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Support the Allied Arts Complex. Don’t Criticize It. We Know What We’re Doing.

Original post made by A Long-Time Member of the Woodside Atherton Auxiliary, Atherton: West Atherton, on Aug 4, 2007

I am so tired of people attacking the Woodside Atherton Auxiliary and criticizing our management of the Allied Arts Guild. During the more than 50 years we’ve owned this property, we’ve attempted to provide Menlo Park with an oasis of tranquility, seasonal images of beautiful gardens, and sophisticated artistic shops.

We’ve done this with grace and style, as exemplified by the wonderful Tally Ho events and our sophisticated gardens and gift shops. We’ve brought a level of elegance to the community, while benefiting our charity, the Packard Children’s Hospital.

Recognizing the historic value of the Allied Arts property, we undertook to preserve it’s heritage for the community, while making necessary tenant changes to reflect the more sophisticated tastes of a new generation of visitors.

Upon re-opening the complex after restoration activities were completed, we saw a drop in attendance due, we are certain, to a need for a more contemporary restaurant, and more upscale shops and art studios—both reflective of the growing affluence of our neighboring communities.

No one wanted to come to a lady’s tea shop, so our president terminated the old café and will replace it with a new, sophisticated restaurant that will draw younger people to a more complex cuisine. Success of the new restaurant will allow us to charge a higher rent, thus increasing our income, profits from the site, and contributions to Children’s Hospital.

The wonderful new shops and galleries will draw affluent buyers and create a successful, upscale, shopping environment.

Our president and board will also find ways to attract meetings and conferences to a level that will justify the expense undertaken to attract that business, since without them, it will be impossible for Allied Arts to be financially viable.

The Woodside Atherton Auxiliary has invested much of our time and effort in the greater Menlo Park community, and we anticipate that the public, in turn, will support us. Come to our Allied Arts shops, buy the many wonderful treasures you find in them, have your meeting and conferences here, and patronize the fantastic new restaurant that we will have in the near future.

Support us. Don’t criticize us. We do know what we are doing.

Comments (7)

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Posted by Neighbor
a resident of another community
on Aug 5, 2007 at 11:30 am

Thank God for Woodside Atherton Auxiliary! Whatever would Menlo Park have done without it....? And where would Allied Arts be? Productive and functioning?

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Posted by dubious
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Aug 6, 2007 at 3:48 pm

"Support us. We know what we are doing." Because we're rich ladies who live in Atherton and Woodside, and you're scummy Menlo Park residents.

Long-time, do you suppose you could have slipped "sophisticated" into your post just a few more times? Also, you want to preserve "its heritage," not "it's heritage" (proving once again that money doesn't buy brains).

Instead of patronizing head-patting, how about providing some real answers to the questions that have been posted on this board and elsewhere? If offering "complex cuisine" and focusing on young affluent clientele is your idea of salvation, then I'm sure I'm not the only person who questions your ability to resuscitate Allied Arts.

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Posted by Shopper
a resident of another community
on Aug 8, 2007 at 7:54 am

I've been coming to Allied Arts for 30+ years and have been very sad at the sparse stock of the stores I've seen on my last visits.(Last six months ago). The old gift stores and kitchenwares shops were great.

What esp. was puzzling was how the Allied Arts Traditional store itself had pared down -and now it is gone too I guess. Wouldn't the profit margin been greater there?

Considering the Allied Arts hours I don't understand the first writer's focus on "younger" shoppers. Won't these people be working?

I have never been affluent and resent the focus on that feature. The stated focus of the Guild was to focus on artists- not to pamper the wealthy and surely not to host corporate conferences!

As to the restaurant, I never ate there. The sticking point was the fixed seating times. I never understood why food service couldn't have been flexible--like box lunches or a mini-buffet line.

Now, alas I can see I shall never measure up to the new standards.

My crystal ball says that some slick promoter type will sign up the Guild saying they have the key to making the property profitable- they won't. Their fees and costs will doom the the property and it will be sold off sadly, in I'd guess 2014. My guess, garden condos. Lovers of the Guild (which includes me) will be rightfully upset and as a condition of the rezoning there will be mandatory open garden days for the public, until some resident complains their garden gnome was damaged and the gates will close.

I hope the Auxiliary can save the place!

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Posted by Sally Gambol
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Aug 8, 2007 at 12:18 pm

Allied Arts has become a lovely ghost town, judging by my visit on Saturday.

Clearly, there are a lot of problems that need to be addressed, but the one the Auxiliary needs to focus on is restoring people's good will. The Auxiliary's actions have generated a lot of ill will and that's going to take some effort to reverse.

Accusing people of being stupid for realizing that everying isn't going swimmingly at Allied Arts is not a good starting point IMHO.

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Posted by marketing whiz
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Aug 8, 2007 at 1:08 pm

I don't know whom the WAA consults for advice, but if the goal is to transform AA into a destination spot for cool 20-somethings with lots of disposable income, it's not going to fly.

Allied Arts needs to take a look around, note the local demographic, and focus on providing services and stores that will appeal to that market. If it were up to me, I'd turn it into a magnet for kid and family-oriented stores, eg Le Cirque des Enfants.

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Posted by Homer Winthrop Simpson
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Aug 8, 2007 at 7:23 pm

In consideration of the tenor of this and related threads, the obvious use for Allied Arts is a new Affluenza Sanitorium.

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Posted by garden lover
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 9, 2007 at 9:52 am

Is it time to step back and learn how Gamble Garden is able to sustain itself and contribute to LPCH? The rules for Gamble Garden are very strict, probably more strict than for Allied Arts, and none of its boundaries are contiguous with the properties of neighboring residences. It also does not contain a restaurant. The properties are different in a number of ways, with each possessing some unique attributes. Much could be learned.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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