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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA JOB MARKET: WORKING INTO THE NEXT CENTURY : OPTIONS : FROM TIPS TO THE TOP : Former Waitress Now the Co-Owner, Manager of Trendy 72 Market Street in Santa Monica

May 15, 1988|MEREDITH F. CHEN

When Julie Stone graduated from Culver City High School in 1969, she began waitressing at Al's Kitchen on the pier in Santa Monica.

Today, at 35, Stone is a co-owner and manager of 72 Market Street Oyster Bar and Grill, a popular restaurant in Santa Monica. Her partners include actor Dudley Moore and director-producer Tony Bill. And one of the investors in the business is Liza Minelli.

For years, Stone enjoyed being a waitress, with no thought of switching into restaurant management. "I made a good living and I wasn't denied anything," she said.

But all that changed in 1979 while Stone was waitressing at Cafe California. One of her customers was interested in opening a restaurant and market in the Santa Monica area and was looking for a motivated, savvy person to be manager.

When offered the job, Stone accepted. At Charmers Market, Stone got involved in the behind-the-scenes work of opening the business. She participated in the design and construction of the building. She also hired and trained a staff of 100. "Managing came naturally to me," says Stone.

She credits her father with fostering the self-confidence that is so much a part of her success. "He didn't hold on too tight, and he encouraged me to be independent and to know who I am. I grew up with my father and four older brothers so I've always felt comfortable in a man's world."

In 1982, when Stone's longtime friend, producer and director Tony Bill, set out to open 72 Market Street, he asked Stone if she would manage it and become a co-owner. She took the job and is now working with the group of owners to open a restaurant in Beverly Hills called Maple Drive.

The waitress of 20 years ago, once "without a care in the world," now finds herself reviewing the day's business with the comptroller, overseeing 75 workers, monitoring service, handling neighborhood relations, and--most important to her--keeping the patrons happy. "It's a demanding business--you are constantly, constantly giving," she said. "I can really shine it on. I have a wonderful touch with people."

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