After 28 years — long enough to see Venice transform from being disparaged as the “slum by the sea” into one of the priciest real estate markets in Los Angeles — neighborhood market and deli Windward Farms expects to close by the end of October.
Recent 60-day notice of a 120% rent increase is to blame, said owner John Shin, who estimates he’d have to double his prices to stay afloat.
“We are being squeezed out by our landlord,” reads a note to customers posted on the door. “We are heartbroken that we can no longer be here to feed you. … We have seen your children grow up, and you have seen our children grow up.” Some of the market’s employees, it adds, will get jobs at nearby Hama Sushi, whose owners “live and breathe Venice.”
A few days ago, someone put a replica of artist Gustavo Zermeno’s mural of Venice founder Abbot Kinney panhandling for rent money on the upper right corner of the 1930 building’s brick façade. Shin, whose parents bought the market 23 years ago, has no plans to take it down.
“I grew up here and I’ve seen all the changes. It probably reached a high point a few years ago when Snapchat came in … then left a bunch of empty buildings and took a lot of jobs. It’s no longer a community anymore — it’s a place for rich people to invest in. You don’t see as many people who live here and own here,” he said. “It definitely feels like we’re going backward. The upper tier is buying it up; the bottom tier is homeless people from all over the country; the middle is gone.”
— Joe Piasecki