The Changing Business Landscape of Crescenta Valley


Economic fluctuations have left many workers and businesses uncertain at best and out of work at worst and La Crescenta has not eluded these fluctuations. A cluster of new and old businesses in the area is either in the process of being established or suffering from economic woes.

A new Trader Joe’s is under construction in Montrose and is slated for a November opening. The lot on which the site resides was a former Ford dealership and public parking lot before being proposed for a new library or fire station. The 15,000 square foot property will serve as the culmination of two years’ talking and planning between Glendale and Trader Joe’s and as a closer alternative for Montrose residents to the Trader Joe’s on Foothill Boulevard.

In turn, La Cañada will enjoy the opening of Sprouts, a specialty grocery store focusing on healthy food, at the Town Center. Sprouts will replace the expected Henry’s Farmers Market, which merged with Sprouts in February.

Perhaps the most contentious of changes in the Montrose area is the possible addition of Starbucks, which may open on the southeast corner of Honolulu Avenue and Ocean View Boulevard. Obstacles include the necessity of a conditional use permit for the amount of seating the space contains and a parking reduction permit to lower the amount of parking spaces required by the city.

However, business has not been flourishing for everyone.

After 17 years of operation, the Montrose Village Newsstand on Honolulu Avenue has closed. The Newsstand went the way of many independent bookstores, struggling to survive amongst the juggernauts of Barnes and Noble and Borders (which too suffered and went bankrupt in the wake of Barnes and Noble). Add to that the growing availability of online reading resources and the overall poor state of the economy and the sum of those factors did not bode well for the Newsstand.

Wacky Wok, a “New York style” Chinese restaurant also located on Honolulu, is going out of business. Unlike the Newsstand, Wacky Wok was a relatively new establishment which came to Montrose last July around the same time as a large group of new restaurants in the surrounding area. However, while most of those restaurants remain, Wacky Wok has gone under.

The Crescenta Valley Flower Mart on Foothill also may find new ownership as owners and long time Crescenta Valley residents, husband and wife Scott and Kathy Clissold, are seeking retirement for themselves and in turn, the flower mart they’ve operated since 1999. They are currently seeking buyers for the shop.

It is hoped that these new additions will aid business throughout the area, that a Starbucks or Trader Joe’s will generate a lot of business for itself, while also generating more customers for surrounding businesses. But it is also hoped that these new businesses will not lead to more closures of the type of mom-and-pop independent businesses that have come to characterize Montrose and La Crescenta, such as the Montrose Village Newsstand.

With an uncertain economy, the only thing that may be sure is that the business landscape of the Valley is in a state of flux.

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