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Exclusive Apothecary Opens on Montana

By Elizabeth Schneider

August 13 -- After nearly two decades of planning, the New York-based apothecary store, Kiehl's Since 1851, will be setting up shop Wednesday in Santa Monica, making the Montana Avenue location only the third freestanding store outside New York City in the company's 151-year history.

"We're thrilled to be part of the community," Shannon Cooney, director of public relations for the company, said from her New York office. "Los Angeles was a natural city for us to go to, especially Santa Monica, where there is a community feel to the neighborhood… That's what we're all about."

The 1516 Montana Avenue store will serve as the company's flagship store in Los Angeles, Cooney said.

While each Kiehl's store has it's own feel, the one is Santa Monica promises to be "very LA… very Santa Monica," Cooney said.

"We've got a great surf board that was owned by Dave Velzy and a dog fountain, as well as a tribute to the work of Charles and Ray Eames."

Also featured is a 1989 Harley-Davidson "Police Special," which used to be part of the New York store's permanent collection and will serve as part of a motorcycle exhibit honoring the 100th anniversary of the founding of Harley Davidson Motor Company and a favorite hobby of the Kiehl's founding family.

Although Kiehl's is proudly "New York born and bred," it shares a bit of history with Los Angeles, where pediatrician Dr. Peter Waldstein helped develop the company's Baby product line.

Kiehl's operates four stores in the United States, including the one in Santa Monica; the original one in New York, a small store on Newbury Street in Boston and one in San Francisco.

The opening of the Montana Avenue store, originally slated for Tuesday, was delayed until Wednesday at noon due to construction. Shoppers shouldn't expect any fanfare with the opening.

"Kiehl's is not glitzy," Cooney said. "We will have an event later in October that will benefit the YouthAids organization."

While Kiehl' products can be found exclusively at Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifith Avenue, Fred Segal and some Nordstrom department stores, Cooley said the company has no plans to expand further than those stores that it has had a longstanding relationship with.

"We don't expand rapidly," she said.

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