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Crack Gallery Wants to Addict Downtown to Clothing and Art

By Eric Richardson
Published: Friday, October 03, 2008, at 02:11PM
Crack Gallery -- 204 W. 6th Eric Richardson [Flickr]

Custom metal racks frame the entry to Crack Gallery, opening Monday at 6th and Spring.

When Crack Gallery officially opens for business on Monday, it's sure to turn the heads of those passing by 6th and Spring.

The high-ceiling space is aggressively built out, with custom-designed black metal clothing racks that create an arched pathway and give off an industrial vibe. White walls are filled with pop art, most painted by local artists. It's clear that money and attention were put into making sure the store itself made a statement.

But what's unusual about Crack is that the store isn't being opened by a clothier, but by the building owner. Eric Shomof and his family run Pacific Investments, the company that owns the four residential buildings on Spring street. Crack represents both a long-held interest in retail and an attempt to show potential retailers what's possible in the Historic Core.

After stopping by to check out the almost-completed store, I emailed Eric some questions about his new foray into the world of retail.

ERIC RICHARDSON: First off, the store looks great.  Tell us a little bit about the sort 
of stuff you're going to be carrying.

ERIC SHOMOF: We will be carrying a compilation of clothing for men and women catering to downtowners. There will be everything from cool jeans for men and women to jewelry and accessories. We’ll also carry a unique variety of women’s shoes. Throughout all of the clothing you’ll also find the most amazing lineup of art that everyone can relate to. The art continues into a small basement in the store dedicated strictly to the art -- don’t forget to check it out!

ER: 

You mentioned to me that you've always wanted to own a store, and that  
you've picked up ideas from all over the place.  What are a couple of  
your favorite aspects to how the store's coming out?


ES: I’ve always had some interest in opening a store and over time, I compiled many ideas together and Crack Gallery came to be. It’s a really unique design. I love that when you walk in, it’s not just your average clothing store, it’s a new experience altogether.

We’re also just half a block away from Broadway. “Bringing Back Broadway” is something that we’re very excited about. We’ve been a major part of downtown in past 10 years and many propositions for Broadway have come about and fallen through the cracks. It seems that Bringing Back Broadway has the correct plan and push to finally see these changes through. We want to make an effect and be part of that initial push. We’re hoping to create a domino effect, so that other retailers and restaurants could take an example and begin to do the same.

ER:I have to ask, why Crack?

ES: Haha. I knew we’d have to eventually answer this question.

It’s kind of a pun on Downtown. When you hear the word “crack” anywhere else in the world or in your daily life, you think of a crack in the wall, in the floor, etc. However, in Downtown, Los Angeles, hearing the word “crack” makes everyone automatically think of the drug. We’re trying to show that Downtown is changing and the old stigmas are dying out. Clothing and Art are the new drugs of Downtown, and we want everyone to “get addicted.”

ER: 

It's not often that we see building owners actually opening up their 
own retail stores. What made you decide to open something yourself  
instead of just signing a tenant?  How was Tom Gilmore an inspiration  
in the process?

ES: I have a vision for how I eventually want the neighborhood to look. As I mentioned, I want to create a domino effect and set an example for new retailers coming in. We’re hoping to attract more high class retail and restaurants at still affordable prices.

Tom Gilmore’s accomplishments on 4th and Main definitely influenced my decision to go through will all of the changes happening on our block, including Crack Gallery. What he did inspired us to also create a thriving community, just a few blocks away. We already have the necessary components, now it’s time to upgrade retail, catering to the new downtown lifestyle.



ER: What do you hope that Crack Gallery and your upcoming Burger Bar show people  
about this neighborhood?

ES: “Times, they are a’changin!”

We want people to walk downstairs and feel free to walk around, shop, eat, get their dry cleaning, party, and walk right home. We want to show people that downtown doesn’t consist of all “swap meet” style stores and homeless. Great food, great shopping, great nightlife, in a place you call home, that’s what our neighborhood will be all about. 



ER: I like to end on a free answer...  What's something you'd like to tell  
our readers?

Come and see for yourselves; and don’t be intimidated! Everything is priced to sell and will be great additions to your walls and wardrobes!



Crack Gallery (204 W. 6th) is open for sneak peeks starting today, and is officially open for business on Monday, October 6. A phone number is coming soon, but the store can be reached at crackgallerydtz@yahoo.com.

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