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Topanga Seed & Feed Goes Out in Style

Topanga Seed & Feed Goes Out in Style

Paul and Lindsay Pedroza with their son, Jack. Photos by Annemarie Donkin

Topanga Seed & Feed Goes Out in Style

Vicki and Peter Norwood look over the potluck buffet. The owners of Topanga Hauling are sad to see the Topanga Seed & Feed go; it marks the end of an era.

Topanga Seed & Feed Goes Out in Style

Eric Szabo and Jewels Nation sing Bob Dylan songs.

Topanga Seed & Feed Goes Out in Style

Angie Donkin sang Folk songs and original songs.

Topanga Seed & Feed Goes Out in Style

Angel, Corky Moss’s longtime companion, hanging out at the Seed & Feed farewell party. She now lives with Lindsay, Paul and Jack.

The last feed store in Topanga held a parking lot party to bid the community farewell.

After anchoring the boulevard at Pine Tree Circle for 14 years, Lindsay (Zook) Pedroza her husband, Paul Pedroza, and their son, Jack, are closing up shop.

Billed as a “Parking Lot Pot Luck Bash,” it certainly turned into one of the most epic sendoffs in recent Topanga history.

While Topanga Seed & Feed was a pet supply, garden center, and gift shop, it also served as the heart of the community for family, friends, and its customers. Times have changed and Pedroza acknowledged that the cost of doing business following the sale of Pine Tree Circle and resulting rent increase by the new owners, contributed to her decision to close the Seed & Feed.

Making sure the shop went out in style, Jewels Nation organized a bash complete with a lineup of musicians, lots of BBQ, plenty of drink, a potluck, and a fire pit.

Singer/songwriter Angie Donkin kicked off the afternoon’s entertainment with folk songs and her original tunes. The rest of the musical lineup for the afternoon party included Eric “Tom Petty” Szabo; Preston Smith; Sam Small & Misty Dawn Lawrence; Jewels and Johnny Nation; Chris Laterzo, and Jennifer Freedom.

Kids created chalk art in the parking lot, while the guys out back smoked pulled pork and guests filled their plates with tamales, fruit, veggies, chips, and homemade brownies.

THE ACCIDENTAL SHOP OWNER

Owning a shop in Topanga was not the first thing on Lindsay’s mind back in the ‘90s. She originally intended to go into law enforcement, specifically with the FBI, but the death of her uncle, Michael, in 1999, and a medical issue sidelined her plans. She found solace working at a pet store, then became its manager.

Seven years later, according to a 2012 article by Kim Zanti in the Topanga Messenger , Lindsay discovered that Topanga Auto, next to Bouboulina, on the Boulevard, was closing after 26 years, and the space was for rent.

“I don’t even know if it was a thought in the back of my head, but when the opportunity presented itself, I said, ‘I think I could do that,’” she said. According to the article, on May 26, 2005, Topanga Seed & Feed opened its doors with Carlos, the white horse statue, staying on to greet customers as it had for Topanga Auto.

When SCE started excavating the town center to install an underground electrical system to replace telephone poles, the business slowdown turned out to be a matchmaker.

“A good thing that came out of the road construction was that Lindsay met her husband, Paul Pedroza,” Zanti wrote. “Stuck in the construction traffic, he turned around, but decided first to come into the shop to meet the girl that friends had been telling him about.”

Paul and Lindsay married on Halloween in 2009 at the Community House and soon welcomed their son, Jack, who is now eight, and virtually grew up at the Seed & Feed.

The undergrounding project was never completed.

Wrapping up the event, Lindsay said that the horse statue now has a new home with a long-time customer and gets decorated for every holiday.

SEED & FEED HAS LEFT THE BUILDING

The day after the party, a call to Lindsay found her exultant. “It was fantastic,” she said. “Amazing, with so many hugs and so much love, it was great!”

While sad to see the shop go, Lindsay said she can now focus more on Jack, family weekends away, and “enjoying life a little more.”

Would she do it again?

“Probably not,” she mused, saying that being semi-retired is a nice feeling. “Fourteen years is a long time; I could never recreate what we did and don’t want to attempt it again.”

According to her, in true Topanga style, friends sang and danced well past 9 p.m., and after singing “Wild Horses” they said a reluctant “goodbye.”

“It was amazing, the love and support of the community was really heartfelt,” Lindsay said. “I was happy and sad at the same time, but I will always be around; you just don’t know where I will pop up next.”

Annemarie Donkin

Annemarie Donkin is a journalist who wrote for The Signal in Valencia, CA and was the Managing Editor for the Topanga Messenger from 2013 to 2016. She is thrilled to write for the Messenger Mountain News to continue the tradition of excellent community newspapers. When she’s not writing, she loves to travel throughout California, read, watch movies and keep bees.

Topanga Seed & Feed Goes Out in Style Topanga Seed & Feed Goes Out in Style Paul and Lindsay Pedroza with their son, Jack. Photos by Annemarie Donkin Topanga Seed & Feed Goes Out in Style

Topanga Messenger

Topanga Seed and Feed Nurtures The Good Life

PHOTOS BY KIM ZANTI MESSENGER 2012©

The store’s logo was inspired by the dragonfly tattoo on Zook’s back and designed by artist Vicki Kahle, who lives in the Fernwood area.

FBI Agent. It had been Lindsay Zook’s dream since fourth grade and she knew what she had to do to achieve it.

She graduated from UC Santa Barbara where she studied Law and Society with an emphasis in Criminal Justice, then applied and was accepted into the Los Angeles Police Academy. She’d have to work as a cop for five years before applying to become an agent.

She was on her way. That is, until she wasn’t. In November 1999, her Uncle Michael, who was like a father figure to her, died from a brain tumor at the age of 39. That same night she got lost driving in one of the worst parts of downtown LA.

Lindsay imagined herself as a cop, becoming enmeshed in this gritty world. Everything changed. She no longer wanted to fight crime; she wanted to spend her life appreciating the good.

She applied to become a U.S. Park Ranger, underwent a routine physical, but was disqualified when tests revealed an undiagnosed medical condition.

Twenty-three years old, heartbroken from the loss of her uncle, and insecure about a future she could no longer envision, Lindsay lightened her mood by hanging around a pet store. She was soon offered a temporary three-month position as a manager. Seven years later, she was still there.

When a new opportunity arose, Lindsay began to contemplate her future again. Topanga Auto, next to Bouboulina, on the Boulevard, was closing after 26 years serving the Canyon. The space was available to rent.

Lindsay said, “I don’t even know if it was a thought in the back of my head, but when the opportunity presented itself, I said ‘I think I could do that.’”

Lindsay Zook hands a receipt to Elena Roche, who just purchased chicken feed and a dog bone to her 18-month old son Jack. She’s not confused, she’s multitasking! Bones make great toys, too.

After hours of talk with two close friends and her mother, Lisa, a familiar face to customers at Topanga Homegrown, Lindsay decided to become a pet store an owner.

On May 26, 2005, Topanga Seed & Feed opened its doors with Carlos, the white horse statue, staying on to greet customers as he had for many years for Topanga Auto.

Lindsay said, “from the first month that we opened, customers were here.”

With little to no investment in marketing or advertising, a steady stream of people came in need of food and supplies for their dogs, cats, pigs, chickens, horses, rabbits, guinea pigs and, even, for their flamingos.

A full 50 percent of sales comes from pet/animal food. The other 50 percent comes from pet/animal supplies, garden supplies, gifts and decorations.

Over the next four years, Topanga Seed and Feed grew at a healthy pace. Inventory costs were at about $150,000 a year with enough profit for Lindsay to buy out her business partner after a year and a half and to take home a regular paycheck.

All that changed when construction began on the library.

“I could sit on my chair outside and just watch people drive by. They couldn’t get in the driveway,” Lindsay said.

She filed claims for lost business to Los Angeles County, but to no avail. Lindsay turned to her customers to keep the doors open.

In November 2011, the Topanga Messenger printed Lindsay’s Letter to the Editor asking for the community’s help. The letter worked. Word spread. An influx of returning and new customers changed a downward spiral into an upward swing that has continued to the present.

Feed and Seed is a pet supply store, garden center, gift shop and playground for owner Lindsay Zook’s 18-month-old son, Jack.

“This year is better than last year,” she said. “Last year was really bad. [My customers] have come back. And I just need to keep reminding them.”

A good thing that came out of the road construction was that Lindsay met her husband, Paul Pedroza. Stuck in the construction traffic, he turned around, but decided first to come into the shop to meet the girl that friends had been telling him about.

He told her he was going to get a puppy. She helped him spend $150 in preparation for the white Labrador and agreed to go on a date.

The couple was married on Halloween in 2009 at the Community House. They welcomed son, Jack, 18 months ago. He’s a regular fixture at the store, where his crib, basketball net and plenty of friendly people keep him in smiles, including his grandmother, Lisa. You can see her pushing her grandson in his stroller across the Pine Tree Circle parking lot.

It makes Lindsay happy that her mother calls her a “stay-at-home merchant.”

“It definitely brings excitement every day to bring him,” Lindsay said. “Not only does he get customers who come in and say “Hi Jack,” having him here makes it more family friendly for the person who comes in. They go ‘hey wait, this isn’t just a store, it’s a family that we have to go visit.’”

She said, “I have fun every day.”

It’s a far cry from criminal justice, but she can’t imagine being anywhere else.

Topanga Seed and Feed Nurtures The Good Life – FBI Agent. It had been Lindsay Zook’s dream since fourth grade and she knew what she had to do to achieve it. She graduated from UC Santa Barbara where she studied Law and Society with an emphasis in Criminal Justice, then applied and was accepted into the Los Angeles Police Academy. She’d have to work as a cop for five years before applying to become an agent. She was on her way. That is, until she wasn’