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Food Retailers Struggle To Stay Open: Small Business Owners' Rent-Induced Malaise

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Tue, Jan 18, 2011 at 11:00 AM

click to enlarge Stan's Produce - CELIA SOUDRY
  • Celia Soudry
  • Stan's Produce

The National Bureau of Economic Research claims that the recession is over, but many small business owners and their unemployed workers would most likely disagree. On Sunday, January 9th, owner Stanley Bosco informed employees, as well as longtime customers, that his 18-year-old produce shop on West Pico Boulevard was closing. The closure was due to an increase in the rent, a familiar scenario among retail shop owners such as Bosco.

Fortunately, Bosco negotiated with the landlord and announced that he will remain open for at least another year. "She's a businesswoman, too," he said of the landlady. Others were not so lucky: Fin's in Old Town Calabasas closed in October, as did Angelina's Self Serve Yogurt Shop in Beverly Hills, a spot on Bedford Drive which has been vacant for nearly two months. Realtors for the Angelina's space could not be reached for comment. "It just got too expensive to stay there," said Fins' owner Moez Megji.

click to enlarge Front door of Angelina's - CELIA SOUDRY
  • Celia Soudry
  • Front door of Angelina's

Culver City eateries have also seen a significant turn around in recent months. M Cafe de Chaya Closed and was replaced by health food chain restaurant Native Foods. Family run Tokyo 7-7 diner, founded 27 years ago by Eju Ozawa, closed on December 18, 2010 because the landlord raised their rent and they could no longer afford the space.

As customers rolled their shopping carts through Stan's on Monday, one woman screamed across the aisles of produce, "Thank god you're open... You must be happy," she said to an employee. "We all are," he replied. "He's [Stan's] great. A real old timer. He won't take credit card or fax. Cash only... or check," another shopper chimed in.

click to enlarge Angelina's Self-Serve Yogurt Shop - CELIA SOUDRY
  • Celia Soudry
  • Angelina's Self-Serve Yogurt Shop

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