Playa del Rey’s Traci Cox first visited California as a teenager and knew she’d be moving from her small town in Iowa to the West Coast as soon as she had the chance.
From the great weather to all the career opportunities, Southern California seemed like the perfect place to be. Once settled in L.A., her love of rock music and outgoing personality landed Traci exciting jobs at local radio stations like STAR, KLOS and KROQ, where she enjoyed being the first to hear new music and meeting artists who were visiting the studios. Away from the switchboards and producing shows, Traci would head down to Playa del Rey every weekend to enjoy the beach life. A typical fun Friday night would involve bar hopping and dining at long-gone PdR hangouts Captain Billy’s, Outlaws and Sampan, and at enduring favorites The Shack and Prince of Whales.
“I felt like I found this tiny little pocket of L.A. that was just perfect,” said Traci, who has lived in PdR since 1996. “It’s hidden, but has so much to offer.”
After radio came a stint in the haircare industry, followed by an unexpected decision to give entrepreneurship a try.
“I was organizing an event that was about giving back,” said Traci. “I started looking for a wine to serve at the event, and thought there must be one that donates sales to nonprofits and I found OneHope Wine.”
She quickly signed on as an “Independent Cause Entrepreneur” with the company, and now she spends her time connecting with local nonprofits and businesses to create wine parties and online fundraisers where 10 percent of the proceeds go back to the host’s charity of choice–most often local schools.
Traci says a wonderful unexpected perk of being her own boss is the time she has found to create even stronger ties to her community.
“I never had an interest in being an entrepreneur,” said Traci. “But now that I have, this is really fun. Of course, there are challenges, too, but it’s great to have a career that helps raise money for a plethora of organizations. My goal is to support as many local nonprofits as possible.”
We recently sat down with Traci and asked her to share her thoughts, so here is “5 Questions With…Traci!”
What’s your perfect day in Westchester/Playa look like?
A perfect day starts with walking my Shih Tzu, Lulu, and watching the surfers at Gillis. Then it’s coffee and breakfast at Café Bohème–the croque madame is amazing. If it’s a Sunday, I’d stroll the farmers’ market in the Westchester Triangle, check out what’s on display at the Westchester/Playa Historical Society and then stop at my favorite shop T.J. Maxx & HomeGoods. Walking the dog again, I’d check out different spots in Playa to see what’s new. I’d finish the day with takeout pizza from local favorite, Cantalini’s, to share with friends over a bottle of wine on my patio.
What’s one local spot you couldn’t live without?
The Playa del Rey Center on Manchester! It literally has all of my favorite spots. I visit The Good Pizza for my favorite Caesar salad, gnocchi bolognese or chicken piccata. I go to Lily Love Boutique for local fashion and I go to Diane’s Nail & Spa for my nails. Then I’ll head to Dale’s for my convenience store needs and lotto tickets.
What’s your favorite neighborhood tip?
Walk around! There are so many nuances and businesses in our community that we don’t see in our cars and on our normal routes. Some of my favorite walks are the Marina inlet channel, the Bluff Trail above the marsh, the Westchester Triangle or a stroll through downtown Playa del Rey. Take advantage of the beauty that surrounds us; we are very lucky to live where we do!
If you were a member of the city council what issue would you want to tackle?
Speed reduction and safe crossing zones on Vista del Mar from Waterview to Imperial Highway. There has to be a reasonable solution for the safety of visitors and residents, and not have the street used as a super highway. The beach path leading from Waterview and Vista Del Mar is steep and should be resurfaced and the handrail fixed. Other safe zone crossings should be put in at Napoleon and the park on Vista del Mar. There should be safe access down the hill, while also preserving the ecology, as well.
What do you tell people that are new to the area about Westchester/Playa?
Being from the midwest, it reminds me of the small community I grew up in, but you have quick and convenient access to all of L.A. The locals are passionate about the community and maintaining the “small town” feel, as well as the access to nature that we all love. Plus, the history of the area is fascinating! The “Playa del Rey Memories” Facebook Group is one of my favorites to see the old photos of the area.
Learn more about Traci’s business by visiting winewithtraci.com.
Photos by Robert Higgins.