Mailbox Toluca Lake seems like a typical post office box business with its exterior blending in with a row of other storefronts at 10153 1/2 Riverside Drive. But inside this shop it's a whole different story.
For decades known as the unofficial "Town Hall," it's where ideas for movies and shows have been hatched, and where there are at least 1,000 mailboxes designated to mostly people in the entertainment industry. There are rotating racks of greeting cards here and shelves loaded with stuffed toy animals. Of course, FedEx and postal services are available.
Most importantly, however, are the voice and throat remedies sold by owner Jonathan Kramer, informally known as "Doctor Voice" to the superstars. His products combat laryngitis, hoarseness and other ailments of singers as well as those doing voice-overs. "I've owned the store for 11 years," Kramer says. "I got into the voice business about five years ago, and it's been extremely successful."
He recalled how his mother and sisters had a chronic cough, and one of his cousins bought them a box of Grether's Pastilles, handmade throat lozenges from Switzerland. Kramer still sells them today, handing this writer a sample of Blackcurrent Grether's Pastilles "for throat and voice" from a bag of samples he says he is always giving out.
The netted sample voice bag also includes a tube of Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa, an herbal-based honey loquat syrup for fatigued voices. There is also a small spray bottle of Thayer's Dry Mouth Spray, Ginger Honey Crystals Tea, 100 percent Raw Manuka Honey, Throat Coat Herbal Tea, a Wedderspoon Manuka Honey Lollipop and various other throat lozenges. Recently he discovered two new products, Gargle Away Throat Care primarily for strep throat, and Honees throat lozenges made in Italy. These products have quickly become top sellers for him.
His newest finds include Vocal Eze-a soothing natural throat spray made of ginger, Echinacea and honey, and Lip Eze Chapstick for Musicians-"The only chap- stick for horn players," states Kramer.
"We get solicited by companies that want this sample voice bag," Kramer said. "We have over 66 items." Also included are Superior Vocal Health dietary supplements for clearing sinuses, alleviating stage fright, a tired voice gargle and combating head colds.
Mailbox Toluca Lake's extensive online catalog also includes brand names such as Tiger Balm liniment.
Kramer says several recording studios keep his merchandise in stock for their clientele. Voice coach Eric Vetro, who has trained stars such as Ariana Grande and Katy Perry, refers all his clients to Kramer's store, while Burbank ear, nose and throat specialist Dr. Warren Line prescribes Kramer's products to his patients.
For more information visit MailBoxTolucaLake.com, call (818) 505-9350 or come by 10153 1/2 Riverside Drive at Forman.