Dishing Up A New Classy Village Store

LA MESA -- When Frank Dittmer was looking for a location for his new dinnerware store, he considered North Park. Too young, more music than home, he thought.

Then he thought about South Park. Not the right mix.

Then Dittmer found La Mesa Village. A quaint location surrounded by single family homes and families.

So Dittmer jumped. He signed a lease for his new store -- What A Dish! -- and has quietly opened offering a unique mix of classic Fiestaware, Dansk products and a collection of gourmet foods and specialty products in an artfully decorated shop at 8209 La Mesa Boulevard just west of the trolley line. "Dinnerware They'll Talk About" is his store motto.

"I have wanted to be in the Village for quite a while,'' Dittmer says. "I think this is one of the local places with a small town feel, but here you are just off Interstate 8. I don't know why people haven't jumped at this location.''

Dittmer's analysis should be music to the Chamber of Commerce, which will gather at his new shop on Sept. 12 for an official ribbon cutting, but Dittmer is currently having a soft opening, keeping hours from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Opening a retail shop in the age of surging Internet commerce is more of a challenge, but Dittmer believes his expertise in the oft-collected Fiestaware and his own Internet integration of his shop will help him.
"I will be able to meet people's unique needs,'' Dittmer says. "You can't walk into a big box store and get a replacement piece. I plan on doing special orders and eventually we'll add a bridal registry as well.''

Dittmer, 48, a former professional archeologist, is a New Jersey native, but has lived in California for years. He is currently living in Spring Valley. He has been collecting classic Fiestaware for years and loves the color and shape of what he describes as a piece of Americana. "Fiestaware is American. It's all made in West Virginia. Always has been. In fact, I'm trying to sell almost exclusively American products, though a few European things will get in.''


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Tags: Dansk, Fiestaware, Frank Dittmer, La Mesa Today, La Mesa business, La Mesa newspaper, What a Dish!


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Comment by Scott Feldsher on August 8, 2013 at 10:37am

The addition of this tasteful new business along with the upcoming opening of the Cohn's "Bo/Beau" east is a real shot in the arm for the village.  Now, if the city council, et al can get their acts together to give La Mesa Blvd. the visual face lift it desperately needs, there could be a real Renaissance on the Blvd.  Even just a good power washing and clean-up of the horrifically dirty sidewalks would be a great start to support the new entrepreneurs staking claims in the Village.  Keep up the good work, Chris!

Comment by Marie McLaughlin on August 8, 2013 at 7:49am

Exactly the kind of business the village needs more of!  I love the DBA and am wishing Mr. Dittmer success in his new venture.

Comment by chris shea on August 8, 2013 at 7:24am
It's a dreamy store. I already know what I want to buy!
I'm happy to have Frank as a La Mesa Blvd neighbor!

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