Boulevard stores gingerly step into reopening

| July 1, 2020 | 0 Comments

PEOPLE are tired of ordering online, says Shopaholic’s Stacy Mitchell.

In late June, as I spoke with storeowner after storeowner on Larchmont between Beverly Blvd. and First St. about their plans for operation throughout this COVID-19 summer, one theme seemed to dominate: “We’ll play it by ear.”

Many businesses have reopened with shortened hours, while some doors have remained closed. Back in late May, businesses were excited to open their doors for curbside pickup, delivery or takeout. But the protest demonstrations paused many stores’ reopening plans. Now, as summer settles in, shop owners are cautiously optimistic that they can continue “business as usual” on their shortened hours.

“Business is pretty steady and I think it’s going to increase the more people feel comfortable going out again,” says stylist Stacy Mitchell of Shopaholic. “People come in and tell us, ‘I’m so glad you’re back open! I’m so tired of ordering online, waiting for it to arrive, trying it on, sending it back and having to deal with the shipping.’”

Shopaholic plans to remain open seven days per week, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“People are anxious to get back out and shop at small businesses,” declares Kristen Sato of Flicka Children’s Clothing. “There’s a lot of positivity and I’m very optimistic… we’ve had some killer sales days since we’ve reopened, and I really think people want to get out there and support their favorite local stores.”

Flicka plans to stay open this summer from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., seven days per week.

Many retail stores are opting for similar shortened hours, mainly due to lack of evening foot traffic.

“Lunchtime seems busiest, but after lunch the street gets very, very quiet,” says Joane Pickett, owner of Pickett Fences.

Currently, Pickett Fences is operating store hours seven days per week, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. “Summer hours,” considers Joane, “we’ll just have to take day-by-day.”

The uncertainty of the virus has forced the local businesses to stay on their toes.

“I’m not really sure what going forward will look like,” says Edie Frère, owner of Landis Gifts & Stationery. “When we closed, we did a lot of emailing and curbside pickup, stationery reorders and custom orders, like key chains and tote bags… but now that we’re open, we have a lot of cute, brand new stuff that people haven’t seen, so we’re happy that people are returning to the stores.”

“People are taking baby steps to get back into the world and they’re really happy to be here,” agrees sales associate Doree Swinney. “As long as they take steps to protect themselves, wearing masks and using hand sanitizer, this will become [their] way of life for awhile.”

Landis Gifts & Stationery will stay open Monday through Friday, from 11:30 a.m.(ish) to 3:30 p.m.(ish), 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.

A few doors down, Louis Eafalla of Village Heights feels the same.

“People are happy to have us back open,” he says. “I think we’re going to weather through this, so I hope people shop local and support local businesses. We’ve been here 14 years, we’ve weathered other storms and we’ll get through this one as well.”

Village Heights hours will (tentatively) be from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and shoppers can find daily updates on both of the store’s Instagram and Facebook pages.

Landis Toy Store is currently operating store hours four days per week, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Summer hours may change, but for now the store will “wait and see,” says sales associate Camilla Henriques.

Over at Chevalier’s Books, the protest curfew forced the store to cut its hours short, but Theresa Le Phung mentions that since the protests, “there has been an exponential increase in customers’ interest in books about race and books by Black authors. This has been a trend in bookselling we’re seeing all across the country, and Chevalier’s is working really hard to get these titles back in stock.”

Though things haven’t been easy for the bookstore during the shutdown, Chevalier’s has continued its virtual speaker series, including an upcoming July event featuring Amanda Brainerd, author of “Age of Consent,” in conversation with director/screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna. Bookseller Le Phung wants her customers to know that “we are here, we are working now, more than ever, and we want you to read; to read books that comfort you and… challenge you. And most of all, we miss you!”

As for summer hours, Chevalier’s, like others, is taking a “wait-and-see” approach, although the store is open for pickup from Monday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“We don’t have a specific timeline for full reopening,” says Le Phung. “As things are changing week-to-week, day-to-day, we are doing our best to be adaptive, and our staff’s health and safety always come first and foremost. As of today, we are still doing our curbside pickup program.”

As the Larchmont Chronicle went to press, new stores were still in construction mode: Rothy’s Shoe Store, The FaceHaus for facials, and The Shade Store. According to Rothy’s PR Manager, Zoe Richards, Rothy’s does not have a secure opening date yet, “as [they] are still in the process of renovating.” The Facehaus, whose construction was delayed due to pandemic shutdown, was gave an opening timeline: “We can share we will be opening holiday 2020, and we can’t wait!” says Brooke Tenmer, VP of Marketing and Communications.

By Sondi Toll Sepenuk

CASEY HAMMER, with foils in her hair, travels up from San Diego to have her hair done at Romi Cortier.

Hair salons, barbershop are on cutting, color edge

Slowly, bit by bit, businesses are re-opening. Among them are the hair salons and a barbershop on Larchmont Boulevard — which got the okay from the city to open at the end of May.

Manicurists were given a green light effective June 19.

The excitement of salons opening was thwarted at first in the wake of protests that took place around the world, and on Larchmont, following the killing of George Floyd.

And while the social and pandemic issues of the era continue — and hopefully positive changes will result — the salons (and barbershop) have, indeed, laid out their welcome mats. No sense in not looking our best, even in a pandemic. Just remember to wear your mask.

Since Vincent Hair Artistry, 136 N. Larchmont Blvd., re-opened in early June, clients have returned at a steady pace, and stylists have worked their magic to lighten, darken and tame unruly locks.

Haircuts, highlights and blowouts are on the menu as before; it’s just that social distancing is now part of the beauty plan. Masks are de rigueur, and chairs, counters and everything else are sanitized to Mr. Clean’s approval.

Stylists could sing 10 renditions of “Happy Birthday” in the time it takes to wash your hair, said co-owner Jurgen Sauer. 

A seated waiting area is outside the shop, and a plexiglass shield has been installed at the register.

Unlike in the past, when the weekends were the busiest times, weekdays see an equal measure of clients, notes receptionist Jay Baeza.

Walk-ins are not accepted, and it’s appointment-only at Larchmont’s oldest hair salon at 136 N. Larchmont Blvd. There are no double bookings, which were not common at the salon anyway, said Sauer. But now, stylists are only allowed to see one client at a time under the city guidelines.


o   o   o

Clear plastic shower curtains hang from the ceiling to separate the four swivel chairs firmly fixed in place for about 90 years at Larchmont Barber Shop, 142 ½ N. Larchmont Blvd.

Owner George Hilario re-opened June 8, later than planned because of protests in the street. “Everything got crazy with the riots,” George explained.

Bring your own mask. Hand sanitizers are supplied at this shop, opened in the 1920s. Hilario and his staff follow a detailed list of city-mandated protocols, which include cleaning the chairs before and after each client.


o   o   o

Romi Cortier of Romi Cortier Design, 425 N. Larchmont Blvd., has worked throughout the pandemic, mixing fresh dye formulation at the back of his car and leaving the potion “curbside.” He talks the client through the application process on FaceTime. In many cases, he’s talking to the husband, who is helping his wife cover her roots. “One couple — she was in her 70s and he in his 80s and they did it!”

The salon is now brighter and lighter after some remodeling during the safer-at-home closure. An air purifier has been installed, and windows let in fresh air. A former medical suite, the salon is perfect for social distancing, with each station having its own private space, Cortier says.

Besides in-person visits, Cortier still offers the “backyard” house calls and the curbside color drop-offs.

“Several clients prepaid for services during the shut-down, and one client in particular gave me a very large gift to ensure that we were able to pay our rent here at the salon.

“It was beyond anything I’ve ever experienced and truly made me feel like a valuable part of the Hancock Park community,” Cortier said.


o   o   o

Five hair stylists and three manicurists are on staff at Larchmont Hair and Nails, 417 N. Larchmont Blvd., said owner Helen Yeom. Manicures and pedicures were allowed by the city starting on June 19, she added.


o   o   o

Call ahead or visit the salon websites to make an appointment. City updates are at

By Suzan Filipek

Tags: , , , , , ,

Category: Entertainment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *