Figueroa Produce Closes Its Doors

The beloved but struggling grocery store closed its doors this week.

A work crew swept away dust along the tops of a row of coolers and hauled out equipment as Highland Park's Figueroa produce was disassembled on Wednesday afternoon. 

The closure of organic-leaning grocery store came with little fanfare; only a paper sign on the front window announcing "50-percent Off Everything" suggested that something may be amiss. The grocer's Twitter feed sent a message to a follower on Sunday, Feb. 24 denying that they were closing down. 

"We are just having a big sale, come on in and ask us about it," the Tweet stated. 

On Wednesday, the fate of Figueroa Produce could no longer be denied. A manager, who declined to share his name, confirmed that the store was closing down and that the owners would from now on focus their efforts on Organix, an Eagle Rock grocery stored owned by the same Perez family who opened Figueroa Produce five years ago. 

An article posted on Grub Street last month indicates that the owners of Figueroa Produce were forced out by a landlord looking to cash in on Highland Park's growing cache. 

From Grub Street: 

In additional news of Highland Park landlords giving the heave-ho to long-standing tenants is five-year-old Figueroa Produce, the healthy-leaning York Boulevard market owned by Ruben Perez and Luis Quismorio. The partners are also trying to hold on to their livelihoods amid news that the owner of their building is also seeking a new tenant, preferably a "big corporation," raising the rents dramatically in the process.

Though beloved by its customers, Figueroa Produced had struggled in recent years. In May of 2012, The Eastsider LA reported that Figueroa Produce owner Ruben Perez had fallen behind on rent and was struggling to renegotiate. 

In August of 2011, Highland Park-native Perez told Patch that he opened Figueroa Produce with the mission of educating the community about the value of eating healthy food. 

Perez noted that among long-time residents of the Highland Park community, though, there is a “higher concentration of people who are not educated about food.” Perez‘s parents, for instance, “grew up cooking with lard as part of a typical, Mexican diet.” Perez said that part of the Figueroa Produce mission statement is to “educate people that we are what we eat. We want to help people realize that for 99 cents, they can buy a fast food burger and feed one person, or [they can buy] vegetables and feed two people in a healthy way.”

Punky March 02, 2013 at 09:47 PM
Wealthy few? I'm certainly not wealthy and I shop at Organix.
wash March 02, 2013 at 10:49 PM
The meat deli was one of the main things I liked about FP. I wouldn't have much of reason to drive out of my way if they didn't carry meat.
wash March 03, 2013 at 02:19 AM
Went to Fresco today and was really pleased with the selection and prices. Wish I had heard of it earlier!
Mark Kimbrell March 05, 2013 at 11:26 PM
I noticed that Autozone is taking over the old vacant Pep Boys space on Figueroa and Ave 55. It makes me wonder if they're moving out of the strip mall they shared with Fig Produce. If so, it looks like the property owner is going to be short one major corporation. Or perhaps he has a larger plan in the works.
Mauricio Osorio May 19, 2013 at 08:17 PM
It's too bad about Fig Produce, most of it was in the works from the day they signed the lease. I'd chat with the owners about the struggle every time I visited, from he lease of well over 12K the contingencies etc that was part of the property. All combined to make a slim profit margin even thinner. I know that this isn't the end of the owners and it is part of what makes this country great, that they will be back with terrific foundation on what worked and what didn't. As for Mr. Riecher, he's the 2nd gen property owner who from all indications isn't changing anything soon.


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