Home décor shop prepares for grand opening
By Ken Williams | Editor
Looking for a blown-glass lamp from France? A goat-milk caramel from Vermont? Some other hard-to-find gift for the home?
That’s the idea behind Gold Leaf, a new home décor shop in South Park.
Owned and operated by the husband-and-wife team of Sonya and Kevin Kemp, Gold Leaf is currently going through its “soft opening” at 2225 30th St.
The grand opening will be on Saturday, April 2, and the Kemps are inviting the neighborhood to drop by and say hello. Snacks and a signature beverage will be offered to visitors, along with live music for entertainment.
Gold Leaf was also open during the quarterly South Park Walkabout on Saturday, March 19, when San Diego Uptown News dropped by for a visit.
“We are happy to be here on 30th in South Park,” Sonya said. “A dream come true!”
Gold Leaf shares space in a historical building located in the heart of the shopping district.
“We loved going to Progress, the home and gift shop that was in the space previously, and when it became available it felt like something we just had to do,” she said.
“My longtime dream has been to open a shop, and this 1914 auto body shop nestled in this great area just seemed too perfect to pass up. I love the exposed beams, brick walls, windows, skylights and concrete floor.”
During the Walkabout, the Kemps served samples of local craft beer from Modern Times along with flavored popcorn. Dozens of people milled through the shop, looking at a cornucopia of gift items.
“I like the mix of vintage and new,” Sonya said. “Old things make the new things more interesting, and the new brings life to the old. Gold Leaf offers something fresh, natural and bright to the neighborhood. I want people to feel welcomed and at home in this place.”
The Kemps, who reside in the Oak Park neighborhood, said they feel at home in South Park.
“We lived in South Park several years ago and loved it,” Sonya said. “South Park has such a welcoming feel. Charming Craftsman homes, beautiful trees, and wonderful eateries and shops. It is just a great neighborhood; my favorite in San Diego. It has a small town feel in a big city.
“The community of South Park is so welcoming! They have a strong dedication to small business and buying local. We love being the place they can come for a birthday card, hostess gift, or something special for the home,” Sonya said.
Sonya formerly worked for 14 years at SoLo, a home and design collective in Solana Beach.
“I had the children’s space,” she said. “It was a perfect thing for me to do when my kids were really little. I could be home with my kids part-time but could also be creative when I went to work. I love merchandising, moving things around always. Drives my husband crazy; the living room is always changing!”
But now husband and wife are running their own business.
“Kevin and I have always wanted to work together,” Sonya said. “I have a background in art and design, and my husband in business. He’s great behind the scenes, with numbers, the POS system and website, but just as good with customers. He loves to talk! He’s also a great photographer. I’m inspired by his work and love the way he captures life and the shop!”
During the Walkabout event, visitors checked out jams from Ayako and Family from Seattle, chocolate by Cacoa Preito from Brooklyn, artwork by Eric Bonnin Ceramics in New York, and handmade purses by Buluchu from San Francisco. Local artisan Dovetails and Darts were showcased with handmade homewares and furniture.
“This is a cool place,” one visitor told the Kemps. “I’ll be back.”
—Ken Williams is editor of Uptown News and Mission Valley News and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 619-961-1952. Follow him on Twitter at @KenSanDiego, Instagram at @KenSD or Facebook at KenWilliamsSanDiego.