A vacant storefront in a prominent location. Photo by Marshall Smith

As the fall sales season trifecta of Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas begins, there are more business exits and vacancies in Idyllwild storefronts than new arrivals. And because several of the empty stores are in highly visible and prominent locations, the trend seems more apparent.


The flagship freestanding storefront in Village Center is vacant as is its lead location fronting on North Circle. Angels in the Forest on North Circle is vacant and silent and across the street Nick Todd’s Tara Insurance is also gone. Many shops in Village Lane are also vacant.

At the beginning of what is usually a successful sales season for local merchants, this number of unfilled store windows and shops seems greater this year than in previous years.

Bucking the trend are two new entries. Village Hair Creations in Strawberry Plaza, long owned and operated by Keith and Dawn Finlayson, has new owners with some new ideas. Sisters-in-law Vanessa Garcia and Joanna Bandelin said they plan to reduce overall prices a bit and present some more contemporary styles to customers.

Joanna Bandelin, one of two new owners of Village Hair Creations. Photo by Marshall Smith

“We want to give it our own touch,” said Vanessa, who has worked for the Finlaysons for the last 16 years. Bandelin has also worked for the Finlaysons in the past.


Current plans call for Dawn and Keith to be in Idyllwild, at Village Hair, for Thursday appointments according to the new owners.

Also reflecting a change in ownership is Country Farms on Highway 243, just north of Village Market. Jim and Sandi Fulcher of Palm Desert take over from previous owner Nizam Husaini who has owned the business since 2008. They plan many additions including stocking, by Thanksgiving, quality beer and wine, and are currently expanding product lines to include more gourmet foods, individually fresh brewed gourmet coffee to go, and expansion of their yogurt shakes to include more flavors and toppings.

“We’re also carrying homemade chocolates,” said Sandi. “Let us know what you need, and we’ll get it.” The Fulchers want input from locals about what they want them to carry.