When a neighborhood gentrifies, it risks losing its identity and character as the storefronts and owners change hands from old to new. We have seen a lot of this over the last two decades as Hillcrest has undergone a dramatic change from a depressed business section to the bustling mecca of small bars and independent owners that it is today. Furniture and Treasures owner Amin Usman faced this challenge when he moved his business from La Mesa, where he had become an established member of the professional community for over ten years, to the main street of Hillcrest. Now the dilapidated walls have been replaced by a light sage color covering the completely renovated interior. The smell of exotic woods fills the room as the light walls contrast and compliment with the rich and dark colors emanating off the aged Indian rosewood (shisham), teak, and elm furniture. A majority of the 10-20 artists and collectors whose work is featured come from China, India, and Indonesia. Each handcrafted piece is personally chosen by Amin, and with over 20 years experience, he knows quality work and wood, when he sees it.Born in Pakistan, he spent much of his youth traveling Asia and Europe. After settling in Paris where he was partners in a fabric shop, he came to the United States to help his parents as they began to age. In the '90s, conversations with several friends on the condition of Indian imports began to stimulate his interest in carving, carpentry, and lumber. During that time, a depressed economy in India was only just beginning to emerge as the globalization and export capital it has become.In this early stage, the lumber was being shipped damp, causing it to crack and split a few years later as it dried. "The first thing I did was buy a moisture meter. I never lost any money on it, and almost no one was using them." Checking each shipment by hand, Amin quickly gained a reputation for quality pieces from artists, craftsman, and supplies in the east, and from customers here. With his help, the industry matured, and the highly prized shisham began to be cured and air dried in the deserts of Rajasthan. In 2002, due to his work and reputation, Amin was personally invited to India to the newly built Indian convention center's first furniture show. The bright exteriors mottled yellow and white is reminiscent of the desert from where the wood gains its distinct characteristics. Featuring a wide variety of styles, from colonial pieces, like the rustic rosewood console table with fluted legs ($495), the antique styled cabinet made from a centuries old modified doorframe, inlaid with ornate flower patterns ($1500), and an oriental styled coffee table lined with drawers with metal ring knobs, an aged dark stain stripped back so the warmth of the woods beneath glows through, and accented with a deep maroon on the legs interior ($695). Between customers, Amin has designed several of the smaller pieces on his own. Some of the decorative lamps and candle holders are his creations. But design is not his focus, the people are. "To prosper, you must have a niche market, good prices, and great customer service." So he spends most of his day with clients, working with them and helping to find and select the perfect piece for their home or office. Amin makes each client feel at home, offering them drinks on hot days, welcoming them to take their time and relax in each item. "For me, it is about building long term relationships. Someone will browse, three, four, ten times... but on the eleventh time, they will find something." He describes browsing as like a billboard, something you see everyday and never really think about until you need something.
The owner eddie is one of the most down to earth individuals I've ever encountered. I lost my cell phone, and I had a good idea it was in my vehicle, so I had to find someone to call it, I went inside to ask for assistance, he could have said no, been selffish, and been on his way, but he went outside his store and helped out. So I returned his kindness by trying out the food. Being chinese, and having worked at domino's pizza for 4 years as a shift manager, and delivering pizzas on a bicycle in downtown San Diego, Pizza Hut in Mayport FL and Chula Vista CA for 1 year as a driver, Papa Johns for 1 year as a driver, and Broadway Pizza years ago as a cook, I have a pretty good idea what good pizza is, and I am also vegetarian. The pizza is fantastic, their is fresh, made to order and also pizza already made for fast service. They also have other foods and salads besides pizza. If you want down to earth, friendly stellar service, and great food, look no further. This is the place for you! From 1 to 10, I give it a 9.8. I will make YouTube movies later on this business and other businesses.I am also a former professional secret shopper/mystery shopper, I used to write reports for hours on the service of businesses, employees, almost like restaurant impossible, mystery diners and bar rescue, so I know good service when I see it, and if the employees actually care, were human, we make mistakes, I attempt to remain objective and fair. And the customer isn't always right, credit where credit is due.I don't do or care for typing, email, text, and here are just a few reasons why below."Rules are flawed, as flawed as the people and ignorant fools that make them." - intellectualgivers"Freedom of expression, freedom of speech overrides most rules." - intellectualgivers"People want to attempt to sound sophisticated and smart when they sound smug and petty." - intellectualgivers"Religious people try to impose their ignorant close minded foolish flawed morality on others, not knowing any better, nothing more nothing less." - intellectualgivers"A party is like a religion, it straight jackets your mind." Jack Kevorkian May 26, 1928 - Present (age 82) Pontiac, Michigan, U.S."All the big powers they've silenced me. So much for free speech and choice on this fundamental human right." - Doctor Jack Kevorkian May 26, 1928 - Present (age 82) Pontiac, Michigan, U.S."You got every right in the world to do and say what you want, as long as you don't harm or threaten anybody or any property" - Doctor Jack Kevorkian May 26, 1928 - Present (age 82) Pontiac, Michigan, U.S."email, instant messenger and typing inpersonalizes effective communication between people. You do not see there face, you do not know there mannerisms, the sound or tone of there voice. It is substandard communication, and the anonymity of the internet and email has virtually made it impossible for old fashioned personalized effective communication." "It is not the greatest thing since sliced bread." - intellectualgivers"My take on email and typing. The biggest problem I see is being ignored. People can be narcissistic, flatulent, arrogant, condescending, aristocratic, or all of the above. There is nothing more wrong than sending someone a communication via e-mail, you are articulate, like to express yourself fully, taking the time to write the e-mail, sending it, expecting a reply, then never getting one." - intellectualgivers"Hell, there are no rules here, we are trying to accomplish something." - Thomas Alva Edison (February 11, 1847 - October 18, 1931)
Health and physical fitness is something that most people take for granted. Often times it takes a loved one or some sort of personal struggle with the vicissitudes of fate to manifest the proper motivation and dedication necessary to achieve greater health. As such, desire and motivation alone often are not enough. Thankfully, there is Nutri-Sport. With almost 20 years of experience, Shelton (an ex Captain of the Marine Corp.) opened Nutri-Sport in order to help people achieve better health through education and quality products at wholesale prices. Located off of Balboa Ave, just east of the 805 freeway, Shelton (the owner) made very clear that Nutri-Sport’s mission is to find the appropriate product (or products) that match each client’s needs instead of "cookie-cutter" models and unnecessary, high-pressure sales. Further, the store itself is clean, brightly lit, and organized. Unlike some other stores, Nutri-Sport offers only some of the highest quality products at wholesale prices. It is also refreshing to speak to an owner who obviously understands his craft; who truly seems to care about the individual client’s needs instead of only making a sale. Finally, this reviewer enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere. Often times, similar stores have muscle-bound, "athletically biased" men and women who appear more interested in themselves rather than helping others achieve results. Such was not the case during my review of Nutri-Sport. Nutri-Sport will educate and supply you with the tools needed to achieve your health related goals.