Wednesday, June 08, 2011

LJ's Pizza, We Hardly Knew Ye.

I saw a really sad thing the other day. In the window of LJ's Pizza, there was a sign that said "Closed." Sad enough as it was, but making it worse was the sign underneath that said "Out of Business." Down the road, another pizza joint had a sign up that read "RIP LJ's"

Lucky always cries when a local pizza joint goes out of business.

Apparently they've been losing money, and their lease was up. On top of that, the landlord refused to lower the rent.

Which makes me wonder what the heck is wrong with the landlord. Sorry to get local on you folks, but Mesa's new tag line ought to be "Empty Commercial Buildings - We've Got Them!" Alternate that with "Ever-Expanding Blight - It's What We Do." LJ's was practically the only open business on it's block. I believe that they were losing money, but they always had cars out front whenever I drove by - unlike most places in Mesa. Who do they expect to rent that place now?

Honestly, if you want to be sure your new retail business will fail, open it in downtown Mesa. Every time a new business opens up in the area, I root for them and try to give them some money, but I don't expect them to last long. A couple of them actually seem to be doing OK - finally - but in the 9 years I've worked and lived around Mesa, I've seen a tremendous amount of turnover in the local businesses. And there are a ton of empty storefronts.

I hate it, because the buildings in downtown Mesa have charm and character in bulk. I want to rescue every one of these buildings and put something amazing in them. Unfortunately, the way of retail seems to be "Move to the newest mall or perish." And if there's one thing we build a lot of in the Valley of the Sun, it's new malls.


Anyway, there's an article about the closing of LJ's over here. I wish their owners the best in their new endeavors.


RichardM said...

Unfortunately, I don't think it's isolated to your community. It seems that a lot of small, locally owned businesses are being shut out by larger, corporate shops on the outskirts of many towns. At least that seems to be my observation over the last ten years or so...

Brady said...

Story of the States. Crushed by corporations? Who knows for sure, Killed by the recession? Probably.

Best of luck finding words for the page, bud. It's a tough gig.

Behind Bars - Motorcycles and Life

irondad said...

It's interesting here that we have places where they never seem to do well. No matter what goes in there it closes after a short while.

Maybe it's not the location. It happens where we both live. My God, it's not us, is it?

682202 said...

It's a shame after 38 years... Sometimes It's hard to make sense of it.

In St Louis We have had some really great pizza joint's go out of business the last few years, but none had a history quite that long. I try to eat as much of my pizza at local mom & pop joints as I can, but I'm just one guy and can't keep them all going.

Lucky said...

RichardM - I agree that it's a common problem. Here's hoping locally owned businesses find a way to recover soon.

Brady - I expect the economy probably did in a great number of local businesses that were just holding on. In Mesa, in particular, small businesses just don't seem to make it, even before the recession.

Irondad - Whoa. I'd never thought about it before, but it does seem like my neighbors' lawns always die shortly after I've moved in to a new place... It could be spreading to the local businesses. Nuts.

682202 - Yeah, it's the history of the place that really makes it a bummer that they closed down. New pizza places pop up all the time, but the ones that stick around for decades are invariably special.