A well-spotted opportunity, Potted celebrates its 10th year

10 years ago, Atwater Village's Potted was a well-spotted opportunity. Now it's a neighborhood destination

For the nearly 10 years that Annette Gutierrez and Mary Gray have owned the Atwater Village garden store Potted, the women have built a reputation for having a distinctive eye for outdoor home décor and accessories.

Now, in celebration of their 10th anniversary, they have expanded the store to offer more tools for what they like to call "exterior decoration."

In a recent interview, the amiable pair said they were a little surprised by the store's longevity.

Potted is located on the site of a formerly rundown pottery store. "I walked in to Los Feliz Pottery trying to sell them my tile pavers and walked out with a store," Gutierrez said with a laugh.

Why so surprised? For starters, Gutierrez, a screenwriter, and Gray, a set decorator, had purchased the pottery store with no prior retail experience.

"We didn't know what we were doing," Gray admitted.

They may have been "clueless," as Gutierrez described it, but they knew they were on to something.

"When we started, we realized there were not a lot of choices for outdoor-themed lifestyle stores," Gutierrez said.

They took a year to sell off the store's existing pottery and statuary, and focused on creating a design-centered garden store.

They started by opening up the ceiling (where they discovered dead animals), plastering and glazing the walls and adding vintage furnishings. They eventually found pottery distributors and introduced succulents and houseplants — "anything that can be placed in a pot," Gray said.

As the store began to take shape, they considered what type of goods best suited Potted. "Color, small vendors, and furnishings and accessories that resonate outdoors," Gray said.

They filled the space with goods you wouldn't find everywhere: vibrantly hued outdoor furnishings by Loll and French designer Fermob, graphic wool frazadas, handcrafted birdhouses and fire pits, their bestselling pots, even their own designs. They painted the exterior a cheerful greenl and allowed the outdoor furnishings and accessories to spill outdoors, just like they would at home.

But the key component for Potted's success, said landscape designer and longtime customer Kathleen Ferguson, is its appeal to three types of consumers: gardeners, designers and do-it-yourselfers.

"I go there for myself, for gift giving and for my clients," Ferguson said. "It's great to go over there and get inspired. It's a lovely spot for milling around. And Annette and Mary set the tone. They are so welcoming and warm and knowledgeable."

Ten years later, the once-forlorn Los Feliz Pottery has been refashioned into a vital neighborhood destination. Something that is not lost on two women who opened a retail store without any business experience.

"It feels good to still be here," Gutierrez said. "We're really proud of ourselves."

For more information on events and classes at the store, at 3158 Los Feliz Blvd., please go to pottedstore.com.

lisa.boone@latimes.com

Twitter: @LisaBoone19

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