From almonds to zebra-print sofas--you name it, someone in California grows or manufactures it. Ed Kurtz, 46, had been selling California agricultural products to distributors for many years when he heard about a store called "Made in Oregon." That sparked the idea for a California-only store, and Kurtz used his contacts to open CaliforniaMarketplace in Agoura Hills, where he once served as mayor.
All items sold in the store are grown or made in California. Wares include everything from vinegar produced in Napa Valley to T-shirts designed by a renowned Los Angeles artist.
The store has become popular with locals and tourists alike. "Many people who live here are transplanted from other states, so they have friends, relatives and business associates all over the country. They're ecstatic to be able to send them something from California," says Kurtz.
CaliforniaMarketplace published its first mail order catalog this year and projects sales of $100,000 next year. Kurtz is planning to open additional locations at California tourist spots and hotels.