The signs painted on the windows of La Popular furniture in Echo Park read “Lost our Lease” and “Everything Must Go.” Inside the Sunset Boulevard store, which has been holding a half-off liquidation sale, the dim showroom is mostly empty except for a few mattresses, couches, lamps and stuffed animals. Is the store going out of business or is this a sales promotion to clear out merchandise? The Eastsider has contacted owner Neil Stone, whose family has owned the store since the 1940s, to find out what’s going on. One of the two employees who was present this afternoon said today was his last day at store but he did not have any details about a closing date.
Last year, half of the 12,000-square foot furniture store building on Sunset Bouelvard near Alvarado was leased out to a discount store called Hit Bargain as business diminished at La Popular. Stone is part of a line of Jewish merchants whose stores once catered to generations of immigrant shoppers across Echo Park, Boyle Heights, East Los Angeles and other Eastside communities. Neil Stone’s grandfather, Stanley, helped opened the first family store on First Street in Boyle Heights in the 1920s. About 20 years later, the family had branched out to open the Echo Park outlet.