When his former landlord announced plans to demolish the building, barber Tony Cornejo went looking for a new location, taking over an existing barbershop in a Silver Lake shopping center. That was more than 30 years ago, and Tony’s Barber Shop has been in the same Glendale Boulevard shopping center ever since. But this year finds Cornejo preparing to move his six-chair shop to Cypress Park as apparently the shopping center – which also houses a Ralphs market, CVS drugstore and KFC – prepares for major change. Cornejo and some other longtime tenants of the Silverlake Shopping Center said leases are not being renewed past this year, and there is talk of rebuilding or overhauling the property. “This location is perfect – we hate to go,” said Cornejo, whose lease is expires in September.
The shopping center is a bit dated but remains a tidy and busy place, with a combination of chain stores – including a Starbucks and Winchell’s – and independent businesses – Wong’s Wok Chinese Food and 20 DVD – drawing a steady stream of customers that keeps the parking lot full. But there have been some unsettling signs. For example, two of the chain tenants – Straw Hat Pizza and Baskin Robbins – have closed and there spaces have remained vacant. The management company has balked at updating expensive phone equipment and surveyors have been seen on the property, said tenants.
The Eastsider has contacted Western Realty, which manages the center, and Ralphs for comment but has not heard back.
Next door to Tony’s Barber Shop, Ara Simonian, owner of Silverlake Salon, said his store, which opened in 1980, is on a month-to-month lease. While last year’s sales were the worst since he’s been open, Simonian said his location is convenient to many customers, including the many commuters who stop by on their way to and from work downtown. Simonian said it’s been difficult to determine the fate of the center, making it difficult to plant ahead. “Nobody knows whats’ going to happen,” he said.
Back at Tony’s Barber Shop, Cornejo said he has no choice but to prepare to move but would be interested in returning if the offer was ever made. He lives near the center and said finding a comparable location in Silver Lake is impossible. “I do want to come back.”