Response to "Letter of Concern"

Nathan DaneshgarBy Nathan Daneshgar      August 21, 2020

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Nathan Daneshgar, Owner of Pine Tree Circle, responds to the “Letter of Concern” by Rick Ellis and Jens Koepke, published in the August 7, 2020 issue of The Canyon Chronicle, requesting signatures regarding concerns about businesses at Pine Tree Circle. Their letter follows Daneshgar’s reply for reference.
As a human being and operator, I am first and foremost focused on doing beautiful work and witnessing and partaking collaboratively with others in the unfolding of good. Pine Tree Circle is first and foremost a place for the community; our intention is to protect this, and it is our hope and belief that this will continue to strengthen with time. We understand as well, the incredible individualism that exists in Topanga and this individualism is at the heart of our vision for Pine Tree Circle. It is already a rare, beautiful and inspiring place; our role is to honor this, bring more life to the center, bring it more in line with its natural Topanga setting, and help it evolve organically into its identity. My hope is that Pine Tree Circle evolves even further into a place where people feel happy, inspired, peaceful, safe, secure, creative, enriched and well. We are planning to feature the local artistry and music of the canyon, one of the many things to which we are looking forward. We have worked diligently to keep our businesses here. My proudest accomplishment thus far was our signing of lease renewals with all of the existing businesses and establishing the groundwork for their continued presence at Pine Tree Circle, finding creative solutions to help make the transition smoother and more sustainable. With the devotion of several hundred hours and a determined energy, we genuinely have done so out of our appreciation for Topanga’s culture, integrity, care, and understanding. We have worked with all Pine Tree Circle businesses, including those you mentioned in your letter, to support and enhance their operations, both before and during the recent pandemic events. As a foundation, we offered early on a rent deferral program to Pine Tree Circle businesses, and have diligently extended any and all resources that have come our way. In addition, we have worked alongside our tenants more specifically, strategically, empathetically, and with precision to support the sustainability and profitability of their businesses, including without limitation, improvements, tenant improvement allowances, marketing and signage efforts, space efficiency efforts, and downsizing, operational and conceptual strategizing, and other methods. At the same time, it has not always been easy, and there are a lot of moving parts and sometimes surprises that you may not see on a day-to-day basis. We try to balance these efforts in good faith with our obligations, as well as with the curveballs that are sometimes thrown our way. Decisions are not ultimately only ours to make, and business relationships must be healthy for all, in all respects. Unfortunately hearsay can be inaccurate and go unchecked. Some weeks ago, we retained a company to design and create a Pine Tree Circle website about which we are very excited, to feature all Pine Tree Circle businesses and organizations and with a dedicated Community page. We have also commenced new improvements and upgrades at the property aimed at making Pine Tree Circle even more of an inviting gathering place. We hope and believe the new improvements at the center will be beneficial for both Pine Tree Circle businesses and the community. With great enthusiasm, sensitivity, consideration, and respect we have invited our new businesses, which reside along the same continuum of serving the community and which are special and bring joy. We are greatly excited for the future and truly looking forward to such organic evolution, hand-in-hand with the community. Assuming there is clarity, a genuine understanding and honoring of the roots and traditions, this organic evolution ought to be embraced, I believe. This means that we can have new and beautiful things to look forward to here, including new traditions that are true to and synchronous with Topanga’s identity. The resulting synergy will be beneficial for all. If you are reading this, and I have not met you, I look forward to meeting you and discussing your hopes and ideas for Pine Tree Circle and Topanga. Thank you for the opportunity to be part of the Topanga community. You have my word that Topanga, you, Pine Tree Circle businesses, and Topanga’s individualism are at the heart of my every idea and action here. Nathan Daneshgar Pine Tree Circle
Letter of Concern

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Below is a letter of concern written in support of our local businesses at Pine Tree Circle. Please read and sign if you would like to show your support by adding your name to https://form.jotform.com/202057173462147.
We will send this to the new owners of Pine Tree Circle after gathering signatures. Please feel free to forward to those who may be interested.
Thanks,

—Rick Ellis, Jens Koepke

Dear Nathan Daneshgar, Joseph Daneshgar, and 3D Investments,

Welcome to our Topanga community. We are many of the local patrons of Pine Tree Circle. We are writing to you as concerned citizens and sincerely hope that this letter will inspire you to take a moment to reflect on the impact your decisions are making and will make on our community. Our motivation is personal, as well as for the well-being of our broader community.

This letter is a request for your consideration of our community at large. We are a tight-knit community whose lives are often interwoven through necessity. The Pine Tree Circle has served as an important hub in Topanga, which has provided a space for many community businesses, services, and events. Since 3D Investments has acquired Pine Tree Circle, we have seen that many of our businesses have found it much more challenging to stay profitable and open, and some have closed their doors given the new considerably higher costs to maintain business. With the repercussions of COVID-19, it has become even more difficult. We are worried that we will lose more of our dearest businesses at a huge cost to our community in Topanga.

The businesses and services at Pine Tree are integral to many of our lives. Yoga Desa has served as a consistent community resource for nearly 20 years. Besides being an incredible yoga studio with some of the finest teachers in Los Angeles and in the United States, it also serves us with workshops and events of great diversity, including women’s monthly gatherings, karate, African dance, 5 Rhythms Dance class, Sound Healing, and concerts of diverse music from around the world. It also has served as a place to celebrate, and as a gathering place to mourn and share our love when tragedy has befallen our community. I imagine you might not know what Yoga Desa means to our community, which is understandable since you haven’t had these experiences. Please consider the larger impact your business decisions will have on our community. Losing Yoga Desa would be a great loss.

Pacific Canyon Cleaner’s is another long-time service in our community where we connect and do business locally. If either of you has not met Vika, please say hello to her. Her consistently great attitude, hard work, and service is an unmeasurable asset to our community. I don’t know if you are aware of Vika’s story, but she also is the sole provider for her family and cares for a disabled loving husband and beautiful young daughter. Pacific Canyon Cleaners has been serving our community for more than twenty-one years.

These businesses matter to us and are the fabric of our community. We could elaborate on what all these businesses bring beyond their obvious services. Jane at Topanga Homegrown, Peter at Canyon Gourmet, Maria at the Waterlily, Gidget at Flower Power, Nancy at Canyon Chiropractic, Larry at the Canyon Bistro, Paul and Melissa at Coldwell Banker, Ron at Kramer Insurance, Jessica at Bouboulina, the Topanga Canyon Gallery, Jocelyn at Pilates In Topanga, Glynn Design Build, The Topanga Historical Society, and City Hearts, are all folks who have invested in our community with their businesses and lives.

Although visitors from the city or even tourists do occasionally support the local stores, it is overwhelmingly Topangans who provide the core revenue for the businesses in Pine Tree Circle. Please understand what a unique benefit it is in today’s world to be able to support and enjoy local businesses that are embedded in a community. We want to make clear that we value these local businesses. We’ve heard that you have some creative ideas for Pine Tree and have expressed some interest in working with our community to achieve that. This is our hope.

Our concern is that you may misjudge the uniqueness and traditions in our community and try to impose a business model that ultimately doesn’t work here for you or us. This is not Santa Monica or Malibu Cross Creek or Brentwood. We are Topanga. Most of us who live here, celebrate our uniqueness. We are writing to you in hopes of not losing many of our finest resources and businesses. We are asking you to deeply consider finding ways to work with our longtime local businesses, adjusting costs to help them thrive and finding ways to make it through this COVID crisis and beyond.

Although we may only seem to represent a figure on your spreadsheet, we sincerely hope you will also see that those figures are actually intertwined businesses, families, and lives that matter here in this community. If these businesses thrive, the new tenants you bring will as well. We are hoping to get behind your plans and the creative spark you may bring in a win-win scenario.

Thank you for taking the time to listen and consider our views. Please let us know if we can be of any help.

—Concerned patrons of Pine Tree Circle.
Nathan Daneshgar

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August 21, 2020

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