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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Storefront Report: Echo Park & Silver Lake boutiques on the move

Flounce (left) moving on after being flooded out. Sumi’s (right) leaving Silver Lake for Los Feliz

There is some Eastside retail churn going on as two shops – Flounce Vintage in Echo Park and Sumi’s, a jewelry and gift shop in Silver Lake – are in the process of moving to new locations.

Rendering of Sumi’s new Los Feliz shop.

Sumi’, which opened seven years ago on Sunset Boulevard next to the former Dusty’s Bistro, is moving into a long-vacant, Vermont Avenue storefront in Los Feliz near Skylight Books.  The shop’s new Los Feliz store will feature bow-truss ceilings, skylights and exposed brick walls.  “Until now, the space hasn’t been vacant for 40 years, so we are very excited to have the opportunity to become “rediscovered” by the community in such a prime location,” said owner Sumi Segal in a press release. ” Construction begins in the beginning of February and will be complete at the end of March.  We will be open in our Silver Lake location during construction.”

While Sumi’s is headed to the established Vermont Avenue corridor of shops and restaurants, Flounce is leaving its Echo Park Avenue location of nearly a dozen years for Virgil Avenue in East Hollywood, where some new shops and restaurants have begun to establish themselves.  The move was prompted by a broken water pipe and ceiling collapse as well as a  dispute with the landlord, said Lisa Gerstein, who owns the vintage apparel and accessories shop.  “I was home sleeping at 7 am and a friend from [a neighboring shop] called and told me that there was a huge gaping hole in our ceiling with water pouring out of it,” Gerstein said via email. “I was there by 7:30 and the sight was amazing.”

A lot has changed in the dozen years Flounce has been in business, with galleries giving away to a high end grocery store, hair salon and boutiques.  “Essentially in the beginning we were only open on the weekend because there was no foot traffic,” Gerstein said. “Once the L.A. Times wrote an article about how the neighborhood was up and coming, and for one weekend ladies from Beverly Hills walked up and down the block and said ‘Is this Echo Park?’ with this look of horror.

Now,  Gerstein is holding an online fundraiser as she prepares to open a new shop in the 700 block of Virgil near Sqirl, the small but well-regarded restaurant that has been drawing crowds since it opened in 2012.

“After Sqirl  opened that area really started to change,” said Gerstein. “In fact it kind of reminds me of Echo Park 10 years ago, still a little bit on the DL, an are that feels full of energy but not yet unaffordable for regular people and small businesses. I  should shut up before someone from the New York Times writes an article and the rents go up.”



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8 comments

  1. Wait a second here, this is a story about a store in Silverlake on the Eastsider? Those proud Silverlakers worked hard to get that term abolished. I think it is high time theeastsider.com take not reporting news about Silverlake so that they do not get offended.

  2. Best of luck at the new space, Lisa. The Avenue sure has changed from the old gallery days! Katrina

  3. Yay, please just keep on moving on. We want our hood back! ECHO PARQUE!

    • Yeah! Bring on the bouncy castle shops and shopping cart diners! Don’t forget to throw all your trash on the ground when your done!
      I’ll bring an old toilet for the sidewalk. It just wouldn’t be ECHO PARQUE without a broken toilet on the sidewalk!

  4. Virgil definitely seems poised to become the next Echo Park – the new bike lanes have really made the street look much more like a people-oriented commercial strip, and since they coincide with Sqirl and a few other stores like this (and they’re located just a couple blocks from several Red Line stops) it’s likely to be a very swift transition.

  5. Re: Silver Lake – “Eastside” debate — please don’t assume that the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council speaks for the majority, or even has anything to DO with the majority of neighborhood residents.. The current NC is a very small entity of self-important individuals who enjoy gathering once a month to argue and pontificate. Judging the entire community of Silver Lake by these folks is like judging all Americans by the House of Representatives.

    • The Neighborhood council has no actual authority, they can’t legally or “officially” declare anything including names or even more vague in this case nicknames which are not a official designations to begin with. Sooo they decided to make the worst decision and pretend to be a moral authority on the matter and takes sides which is intended to be a divisive form of community baiting.

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