Organic market plans to open Echo Park store this month


Storefront ReportECHO PARK —  Lassens, a grocery store chain specializing in organic foods  and vitamins,  plans to open the doors of its Echo Park store around Thanksgiving, a company official said today. “We’re almost there,” said David Downs, a company buyer, standing under the newly installed Lassens sign on the Sunset Boulevard store.

It’s been more than a year since the Ventura County-based chain finalized a lease to fill the Echo Park space, which has been empty since early 2011 when the discount food store Save A Lot abruptly closed.  Plans to open a Fresh & Easy grocery in the same space collapsed when the chain’s British owners announced they were pulling out of the U.S., creating an opportunity for Lassens to expand.  The company currently operates nine stores.

The 14,000-square Echo Park store next to Walgreen’s is more than three times larger  than the company’s Los Feliz outlet, which was the subject of picketing and a boycott to protest donations made by the Lassen family in support of Prop. 8. In addition to all-organic foods,  the Echo Park Lassens will also have a cold-press juice bar and a full deli, Downs said.

There is no specific date for the “soft opening” around Thanksgiving. Workers continue to finish the interior and are preparing to stock shelves and cases.

Lassens would operate out of the same building  that was once home to Pioneer Market, which closed in 2004 after more than 60 years in business.


  1. I support organic foods and vitamins. However, I am torn regarding supporting a business that supported Prop 8. In my opinion, that would indirectly support homophobia and discrimination. Maybe I’ll just stay with my current grocer.

    • Lassen’s contributed to Prop 8 because they are Mormon and the Mormon Church told them to and they believe what the Church tells them to believe. I’m torn as well, we won in the end and Lassen and the Mormon Church didn’t, those chickens came home to roost in CA and Utah, they have gay marriage. Karma’s a bitch.

    • After battle, one should find a way to make peace with one’s adversary. Prop 8 was abolished, Gay Marriage is well on its way to becoming the law of the land. It’s probably time for reconciliation so that all people, no matter which race, creed or orientation, may live in harmony with one another.

    • Hope you boycott all these businesses too:

      I am completely pro-equality and I will shop at Lassens. We won the battle, they lost. Few people question that same sex marriage will soon be legal across the land. They wasted a lot of money that otherwise would have been spent on Mormon outreach and alienated a lot of people. But the issue is more or less over.

      Lassens is a small chain that employs LGBT employees, and they will also employ Echo Park residents. They will pay taxes into our community. They are not a huge chain like the grocery conglomerates who run Vons and Ralphs (who incidentally have spent millions to deny us the right to have our food labelled if it is made with GMOs).

      Any choices we make as a consumer are frought with complicated implications. Most Apple products are made in unsafe foreign sweatshops, for example. Corporatations like Target give most of their campaign donations to Republicans.

      If those of you who choose to boycott are as informed and conscientious about all your purchases, then fair enough. Otherwise I think you are a being a bit myopic.

      • WELL SAID Zaius! Agree completely and thank you!

      • Target gives equal to both democrat/repub parties (slight difference), and Apple doesn’t produce their products in ‘unsafe foreign sweatshops’ please educate yourself.

        Simply saying “we won the battle” … is a cop out way of looking at the story. Look at all the hard work it took for people to get us to this point after Prop 8 *6 years ago passed!

        Not injecting your money to a company that publicly denounces LGBT is one way of doing that. Just because it has been reversed in CA, doesn’t mean the mormon church (who you’re supporting) won’t use that money to support it elsewhere.

        My mind is willing to change, but until they publicly change their minds, no thanks

  2. Not torn here. I won’t shop there, even though it would be more convenient for me. I suspect if another anti gay proposition came up and the “church” told them to support it they would. I’d only shop there if they publicly came out and apologized to the gay community. Somehow I doubt that will happen, well, maybe the week after hell freezes over.

  3. If the prices are right, I will shop there. At this stage of Gentifcation who cares really???

  4. The Lassen family gave over $30,000 to Yes on Prop 8. The fact that Prop 8 was struck down does nothing to mitigate the fact this family-owned business supported discrimination. They voted with their wallet and I will, too.
    Boycott Lassens.

  5. Someone more tolerant can build another health food store walking distance from my house and i’ll shop there. Until then, I’ll keep supporting this great market chain even with its nutbag owner. They carry really good stuff that is tough to find in the area.

  6. This is an easy decision for me as well. This store actively put money toward stripping some of their fellow Californians of their equal rights and succeeded in doing so for a time. The proposition 8 chapter in our state’s history was ugly, hurtful, and hateful and until I hear a sincere apology coming from Lassens I am not willing to consider forgiving the ugly, hurtful, and hateful role they took in forwarding proposition 8. To me this isn’t even specifically a gay issue. That fact that they would seek to take away or limit the civil rights of any of their fellow citizens is what I find so utterly appalling. .

  7. I like Lassen’s food offerings, but will not shop there. I understand they have the right to give money to any group they wish and I respect that, but I do not want to fund a business where my money could fund the anti-gay marriage movement. I do not understand how a business can move into a neighborhood that for the most part is quite tolerant of all things and expect that there’s not going to be a boycott. Do they honestly not want their very own customers to have the choice to marry freely? I could understand MAYBE if they were opening up a store in Salt Lake City, but ECHO PARK? It would behoove them to try and get to know their customers. Why would I want to give my money to a company that does not even believe in giving some of their potentially greatest customers the right to marry the one they love? It seems odd they are moving into a very gay community. Weird. I’m straight, but I won’t shop there. Too bad because we need a store with health food options like theirs.

    • Obama was originally against gay marriage. I’m sure most of the people on here that are against Lassenns voted for him in 08′

      • Way to compare apples to inaccurate oranges.

        If you’re not going to play loose with the facts, at least use some logic.

  8. You anti-Lassens people are nuts! It’s SO GREAT to finally have a quality grocery store in the neighborhood! I disagree with their supporting of Prop 8, and that was just three years ago, but the tide has turned so quickly on the gay marriage debate, it feels like ancient history. If you maintained grudges against every company that ever held an anti-progressive opinion — well, let’s just say you wouldn’t be frequenting too many American restaurants, movie theaters, or department stores. And what about the American government itself?! Until 96 years ago, women couldn’t even vote. I’m never paying taxes again!

    • It was 6 years ago. And I agree – if that’s going to be your policy, then you better be vetting the political positions of every business you patronize.

    • That’s fine if your politics are less important than convenience. Mine are not. The Mormon Church is creepy as all get out and these are still the same people that haven’t recanted a bit of that Prop 8 endorsement. Support that bigoted, racist organization that is the Mormon Church if you like, I, like others here, will not be,

      • Well, fortunately Echo Park has a large Catholic community, and the Catholic church also opposes gay marriage, so there will be no shortage of customers!

      • If you said the same thing about Islam you would be called a bigot and an Islamaphobe. There are gays and women being put to death in the name of Islam today.

    • It’s one thing to have an opinion, and quite another to donate money to impose your opinion on others. If Lassen’s really wants to bury the hatchet, and make nice with the community, they should donate an equivalent sum of money to HRC or GLAAD.

      We have to pay taxes to Uncle Sam… but we don’t have to buy groceries from bigots.

  9. What a bunch of whiny babys Echo Park has become!
    If its not vegan , kosher, killed humanely, eco friendly , paper , not plastic , blah blah blah !
    There are people STARVING somewhere on earth , fleeing their home lands, you know , real issues .
    Cry babies!

    • Yeah, like the future health of the planet isn’t a “real” issue. Part of the reason people are starving in the world is poor environmental stewardship.

  10. Lassen’s NEVER made a donation to Prop 8. Peter Lassen made a personal donation in the first weeks of the prop 8 campaign and yes he is mormon. This was in the first weeks. This was SEVEN YEARS AGO! Back when President Obama did not believe in gay marriage. Back when just about all states had gay marriage bans. We’ve come a long way folks. The stores, the employees NEVER made prop 8 donations. Peter Lassen has said numerous times that he regretted his donation. We’ve all evolved. We’ve all grown. We can thank time and education and Mitch & Cam, but 2014 is very different than 2008.

  11. the homophobic vitamin store is finally opening! hm.

  12. I will not shop at Lassens. I will not support businesses that contributed or who’s principals contributed to Yes on 8. I will get my GMO free groceries from Costco or Sprouts.

  13. Thank you for the clarification Julia Fields. I’m an Echo Park local (4 years), who’s queer and a vegetarian, and I’m really looking forward to a grocery store of this caliber I can walk to. It’s a dream come true!

  14. I will not be shopping here. I do not tolerate hate.

  15. This company Lassens closes on Holidays + sunday gives people two days off in a row whole paycheck Foods does not they are anti union anti family time yet you gays shop at whole foods

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