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Eight is enough 

When it comes to surviving in today's chain-store jungle, the small businesses' greatest weapon is solidarity. That's the strength behind San Luis Obispo's newest gift shop, Le Créme, a co-op of eight local jewelers, which just opened this month at 464 Marsh St. adjacent to the San Luis Fish and BBQ.

The eight women hail from all different backgrounds - including a certified gemologist, a Cal Poly veterinary student, and a manicurist - but they all share a common passion for beautiful jewelry. And they were all searching for a place to sell their goods, but none had the resources to open a shop on her own.

Together, however, they can move mountains - or at least a formidable quantity of pearls, shells, glass, and precious and semi-precious stones. The women's diversity is reflected in the great variety of their merchandise, which ranges from very high end to very inexpensive, from the traditional to the eclectic, and all of the very highest quality, said jeweler Leslie Nelson.

Nothing else can make a woman feel as "splashy and blingy" as walking in and finding a beautiful new pair of earrings, co-owner Colleen Weist said.

Because the shop is artist owned and operated, gemologist Janett Lumpkin said, "You can come in on any day and meet one or two of the artists."

And because they are buying direct, customers will always enjoy superior service and incredibly competitive prices. Where else in San Luis Obispo can you find a pair of gorgeous freshwater pearl earrings for $15?

Le Créme's location, slightly off the main drag, also serves to keep overhead low, allowing the women to offer even better prices. And unlike upper Higuera, parking at Le Créme is never a problem, because they have their own parking lot.

Le Créme will be holding a Grand Opening on Saturday, May 28, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Light refreshments will be served, and a portion of the day's proceeds will be donated to the San Luis Obispo Women's Shelter. For more info, call 541-2736.



ECOSLO, in collaboration with the city of San Luis Obispo, Ride On Transportation, and United Cerebral Palsy, will celebrate National Trails Day for the Mobility Impaired on June 4. The annual event will take participants on a Ride On van tour of SLO's Irish Hills, with an experienced docent and bird expert on hand to help identify the abundant flora and fauna in one of the city's most pristine open spaces. The wheelchair-accessible adventure runs from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and reservations are required, so please contact ECOSLO at 544-1777. ...

... Every Memorial Day weekend, bicyclists from all over gather at the fairgrounds in Paso Robles to form a temporary community called BicycleTown, USA. The 41st Great Western Bicycle Rally takes place May 27-30 and will feature rides of all distances, cycling competitions, seminars, shopping, and socializing. To learn more, visit the Great Western Bicycle Rally web site at ...

... Frustrated by the dating scene on the Central Coast? It's time to let Four Course Dating give you the chance to meet local singles in a hassle-free atmosphere. The new service invites 50 professional singles to enjoy a fully catered four-course dinner with wine and dessert, and gives you the chance to mix, mingle, and meet new friends, matches, and business contacts. Four Course Dating is hosting its first dinner party on Saturday, June 4, at 6:30 p.m. Call 541-7939 for more details. ...

... St. Patrick's Elementary School in Arroyo Grande will be hosting Arts and Cultural Enrichment (ACE) Summer Camp the weeks of June 13 and June 20. For $150 a week, children will participate in three to four workshops a day, studying music, dance, drama, and trapeze. The ACE Week concept comes from the French American International School in Portland, Ore., and is intended to bring children a greater awareness of art and its place in their lives. To learn more, call the St. Patrick's Elementary School at 489-1210. ... ...Congratulations to Café Roma, now celebrating its 25th year in business on the Central Coast. With the turnover rate for restaurants being so high, the fact that they've managed to remain a local favorite for all these years is a great feat. See for yourself what all the fuss is about. Visit Café Roma at 1020 Railroad Ave. in SLO, or call 541-6800. ³


Staff Writer Jeff Hornaday compiles New Times' Strokes & Plugs. E-mail him at [email protected]

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