Echo Park shoppers left with fewer low-cost options after two markets close for good

The dark interior of the LG Market

ECHO PARK —  Passersby pressed their faces up against the windows to look in disbelief  into a dark interior, where display cases and shelves were still partially stocked with groceries. This was the scene this week outside the LG Market, aka La Guadalupana, one of two neighborhood groceries that closed recently, marking the ongoing decline of low-cost stores that catered primarily to working-class customers.

In addition to LG Market at 1624 Sunset Boulevard,  the Super Save, housed in a lime-green building at Temple and Union streets, also closed within the past few weeks, say shoppers.

Neighboring shop owners said that LG Market closed late last month.  Many had noticed that the merchandise at the market had grown thin in recent weeks. But when asked about the depleted shelves, clerks said they did not not know what was going on. While Guadalupana was worn and dingy, it was a convenient spot for many to buy low-priced groceries or Mexican-cuts of meat at the carniceria or butcher shop in the back of the store.

On Monday, a man who said he owned the building stood in the doorway of LG Market  as a worker changed the locks. The landlord said the market owners had been behind on their rent for several months when they closed without notice.

Now,  the landlord said he was going to clean up the approximately 7,000-square-foot space — which has over the decades operated as a movie house and bank — and start the process of looking for new tenants. “We are open to suggestion,” said the landlord, who did not want provide his name.

Inside the former Super Save | Seth Eklund

Meanwhile, on Temple Street, the former Super Save store — which once operated as a Vons in the 1940s, according to building permits — also sat empty. Fluorescent lights glowed above a concrete floor.  At one end above an empty produce display stand, a beer poster featuring a woman in a bikini hung over a sign that read “Farm Fresh Produce” and ” Lowest Prices in Town.”

Seth Eklund, who snapped photos of the empty interior late last month, said a cleaning person told him a recent rent increase had forced the store to close.   The Eastsider was not able to contact the owners of either Super Save or LG Market for comment.

The closure of the two markets comes less than a year after Echo Park lost another ethnic market, the A Grocery Warehouse (known to some as the A1 Market) that stocked a wide variety of Asian groceries.

“I used to get my carne asada at Guadulapana and my salmon steaks at A1 [Market],” said Eklund. “I only stopped in the Super Save a few times, but the cashier was always friendly enough. “I’m bummed the neighborhood has lost these 3 markets.”

Screenshot 2015-12-10 at 3.10.51 PM

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  1. End of an era.

  2. Super Save had the nicest operator.. sad to see them closed but their offerings didn’t reflect the current demand. I don’t think the neighborhood has changed that much demographically to blame gentrification

    LG on the other hand.. nothing on Sunset is safe. I live two blocks away from LG, I just couldn’t rely on the products or services unfortunately, so I went across the street and spent 4x as much at Lassens.

    • La Guadalupana could seem pretty unfriendly if you don’t speak Spanis. They catered to those who eat predominantly Hispanic foods. I see gentrification being partly to blame. At the same time a good grocery store should be well rounded and have quality products. I often went to Super save for last minute things or when i wanted something quick and didnt want to drive anywhere. That corner on Temple and Union would serve the community well if there was a decent market there. The owners knew what they had. They catered to those that didn’t drive or need much and the winos and those of us who wanted alcohol. Their meat department was good. Their produce was limited and not always of the best quality. Except for their avocados that they kept behind the register. They were the best in town. Other than the bolios and drink selection the store was mediocre and overpriced. The owners wife is a sweetheart and the guy was friendly along with the staff. They have another store and are doing fine I’m sure. The place needed to be remodeled and needs light. It like the guaralupana seems a little dinghy but not dirty. A market with a little paint job, lighting along with consistency and quality at a fair price would be a dream.

    • I never had problems with the produce or meat from LG. Lassen’s is ok if you can afford $5 head of cauliflower, but for others these closings are huge losses. Very sad to see the place go, especially after A Grocery closed less than a year ago.

      • Does everyone forget that EP has a Vons? No one has to shop at Lassens.

        • I think people (including me) tend to forget Vons because it’s in such an awkward spot, especially in relation to the main strip on Sunset. Nothing wrong with the place, it’s just not as convenient as stopping by for oranges at LG after a walk around the lake.

        • Also, if people are still on the lookout for dingy but well stocked low cost markets, there’s El Rancho Market on Alvarado just north of Sunset and Circle H on Sunset near Benton. These places aren’t really my go to grocery spots, but it’s nice to have options.

  3. I shopped at LG for nearly 5 years. Frankly it was a breath of fresh air – basic fruit, veg, meat and fresh herbs all at very reasonable prices. Not a lot of extraneous junk. Definitely a shame to lose a local market.

    Lassens is pretty awful – it’s absurdly expensive and the fresh produce is occasionally questionable.

    • And for those who may have forgotten – Lassens is a privately owned market that put a lot of money into Proposition 8 in 2008. A proposition that was written to prevent same sex marriage in California.

  4. Im surprised it hung on that long ?gentrification and all ?definitely not the echo park i grew up in .

  5. This report has LG’s time frame a bit wrong. The writing had been on the wall for LG at least since the summer (possibly earlier). You knew the moment they stopped carrying Granny Goose chips and those great salsas. I’m actually surprised Eastsider or the folks on Nextdoor didn’t start chattering about it sooner. Though for the latter group, no doubt they were too busy lining the pockets of the Prop 8 supporting, exorbitantly pricey Lassens.

    • Thanks for reminding everyone about Lassens and their support for Prop 8, the anti-marriage equality amendment which discriminated against same-sex unions. The Lassen family donated over $30,000 towards Yes on Prop 8. Any Progressive shopping at Lassens should question their support of a business that tried to impose their religious dogma (Mormonism) on California residents.

  6. I’m pretty excited to see what goes in this excellent location.

    I bought salsa at LG maybe 3 times. I won’t miss it. And I’m pretty sure the homeless in the area were stealing their shopping carts from LG … they had a mixed bag of carts from places nowhere near Echo Park loosely tied up with a rope. Even Von’s has security locks on their carts so they cant be stolen.

  7. I won’t miss LG, the times I went, was in decadent, specially was so filthy, inside and out, they lost customers, because their operation wasn’t properly taken care. About the shopping carts, after the homeless took them, there was a pick up that removed from them, they never washed them. So think about it, closing is saving us from disease, is true they were there for so many years, I remember when the riots, they were armed to protect their business. I hope there is a completely affordable market or a nice Gym in our community. I remember when use to be a Croker Bank, was really nice and clean business.

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