By JACQUELINE FERNANDEZ
HIGHLAND PARK — One of the former owners of Figueroa Produce, an independent grocery that closed several years ago, is planning to open an old world-style butcher shop and deli.
Ruben Perez and Jeff Perez, childhood friends who grew up in Highland Park, have spent the last three years working on the concept for Chops Meat & Fish, which is scheduled to open next March in the former Frank’s camera store building in the 5700 block of Figueroa Street (other tenants include a barbershop-restaurant).
“Since (Figueroa Produce) closed, we always had the passion of opening a similar store, but we focused our concept to a full service butcher shop,” said Highland Park native Ruben Perez.
The 1,400-square-foot butcher shop will not only offer select cuts of meat but also poultry, fish, game and sustainable seafood. It will also have a deli and a marketplace section with frozen foods, pasture-raised dairy, and other products.
Ruben Perez and his family are familiar with the Northeast L.A. grocery business. He and partners opened Figueroa Produce on York Boulevard with the goal of offering wholesome food at affordable prices. But the store, which opened in 2008 as the economy fell into recession, struggled and finally closed in 2013 (the space is now occupied by a Big 5 sporting goods store). His son, Andrew, operates Organix, a grocery and vegan deli in Eagle Rock.
Competition is tough for most small grocery stores, but Perez believes customers will drive to Chops Meat & Fish for the warm, family atmosphere.
“They will come not only for its quality meats, but for the exceptional customer service that other competing markets don’t have.”
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