Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

74-Year-Old Diamond Bakery Struggling to Survive

Raida Shieban, who has worked at Diamond Bakery for more than 30 years, behind the counter today. (All photos by Dan Kegel.)

We’ve written a lot about our Larchmont Blvd. small businesses struggling to survive during the current pandemic, but they’re not alone in fighting economic hardships right now.

Diamond Bakery, a fixture at 335 N. Fairfax since 1946, is also feeling the pinch, and is currently reaching out to customers and neighbors to help ensure it can continue its long legacy of service to the community.

Until last year, Diamond Bakery was run by its founding families, but when they retired in 2019, they sold the business to a small group of longtime employees.

Diamond’s current president, Raymond Luna, told the Buzz yesterday that the bakery does about  80% of its business with other businesses — local restaurants and grocery stores such as Ralphs, Bristol Farms and Gelsons.  But as the restaurants, especially, have been forced to cut back by COVID-19 restrictions, the bakery is now struggling.  The pandemic “completely pulled the rug from under our plans,” Luna said.

And because the new owners are of modest means themselves, Luna added, they don’t have pockets deep enough to float the business with their own funds.  So they’ve started a GoFundMe page, asking for help from dedicated customers and community members who would like to see the longtime legacy business survive.

As Luna writes on the page:

“Before the pandemic, Diamond Bakery was set to keep its door open for another decade. We’ve been open since 1946 and had everything we needed to keep going.

Diamond Bakery has always supplied to many other restaurants in Los Angeles as well as grocery stores. With the pandemic, restaurants shuttered their doors, some declared bankruptcy, and those that remained open ordered significantly less from us.

Once we had enough money gathered together to re-open, the protests and looting happened. Our neighbors got looted, and many had to shut down their doors. We were lucky to get only a couple of broken windows.

Many of our daily regulars were our neighbors—coming in for a cup of coffee, a danish, or some delicious bourekas. Now, with their businesses closed, that’s even less of our regulars coming in.

We don’t want to close

Unfortunately, the pandemic has hit everyone hard. We don’t want to close—and that’s why we need your help. We just need to survive for a couple of months as the pandemic lasts. Optimistically, until the end of this year.

If we can survive throughout the end of this year, we should be back on our feet and ready to go for next year.”

Luna set a what he says is a very “optimistic” fundraising goal – $500,000 – but he also says donations of any size will help.  “Honestly,” he said, “any donation would be appreciated, because it buys us time.”  And time is the most important element right now.  Luna says Diamond is negotiating with a number of potential new restaurant customers, which could help guarantee the business’ future, but it needs to stay afloat until those contracts are finalized.

“So far we haven’t laid off anyone,” he said, “and we don’t want to.  Now is when people are really relying on their paycheck.”

So if you’re looking to shop where it will do some good right now, give Diamond a try.  Hours are 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., seven days a week, and Luna says they’re still using the original recipes from 1946.  He particularly recommends the corn rye bread, challah and cheese cake — “I guarantee no one makes it like us.”


Update:  Since this story was published, Luna has revised the GoFundMe fundraising goal to $22,000.


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Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN but has lived in LA since 1991 - with deep roots in both the Sycamore Square and West Adams Heights-Sugar Hill neighborhoods. She spent 10 years with the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, volunteers at Wilshire Crest Elementary School, and has been writing for the Buzz since 2015.

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