There are several childhood memories from Boyle Heights that won’t be so easy to erase; Big Buy is one of them. The cumbia on the loudspeaker; the produce advertising itself outside; against a mirror; the 25-cent pony ride; and the post-it wall I loved to read as a kid. I remember thinking I could get a job there during a high school summer- although I never applied. Now, Big Buy Foods is closing its doors, and will make room for Walgreens (which has been the owner for a couple of years now). It’ll be weird not seeing the Big Buy signs that made up part of our neighborhood landscape.
“We’re very sad to leave our customers,” said Big Buy’s manager, Tom Rumack. “This neighborhood has seen a lot of change.” His father and uncle opened the grocery store in 1962, after Boyle Heights had turned into a predominantly Latino community from its once Jewish majority. Although Big Buy’s lease is up at the end of this year, Rumack said they’ll most likely be closed by the end of this week.
I asked shoppers and employes how they felt about the change.