn said. “No one wants to leave our little bubble.”
One fateful day dining at Smashburger in Del Mar, Glenn noticed the for-lease sign a few doors down. She wasn’t sure whether Del Mar Plaza would let their “little mom and pop store” take over the space, but it just so happened that the leasing agent was a big fan of Urban Girl, and they opened up shop in 2011.
“We just love being here,” said Glenn, who also opened the Urban Beach House store next door. “The locals have been amazing, we get lots of tourists, and in the summer, everyone comes right off the beach. We’re so fortunate. When you love something so much, I think it really shows. Everything we do comes from our heart.”
The store is bright and cheerful and fully stocked with shirts, shoes, hats, gift items, things for babies and children, and accessories for pets.
“Urban Girl Accessories is all my favorite things wrapped up in one pretty package,” Glenn said.
In her stores, she loves supporting businesses that give back a portion of their proceeds, carrying TOMS shoes, Beads for Learning bracelets that fund teachers in Africa, the Krochet Kids line of products hand-signed by the women who made them in Uganda and Peru, and the Chavez for Charity line started by USD graduate Julie Marie Chavez, where each color bracelet sold goes to support different charities, like the Whole Planet Foundation and Alex’s Lemonade Stand for children with cancer.
She supports small local businesses as much as she can, such as the La Jolla Salt Company, and sells as many items as she can that are made in the USA.
At Pacific Highlands Ranch, she is designing the store in “modern cottage style, clean and simple yet warm.” She’s excited about the cool industrial-light fixtures she’s picked out that will play off the white brick walls and touches of grays and yellow.
“It’s going to be so beautiful, I’m really beside myself,” Glenn said.
She plans to bring in a large variety of lines such as Billabong and Roxy, Stance Socks, Herschel backpacks, L Space swimwear, Maui Jim and Ray-Ban sunglasses and Havaianas flip-flops.
When Glenn says her life is Carmel Valley, she isn’t kidding. The store will really be in the center of her little universe. Her 16-year-old son, Jack, is at Canyon Crest Academy and her 12-year-old son, Cooper, will attend the new Pacific Trails Middle School in the fall —both schools across the street from the Village.
And Glenn herself will be able to walk to work, although she’s thinking about getting a little golf cart with a bumper sticker that says, “Follow me to Urban Girl.”
“We have been waiting and waiting, and it has been amazing to see (Pacific Highlands Ranch) grow. We’re so excited and so ready to have something close by, the center is going to be extraordinary,” Glenn said. “They have put so much into the center to really make it feel like a local’s place.” Visit urbangirlaccessories.com.