Newsstand on its feet again

Almost six months after Mother Nature destroyed World Newsstand, it is now open for business at its original site at 190 Ocean Ave.

Owner Heidi Miller, who also owns Tight Assets a block away, walked downtown Dec. 22 to discover that everything — from newspapers and magazines to racks and the cash register — were ruined.

The water rushed in through the 20-foot wooden doors, covering the small area with 3 to 4 feet of mud.

She estimated damages at $15,000.

"My philosophy is that you can look at the bright side or look at the dark side," she said, choosing the former. "I thought 'I might not be able to open today, but I will reopen.' "

The date was up in the air partially because Tight Assets was damaged much more than the newsstand at a loss of close to $120,000. She was able to get it back to full capacity within a month.

Although Miller said the newsstand isn't a big moneymaker, she was dedicated to reopening it because she felt it was an important part of the community.

"So many of all of the little independent businesses in Laguna Beach are closing, especially those that are literary," she said. "It breaks my heart. I think it's tremendously important to any community, especially to Laguna Beach, which tends to be worldlier."

Laguna Beach is an artsy, eclectic town, she said, and the newsstand fits right in.

On May 27, she opened to a crowd of locals, including Mayor Toni Iseman and City Councilwoman Elizabeth Pearson.

She said it's the city's support that's really made the reopening so special.

"There had to be 1,000 people that came by, drove by honking their horns, or called us and said, 'Thank goodness you're open,'" she said. "I had a really big smile on my face the whole Memorial Day weekend because of all the kind words."

On Tuesday, employee Earl Longstreet said he might be new to the job but not new to the stand. A resident of Laguna Beach for nearly 40 years, Longstreet is looking forward to watching the ocean from his cash register.

"It's probably the simplest place in town," he said. "It's a friendly place where locals wave at each other."

The only remnant of the newsstand from the flood is a brass table. When the salt water hit it, it changed the finish, giving it a patina look, Miller said. She keeps it as a reminder.

World Newsstand

Where: 190 Ocean Ave.

Contact: (949) 494-1817

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