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Celebrity Shop Vanishes from Santa Monica

By Jorge Casuso

October 2 -- One of the chicest celebrity shopping spots has disappeared from Montana Avenue, leaving confused customers wondering what happened to their orders, the Santa Monica City Attorneys office said.

After 15 years in business, Room With a View -- which was reportedly frequented by the likes of Meg Ryan, Kate Capshaw and Maria Shriver -- closed its doors at 1600 Montana Avenue in May, apparently with no warning, said Paula Rockenstein, a consumer affairs specialist with the City.

“The Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office has received complaints from customers who paid for merchandise but never received it,” read a statement released by the City.

“The owners of the business have not replied to letters and phone calls from the City Attorney’s office and an investigation is ongoing,” the statement said.

City officials are seeking customers who have not received merchandise they purchased at the high-end boutique, which carried home furnishings and accessories, including collector teddy bears that fetched as much as $290.

“Customers and consumers are confused and concerned,” Rockenstein said. “They were around for a long time and had a loyal following.”

Although the inquiries from customers have stopped, Rockenstein said the City Attorneys office is “reviewing the case and believe there are others there that might have been a victim.”

Although the closing surprised many, co-owner Tom Alesio had complained that sales had dropped by about 25 percent during the past holiday season, according to press reports. Alesio blamed the drop on a weakening economy.

The store, which has been featured in trendy magazines, did well during the 2004 holiday season, when it happened to be carrying the $316 Vietri Water Garden tea set Oprah Winfrey added to her list of "Oprah's Favorite Things."

Known for its high-end merchandise, the shop carried cashmere throws that sold for $1,200 and baby’s knit pink poodle sweaters that fetched $158, with matching knit caps for another $50.

The store also offered “personal shopping, interior design consulting, bridal and baby shower registries, and plenty of friendly guidance to meet your decorating and furnishing needs,” according to the store’s web site.

The store opened a second location in Summerland, California on the Santa Barbara coastline, according to the web site.

The numbers at both the Santa Monica and Summerland locations have been disconnected.

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“Customers and consumers are confused and concerned.” Paula Rockenstein




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