When I first moved to Ojai 13 years ago from Santa Barbara, it felt like moving from a big ocean to a small pond. But after getting settled and having a chance to explore the Valley, I have come to find that not only is the weather almost always perfect, but while Ojai is a small town, it in fact has everything that a person could want – visitors and residents alike – all through a cozy network of family owned and operated businesses.
Some of my favorite haunts in town are J & B’s Coffee Connection (referred to as simply Coffee Connection by us locals), Bohemia (another great coffeehouse), Rainbow Bridge (supermarket and deli), and Rains Department Store. As you can see, my tastes center around coffee (organic, fair trade and shade grown), healthy food, and great specialty clothes and items. I enjoy being able to start my day with one of the two coffee houses, walk to Rainbow Bridge for lunch, and end my day browsing through Rains for myself, or for a novelty product for a gift.
Originally opening as a humble hardware store 100 years ago, Rains has grown into a specialty department store that has everything from women’s and men’s clothing to top quality kitchen gadgets for the avid foodie. I love to wander through and see the great new Teva and Merrill brand shoes and boots, as well as the Le Creuset kitchenware that they have. This small town store now has an online store and will ship orders out, so anyone anywhere can order what they need while still supporting the store and the local economy.
While ordering online is quick and easy, I recommend going in in person if you can – the staff is always friendly and very helpful, and many of them have been working for the owners, Alan and Jan Rains, for 10 or more years. Plus you never know what interesting thing you might find. I know I am still pleasantly surprised, 13 years and counting!
by Hilary Feezor, Ojai Music Festival Office Manager