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

Melrose Mac’s Road to Rebuilding

Melrose Mac owners invited family and friends to paint murals on the plywood board covering the store’s windows after the store was damaged by looters two weeks ago.

Melrose Mac owners and Windsor Square residents Sandy and Sean Nasseri were at home watching the protests two weeks ago on television. Around 6:45 p.m., the alarm went off at their flagship location on Melrose, just west of Highland Avenue.

“We watched for four and a half hours [as looters ransacked the store and workshop], but no one was coming,” Sandy Nasseri told the Buzz. “There was a chopper circling above the building for 45 minutes showing looters going in and out of the building.”

Melrose Mac sells and services all Apple products (except the iPhone), but they mostly cater to the entertainment industry with high-end editing and post-production computers. Deemed an essential service during the pandemic, Melrose Mac remained open during the stay-at-home orders imposed by the City.  And since the Apple Store at The Grove was closed, Melrose Mac was the only place consumers could bring their computers for service. As a result, they were also holding hundreds of personal laptops and computers in their inventory when the store was looted.

Once the looters had emptied the building, they set a fire, destroying the state-of-the-art flat screens that could not be removed from the store.  And once the fire started, help finally arrived around 11 p.m. as the LA Fire Department came to put out the fire.

The inside of the building was largely destroyed by the fire set by looters.

Nessari told us it was heartbreaking to see the destruction of her business and others along Melrose Avenue following the mostly peaceful protests earlier in the day. But her hope and faith in the community was restored the next day when neighbors showed up to help clean up and show their support for her business.

“We had 135 people show up to help us clean up. We didn’t ask, they just showed up,” said Nasseri. “There were neighbors and friends scrubbing graffiti, picking up glass and sweeping debris. They stayed for for hours. It was incredible.”

The outpouring of support also inspired Nasseri to turn the destruction into something positive. Because the interior suffered extensive damage, the wood frame building has been boarded up with plywood and will likely remain that way for months while cleanup and repairs get underway.

“I knew I just couldn’t look at those boards every day, and thought, “what can I do to make the store better?”:”said Nasseri. She came up with the idea of putting art on the boards so people will be inspired with something beautiful that shows they are moving forward, that they support the movement to end racism, and that they will rebuild their business.

This quote by Leonard Cohen captures Nasseri’s hopefulness.

This past weekend, Nasseri organized a mural painting with artist Beatriz Valls, who also teaches art and Spanish at Larchmont Charter School. The two met through Access Books, a foundation which donates books and helps beautify schools. Nasseri supports The Book Foundation, started by her friend Ruth Stalford, which also donates thousands of books annually to needy students and schools.

Artist Beatriz Valls (right) helps a volunteer painting the mural.

Valls told us she planned designs that reflected Nasseri’s ideas, and which made it easy for everyone to participate. She was busy helping children and adults paint, encouraging each to add their own inspiration to the designs.

Beyond just hiring an artist to organize a mural painting, Nasseri created a festive day where extended family, friends and neighbors were invited to beautify the space, sort books for schools giveaways and decorate bookmarks. Stalford was there too, handing out popsicles and free masks that had been donated by Lucky Brand.

Ruth Stalford, founder of The Book Foundation, handed out popsicles and free face masks donated by Lucky Brand

“Thankfully, no one died and we will rebuild,” explained Nasseri, who feels very fortunate that her business will recover.

For now, her first priority is taking care of her customers who had computers at the store for service. Nessari told us she serviced 3,500 machines in three months. Many of her staff of 85  are still working from home, but for those who need to come in, they have found new temporary space and have relocated their offices to 6708 Melrose Avenue (just a bit west of the old location).

The complete mural adds color and hope to the streetscape following the looting.
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Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard is the publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.

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  1. Thank you very much for keeping us all up to date. So important for us to return to the stores we love and need to support.


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