Ramona Business Roundup: The Rusted Poppy sells quirky, vintage-style clothing and crafts


The Rusted Poppy on Main Street, Joleen Stokes’ new store, sells a variety of handmade and retail products with custom or bespoke pieces.

Stokes brings in vendors with their own range of products and organizes the merchandise so that the items mix together instead of being spaced out in stalls. She sells From Dust to Daises, her own product line that includes signs, decorations and floral arrangements. One of his specialties is the transfer of photos or recipes onto wood or cutting boards using a laser technique.

Other vendors include Stacy Petrone, selling as Punk and Junk, which offers distressed flannels and jewelry; his daughter, Maddy Petrone, whose Heads Nor Tails brand offers graphic tees, sweatshirts and hats; Lori Johnson sells her Lyla Bleu Designs, which include custom glass and silverware; and Petrone’s mother, Linda Stokes, who sells handmade cards and sewn items.

The store at 621 Main Street in Old Town Ramona opened Nov. 6.

A variety of vendors sell their custom products in a consistent setting at The Rusted Poppy.

(Courtesy of Rusty Poppy)

Stokes said business was steady, with plenty of support from local residents.

“It’s been super good so far and I’ve enjoyed every bit of it,” Stokes said. “I have no complaints. Most of my customers are loyal customers.

The El Cajon resident who grew up in Alpine said she wanted to branch out by selling her wares in booths at Alpine and Lakeside stores, so she started looking for her own retail space. She was looking for a store on a main thoroughfare and was drawn to Ramona because she liked the dynamic of having small-town events like the annual Christmas tree lighting, she said.

After a month or two of searching, she walked past her current accommodation and decided to check it out.

“I had walked past my location I don’t know how many times and didn’t see it,” Stokes said. “I went over there and called all my friends who had stuff and said, ‘How do you feel about coming in with me?’ I told them they would need to bring their merchandise, that I would set it up, label it and advertise it.

“I set it up as a big collaboration, not with separate booths, so it would look cohesive.”

Stokes also sells leather goods, such as handbags. Overall, she tries to bring quality items and products that aren’t usually sold at other Ramona stores, she said.

“The store is unique,” ​​she says. “I don’t want to take things away from people in the community. I just want to add to the companies.

Signs, cutting boards, macrame items, hats and clothing are some of the merchandise sold at The Rusted Poppy.

Signs, cutting boards, macrame items, hats and clothing are some of the merchandise sold at The Rusted Poppy.

(Courtesy of Rusty Poppy)

Already, Stokes is looking to expand with DIY classes in late spring or early summer. Some of her DIY project ideas include flower arranging, macrame crafts, and knitting chunky blankets.

The store’s name includes her favorite flower, the California poppy, and reflects her past life in the state, as well as a rustic element to reflect her products, she said. She added “on Main” in case she expanded to other places.

For now, the store is open from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays. Hours could change depending on customer traffic and the possible addition of another staff member, she said.

For more information, call 619-922-6505.

Restaurant Poke’Oka

Ramona’s food-loving Montesdeoca family decided to open a Hawaiian-Japanese restaurant in town because they wanted to offer a healthy dining alternative that emphasizes fresh vegetables.

Their Poke’Oka restaurant, which opened in April, got its name because the last letters of the owners’ last name sound like “Oka,” said co-owner Yvett Montesdeoca. The word translates to mountain of geese in Spain, where the family originated.

“We are very excited and happy to be here,” Montesdeoca said. “To this day, we love trying new restaurants and different cuisines from different cultures. I love when you go somewhere and you have that good feeling inside. We are happy to offer healthy and good food for the body.

The family members who help run the Poke'Oka restaurant are, from left, Brianna Montesdeoca, Delia Chavez and Yvett Montesdeoca.

The family members who help run the Poke’Oka restaurant are, from left, Brianna Montesdeoca, Delia Chavez and Yvett Montesdeoca.

(Julie Gallant)

The unique menu allows diners to create their own personalized meal by selecting choices from a variety of proteins, basics such as rice or salad, a dozen vegetables such as avocado, cucumber, red onions, seaweed, carrots and edamame, and several types of sauces and seasonings. The price of the meal is based on the number of protein balls, which include tofu, fresh fish from Point Loma and meat from nearby Bisher’s Quality Meats.

“I try to get the vegetables from small farms as much as possible because I think that’s where the flavor is,” Montesdeoca said.

Montesdeoca’s family moved from Mira Mesa to San Diego Country Estates several years ago because they wanted more space for family members and their two Great Pyrenees dogs.

Together, they run the family restaurant while pursuing other activities.

Montesdeoca is an accountant with regular clients, her husband, Marco Montesdeoca, works in the electronics industry at SSR Technology in Ramona; and their 22-year-old daughter, Brianna Montesdeoca, is a psychology major at California State University San Marcos. Yvett’s mother, Delia Chavez, also works at Poke’Oka full time.

Poke'Oka customers can choose from a variety of healthy proteins, rice, salads and vegetables on the menu.

Poke’Oka customers can choose from a variety of healthy proteins, rice, salads and vegetables on the menu.

(Julie Gallant)

Montesdeoca said her family enjoyed dining at Ramona Family Naturals Market and Pinto Thai Restaurant, but they wanted to provide another healthy food option. They found their location, at 1925 Main St., Unit 2, after their commercial neighbor, Valencia’s Crem de la Crèm ice cream and frozen yogurt store, decided to downsize due to COVID.

Poke’Oka is now in Valencia’s former seating area while the ice cream shop remains open next door. The two restaurants could host a combined outdoor seating area this summer, Montesdeoca said.

Poke-Oka is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Customers can choose to dine out, order takeout through DoorDash, or have food delivered to Ramona by ordering online at pokeoka.com.

For more information, call 760-315-8065.


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