Skylight Loves Its Locals

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The Skylight Books façade, a wall of windows that stretches the length of the storefront, faces a busy street in Los Angeles' Los Feliz neighborhood. To maximize this high-visibility window-space, Kerry Slattery, the store's co-owner and general manager, partners with other local businesses to create attention-grabbing displays. The variety in displays "makes for a more interesting window," she said.

Slattery regularly invites other local indie businesses to set up window displays at Skylight. "We've done displays with a clothing shop, record shop, print shop, and art supply store, all different kinds of businesses," she said. The goodwill is immense. The businesses "can't believe" Skylight lets them create a display for free, as well as leave brochures. The displays stay for a week or two in the front 9' x 5' window. All Slattery asks is that the business gives Skylight a little advance notice. "They're thrilled because they don't have as prime a spot as we do."

Skylight benefits as well. Participating businesses create "quite elaborate displays," said Slattery.

Fresh Pressed, a screen-printing shop, put a screen-printing machine in the window that looked like "an old washing machine." Added to the display were titles on crafts and DIY projects.

Gypsy's Palace, a custom draperies and home couture store, upholstered a chair in "some wild fabric," said Slattery. Skylight added The Los Angeles House (Tim Street-Porter, Hennessey & Ingalls), California Bungalow (Robert Winter, Hennessey & Ingalls), and other books on interior design.

Adding books to the display consistently boosts sales. "We always pick related books to be part of the display," Slattery said. "And we do sell a lot of books out of the window." Skylight also gets a bump in business from participating merchants who send over their regular customers to the bookstore.

"There are all kinds of ways for businesses to work together," said Slattery. "And customers really appreciate learning about new businesses in the community. They say, 'It's so great you're doing this for the neighborhood!'" --Karen Schechner