Don’t shed your tears just yet. The bad news: two of Los Angeles’ most notable stores will be closing June 1. The good news: everything is on sale at 40 percent off the original price.
Thrive Décor (7427 Beverly Blvd.), the beloved neighborhood antique store owned by Windsor Square resident Randy Esada, and Dianne Merrick (7407 Beverly Blvd.), owned by none other than 80-year-old Diane Merrick herself, have jointly decided to close their showrooms.
“Beverly Blvd. has been a huge disappointment,” says Esada of Thrive’s current location at the corner of Beverly Blvd. and N. Vista St. “There’s no foot traffic, and there’s not enough crosswalks.”
Esada’s store carries everything from 18th century furniture to Art Deco pieces to Modern Art. It’s an antique collector’s paradise, and its abundance of hard-to-find tables, chairs, glassware, lamps, paintings and even an Italian 18th century lady dress form mannequin make it hard to walk in and walk out within the same hour.
Merrick’s store, on the other hand, is known as a “clothing salon” that also sells antique furniture, jewelry, fine china, cashmere and whatever else Merrick finds interesting.
Merrick started her clothing boutique on Melrose Avenue in 1971. Her store was famous for its warm, friendly, shabby chic atmosphere and for carrying California lifestyle brands such as Juicy Couture, C&C California and J Brand before they exploded into their own namesake stores.
But Diane didn’t start with clothing. It was used furniture that caught her fancy first.
“Before they built the Design Center, there were little railroad shacks, and they would rent them out monthly,” remembers Merrick. “I was selling used furniture for six months, and then I teamed up with a lady who did antique shows and we leased a place on Melrose. We shared the space and I paid $60 a month!”
Merrick eventually took over the showroom, added clothing and vintage jewelry and stayed at her famous Melrose location until Kitson took over the space. Merrick moved to Beverly Blvd. in 2006.
Esada, an interior designer, opened his original showroom in Larchmont Village in 1998. He then opened Antiquarian Home on Melrose Avenue before finally settling on Beverly Blvd. five years ago. That’s when he met Diane.
“I saw him building out his store, this big, fabulous guy with bright white teeth, and I loved him the minute I met him,” gushes Merrick of her friend Esada.
The two friends have become so close that they both decided to close their stores together and go out with a bang.
Esada currently does about two thirds of his business online, and he plans to continue with the online sales as he looks into his next venture.
“The face of retail is changing,” says Esada. “More people are going online, so what’s the point of having a big, glamorous showroom that you’re paying a fortune for… unless it’s your own?”
As for Merrick, this is not the end of her retail career, either. “For my next venture, I expect to have similar things, but only things that I love,” she says with a relaxed smile. “I want to have more freedom to travel… to go to estate sales and to travel to Paris and to find the items I love.”
In the meantime, as Esada and Merrick plot their next moves, both Thrive Décor and the Diane Merrick store will be offering 40 percent off in March, then 50 percent off in April and May before they shutter their doors permanently on June 1.
“There’s never been a better time to buy antiques than right now,” Esada says emphatically of his antiques that are already priced at market wholesale. “If you walk out of the store without an antique, you didn’t come in to buy one!”