Red Rhino Realty: New Business, Familiar Faces
Though their faces might be familiar (they’ve hosted KTBA events at their Kensington Guest House), Rhianna White and Ami Lewallen are the proud owners of a new business in Kensington: Red Rhino Realty, Inc.
Red Rhino Realty offers a range of different real estate services:
• Buyer’s representation
• Investment analysis
• Property management
The company also offers guidance for setting up and designing investment properties to maximize the asset and income.
Big Fans of the Neighborhood
While Red Rhino is new, Ami and Rhianna are old pros when it comes to the community. Rhianna has lived in Kensington for 5 years and Ami moved to Talmadge a year ago, and they have both been involved with the community and real estate for several years.
Both entrepreneurs have young children and love how kid-friendly everything is in the neighborhood.
“We love the fact that everyone who has ever come to this area has commented that it feels like the downtown of a small town from an old movie or show: so many nice things to do, in a charming setting with fun, outgoing people always out and about,” Rhianna said.
If you’re looking for a starter home, an investment property, or your ultimate dream home, Red Rhino would love to help you find the real estate purchase that most perfectly achieves your goals. To learn more, visit Red Rhino Realty, Inc online or on Facebook or Instagram.
Realtor and Lover of Kensington
When you’re buying or selling a home, it’s always nice to work with someone who knows and respects the neighborhood. Jennifer Brimhall, a Realtor for Casa Pacific Realty, has not only had many sales and purchases of homes in Kensington, but she’s also been a longtime member of the community.
She has been a member of the Kensington Community Church since 1980 and served as a trustee. She’s also been active with the local church-sponsored Cub Scout troop and served as the lead Kensington Parade judge for three years.
“Our family has been active in general in our greater community for over 30 years.”
Positive Changes Over Time
The real estate market is one that really shows changes throughout the decades. In Kensington and Talmadge, Jennifer has seen seen more expansion and remodeling of formerly small homes.
She’s also seen a turnover of elderly, almost original owners, and the loving ways that new owners maintain respect for old tile, original wood floors, and the charm of historical homes.
With being a Realtor come some great stories. Jennifer had one client who moved out of the neighborhood to be closer to their children and grandchildren. They moved into their new home and even fixed it up.
But then they came back to Kensington for a community party, they realized how much they missed it. They decided to come back home!
Jennifer works with her business partner, Marsha Dodds, out of Marsha’s home on Hilldale Road.
Jennifer specializes in residential real estate in Metro and Greater San Diego. You can learn more about her at JenniferBrimhall.com.
Integrity Plus Property Management
A Passion for Property Management
Kim and Robert Bixel know property management. For over twenty years, they have managed an extensive residential real estate portfolio throughout Southern California. They have served the Kensington and Talmadge community since 2011, and specialize in the management of residential and commercial investment property.
Live Where You Work
While Integrity’s office is across the bridge in Normal Heights, it’s Kensington that the Bixels call home. They have lived here, with their daughter, for 15 years.
Robert says that he and Kim love older homes with character… “Even if they are financial black holes!”
Like many of our neighbors, they looked for neighborhoods that were walkable, had a small central business district, and were made up of predominantly older homes. Kensington fit the bill. It certainly makes it easier to manage properties in the neighborhood when you live just around the corner!
Learn more about Integrity Plus Property Management at IntegrityPPM.com
Greg Botz Landscape
Creating a Garden State of Mind
Gardens have high priority in Kensington and Talmadge. A walk down any of our fine streets reveals hundreds of types of flora in every shade. Some neighbors manage their landscaping needs themselves, while others rely on experts like Greg Botz.
Greg, who has lived in the neighborhood for 19 years, offers landscape design and construction, irrigation, lighting, and garden gate installations.
Getting Better Every Day
While Greg says that he’s noticed an increase in traffic in Ken-Tal over the years, he also says there’s a “finer class of people” here. Chalk it up to those beautiful yards you help design, Greg!
Greg considers himself an artist rather than a landscaper. He specializes in creative thinking and problem solving that have customers all over San Diego raving about Greg Botz Landscape. Call him at 619.990.3038 to see how he can help you with your yard.
Kristin Penfound + Nerium
Helping People Look and Feel Better
Kensington is a community that cares about health and wellness. Just look at all the organic produce at Stehly Farms or the holistic treatments found all along Adams Avenue. Kristen Penfound, Independent Brand Partner for Nerium, found the perfect market for the line of Nerium products she sells.
Kristin has been selling this line of antiaging and wellness products since 2015, and has made it her mission to help “people look better and feel better.”
Nerium started in 2011, and has grown to a $1.2 billion company. The brand started with one product in only the US and now has 12 products available in 12 countries worldwide.
She says she loves “to see people fall in love with their results.”
Part of the Home-Based Kensington Culture
Kristin is just one of the hundreds of home-based business owners in Kensington and Talmadge, and has hosted pop-up shops at her home with fellow home-based entrepreneurs.
She also participated in the first annual Spring Walkabout in Kensington in 2017, and plans to participate again with another KTBA member and Nerium rep, Nancy Suda, this year.
“It was awesome to take part in the first community Walkabout and meet neighbors and other entrepreneurs. I’m looking forward to future events.”
Kristin loves hosting sampling parties with neighbors and friends interested in health and wellness. Learn more about her business at www.kpenfound.nerium.com or request samples.
Total People Management
Disrupting Traditional HR Consulting Image
Tiffany David, Principal and Chief People Person at Total People Management, says no one wants to be in human resources anymore. With so many businesses having issues that they blame HR on, is it any wonder that many feel like it’s a necessary evil that sucks the fun and personality out of a business?
That’s why she’s looking to change how people see the challenge of managing people efficiently.
Her company (home-based in Kensington) focuses on understanding the moments that matter for people inside of an organization to help them succeed. The company, founded in 2016, services all of San Diego, with special focus on downtown startups and midsize businesses. Total People Management helps with workplace grievances, employee handbooks, and wellness programs.
“Compliance concerns are usually the catalyst that brings me first-time clients,” Tiffany says, “I love hearing clients tell me that they appreciate our real-world, human approach to business solutions. In essence, I help workplaces to become better.”
Longtime Lover of Kensington
Tiffany has long been an entrepreneur in the neighborhood:
“My very first (accounting) business began with a restaurant on Adams Avenue — that was before the 15 freeway ran south! This community has really opened up since then and has adapted well to the changes that come with being so close to Downtown.”
Like so many Kensingtonians, Tiffany loves the people (no wonder she’s in “people management!”) in the neighborhood, and she’s quick to commend her fellow businessfolk when they do a great job. She points to Jackson, an employee at the UPS Store, as a great model for the type of staff that can create a positive work environment.
“Jackson was cheerful and friendly and accommodating and made me a UPS customer for life (or at least as long as people like Jackson work there). He was respectful and helpful with his colleagues as well as customers and gave that extra effort that comes with a culture of empowerment.”
When Life Gives You Limes…
Just like limes provide a zing and kick to your favorite dish, so too are the visual designs created by lime1 Design Inc. Founded in 2004 by Petra Ives, the home-based Kensington business provides design services for print and web (branding, creative direction, logo design, brochures, catalogs, signage, websites, flyers, postcards, packaging).
Fostering Creativity in Kensington and Talmadge
Ives, who is originally from Germany and grew up in a small town walking everywhere, loves how Kensington and Talmadge provide an urban setting while feeling small-town.
“I love to live in the urban setting of San Diego, where I can have the hustle and bustle of a city, but retreat in my Kensington, where I have everything I need just a walk away and where neighbors greet each other and stop for a quick conversation.”
She’s connected with other designers working in Kensington and Talmadge that she meets with every other week to exchange ideas and best business practices.
“They are not only neighbors and collaborators, but [also] became friends.”
Ives has found tremendous support for her business in the local community.
“Most recently I created a beer glass with landmarks and iconic buildings of San Diego on it, all hand illustrated by me…When I went around town to local businesses to ask them to display and sell my custom illustrated beer glass (a little side project), Matt from Moosie’s didn’t hesitate and provided shelf space in his ice cream shop.”
Finding Diamonds in the Rough
If you’ve driven past the El Cajon Boulevard block between Winona and 50th and done a doubletake at all the businesses you hadn’t noticed before, you can thank Endeavor. The emerging market acquisitions company has the mission of uncovering untapped opportunities and creating business districts that improve the local economy, and is doing so in our neighborhood.
As owner Chris Roberson explains, “Laymen terms: we buy the old ‘massage parlor’ or ‘medicinal services shop’ in areas we think have potential and put a Yoga Studio/Surf Shop/Bicycle Shop/Non-blight Retail shop in its place — and/or we buy an apartment complex with bars on the window and remodel the interior/exterior to improve rents and clean up the area.”
Chris and his team have left their tasteful and trendy mark all across San Diego, from Little Italy (turning an old porn shop into Kettner Exchange) to North Park (the areas that now boast Trust, North Park Beer Co, Heart & Trotter, and Coin Op).
Things Are Looking Up Already
Endeavor bought the building on El Cajon Boulevard in 2016 and immediately began rehabbing it. Currently, it houses Honey Yoga, Happy Battle Surf, The Freshyard (coming soon), State Footwear’s creative office, and Lifetime Tattoo. Just those businesses, along with the revamped look, have created a positive change, Chris says.
“Eighteen months ago there were prostitutes on the corner of Winona/El Cajon Boulevard, and their pimps were inside Last Chance Bar across the street. There was a cell phone store selling weed out of the back of it. All of the above are no longer there — in their place are awesome businesses that are improving the area.”
If you haven’t explored the newly updated section of El Cajon Boulevard, do so. These businesses are in Talmadge, and we support one another! To learn more about Endeavor, visit its website.
Kensington Gets New Retail Space!
If there’s one things Kensingtonians have yearned for, it’s more retail. Cucina Sorella kicked us off to a good start with its retail at the front of the restaurant. And now we have Bench Home, a finely curated neighborhood home furnishings and furniture boutique.
Bench Home, which opened its doors on November 11, 2017, is an acronym for owner Helen Bonar’s family names (Bonar-Elyse-Niven-Callum-Helen). Helen has lived in Kensington since 2007 with her family.
Furnishings with Kensington and Talmadge in Mind
Bench Home’s primary offerings are furniture and home furnishings, and the owner has thoughtfully curated items that will appeal to locals:
“We have sourced from fresh designers to offer unique selections in San Diego and specifically to our neighbors in Kensington and Talmadge…We are committed to helping our customers identify and discover the furnishings and accessories that highlight our customers individual style and bring joy to their cherished spaces.”
In addition, Bench Home sells thoughtful gifts and accessories such as Shalla Wista Studio Jewelry, Jess Carter Ceramics, and Michael Chandler cutting boards — all available only at Bench Home in the San Diego area. The brand also offers interior design consulting services.
A Welcome Addition
As Kensington grows and we welcome more exciting businesses, our community gets better and better. Bench Home fits right in with the ethos with its style and personality. As Helen says, “The aesthetic of the neighborhood has become even more charming. I am a big fan of neighborhoods with a touch of flair!”
We welcome Helen and her flair!
The Innocent Bystanders
Cranking Up the Tunes in Kensington
While you might think the music blasting out of the house down the street was played by band of pimply-faced teens, in this case, it’s a group of seasoned musicians.
Meet The Innocent Bystanders.
This Kensington-based band started in 2013, and has become the go-to for live music for house parties, birthdays, or just fun get-togethers. The band also records its original music.
Electric Guitarist Steve Semeraro, who plays a tele, strat, and a 12-strong Charvel Surfcaster (color us impressed), has lived in Kensington since 1999. Over time, he’s seen more young families and new businesses spring up in the neighborhood.
It’s the warm, welcoming environment here that makes for a great backdrop for The Innocent Bystanders’ performances.
“We have played three backyard party concerts for neighbors in the community,” he says, “These have been among our most rewarding shows ever. Just wonderful engagement and support.”
Terry Parks Hair Studio
Transitioning to Good Things
You might mistake him for Santa Claus on vacation in Talmadge, but Terry Parks is far better groomed than Saint Nick. Running his own hair salon for over 35 years might have something to do with it.
Terry owns Terry Parks Hair Studio, which, until recently, was a brick-and-mortar salon based in Mission Hills. Women and men from all over San Diego have been getting haircuts, color, highlights, and perms from Terry and his associates since 1982.
Inspiration from Family
Terry’s older sister was a hair stylist in the 1960s, so at age 17, Terry told his mother he wanted to follow the same career path. Her response?
“You do know that’s not a particularly manly thing to do?”
Ever the rebel, Terry followed his path after serving in the Navy “for 3 years, 9 months, 15 days, and 21 minutes.” (Terry’s a funny guy.) He used the GI Bill to go to beauty school at City College.
“I found out that it was a real easy way to meet women. Besides, all but myself and one other of the men in the freshman class were gay.”
From Physical Store to Home Based Salon
After running his successful Mission Hills salon for 35 years, Terry is ready to scale back to a one-chair home business. He’s currently looking for a buyer of Mission Hills shop.
He’s lived in Talmadge since 1999, and thinks the small-town community vibe is perfect for the next phase of his business.
If you want to learn more about Terry and his home-based hair care services, connect with him on Facebook.
Ladybug Art Studio Becomes The Artist’s Cottage
For those of you who know Susan Hull and Ladybug Art Studio, you may not know that there have been some changes afoot. Recently Susan closed the Art Studio after nearly four decades, and reopened the house on Biona Drive as a vacation rental on AirBnB and VRBO.
Susan’s enchanting bungalow was built in 1920, and is, she said, comfortable for a romantic weekend for two, but also has space for a family vacation of 8 or more guests. It’s perfect for neighbors who have visiting families or guests.
“Since starting our rental service in June, we have received nothing but positive feedback! We have five star ratings as well as a strong business rating,” Susan said.
Part of the Changing Fabric of Kensington
Susan, more than most, can appreciate the many changes over the past four decades in Kensington.
“As the original property owners pass on, the younger generation has resurrected the older buildings and gardens. New eateries and businesses have sprung up to serve & enliven the community.”
She is proud of the relationships she has forged with hundreds of residents over the years, from students to calligraphy clients and custom art commissions. The Talmadge Sisters, The Kensington Athletic Club, Boy Scouts, churches, the library, our pediatric dentist, and so many more, have left lasting impressions, she said.
Bringing Your Design Dreams to Life
When you walk through your home, do you wish you could knock out that wall? Update your kitchen? Expand your bathroom? Maybe you just didn’t know who to hire to make what’s in your head reality.
Meet Studio Suda, a home-based full-service architectural and interior design firm that specializes in commercial office, financial, hospitality, religious, and residential remodels in the San Diego and Riverside area.
Owner Nancy, with the help of her architect husband, Rick, enjoys taking a client from beginning to end in the design process, as well as transforming a non-functional building or space into an environment that reflects a company’s image.
She loves “to create a home that’s an expression of the owner’s character.”
Supportive of the Positive Changes in the ‘Hood
The Sudas have lived in Talmadge for 25 years, and have raised their two boys here.
“The people, our neighbors and community, the charming character of the homes, and the geographical location of the area have kept us happy and content to stay. Our two boys have grown up here with an original Talmadge Play Group, St. Didacus elementary school in Normal Heights, Mid City Little League, and high schools in the neighboring areas. We have had great times at the Adams Avenue parks and concerts and love the restaurants in the Kensington Village.”
There has been, Nancy said, a huge influx of young families moving into the neighborhood and many homes being remodeled.
“The family activity has created the need for more businesses so we have seen positive changes taking place along El Cajon Boulevard, Kensington, and Normal Heights. Many run down buildings being repurposed and redesigned into desirable businesses and residences.”
To learn more about Studio Suda’s design and remodel services, visit their website.
Your Handyman Next Door
Something Broke? Your Handyman Next Door Can Fix It
We’ve all been in a situation where we needed a little help with a home improvement project, but maybe didn’t know who to call. We might struggle to find a reliable contractor.
Your home improvement woes are gone. Meet John Scarborough, owner of Your Handyman Next Door. He is a Talmadge-based fully licensed, bonded, and insured contractor who can help with a variety of services, from patio remodels to window installation.
John says he works on a lot of doors and windows, given how much focus people put on these key aesthetics with older homes in the neighborhood.
A Beacon of Light in the Dark
John, like all of us, comments on the great sense of community in Kensington and Talmadge. He recalls the citywide blackout a few years ago:
“We all came out and visited neighbors, making the most of an adventure!”
Kensington has special meaning to John. He went on a date at Ken Cinema to watch Casablanca with a woman who would become his wife. It’s only fitting that they ended up moving to the area.
Did Someone Call for a Doctor?
While it seems like we have just about everything we need in Kensington, one thing was missing until June 2017: a doctor’s office.
Perlman Clinic, which has locations all over San Diego, is one of Kensington’s newest neighbors. Providing primary and urgent care services, as well as pain management, concierge medicine, and more, Perlman Clinic strives to spend time with each patient, rather than rushing on to the next appointment.
A Welcome Addition to the Community
This caring approach is perfectly synonymous with what the Kensington community stands for. Mitchell Perlman, CEO, says he and his staff love the Kensington community.
“People are so nice in that area! It is one of the few neighborhoods in San Diego where you see people being part of their community. Lots of baby strollers and people enjoying their day.”
Mitchell says his father is from San Diego and, except for a few new buildings, he says Kensington hasn’t changed much. It has always been one of his favorite places in San Diego. It was great 50 years ago and it is great today.
While it’s early days for the business, Mitchell says that customers have really appreciated how much quality time they get with medical professionals.
Real Estate Services with Integrity
John Caron is a realtor who understands that buying or selling a house can be stressful and challenging. That’s a fact, he says, that he aims to transform into a pleasant and informed one:
“I treat you the same way I’d want to be treated.”
A Difference You Can Experience
Caron Properties has been in Kensington just under two years, and John Caron offers real estate services to first time buyers and savvy homeowners and investors.
He has chosen to serve the Kensington/Talmadge community because of its wonderful community, great services, and lovely restaurants.
“I love Kensington because it makes this giant world seem small! It’s a lovely small-town feel made up of great friends, neighbors, and retailers, making this a special place to call home and experience life!”
John comments on how often he receives a “good morning,” “afternoon,” or “evening” when he’s out and about.
“On many occasions, neighbors simply go out of their way to cross the street to ensure they can greet me as I make my way… I love it!”
Knowing the neighborhood so well is what helps John deliver his most popular product and service: passion and integrity. He serves as a capable guide on the real estate journey.
To learn more about John and Caron Properties, visit CaronProperties.com
Your Tuscan Home in Kensington
Itching to travel but don’t have the budget? Stop into Pappalecco, “Your Tuscan Home,” to get the sensation of being in an authentic Italian coffee shop!
Part of the Fabric of Our Community
One of the newest members of the Kensington community, Pappalecco has quickly become a neighborhood favorite for locals. Co-owner Francesco Bucci says, “Just like in Tuscany, many come more than once a day. Coffee and lunch, or breakfast and dinner, or an afternoon pick me up and after dinner dessert… We know many of them by name and they know us. They are like friends to us and we know that they consider us their friends.”
Pappalecco offers more than its organic coffee and espresso drinks, and Chef Lorenzo Bucci has put a lot of effort into developing a full menu:
• Wine and beer
• Homemade pastries
Golden Property Management
Fostering Community Locally
While many of the homes in Kensington are owned and lived-in by long-term residents, several are rented out, attracting new people to the area. Golden Property Management has been offering hands-on residential management services in Kensington and surrounding areas since 2009.
Kathy Christmas, owner of Golden Property Management, says her company brings peace of mind to clients by managing their properties so they can focus on doing other things that they love.
Loving that Small-Town Feel
Kathy says the best thing about the Kensington/Talmadge area is the community and charm, as well as how locals support businesses here.
“One of my favorite things about this community is how friends within the community always refer the local companies to their neighborhood… ‘Friends helping Friends’ is the tag line I would give Kensington.”
Snapology of San Diego
Making Kids Smarter Through Fun
If there’s one thing parents know, it’s that kids don’t always get excited about education. But when it involves Lego®, robotics, and animation? They’re all in.
Snapology, a relatively recent addition to the Kensington community (it opened January of 2016), teaches kids aged 4-14 through STEM-related (science, technology, engineering, and math) interactive classes, events, and birthday parties.
The center’s robotics and animation classes have been a big hit with the younger set, and birthday parties are always in demand.
Both owners Julie Bouchard and Steve Oas live in Kensington, and so it was important to them to create kid-friendly opportunities in the neighborhood.
“We love the small town, neighborhood feel of the area and the walkable activities for all ages,” Julie said. She also said she loves hearing stories about Kensington and its changes over the past 100 years.
Homegrown Energy Solutions
Bringing (and Harnessing) a Little Sunshine to Kensington
What’s better than a beautiful sunny day in Kensington or Talmadge? Taking that sunshine and turning it into useable solar energy. That’s exactly what Homegrown Energy Solutions does.
Jane Hughes, VP of Business Operations for the home-based business, says her company, which launched in June of 2016, offers PV solar energy system installation to both home and business owners. Other services include:
• Historical energy usage
• Site review
• Design and permitting
• Professional installation with quality components backed by lengthy warranties
While she’s new to the Kensington/Talmadge area, she already is finding ways to get involved.
“It’s a friendly place that people love to be a part of, and people get involved in what’s going on around them, from Food Truck Nights to the Talmadge Block Party to the KTBA. It makes me proud to live and work here.”
Ladybug Art Center
A Splash of Art in the Heart of Kensington
Ladybug Art Center of Kensington has been around the neighborhood long enough to see quite a few changes in Kensington. A Kensington business since 1989, Ladybug Art Center is now located at 4685 Biona Drive.
In the 27 years that she has run her business in Kensington, owner Susan Hull says she’s seen things become more upscale and crowded. Still, she says, there’s a lot to love in our community, especially “the friendliness of the people and the great critters.”
Hull’s business offers a variety of art, gifts, and art and craft classes, including:
• Original art by local award winning artists
• Custom Calligraphy Services
• One-of-a-Kind custom greeting cards
• Unique gifts for any occasion
• Beginning Art and Crafts classes
Lumena Financial Strategies
The professionals at Lumena Financial Strategies have occupied the historic Grunert House in Kensington for nearly ten years. Their mission is to bring a well-grounded and innovative approach to financial planning, utilizing the collective experience of the team to provide clients and their families with consistent and reliable financial advice.
They are committed to lifelong, multi-generational relationships, implementing strategic changes as markets, technology, and the financial world evolves.
From Traditionalists to Generation Edge, they understand the events and conditions that have shaped clients’ lives and believe that it is never too early or too late to begin taking steps toward pursuing goals. Keep an eye out for their annual community events which include an on-site shredding event in April and a holiday non-monetary donation drive benefiting a local charity in December. Please visit www.lumenafinancial.com for more details.
Securities and Investment Advisory Services are offered through Waddell & Reed, Inc., a Broker/Dealer, member FINRA/SIPC and Federally Registered Investment Advisor. Waddell & Reed is not affiliated with Lumena Financial Strategies.
Kensington Cafe & The Haven
These two community favorites are both owned by Lauren Passero. Lauren has graciously hosted several KBA mixers. Here we get to know Lauren and her businesses.
What kinds of products or services do you offer?
Breakfast, lunch and dinner, coffee, pizza, beer and wine.
How long have you served the Kensington community?
7 years at the cafe and 2+ years at the Haven
What do you love best about Kensington?
The small town community feel. I love that the residents all know each other. I love that people care so much about their neighborhood and what goes on here. When I first bought the cafe people would come in just to see who i was and to ask me a handful of “get to know you” questions.
Got any great stories about the community/customers?
We’ve had so many great things happen here… we had a marriage proposal on the patio, a high school student from the neighborhood had us write “prom?” in a girls latte foam, we even had a customer write a book about the cafe!
How can people learn more about you? (Website, social media links)
Noble Intent Studio
Noble Intent Studio, formerly Kovalent, is a design studio led by husband-and-wife-team Cris and Angela Noble from Talmadge.
Angela and Cris have been involved in our community since they moved here from Chicago in 2013. They’ve provided design and website services for local organizations and businesses including kental.org, talmadge.org, friendsoffranklinfoundation.org, Ken Video, and our very own KTBA website!
Angela is a graphic designer who specializes in logo and print design, email marketing, and web design. Cris is a developer who handles all the coding and technical solutions for their clients.
Their clients are located all across the nation, and they’ve partnered with a wide range of businesses including photographers, art galleries, large financial firms, universities, health clinics, and mom-and-pop businesses.
Visit them at nobleintentstudio.com