Sometimes customers step into Fiona Bayliss’ Montrose boutique and ask if she’s still alive.
She’s 92, but she won’t bat an eye. “Is there a law against getting old?” she’ll say. If they bring up retirement, she’ll blame her cat, Ragtime.
“I support a cat and my cat likes to eat, so I go to work every day,” she said.
Bayliss has operated “Fiona’s Antiques and Gifts” on North Verdugo Road since 1966 and she has no intention of stopping. She said so on a clear, chilly morning recently, wearing a new fuzzy purple sweater as she spoke with her own brand of humor and charm. She’d pause only to greet customers with hot apple cider and chocolate chip cookies.
In 1961, a friend abandoned a Honolulu Avenue shop and granted the space to Bayliss. If she couldn’t make rent (then $95 per month), Bayliss promised her husband, she’d “come home and quiet down.”