Opened just one year ago this week, La Boulange on La Brea Ave at 4th is expected to shutter its doors in September 2015. It will be a sad day for many area residents who enjoy the light-filled, nicely appointed casual dining spot and gathered there for reasonably priced breakfast and lunch plates, fresh pastries and its coffee and juice bars.
Starbucks bought the Bay Area-based La Boulange chain in 2012 for an estimated $100 million, to bolster its breakfast and lunch food offerings to Starbucks customers. It was an effective move given Starbucks sales of sandwiches and pastries in stores increased by 16-23%.
But running the separate La Boulange chain of stores has proven “distracting” according to Starbucks group president Cliff Burrows, and a recent analysis of its stores determined that “the La Boulange cafes are not a sustainable model for Starbucks long term.” Starbucks said they planned to close all 23 of the La Boulange pastry cafes, and focus again on the business of selling coffee.
La Boulange founder Pascal Riga is said to be leaving the company. Starbucks says they will try to find employment at Starbucks locations for La Boulange staff.
The newly constructed cafe, which brought a fine shine to this once dismal corner of the La Brea, will hopefully find a new tenant. After all, La Brea Bakery Cafe, Republique, and Sycamore Kitchen are all not too far away and have made La Brea a popular food avenue in addition to being a home decor destination.
Larchmont Buzz: La Boulange on La Brea Opens