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BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT:

Glendale shop offers more than just their name suggests - featuring mirrors, life-sized figures.

August 23, 2006|By Stephanie Park

Tiran Shemesh’s Universal Rugs and Oil Paintings belies it’s name. There’s a lot more to the store than rugs and oil paintings. There’s also statuary.

The life-sized statues he sells cover a wide range of styles, from pop culture to classic. Replicas of Greek marble statues sit next to fiberglass images of Humphrey Bogart and Betty Boop.

"They’re very beautiful and unique," Shemesh said. "We bring them in from the Philippines."

The statues used to flow out into the parking lot at his location at Broadway and San Fernando Road, but a year and a half ago, the city asked him to move them back inside the building, Shemesh said.

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"I lost a lot of business because of that," Shemesh said. "I’m not proud of it."

But Shemesh has maintained his business, which wasn’t always about statues.

 Tiran Shemesh of Sherman Oaks moved his wholesale business, Universal Rugs and Oil Paintings, from Burbank to Glendale 11 years ago because he wanted to stay connected to the Armenian community.

He began selling oil paintings, handmade rugs and machine-made rugs at Home Depot and Costco road shows, only later expanding to sell life-sized statues, custom frames and custom-framed mirrors.

When he opened his second shop, called the Warehouse, on Broadway and San Fernando Road, he was surprised when people started walking into the shop, he said.

"People just started to come in," Shemesh said. "My employees were laughing at me, but we sell a container every month, which is on average 35 to 40 pictures."

Shemesh still obtains rugs from all over the world, including handmade rugs from Tibet, Iran, Pakistan, India and China, and machine-made rugs from the United States and Belgium.

"Eleven years ago, on Brand next to Porto’s, we started only with rugs and oil paintings," Shemesh said. "It used to be that way. It was doing good."

Large oversized furniture in both modern and traditional styles has become a recent addition in merchandise to his other store, a 1,600-square-foot shop on Brand Boulevard.

"The place used to be covered in stacks of rugs all over, but recently [Shemesh] remodeled and put in lots of furniture," employee Carlos Rodriguez said. "People who come and buy, they’re happy with the prices."

His shops are located at 325 N. Brand Blvd. and at 741 W. Broadway.

"This year I did not spend much money on advertising but [the foot traffic] stayed about the same," Shemesh said. "It’s good. I have no complaints."

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