By Mary O’KEEFE
The shops along Honolulu Avenue in the Montrose Shopping Park have changed over the years. Many retailers have gone by the wayside as restaurants moved in. This is a typical sight in many small towns as mom and pop retail businesses battle the challenges brought by big box stores and the Internet. These changes are common and many of the closed stores are just considered causalities of a changing world. However, recently a store closed that left a real void in the small town of Montrose.
Landry’s Sporting Goods opened as a family business in 1973. At the beginning of this year, owner Paul Roberts announced he was going to retire. He had hoped to sell the business and keep it as a retail outlet but that did not happen and several weeks ago the doors were closed.
The loss of Landry’s was felt throughout the community. If you participated in a sport in Crescenta Valley chances are you have been in that store. Paul was the type of owner who highlighted the value of local small business. He was always at the store and he knew not only current customers but more than likely their parents.
The void felt since Landry’s went dark has now grown to sorrow as the news spread this week of Paul Roberts’ sudden death.
Reportedly Paul had attended a wedding and when he did not meet with a family member at an appointed time, the hotel in which he was staying was contacted. He was found deceased in his room.
Montrose Verdugo City Chamber of Commerce member and CV Insurance owner Rick Dinger and Paul were good friends.
“I probably have known [the Robertses] for 25 years at least,” Dinger said. “When I got involved with the Montrose [Verdugo City] Chamber of Commerce I worked with his dad and Paul was there.”
Dinger said Paul was “fun.”
“He was always the guy you wanted to be around, the kind of guy you want to [go out with],” he said.
Paul supported his community. He worked with CV Little League as well as many other sports teams in the area.
“There was no question [Landry’s] was a CV store for team stuff,” Dinger said. “And what’s kind of cool about the store is Landry’s stayed in business even after Sport Chalet [grew]. The store stayed because of his relationship with the community.”
Andre Ordubegian, owner of Montrose business Copy Network and president of the Montrose Shopping Park Assn., said he and Paul had worked together on events. Paul was once on the MSPA board and the two had spoken about issues he dealt with during his time on the board.
“In the retail business Paul had hardcore fans,” Ordubegian said.
Paul left his own mark on the city his dad helped build.
“I worked with Paul for a number of years,” said Ken Grayson, owner of Grayson’s Tune Town in Montrose and a member of the MSPA board. “Paul knew we needed more parking in Montrose.”
He was able to work with the city of Glendale and helped add parking for the 2200 and 2300 blocks of Honolulu Avenue.
“He got the parking at Wickham Way,” Grayson said. The parking lot is at Wickham Way and Honolulu Avenue.
“Paul was always a nice person and a good friend,” Grayson said. “It was a shock to hear of his passing.”
In addition to supporting the town of Montrose and sport teams, Paul supported local teens by giving them jobs at his store and by mentoring.
“Paul was always interested in helping the town of Montrose,” Grayson said.
A memorial will be held for Paul Roberts at the First Baptist Church of La Crescenta, 4441 La Crescenta Ave., on Tuesday, Nov. 3 at 10 a.m.