Larchmont stores struggle, seek help from community

| October 28, 2020 | 0 Comments

VILLAGE PIZZERIA has been serving pizza pies in a colorful atmosphere on Larchmont Boulevard for more than 24 years.

As pandemic-related pain continues for many small businesses, several beloved shops on Larchmont Boulevard have reached out to the community to share their struggles. Here’s what Chevalier’s Books, Village Pizzeria and YogaWorks are saying.

Chevalier’s Books

Supporters of Chevalier’s Books, the oldest independent bookstore in Los Angeles, received an Oct. 5 email asking for their support as the bookstore faces an existential question of whether to close or move to a more expensive location, after the shop’s current lease ends next month.

Signed by co-owners Bert Deixler and Darryl Holter, the message explained that due to the pandemic, sales had fallen by about 40 percent, and then their landlord, Christina Development, announced that it would not extend the lease.

“We’ve located a vacant space on Larchmont that could be a new home for us, but the rent there will be more than double what we currently pay,” the email read. “We are now asking you to help keep Chevalier’s Books a part of the Larchmont community. As the holiday season approaches, we ask you to consider making us your one-stop-shop for all your bookish needs. … If we are all in it together, we can continue to have a first-class independent bookstore in our neighborhood.” 

Two weeks later, Deixler told the Chronicle that the response from residents has been inspiring: “The community has been unbelievably supportive,” he said. “It was moving to see people emailing, calling and sending notes of support. In addition to buying books, people have volunteered to help in many ways including to move books, to paint a new location, and even host events.

“People are so lovely,” said Deixler, who notes that he has his fingers crossed on finding a new location by Dec. 31.


Village Pizzeria

In an Oct. 9 social media post, Village Pizzeria owner Steve Cohen asked his supporters to sign a petition as a way of “encouraging” his landlord, American Commercial Equities, to “negotiate a fair resolution” to a rent dispute.

“We’ve tried in good faith to negotiate a fair deal with our landlord for six months to no avail,” said Cohen, who notes that his business is down about 60 percent since the beginning of the pandemic. “We know a lot of you will miss your local favorites when they’re gone, so now’s the time to take action. We really don’t know if this petition will work; in the end our landlord has final say, but we would love and truly appreciate it if you could show your support by signing.”

The call for help got the attention of Councilman David Ryu, who tried to mediate.

“Village Pizzeria is a beloved local restaurant that has been in Larchmont for over 24 years. The owner, Steve Cohen, has been doing everything possible to stay afloat during this difficult time,” read an Oct. 14 statement from Ryu. “My office reached out directly to the landlord on behalf of Village Pizzeria, and I am incredibly disappointed to see that they have refused to cooperate in any meaningful way. During a pandemic that has put millions of people out of work, and led to the permanent closure of tens of thousands of small businesses, landlords should be willing to work together with commercial tenants, and negotiate fair compromises for the good of our community.”

To help, Ryu says that he will contribute $25,000 from his office’s discretionary funds to the Larchmont Boulevard Assoc. for a small business recovery fund. That fund will also help Chevalier’s and others.

You still can sign the petition, which at last glance had garnered more than 3,800 names, here.


In an Oct. 14 email, YogaWorks CEO Brian Cooper announced that the business was voluntarily filing for Chapter 11 protection to relieve the company of its studio, brick and mortar, liabilities, which include the Larchmont Boulevard location, considered one of the oldest yoga studios in Los Angeles. Cooper said that the pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for the yoga industry.

“Our work to ensure YogaWorks’ successful future has also included trying to strengthen our financial position so that we can continue to operate at our high standards and invest in our people and offerings. As part of that effort, we decided that a necessary step is to voluntarily file for Chapter 11 and to close all YogaWorks physical studios across the U.S. By implementing this process, we will be better positioned to continue operating and investing in the digital and education-focused segments of our business that have proven to be so successful,” Cooper explained.

Visit for details on how you can join online, live-streaming classes.

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