We recently learned of seven businesses closing on Larchmont Blvd.!
Before we get to the bad news, however, there is some good news: online shoe retailer Rothy’s is opening a bricks and mortar outpost in the former Mr. Holmes BakeHouse space at 248 N. Larchmont. The space was formerly home to Village Footwear, a 19-year veteran of the street, which lost its lease to the bakery. So it’s nice that a shoe store will be returning to the space. For those who have somehow managed to miss Rothy’s massive social media presence, targeting women who shop online, Rothy’s is a three-year-old San Francisco-based company, which makes shoes out of recycled materials.
According to Techcrunch.com, the company has 500 employees, including 450 who work out of the company’s 100,000-square-foot factory in Southern China. Bloomberg Businessweek reported that the company made a little more than $140 million in revenue last year. It’s definitely a new era on Larchmont, as the street seems to have joined the ranks of specialty retail streets around the country in marketing new brands. (Full disclosure: as an owner of several pairs of Rothy’s shoes, I can say they are great.)
Now for the sad news. There are a total of seven other Larchmont businesses that have recently closed or will soon be closing.
Cafe Parisien is already closed after just eight months on Larchmont Blvd.
“Unfortunately this location did not work out for us,” owner Sebastien Cornic wrote to the Buzz yesterday morning. “We will now focus on Meet in Paris Culver City and Brentwood. It was a pleasure serving the Larchmont community for the time it lasted.”
Flywheel Sports is closing at the end of the month. Fans of the spinning studio, which opened in 2012, told us that even though the Larchmont location was very successful, the company is all closing all of its Los Angeles locations. In fact, Fox Business reports that the company is closing a full 25 percent of its studios nationwide. (Thanks to Buzz reader S. Heaney for passing along that link.)
The final day of classes at Flywheel’s Playa Vista, Larchmont and West Hollywood studios will be August 29th, according to an e-mail sent to members of the “Flyfam.” The note also included an exclusive opportunity for Los Angeles’ riders interested in its Flywheel Home Bike. (Thanks to Buzz reader Julie Stromberg for sharing that tidbit with the Buzz.)
After 7 years on Larchmont, Goorin Hats is closing on August 25th, according to Troy Roberts, asociate ahopkeeper and store manager, who spoke with us yesterday. The family-owned business has been around since 1895, with lots of retail stores all over the country, including one in West Hollywood. Roberts told us they are closing the Larchmont location “so we can be more strategic about our locations.” “Retail trends are changing,” he said, “and we can be more focused.”
Roberts was very upbeat about the closing, saying it will be good for the company and inviting customers to shop the current close-out sale.
“Help us close with a bang! Everything in the store is on sale, so come on in and buy a hat or two…or four or twelve!” said Roberts.
LF, the women’s clothing brand, is moving online…so it is closing all of its retail locations, including the Larchmont store at 120 N Larchmont, which last week morphed into an outlet location with frequently changing price points on merchandise. Staff at the Larchmont store said they should be closing by Labor Day, but they might stay longer. As with Flywheel, this closing is part of a larger shift in the company, and likely in response to general trends in retail.
Similarly, staff at MAC Cosmetics, 216 N. Larchmont, confirmed that store will be closing after two years on the street. It seems the Larchmont location is not performing as the company expected. The staff told us they are planning to close sometime in September. On the brighter side, staff members will be given jobs in other stores in the chain.
Library, the clothing store at 121 N. Larchmont, seems to be closing after 10 years…but maybe not exactly. The word we heard is that store is likely to re-emerge as a purveyor of owner Michael Mizrahi’s own clothing brand. Mizrahi is the son of late real estate developer Albert Mizrahi, who purchased some 20,000 square feet of Larchmont real estate in 2007, including the younger Mizrahi’s retail store and the building that now houses Hardwear, across the street. The Mizrahis also own the currently white-wrapped building, vacant for more than a decade now, next door to Vernetti restaurant. (Albert Mizrahi was also known for his protracted lawsuits with the City over the illegal operation of the former Larchmont Bungalow restaurant, now the home of Buck Mason men’s clothing.)
Library store manager Erica told us she isn’t authorized to speak about the future of the store, but she did say it will stay a retail store in transition and that everything is now on sale for 1/2 off.
Lastly and belatedly, Bluebird announced its closing in a Facebook post on July 9. We’d heard rumors, after the building was sold in May, that the vintage and consignment children’s clothing store might leave. Fortunately, adjacent shops Floret Floral and Coffee+Food are still in residence, and Ampersand clothing boutique moved to nearby Beverly Blvd.
While researching these closings, everyone we spoke to said essentially the same thing: rents on the street are too high and retail has fundamentally changed. People don’t shop the way they used to before the Great Recession of 2008. It seems we don’t need as much stuff as we thought and younger shoppers want more experiences and less stuff.
As unabashed Larchmont lovers, we think the street still offers something for everyone…especially one thing we all need more of – community. Our millennials love Larchmont for the food, the shops and being out on the street, running into their friends. The neighborhood-serving street envisioned by Julius La Bonte more than 100 years ago still serves as as focal point of our community. One Buzz reader told us that local residents want to support the locally owned shops on Larchmont. There’s room for high-end fancy but there’s also a special place in the community’s heart for locally-owned and operated shops and eateries, backed by years of hard work by mom-and-pop owners, not venture capital.
We hope you agree and will support your favorite spots on Larchmont, as well as the members of the Larchmont Boulevard Association, who volunteer their time to improve the street in addition to running their small businesses. Ther next big LBA event is the Taste of Larchmont next Monday, August 26, at 6 pm. Proceeds benefit HopeNet, a local non-profit that operates 12 food pantries in the city.
See you on Larchmont!