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Don Jose and Francisca Rocha are "the backbone of store operations and the public face of Frieden’s"; at back is owner Leon Frieden who "can usually be found keeping accounts in his small back office"; photos via LA Eastside
After 61 years in business, 91-year-old Leon Frienden is shuttering Frieden's Department Store at 2619 Broadway in Lincoln Heights and retiring. LA Eastside is mournful of the closure:
"Before the days of Target and Walmart, when residents of working class neighborhoods needed to shop for clothes, they had small family owned neighborhood department stores to turn to. Here in Lincoln Heights, we have one of the last remaining examples of this bygone era, Frieden’s Department Store."
The blog notes the high quality of the merchandise and customer service: "I would never expect the a clerk at Target to know my size or preferences, to help me pick out a gift or extend me credit...Luckily for the working class shoppers of Lincoln Heights, such amenities and luxuries are offered at Frieden’s." The store also offered credit to some 2,000 customers, often "to people who otherwise might not have access to traditional credit sources," and amazingly, this "is one of the sustaining practices that has helped keep the business afloat."
As for the building, it's already been sold, which leaves LA Eastside with a furrowed brow: "What do we Lincoln Heights residents have to look forward to in it’s place? More junky and useless bric a brac stores? Stores that sell apparel that fades and falls apart after one wear? I’m not hopeful for the future of the building or the North Broadway business corridor."
· Goodbye Frieden’s Department Store [LA Eastside]