In General, Arts District Still Served
Ay Cramaba's Issac Ibarlucea has turned his Mexican restaurant into a general store since the February closing of next door Bloom's.
DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES — The last days of any year are a time for lists, and while the Arts District in 2009 saw the opening of the Gold Line Eastside Extension and murmurs of a possible relocation for the Southern California Institute of Architecture, the neighborhood's story of the year had to be the February closing of Bloom's General Store.
The store had been the district's one-stop shop since 1994, but into the void has stepped Ay Cramaba's Issac Ibarlucea.
Since Bloom's closing, Ibarlucea has stocked the small room that holds his take out counter with everyday items. In the cafe, he installed internet stations for the neighborhood to use. The cost to catch up on email or news feeds is as low as buying a soft drink.
There was resistance at first by dedicated Bloomers, but they have come around, says Ibarlucea. He notes that the biggest seller is still toilet paper -- a product Bloom used to refer to as "TP; Top Profit" -- followed by small repair kits for cyclists who frequent the area.
Joel Bloom, who founded Bloom's General Store well before Downtown's boom decade, was himself a one-stop shop for neighborhood news. He passed away in July of 2007.
Ibarlucea has taken on a bit of that role as well. He reports that the space that housed Bloom's is halfway built out to become a Post Office box station.