The five new stores that celebrated their grand openings Saturday on
San Fernando Boulevard are a vital part of a big dream.
They are a part of Burbank's Downtown revitalization plan, which
aims to give local residents a place to have a good time and help the
area's economic development, city officials said.
The new stores are Chadaka Thai, a Thai food restaurant; the
confectionary store Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory; Quiznos; O' My
Sole, a shoe store; and Active, a sportswear store.
"Downtown Burbank has been undergoing a revitalization for the
past three years," said Robin Faulk, marketing manager for Downtown
Burbank, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the growth of downtown
Burbank. "We're looking for stores that represent products that
people want to buy."
Officials envision outdoor restaurants with umbrellas, a
combination of local and national retail chains and more foot traffic
as they try and transform Downtown. Downtown Burbank is bordered by
Burbank Boulevard to the north, Glenoaks Boulevard to the East,
Verdugo Avenue to the South and the Golden State (5) Freeway to the
"It's important for people to have a place to go, where they feel
safe, which is multigenerational, where they can sit in restaurants
and people watch," Faulk said.
He cited the popularity of AMC Theatres in Downtown Burbank. The
popularity of Urban Outfitters on San Fernando has also brought in
traffic to Downtown Burbank.
"Those kinds of things just didn't exist before," Faulk said, "And
it is really drawing a lot of people."
The promise of economic strength Downtown attracted the Heinzmans
to open Chadaka Thai.
The growth potential and the change in the city over the last
couple of years led him and his wife to choose Burbank, said Billy
Heinzman, owner of Chadaka Thai.
"We haven't done any advertising at all," he said.
Their customers mainly include "young Hollywood types," Heinzman
Downtown's economic potential, along with a childhood attachment
to the city, led Zizette Ayad and her sister, Dalia Leon, to open the
Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory franchise.
"We've lived in Burbank for 23 years," Ayad said. It's growing and
it's a safe place."
Ayad wants to join with other new businesses to create more
opportunities to draw customers, Ayad said.
Other projects, such as the AMC Downtown Burbank Phase II and the
Burbank Village Walk will also help bring in more businesses, said
Gail Stewart, Downtown manager.
"Downtown Burbank has continued to evolve into a destination
location," said Michael Cusumano, vice president of Cusumano Real
Estate Group. "Business has continued to evolve for the past two