Signs of trouble at an Echo Park business

The signs painted on the windows of La Popular furniture in Echo Park read “Lost our Lease” and “Everything Must Go.”  Inside the Sunset Boulevard store, which has been holding a half-off liquidation sale, the dim showroom is mostly empty except for a few mattresses, couches, lamps and stuffed animals. Is the store going out of business or is this a sales promotion to clear out merchandise? The Eastsider has contacted owner Neil Stone, whose family has owned the store since the 1940s, to find out what’s going on. One of the two employees who was present this afternoon said  today was his last day at store but he did not have any details about a closing date.

Last year, half of the 12,000-square foot furniture store building on Sunset Bouelvard near Alvarado was leased out to a discount store called Hit Bargain as business diminished at La Popular.  Stone is part of a line of Jewish merchants whose stores once catered to generations of immigrant shoppers across Echo Park, Boyle Heights, East Los Angeles and other Eastside communities. Neil Stone’s grandfather, Stanley, helped opened the first family store on First Street in Boyle Heights in the 1920s. About 20 years later, the family had branched out to open the Echo Park outlet.

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  1. This location is in fact closed, this is not a marketing ploy. I confirmed this first hand.

  2. That store has been there forever. Another victim of the gouging moneyed interests who are running all but the wealthy and affluent out of Echo Park. Such a loss. Such a shame.

    Echo Park has lost its soul. It has been turned on its head, is now the opposite of its left-wing history of protecting the little man. Echo Park is now just more obnoxious money-grubbing pigs.

  3. Sorry, no one is running anyone out of Echo Park. It’s a business decision. If the landlord can get higher rent, it’s their right to charge more. If “gouging moneyed interests” are revoking their lease for other reasons then profit, I’d like to hear them.

  4. * “than profit”

  5. Alex,didin’t your response just bolster what Tom said.

  6. Really Tom? I think La Popular has had a pretty excellent run. Times and tastes change, so do neighborhoods. Taix is still around, Barrigans too. Many older establishments are enjoyed and loved by newer residents of the area. Your simplistic rant does more damage to the neighborhood than the end of La Popular. The only constant is change, buddy.

  7. @ Tom. I believe the family or family trust that owns La Popular owns the building and property. That’s one of the issues I want to clarify with the owners.

  8. @Tom-
    I don’t know thru what revisionist prism you are citing Echo Park’s “left-wing history of protecting the little man”, but I have just two words for you:

    Chavez Ravine.

  9. I’m sad over the nostalgia of it. I never bought anything there, it wasn’t my style but it has such a presence on the street. Bummer.

  10. If the family who owns La Popular also owns the property on which it’s located (and they probably do, since it’s a pretty large store and I doubt they would have survived this long if they had to pay steadily-increasing rent to a landlord), then there’s no reason to feel sorry for them or lament the store’s demise. I’m willing to bet that the property owners will subdivide the property into two or three smaller storefronts, just as the Kinneys shoe store on Glendale and Fletcher did ages ago. People can bellyache all they want, but I don’t see La Popular – or any other furniture store – as a cultural landmark deserving of our lamentations.

  11. Libertad,
    Apparently you don’t know the story of Chavez Ravine.

    When was the last time you shopped there?

  12. It only makes sense that they owned the building because the bottom dropped in the furniture business in 2009. Their other stores have been closing as well Its really tough to compete with the new chains. But hats off o La Popular for lasting as long as they have. They added a lot of vibrancy during the years.

  13. By all means EP1989 don’t just hit Libertad and run, do tell the tale. I’m eager to read how the events of Chavez Ravine might be interpreted as “protecting the little man.”

  14. The people in Echo Park did not support what happened in Chavez Ravine! They opposed it! Just as they later organized better and opposed the Convention Center being built in Elysian Park.

  15. Bringing up what happened in Chavez Ravine is ridiculous. The forced relocation of the native people of the Ravine was perpetrated by people who did not live here and nobody in EP had a vote in the matter. The councilwoman who advocated for their relocation and created the stadium, Roz Wyman, lived in Beverly Hills. She still does.

    But more to the point, what does that have to do with anything? Cities and communities are constantly changing entities and if you don’t want to live someplace that has a constantly changing facade, move. Don’t complain about the fact that you moved to a city. Why spend your time bitching that you live in a city that changes all the time as all healthy cities do… ask the people of Detroit who are facing a city that simply has shut down and doesn’t have the resources to change and adapt.

    I am so tired of people who say they “were here first” and then complain about how things change. When you talk to the people who have really been here for decades they are thrilled and amazed at the changes and aren’t bitter and pissy about it.

    But maybe it’s all for the best – Jesus gives you this forum to air your petty grievances and pretend damages and you stop bothering the rest of us who respect and love EP for what it is – a vibrant, changing, interesting place.

  16. thank you b., well stated.

    Neighborhood are living things, they grow, contract, shift and change. Boyle Heights wasn’t always Latino. In fact it was a jewish neighborhood. Healthy neighborhoods change. Deal with it.

    That being said, thank you La Popular for your contributions to the neighborhood and our city for 30+ years. Thank you for the stability, the jobs, and your commitment to the community that you provided. I’m sad to see you go and I wish the family well in your next chapter.

  17. b. – Hell yes. You said it perfectly.
    Tony- you too.

    Thank you LA Popular. Nobody likes change, but those people should really try harder to appreciate what’s in front of them while they can. I know it’s easier to wait around ’til it’s gone so you can bitch about it’s absence. We have a great neighborhood right now. It’s summer, go outside and enjoy it.

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