Renee Goldberg has one of the longest established doll stores in the U.S. — Best Friends Collectables in Northridge, California. She was inspired to open her own shop 41 years ago, in 1979.

“I was on a vacation in New Orleans with my husband, and we ran across a small doll shop. They carried one-of-a-kind (OOAK) and limited-edition dolls. I just fell in love with some of the dolls in their window, so we went in,” Goldberg said. “The dolls were different from the dolls I played with when I was a child. The dolls in that store had personality; they were so detailed, and each one seemed to have a story to tell.

“I bought one and brought her back to California. That doll brought me so much happiness that I wanted share the joy of owning these fantastic artist dolls with other people. That’s why I opened my doll shop.”

In those early days, before the internet became part of everyday life, Goldberg looked for dolls to offer in her shop by meeting artists at shows and finding them in doll magazines. “My experience has been that doll artists are the most wonderful people,” she said. “As we established relationships, many became personal friends. They have stayed with us when visiting California, and we have stayed with them as my husband and I traveled around the world.

“We also put on a lot of doll shows and built a network of excellent doll artists who attended our events. Today we carry dolls from artists from all over world that I believe are exceptionally talented, respected, and who create dolls I would like for my own doll collection.”

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