Storefront Report: When will that new organic food store open in Echo Park?

New Lassen's underway in Echo Park

New Lassen’s underway in Echo Park

Store owner Peter Lassen pictured last year in future Echo Park Lassen's

Store owner Peter Lassen pictured last year in future Echo Park Lassen’s

ECHO PARK —  It’s been nearly a year since Lassen’s,  an upscale grocery store chain specializing in organic foods  and vitamins,  announced it was an opening a store inside the vacant Save A Lot space.  A recent visit reveals that the interior has been remodeled, with Save A Lot’s bright decor giving way to a Starbucks-like palate of earth tones and black shelving. Despite the extensive remodeling, the small chain, which has a store in Los Feliz, has not said when the new Echo Park store will be ready for business. The Eastsider has attempted to get a date but the chain has not responded to requests for information.

While the store is popular among fans of organic and natural foods, the opening of Lassen’s in the former Nature Mart in Los Feliz was met with picketing and a boycott to protest  donations made by the Lassen family in support of Prop. 8.

Lassen’s will occupy a space that has been vacant for more than two years after the discount grocery store Save A Lot closed suddenly in early 2011.   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. Lassen said his firm recently finalized the lease to secure the space.

Lassen’s 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. Pro-organic food, anti-gay people? Weird combo.

  2. Bigoted, homophobic people can be rich and want organic food too.

    • Echo Park Devil's Advocate

      True, at the same time one could have supported Prop 8 and not be bigoted and homophobic. And that’s from someone that supports gay marriage, and believes in a perfect world we’d separate marriage and state.

  3. Whole Foods is owned by a fascist. It’s all about the $$

    • He’s not a fascist, he’s a libertarian. And while he did co-found the company, he doesn’t own it. It’s publicly traded. In contrast to Lassen’s, who’s stores are each privately owned and managed by their respective owners according to Wikipedia. So the real question is whether the EP store is owned by the same owner as the stores that donated to the anti-Prop 8 campaign?

      • Echo Park Devil's Advocate

        Spencer, you didn’t know? Belief in limited government and individual freedom = FASCIST!. The fascists of yore were just doing it all wrong.

  4. One would hope Lassen’s attempts at welcoming the many types of groups we have in Echo Park including the large gay population. I for one would feel much better welcoming them to the neighborhood if I saw they had attempted at clearing their name with the gay community. I have been wishing for a healthy, organic store for years and will shop there regularly, but it will help if they try to make amends. I am not gay, but I support my brothers and sisters looking for equality and like to support businesses that are equally open minded.

  5. you know that they play the card couple of weeks with the city, that they where doing a renovation cutting the trees on sunset and echo park, all bull, they cut the trees on their parking lot and cut the trees on the side of the Guadalupana market so their costumers can see the store, can you believe that, i just don’t know why they when saying something that wasn’t true, we still have the other trees in the area to trim,, first bad start,,

  6. @ White Bear: What?

  7. When is Whole Foods going to replace the Ralph’s in Silver Lake on Glendale Blvd? The Ralph’s seem to be going strong.

  8. We should protest the opening of this location. Their homophobia tastes like pesticides.

    • I hope you’re out there protesting Target stores too. http://gawker.com/5930124/target-will-gladly-take-your-gay-money-but-wont-support-your-equal-right-to-gay-marry

      Many businesses, unfortunately, donate to right-wing causes. Any business who donates to the Republican party can be termed homophobic, as marriage between only a man and woman is written into their current party platform. This includes companies like AEG, who put on the Coachella festival, Regal Cinemas, Gold’s Gym, and the obvious ones like Wal-Mart.

      Though I am pro-marriage equality, this is a very nuanced situation. Do you know the political views of every business you support? Everything isn’t always black and white, As far as I’m concerned, the marriage equality battle has more or less been won, and we will see a Supreme Court decision affirming this soon. Whole Foods is run by a Libertarian goofball, and other health food shops are too far to drive. So I will sometimes shop here after the Farmer’s Market to pick up a few items, and support a business paying taxes in my neighborhood, and hopefully employing a few neighborhood folks as well. And at least two of my gay friends plan on shopping here.

      • Not to mention the hundreds of thousands ATT and Verizon donated to Tea Party members and John Boehner. And you can add to the list Kraft Foods. And Comcast. And various pharmaceutical companies whose drugs keep people alive. And on and on. It truly becomes a slippery slope as Oh_Henry below notes. Rather than trying to punish those whose beliefs don’t align with your own, which would be a never ending battle, I think sometimes the better move is to use your energies to work to support the things you believe in, giving it a stronger voice, which helps to shift the cultural viewpoint. In this particular case, I think we can all agree the tide has pretty much turned and legal same sex marriage nationwide is inevitable, so I suppose you can laugh at them and say they lost $27,500, if it makes you feel better.

  9. It’s going to be very hard to shop here if they don’t address the whole prop 8 issue in a pro human rights way. I want to shop there but I won’t if I think the owners are against marriage equality. Say it loud!

  10. Finally! Something good is opening here 🙂

  11. As long as they aren’t killing baby seals or something of the sort, I really could care less about the politcal views of the owners. If we all knew the politcal views of every store / company owner and shopped accordingly to whom we agree with, we’d all go hungry and be walking around naked.

  12. I’m glad people, with the kind help of The Eastsider, haven’t forgotten that the owners put money toward stripping (in this case thankfully with only temporary success) a group of fellow Californians of rights they already had and that harmed nobody else. That is some pretty egregious stuff and I certainly won’t be spending any of my money at either of the Lassen’s locations and I used to be a Nature Mart regular.

  13. I just read the Ventura County Start article that GGraham linked to. It says Lassen’s donated $27,500 toward stripping same sex Californians of their right to marry the person they love. That is a lot of money and it says to me that Lassen’s doesn’t just kind of not like gay people but that they must really hate gay people.

    • Weird thing is, they employ some very “out” gays at their Los Feliz store, who were pretty vocal about not appreciating the boycott as it threatened their jobs, so yes, a very nuanced situation indeed. The Lassen family is deeply Mormon and heavily involved in their church, from what I understand, and since Prop 8 was basically funded by the Mormons, I think they were just doing what their religion told them to … which is why I am against religion. Unquestioned dogmatic imperatives. I don’t think the Lassen family are bad people, and they seem to be ok working alongside gays, they’re just sadly caught-up in a backward belief system that they naively follow in the hopes of not ending up in the jaws of hell.

      • Exactly, ese-ese…
        The same way I cut my elderly, very Catholic Mom some slack for being “pro-life” when I’m very pro-choice…Religious people are often so blinded by the dogma they can’t see situations from an objective, logical perspective. It’s definitely more a case of ignorance than willful evil.

  14. Cool , I’m glad there opening soon , I need somewhere to crap at ! hhahahaha

  15. Im going there, and will elbow protesting queens out of the way if i need to.

    This is America. people dont need to follow the party line

  16. @ chris & ese-ese
    So true……to not be tolerant of others that are not tolerant is still a form of intolerance. The word is Coexist and it’s only with true understanding that allows one to move beyond the negative roadblocks.

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