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Time For A Typewriter Renaissance?

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Salon

IT WAS 4 P.M. ON A THURSDAY, two hours until the end of Jesse Banuelos’ workday. He was standing behind the front counter of Berkeley Typewriter, his trademark green apron tied around his waist. A dozen broken typewriters — some electric, but most of them manual – were stacked in a corner on the brown linoleum floor.

Forty years ago, the shop was at the top of its game. But during the ’90s, as computers became more affordable, fewer customers bought typewriters or needed them repaired. Many typewriter stores went out of business. Berkeley Typewriter laid off some staff and managed to remain open by offering services like printer, photocopier and fax repair. Banuelos is the store’s only remaining technician who knows how to fix typewriters. He never learned how to type on a computer and for a time he worried that the typewriter industry would soon disappear.

He was wrong. In the last few years, both typewriter sales and repairs have increased at the store. Berkeley Typewriter experienced an increase in overall sales in 2011, moving about two or three a week. It’s not like the olden days, Banuelos said, but it’s enough.

Most of the typewriters that he sells or takes in are manual machines made between the early 1900s and the 1960s. The dozen or so brands displayed in Banuelos’ front window read like a row of multicolored tombstones: Royal, Remington, Underwood, Smith-Corona, Olivetti, Corona, Adler, Oliver.

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Level 10 Lux opens on Melrose, offers affordable prices in a glamorous setting

–Published in The Los Angeles Times style section on November 15, 2010–

 

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Everyone shops on Melrose Avenue for different reasons. Whether you’re searching for fluorescent, high-topped sneakers at Sportie LA or the perfect vintage floral dress to complete your bohemian wardrobe, Melrose has it all.

One of the newest additions to the block is the fashion-savvy, body-flaunting women’s clothing store Level 10 Lux. Nestled between American Vintage and Adam Saaks, the neon-green store opened its doors earlier this month but is hosting its official opening party Monday from 7 to 10 p.m.

“Level 10 Lux is unique,” said owner Vanessa Lee. Located in one of the most popular shopping districts in Los Angeles, it offers fashionable, trendy clothing at affordable prices.  But don’t mistake it for a smaller-scale H&M or Forever 21. Level 10 Lux is precisely for the girl who won’t shop at these stores and wear mass-produced styles, but who also can’t afford to regularly shop at Barney’s Co-Op or Fred Segal.

“We are the bridge between the two,” said Lee. “This is where the young girl who can’t spend much but still loves glamour comes to shop.”

The setting is glamorous too, with brightly colored clothing and accessories that pop against the spotless, white walls and ornate black chandeliers hanging from the ceiling.

Fashionistas can come here for one-stop shopping — stocking up on lacy miniskirts, mesh cut-out dresses, striped crop tops and patterned leggings, as well as leather handbags, studded pumps, velvet ankle boots, hats and jewelry.  Clothing ranges from $30 to $150 and accessories from $10 to $100.

The store is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sundays.
Level 10 Lux, 7565 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles; (323) 782-0065.