Business Spotlights

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.”

Learn more about The Innocent Bystanders (or book them!) on their website, YouTube, or Facebook.

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.

And not to worry, she’s still in the art business! If you have questions about the rental property, you can contact her at You can also view the property on AirBnB and VRBO.

Studio Suda

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.

Learn more about Your Handyman Next Door online or read his reviews on NextDoor.

Perlman Clinic

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.

For more information, visit Perlman Clinic online or on Facebook.

Caron Properties

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


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:

• Breakfast
• Panini
• Salads
• Pizza
• Gelato
• Wine and beer
• Homemade pastries

To learn more about Pappalecco, stop in for a macchiato, or find them online, on Facebook, and on Instagram.

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.”

Golden Property Management is located at 4248 Adams Avenue. Learn more about their property management services on their website, Yelp, and Facebook.

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.

For more information, visit Snapology’s website and Facebook.

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.”

Learn more about Homegrown Energy Solutions on its Facebook or LinkedIn pages.

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

Hull says that the Beginning Art Classes and Custom Calligraphy are the most popular services she offers. For more information, visit Ladybug Art Center of Kensington or their Facebook page.

The Ruch-Fleming Team

In October 2012, Elizabeth Ruch and Alison Fleming, Financial Advisors with Waddell & Reed, decided to join their financial planning practices in a collaborative effort to better serve their clients. Both of them have managed successful individual practices within Waddell & Reed. Firmly believing that two minds are better than one, Elizabeth and Alison formed a team. Their combined 60+ years of experience bring both well-grounded and innovative approaches to financial planning. The depth and breadth of their collective knowledge can firmly guide their clients through the maze of investment and insurance products necessary to meet their clients’ ever-changing needs. Utilizing the financial planning process and tools at their disposal, they help navigate the challenging twists and turns on the road to pursuing financial success.

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)

Kensington Cafe:

The Haven:

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,,, 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