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Anneliese Pop-Up: a curated one-stop shop for organic produce, specialty meals, and handcrafted goods

By DIANNE RUSSELL

Photos by Mary Hurlbut 

Looking for handcrafted goods, homewares, pantry staples, educational toys and children’s goods, apothecary and wellness items, books, heirloom organic produce, and specialty grocery items and meals? Anneliese Schools Pop-Up Store is now bringing fresh, high-quality farm goods and artisanal products to our local neighborhoods. 

A month ago, Anneliese Schools opened the Pop-Up as an extension of the Schools’ beloved School Store, located in Laguna Canyon at the Anneliese Willowbrook location. Anneliese also has two other campuses – Manzanita and Aliso.

In response to the overwhelming support for the School Store’s curated selection of products, the Pop-Up Store concept – and subsequent opening – was developed to serve the growing customer base. 

The School Store, which is behind the aviary at the campus, has been around since 2016.

Anneliese Pop up Samantha

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Samantha Savage Breit

“About five years ago, I was running the garden program and farmers market,” says Anneliese Schools Store Creative Designer and Manager Samantha Savage Breit. “As part of the educational curriculum, the kids learn how things grow. We make homemade meals every day for them.

“Our teaching gardens and kitchens allow children to become immersed in nature and to explore the topics of sustainability and ecological principles in a hands-on manner.” 

Initially, as a result of requests from parents, the school kitchen started bottling their signature salad dressing, pesto, and salads (and other items) – a bonus for working families preparing meals. There are two kitchens – one at Manzanita location and one in the canyon.

Anneliese Pop up exterior

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Anneliese’s Pop-up Shop, 1816 S Coast Hwy

“Liese, Anneliese’s daughter, and I had a lot of people asking for the same aesthetics in a store. We emphasize the importance of knowing where your food comes from,” says Samantha. “So we curated produce that speaks to the ethics and value of the school as a larger educational platform – and that’s how the school store started. Liese and I have fun with the store. 

“When the COVID-19 pandemic happened, there were already vendors coming to the school, so we turned the school store into a grocery store.”

Growing up in a family of foodies and chefs, Samantha, who lives in Bluebird Canyon, left Virginia to come to Laguna 15 years ago. 

Samantha and Liese had an idea for a school pop-up store in town with the intention of making it a place that carries a broad selection of merchandise in a small space, where people in the community could come to purchase all their general goods. For them, it’s all about providing seasonal goods for conscious and thoughtful living.

Anneliese Pop up kids

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One room is devoted to children’s items

No small amount of research goes into the selection of the artisan items Samantha admits. 

“They’re very unique and a carefully curated collection. I do quite a bit of research and reading up on the artisans and products. It’s about the value the items bring, they have to check off on our checklist. I’m more particular than the average buyer. The items have to align with what we teach in school.”

Grocery products

The shop also features: freshly prepared (daily) organic meal kits and salads, baked goods (pies, cinnamon rolls, bread), small batch homemade marinara sauce, dressings, vegan Caesar salad dressing, their signature lemon vinaigrette dressing, pesto, fresh eggs, frozen fish, fresh fish labeled with the name of the fisherman who caught it, beans, and pantry items, just to name a few. They also offer meat and chicken from local farmers. One has to visit the store to appreciate the superb quality – and variety – of the products.

Some off-the-beaten-path items include edible onion flowers and edible heirloom carnations.

Anneliese Pop up produce

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Produce is handpicked from 13 different farms 

Much of the organic produce offered at the Pop-Up is grown from heirloom seeds at the Anneliese Schools certified organic farms in Claremont. Liesa oversees two certified farms (in Claremont) to subsidize the food at the school.

In addition, every Wednesday, Samantha travels to Santa Monica to visit 13 different farms where she hand-selects the farm goods. “We have a passion for food, are conscious consumers, and know the value of nutritional density – in order to care for yourself.” 

All the proceeds from the Pop-Up Store go to the school to support art, music, animal care, sign language, and other programs.

“Every product tells a story that is so powerful and inspiring,” Samantha says. “This store has re-energized me and sparked a flame in my heart for what we are creating – all because of the response from people coming in. It’s a full sensory experience. We want to build a strong community presence.”

Anneliese Pop up baked goods

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This week’s specials with baked goods displayed

Many of the local families grew up attending Anneliese Schools and now have children enrolled as students, so the nostalgia of this community is strong. 

Samantha adds, “But you don’t have to be an alum to come by and pick up a gift or family meal – everyone is welcome. We look forward to being your neighborhood general store.”

Staff and volunteers

Ella Walker, who has been at the pop-up since it opened a month ago, says, “It’s been a great experience. Everyone is so friendly, and I get to meet new people.”

Also there on Wednesday were Yuka Garrett, a Japanese language teacher at the school, and Janett Capizzano, a mom of one of the students.

Anneliese Pop up lounge

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Lounge will be transformed into reading and relaxing room

Samantha has plenty of ideas for the future. “We’re going to take out the sofa in the lounge and replace it with two loveseats and a coffee table full of cookbooks and vintage cookbooks. We’ll serve coffee and tea while visitors look at the books – and the items for the recipes can be purchased here.”

There’s also talk of cooking kits and a cooking club.

“This is such a joyful space,” says Samantha. “In the beginning, I did it out of necessity because I wanted to keep my boys in the school, so I started working in the school garden in trade for tuition. It was life-changing to create the store with the help of families and instructors. Then it turned into a full-time career. It’s come full circle.”

Samantha hopes the store will be open until the end of the year. “We’re taking it day by day. It depends on the owner’s design process. We’re actively looking for another space in town – it’s so important to bring our products to the community.”

Anneliese Pop up Ella

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Staff member Ella Walker 

Friday events

Beginning today, June 25, the store is initiating “Open House for Butterflies,” on Fridays from 4-6 p.m. Today will feature the winery Purple Corduroy, with Creative Director Steven Chew and Director Brandy Faber. 

The following event on Friday, July 2 will feature Paella and Hot Sauce with Celia Fletcher of Campesino Paella.

“This is the best job ever,” says Samantha. “It’s all part of our love for the school.”

Anneliese Schools Pop-Up shop is located at 1816 South Coast Hwy.

The Pop-up is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 1 to 6 p.m. 

Follow the shop on Instagram @liesas_annelieseschoolsstore.

Visit www.liesas.com to preview merchandise or order online. To contact the store direct, call (949) 303-9850.

 

Lana Johnson, Editor - [email protected]

Tom Johnson, Publisher - [email protected]

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor.

Michael Sterling is our Webmaster & Designer.

Mary Hurlbut and Scott Brashier are our photographers.

Alexis Amaradio, Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Maggi Henrikson, Marrie Stone, Sara Hall, Stacia Stabler and Suzie Harrison are our writers and/or columnists.

In Memoriam - Stu Saffer and Barbara Diamond.

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