West Hollywood’s Iconic LASC Apparel Store Is Closing Its Doors

LASC stretches along Santa Monica Boulevard in the same building housing 24 Hour Fitness. (Photo by Michael Jortner)

LASC, West Hollywood’s best-known local men’s apparel retailer, is closing its doors after completing a liquidation sale that will begin Thursday.

Don Zuidema, who founded LASC with his partner Mike McGinley in 1983, announced the closing this morning.

“LASC has been a part of the West Hollywood community for over 36 years,” Zuidema said. “We are especially grateful to all our employees, past and present, who have worked tirelessly to make LASC one of the premier men’s stores in the country. As we enter the next chapter in our lives we take with us the wonderful memories and special experiences that LASC has afforded us.”

Zuidema, with a $10,000 loan from his parents, opened LASC in 1983 in the space on Santa Monica Boulevard currently occupied by Power Zone and Capitol Drugs. In 1988 the store grew and moved east on the same block to 8592 Santa Monica, which is adjacent to the 24 Hour Fitness Gym and across the street from Starbucks and Trader Joe’s. From 1985 to 1995 LASC also operated a store on the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Robertson, the space now occupied by Salt ‘n Straw, the ice cream shop. LASC operated a satellite store that stood for five years at 8000 Sunset Blvd. at the corner of Crescent Heights and Sunset.

Don Zuidema, co-owner of LASC (along with partners Mike McGinley and Alfredo Izaguirre not pictured) near the entrance of his iconic menswear store in West Hollywood. (Photo by Michael Jortner)

In 1998 Zuidema and McGinley were joined by Alfredo Izaguirre, who is their partner in business and life.

From its beginning, LASC has carried major fashion brands such as Scotch & Soda, Fred Perry, Nike, GStar, Parke & Ronen and Emporio Armani. It has been the go-to store in West Hollywood for local gay men and visitors looking for stylish casual and sports apparel. It also created an in-house brand of LASC swimwear, thanks to McGinley’s passion for swimming.

In the announcement of the closing Zuidema noted that “retail brick and mortar has changed dramatically over the past 15 years. Online continues to grow while commercial rents and operating overhead has increased. West Hollywood continues to morph into a center for a new wave of urban living and 21stcentury businesses.” LASC itself operates an online apparel retail business, https://www.shoplasc.com/

That morphing is taking place to the east of the building in which LASC is located with a project by Michael Talla, who owns the building that houses LASC, Capitol Drugs, Power Zone and 24 Hour Fitness. The three-story 8550 Santa Monica Blvd. project, which is nearly completed, has 25,000-square-feet that will house Sprouts Farmers Market, a restaurant and café and a gym and fitness center. Already occupying the third floor is The Wing, an women’s co-working space that has been controversial because of its ban on men, a ban that it says it no longer enforce. While approval of membership is connected to one’s support for women’s issues, The Wing says it now doesn’t take gender into consideration.

LASC is not only known for its apparel. For most of the past nine years it has hosted a Halloween party and an LA Pride Party on the rooftop of the parking structure above it.It also is known for its support for the Varsity Gay League, a group of athletic teams that includes softball, golf, volleyball and dodgeball.

LASC also has been a supporter of organizations such as The Trevor Project, the LA LGBT Center, Project Angel Food and Labor Day LA. Zuidema has been an active member of the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.

Thursday’s closing sale will include all clothing, displays, store fixtures and lighting.

  1. Have you seen the “for lease” signs on every commercial block in WeHo? It’s not an LGBT issue.
    Stores are being priced out all over.
    It may be emotional when a favorite store closes, especially if you like the owners. But don’t jump to “the sky is falling.”

    You made a very good point about getting the City Council involved.
    Have any of you expressed your concern directly to the City Council at the open mike period at the start of every meeting? Council members live here too and most of them care a lot about our city.
    If the character of our city is changing and you don’t like way WeHo is changing are you willing to commit the time and effort and hard work it takes to turn things around? Or at least explore how small businesses could be maintained?

    That’s what it took to create WeHo in 1984. BTW I was deeply involved in that effort. I have lived here since 1969 when WeHo was still an un-incorporated area of LA County. A lot of people worked very hard to establish the city of WeHo.

    Complaining won’t accomplish anything.

  2. Of course LASC is closing. I’m surprised they lasted this long. They must have had a nice long lease which finally just ended. My own store on Melrose was forced to close when after the sale, the new building owner raised the rent from $2,300 a month for a small store-front with no parking or central air to $19,000 a month. In the middle of the recession. We closed. The younger, less affluent gays attempting to move to WeHo are already priced out. The rents for everything is now sky-high and only older, more established citizens will be able to move in and the small mom and pops will continue to be squeezed out so the National chains can move in. Super sad. Time to target a new up and coming city and plant the gay flag elsewhere. Like Cartman says, “I’m goin’ home!” Where that is, time will tell. Burbank… Simi Valley… Lancaster… Pomona? Sigh… Bye Bye WeHo… Wait till Rage, Mickey’s and the rest are replaced by Chipotle, Sephora and Target Express. Tick tick… clock is ticking.

  3. Sad to see the store and its team move on…. Congrats on a great run you guys, you’ll be missed.
    I agree with the comments below about West Hollywood becoming overly gentrified. I’ve been living in the city for a while and it’s not the magical place it used to be to live in or have friends visit. Just this year there have been at least half a dozen small shops close in the neighborhood. I blame the city leaders and the greedy business property owners for pushing out the shops with high rents and little support from the city.

  4. So very sad to hear this – was introduced to y’all in the 80s by Tom Johnson when he was still in Atlanta and then would come there every time I visited him in LA. So hope the next chapter of your lives is so rewarding …. Thanks, Lane Tatman

  5. It’s quite heartbreaking that a city practically created as a refuge for both the LGBTQ and Russian Jewish communities would fail to see how it has become the latest poster child for gentrification. I understand if smaller businesses start to fail, but the City Council has a responsibility to it’s diminishing founding population to keep them seen. When a place like the San Vicente Inn closes and is replaced by a members-only club that is founded on privilege and exclusivity just FEET from Boys Town, we need keep our leaders in check. Unfortunately, unless we mobilize like residents do in places like Boyle Heights, we will be erased in 20 years. Brooklyn, anyone?

    1. The new building is another 98% of Modern Architectural “ShXt” according to Frank Gehry. It would be a big plus if they were actually gentrifying WEHO..

      But the taste of the West Hollywood City “Student”:Council and their planning commissioners looks like their combined design education happened in a strip mall in Cucamonga. Big sets of ugly buildings, a few that look OK, plus endless billboards that hide more grotesque new buildings with the Sunset Strip going from Hollywood glamour to selfie mundane.

      Look who is developing West Hollywood. Check them out. Look at their taste. Look at their lobbyists. Look at them Then checkout some of the classic buildings in West Hollywood. These guys would never build something like that. Spelling charm and style. These new developers are only interested in one thing. Take the Money and run, alter buying off political hacks like John D’Amico and John Heilman. One of the major developers is facing Federal charges for paying off politicians in another City. His outfit backed John D’Amico. .

  6. Let me get this “straight”, so to speak. So, a gay-owned business focused on providing clothes and accessories appealing to gay men is closing, but an extremely expensive, elite business that discriminates against gay men (and all men) like “The Wing” is allowed to remain? What’s wrong with this picture? Has the gay male community of West Hollywood, and its leadership, completely abdicated the vision of West Hollywood as one of the most uniquely gay-friendly neighborhoods in the country, and possibly the world? Businesses like Sprouts, Bottega Louis, straight bars like Tom-Tom, and other businesses owned by that carpet-bagging mega-rich opportunist Lisa Vanderpump, thrive, while the gay-owned small business gets pushed out? What’s happening with our Chamber of Commerce, and why are they hell-bent on destroying businesses that are either gay-owned or appeal to the gay community? Why is our City Council? I campaigned for James Duke Mason, whose campaign platform included efforts to support small, gay-owned businesses, and he was defeated in favor of straight women on the City Council instead. I owned a small business in West Hollywood for 9 years and found it pathetic there was no help from the City when the building burned down. West Hollywood is not “up for grabs” to be sold off to the highest (straight) bidder. It is not “Larchmont West” or “Beverly Hills east” for the commercial taking; it is a mission about providing a gay-friendly (and overall LGBTQ+ affirmative) Mecca for those seeking social, cultural, physical, and economic safety in an era when young people are approving of LGBT people in lower numbers, when anti-LGBT hate crimes are on the rise, and our rights are being systematically dismantled by Trump and the Republicans under the guise of “religious freedom” in states, counties, and cities all over the country. West Hollywood MUST be preserved as an oasis of LGBT-owned businesses, period. I call for a renewal of this spirit.

    1. The people have spoken during the last election and now we will start seeing the results. I give West Hollywood 7 -10 years before it is unrecognizable. The “golden” days for the gay community in West Hollywood are numbered.
      Even those members of City Leadership who are Gay have other priorities which don’t include the Gay community. It’s sad but becoming more and more obvious everyday.

    2. I think a woman’s touch is just what that block needs. Thank you gay thruple owners for giving it your best but let the power of Female step in to show how its done.

      1. They can have their own business as long as men can have a men’s only business to get away from women and make it a men’s only club. Do you see how ridiculous it is when a man says if? What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

      1. It’s always from the men who claim to be “feminists,” but are the first to complain about women in WeHo. We all know that there are/have been male only clubs, but it’s just not talked about. Times have changed a little and the nasty sin bin is gone, but I surmise there are a few more that are MALE ONLY.

    3. Haha, the Wing is “allowed” to remain? Honey, it’s called signing a lease, not getting special dispensation from King Duran. You don’t like Sprouts or Tom Tom, don’t go there. You want stores that cater to gay men, give them your business. I’ve bought a few shirts from LASC, now and then. Have you?

  7. Mike, Don and Alfredo did an amazing job and always had a great collection of fashion-forward selections. I’m going to miss this local diamond-in-the-ruff. I remember when it opened and have been a happy patron all these years. Best of luck guys and enjoy the next chapter.

  8. Wow…end of an era! I remember scraping together $200.00 back in 1990 (and that was a LOT of money for me back in those days) to buy some stylish clothing to wear to the gym and my very first pairs of Calvin Klein white briefs.

  9. It’s always sad to see a long time business close. Especially gay owned and one who has done so much for the community. I hope this isn’t a sign of the slippery slope which has happened to many gay friendly towns. I have shopped there many times over the years. They were friendly and helpful. I never thought I paid too much and believe me, I am very financially conservative (cheap). I can understand why people want to retire. Life is too short to work forever. I wish them well in their future endeavors.

  10. I’ll miss the cute sales guys, wow, did they have a selection over the years.
    Kidding aside, sad to see a brick and mortar gone. Maybe it was time for retirement.
    Maybe it was just time to let it go. It will be missed, though I’m not into wearing clothes anymore unless I have to so I didn’t give you much sales this past decade. I went there to check out the hot guys. LOL. Be well!

  11. Their clothes were way overpriced. I would purchase my Diesel jeans at the Diesel store as they were so much cheaper than LASC. I understand you have to make a profit but ripping off your own community is sad.

  12. LASC was the first boutique to carry my jewelry collection and I’m very sad to see them go. I’ve enjoyed working with them for the past few years. I have no idea where I’ll shop for t-shirts now. I’ll miss you guys!

  13. Does anyone know what gym will open at 8550 Santa Monica Blvd. I yearn for a local alternative to 24 Hour Fitness.

  14. Was just talking with someone about this store the other day…was surprised they hung in there this long. Gone are the days of Circuit parties…only went here twice in tweny years…go to 24 Hour every otherday. Store didn’t appeal to me except the side walk sales.

  15. Even though it’s better suited for retail, I wonder if the 24 hour fitness will seek to expand into the soon-to-be vacant storefront.

    That 24 hour fitness is cramped and in need of a facelift.

  16. Big loss for the city of West Hollywood. Los Angeles Sporting Club has been serving our community before city hood. The first time I came out west to this street called Santa Monica Blvd there was Sporting Club on the corner of Robertson and Santa Monica Blvd. Next to them was All American Boy, and then Transport and NY Jock. The street was vibrant on a Saturday afternoon with gay guys shopping in their hood. Inside ‘the industry’ Don and Mike always commanded tremendous respect from their vendors. In turn their vendors and brands were ‘exclusive’ to LASC. Over the years I’ve admired Don for his community work. In 1999 I had the honor of working with him when it was my turn to run the Labor Day LA benefit for our local social service organizations. Don was on the board and together we handed out $100,000 in checks to help the community. As ironic as this is last night I texted him to help raise money for a similar type of community benefit for the new WeHo Wish foundation, http://www.wehowish.org and he texted back that he was in a store meeting and would get back to me. It was shocking to hear the news. Our community needs more neighborhood serving businesses and more businesses owned by people like Don and Mike who always took pride in the city and gave back.
    This is a big loss for our uniqueness. Sadly it feels like watching time pass brings tears to my eyes.. its not easy. Thank you Don and Mike for all you brought to the city and the many people you inspired including me.

    1. Beautiful tribute Larry! I enjoy seeing commentary that is reminiscent and on point. Regardless of one’s personal style, or the affordability of the merchandise offered, the business and its owners were a pillar of the local community and deserve the recognition you so eloquently put forth.

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