Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

Ebell Spotlights Jane Gilman, Entrepreneur

Ebell member and Buzz contributor Laura Foti Cohen interviewed former Larchmont Chronicle publisher Jane Gilman at the Ebell on March 8.


The Ebell of Los Angeles hosted a Member Spotlight event on Wednesday, March 8, in which Larchmont Chronicle co-founder Jane Gilman shared stories of her entrepreneurial success. Ebell member and Buzz contributor Laura Foti Cohen interviewed Gilman for the audience of Ebell members.

By way of introduction, Cohen noted, “Jane Gilman’s life embodies the Ebell motto: “I will find a way or make one.” The way she found led her to entrepreneurship, partnership, and the kind of success that gets you a big blowout celebration on your business’ 50th anniversary and a gathering of so many loving friends on your 90th birthday that it requires renting out an entire restaurant.”

Gilman regaled the Ebell members with stories about her early days in journalism, including getting rejected for a job at the New York Times because she misspelled “mahogany” on a test, working for Cosmopolitan magazine pre-Helen Gurley Brown, and time at multiple trade magazines and a shopping center giveaway paper. About her entrepreneurial experience, she explained, “I had a lemonade stand that was financed by my mother. And I was a babysitter.”

Gilman and her husband Irwin met in Germany and returned to the U.S. with two Volkswagens. After moving to Los Angeles in the early 1960s, Gilman proposed to start a newsletter for Volkswagen owners, similar to one Ford was doing. When Volkswagen turned her down, she and Dawne Goodwin, with whom she’d worked at a trade paper, started thinking about other options.

The result, in 1963, was a newspaper designed for the “shopping center” of Larchmont Boulevard. Gilman and Goodwin went up and down the street with a mockup of The Larchmont Chronicle. A headline, tied to the proposed Beverly Hills Freeway that would cut through Hancock Park and the Wilshire Country Club, blazed “Freeway Threatens Hancock Park Homes.”

Store owners signed up and the paper was profitable from its first issue. Printing was funded by advance payments for the ads.

Gilman credits Goodwin’s sales expertise for much of their success. In a twist on Gilman’s Volkswagen experience, Goodwin convinced pharmacy owner Bill Schulhoff to give up the newsletter he was mailing to local customers and go with a two-page spread in the Chronicle instead.

As for her business longevity, Gilman credits it to serving a need that wasn’t being met, as well as building loyalty through participation in many local organizations such as the Ebell, the Windsor Square-Hancock Park Historical Society, the Larchmont Boulevard Association, and more. She also mined the neighborhood for columnists and writers, including society editor Lucy Toberman and fashion critic Mr. Blackwell.

In the early days and for many years after, Irwin Gilman handled the paper’s finances, and Goodwin’s boyfriend Bob handled production. The foursome successfully launched what is today, 60 years later, still beloved. Gilman explained that she sold the paper to John Welborne in 2015 because of his deep connection and commitment to the community.

During a Q&A period, Ebell members and Jane shared local memories, including long-gone stores, such as Larch-Mart, Jurgensen’s and Landis, and involving children in the Chronicle by having them write about their schools, an innovation Gilman began that is still going strong.


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