Alpha: Gear for Gents boutique to close its doors April 1
We're ending the week with the sad news that one of our favorite men's emporiums, West Hollywood's Alpha: Gear for Gents, a go-to place for clothing, gifts and accessories, intends to close its doors at 8654 Melrose Ave. on April 1.
"The reality of the numbers cannot be ignored," wrote owner Darren Gold in a letter emailed to friends and supporters of the store that opened in 2004 in a location just across the street. "The recession (predicated by the writers strike in Los Angeles) was the first stab in the heart of traditional retail. Online sales, flash sales, pop-ups, and an increasingly aggressive promotional cycle have made the business model of independent retail even more difficult. Post-recession, many of our best customers have changed their buying patterns; waiting for sales, shopping online, or simply not shopping."
Citing some of the retailers he admires who've gone a similar route ("Fred Segals’ Fun and Flair, Tracey Ross, Lisa Kline, and Hillary Rush") Gold said he decided to "cocoon and awake anew as a business ready to take on the digital world of 2012," by opting out of the bricks-and-mortar boutique.
But Gold says that doesn't mean he's leaving the retail scene altogether, ending his announcement by noting that "the Alpha brand will continue in some form," and citing the success of apop-up shop at the Andaz Hotel. "I see the future for Alpha and myself in developing new retail concepts, pop-up stores, as well as consulting on a personal and retail level." (Gold always been on our short list for all things man-centric, from spotting of-the-moment trends to offering St. Nick some ways to "butch up" his look in our holiday overhaul of Santa Claus' weary wardrobe.)
We'll have to see what that means in the long term, but in the short term it means an "Another Bites the Dust" sale (Gold's words, not ours) with prices discounted 60% off retail and higher starting Saturday (March 10).
Alpha: Gear for Gents, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday until April 1, 2012 at 8654 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood.
-- Adam Tschorn
Photo: Alpha Gear for Gents storefront on Melrose Avenue. Owner Darren Gold is closing his store April 1. Credit: Emili Vesilind / For The Times