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C.C. Brown’s Has Hollywood Meltdown

The story of C.C. Brown’s ice cream parlor appears to be coming to an end again.


Sundae Creations Inc., doing business as C.C. Brown’s of Hollywood, closed its Sunset and Vine store and has begun liquidation under Chapter 7 of the bankruptcy code. In its filing, Sundae Creations listed assets of $44,629 and $70,730 in liabilities.


The closing of the ice cream parlor, the sole retail franchise of the brand famous for the innovation of hot fudge, was unrelated to the operations of Calabasas-based C.C. Brown’s Inc., company officials said.


Attorneys for the parlor did not return calls.


“One thing we try to accomplish in our retail properties is to give mom-and-pop operations and first-time people the opportunity to open and operate a restaurant,” said Larry Bond, chairman at Santa Monica-based Bond Cos., developer of the Sunset + Vine mixed-use project. “Sometimes in doing so, people who are first-time operators don’t have the necessary business experience to survive.”


Bond added that there were “certain non-business factors” that contributed to the store’s closure, but declined to elaborate.


The closure marks another end to a storied Hollywood name. C.C. Brown’s was founded in 1906 in downtown Los Angeles by Clarence Clifton Brown and operated by his son Cliff from 1924 to 1963. Cliff Brown moved the business to Hollywood Boulevard in 1929, where it became a regular spot for Hollywood hopefuls. Bob Hope once worked there and Marlon Brando and Joan Crawford were among the stars spotted there enjoying hot fudge sundaes.


The store was sold to Carnation dairy chemist John Schumacher in 1963 and closed in 1996, two years after his death. The company, still operated by the Schumacher family, sells bottled ice cream sauces via mail order, the Internet and specialty stores.


The Hollywood retail operation was one of two attempts to recreate a sense of old Hollywood at the project. A revived Schwab’s restaurant, complete with its famous neon logo, is also a part of the complex.



International Tourism Up


Los Angeles is expected to reverse three consecutive years of declining international tourism this year, posting an 8.4 percent increase over 2003 to 4.2 million international travelers, according to CIC Research.


The increase stems declines of 15.4 percent in 2001, 13.2 percent in 2002 and 3.9 percent in last year.


L.A. still trails Las Vegas in luring Chinese travelers, but it saw a 56 percent increase in visitors from China through August, a 37 percent gain in Taiwanese travelers, and 29 percent gains from Australia and Japan.


More visitors have meant more money. L.A. is expected to see an 11.9 percent increase in spending by international visitors, to $3.35 billion, according to CIC, a San Diego-based marketing, economics and survey research firm.



Fit Competition


Fitness chain Equinox Holdings Inc. has inked a lease for space at 10960 Wilshire Blvd. in Westwood.


The move is part of Equinox’s plan to nearly double the 20 clubs it now operates by the end of 2006. Equinox has three clusters: California, New York and Chicago.


The Westwood lease is for 42,000 square feet on the second and third floors of the building at the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Midvale Avenue.


The space was last occupied by Walt Disney Co. Terms were not disclosed.

“We’re excited to finally be accelerating our growth strategy in the Los Angeles market,” said Harvey Spevak, president and chief executive of New York-based Equinox. “We believe over time, Los Angeles and Orange County can support between 10 and 12 Equinox locations.”


The 24-story building in Westwood, owned by Equity Office Properties Trust, is 45 percent leased. Other tenants include advertising agency BBDO Worldwide, Bank of America and RBB Architects Inc.


Equinox plans to open the Westwood club in the fall of 2005. Its other L.A.-area clubs are at the Paseo Colorado shopping complex in Pasadena and at 8590 Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood. It is scheduled to open a club this month in Santa Monica.


Equinox’s Westwood location will be across the street from LA Fitness’ 35,000-square-foot club at 10921 Wilshire Blvd.



Home Depot


The former Kmart location at San Fernando Road and Fletcher Drive in Los Angeles may soon to be converted to a Home Depot.


The store was one of 18 units Kmart Holding Corp. sold to Home Depot Inc. in August for $271 million. The Kmart closed on Oct. 10, according to Kmart spokesman Steve Pagnani. Home Depot representatives did not return calls.


Staff reporter Rebecca Flass can be reached at (323)549-5225, ext. 230, or at

rflass@labusinessjournal.c

om.

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