Puppies playing in a furry pile under contemporary baubled chandeliers, oversized pillows in trendy grays and blues, scented products for not-so-pleasant pet situations, faux punk rock outfits for the canine members of your family — the newest shop to open in Corona del Mar is not like any pet store you've seen before.
"We tried to make it not like the average pet store," said Brooke Bradford, one of three owners of I Heart Puppies at 2801 E. Coast Hwy. "When you come in, we wanted it to be a chic, nice space."
Bradford and her mother, Suzanne Bradford, and their friend Summer Gorjian moved to Newport Beach in December from St. George, Utah, with a brief stop in Laguna Beach.
At first they looked to open a shop in Laguna Beach, but when city rules on selling animals became too difficult a problem to overcome, they settled on Corona del Mar.
"You sit outside, and in an hour you will see 50 dogs pass by," Brooke Bradford said. "This is the perfect place for us."
The women say that Corona del Mar has not had a pet store in at least a decade, largely because retail pet stores are often linked with puppy mills.
I Heart Puppies only sells puppies from USDA-licensed government regulated breeders, and their mission statement is clear, they said.
"We do not support illegal kennels or those with a history of problems meeting USDA requirements," their store brochures states. "We give our puppies the best care possible to ensure you are getting a happy and healthy puppy."
Puppies are examined by four different veterinarians before arriving at the store, they said. And all new owners must agree to participate in puppy-training programs.
"It's important to us to sell really healthy dogs, and we want them and their owners to be together forever," Brooke Bradford said.
Puppies cost from $1,200 to $1,500 and mostly are hybrids, often with a poodle in the mix, Suzanne Bradford said. The shop will never have more than 20 puppies at a time. The dogs are in a clear, raised pen in the middle of the shop, where they play together and can be petted and held.
The shop also sells puppy basics from pee pads and dog collars to treats, carriers, pillows and more.
Woman injured in purse-snatching
A 93-year-old woman remained hospitalized Saturday after a robber grabbed her purse and knocked her down in the parking lot of her apartment complex earlier this week.
The woman had been making one of her daily trips to Gelson's market when the attacker came up from behind, grabbed her purse and shoved her to the ground, her daughter said in an interview.
"They got her purse," said Christine Lewis of Corona del Mar. Her mother, who preferred to be called by her nickname, Babs, in this article, sustained a broken arm that required surgery, as well as abrasions on her knees and a cut above her left eye.
Babs yelled for help, and a maintenance worker in a golf cart saw a man running away and tried to head him off. The man ran to a waiting pickup truck, which fled the scene. The incident occurred about 2:30 p.m.
Detectives are investigating the case. Anyone with information should call the police at (800) 550-NBPD. The suspect was last seen in a black pickup truck near San Joaquin Hills Road and San Miguel Drive.
Another man getting into his car heard Babs' screams for help and called 911.
Lewis said her mother is "really an amazing 93" and volunteers daily at Our Lady Queen of Angels and walks each day to Gelson's and to the bank. Babs recalled seeing two men laughing at her as she walked to the store but didn't think much about it until later, Lewis said.
"It couldn't have happened to a nicer person," Lewis said. "She's sharp as a tack."
The robber got away with Babs' 20-year-old Louis Vuitton purse, which contained eyeglasses, identification and $12 cash.
"It had all her important stuff," Lewis said.
Babs had surgery on Friday to place pins in her arm, which was broken near the shoulder. But she was refusing pain medication and making nurses and visitors laugh with her humor, Lewis said.
Lewis hoped she would be released from the hospital on Sunday.
Christmas Walk receives funding
The future of the Corona del Mar Christmas Walk hung in the balance at Tuesday's City Council meeting, with organizers saying proposed funding cuts could have doomed the 34-year-old event.
But in the end, council members voted to triple its budget from the city.
Newport Beach city officials historically had waived fees and contributed to community events on a case-by-case basis. Last year, requests added up to more than $500,000, said Tara Finnigan, a city spokeswoman. And transparency was a concern because there was no oversight of special event funding decisions.