SANTA CRUZ, Calif.—While LELO officials have spent the past few days celebrating the company’s 10-year anniversary with retailers, distributors and customers, they took time out to honor the memory of one of the first retailers to carry their products.
During the 10-Year Anniversary Celebration, which took place Tuesday through today, LELO representatives announced the creation of the Shannon Collins Memorial Garden in Santa Cruz and Shannon’s Vegetable Patch at the Walnut Avenue Women’s Center, also in Santa Cruz.
Collins, who co-owned the adult boutique Camouflage in Santa Cruz with her husband Ken Vinson, was murdered in May 2013. The 38-year-old Collins was stabbed to death in broad daylight by a man police identified as Charles Edwards III, a parolee with a history of serious mental illness who was released from a state correctional facility after a clerical error. At the time of the attack, Collins was walking to a hair appointment.
“She was one of the first retailers to carry LELO products,” explained Patty Callahan, communications and marketing manager. “She loved the products, and we loved her. We knew we had to do something to honor her memory.”
During a gala dinner, LELO officials detailed the plans for the gardens in Collins’ memory, while her husband and representatives from Walnut Avenue Women’s Center were on hand for the announcement.
“When we were talking to people about Shannon and their memories of her, several mentioned she loved to garden,” Callahan said. “And she often donated and did charity work to benefit the Women’s Center, so we knew this was something that would really honor her memory.”
The Walnut Avenue Women’s Center provides a variety of services for the purpose of helping women to improve their life situations. The organization is women-centered, seeking to put women’s experiences at the center of the organization’s thinking. They provide services that empower and inform women, their children and their families, enabling those they serve to realize their potential in all aspects of their lives.
The Shannon Collins Memorial Garden will feature a meandering path, areas with benches, a water feature and a plaque. Shannon’s Vegetable Patch will be planted in the children’s area of the center, allowing clients of the organization to participate in growing everything from tomatoes, sunflowers and squash to strawberries, lettuce and beans. The produce can then be sold at local farmer’s market events, Callahan said, to further benefit the center.
Anyone wishing to donate to the Walnut Avenue Women’s Center in Collins’ memory can do so by visiting. https://secure.qgiv.com/for/wawc/.
PICTURED: Shannon Collins, left, with her huband Ken Vinson.