Shoe Doctor explains why The Village at Westfied Topanga lost its sole

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Harry Chivahyan decided to close his Shoe Doctor shoe repair shop at The Village at Westfield Topanga. (Photo by Dean Musgrove, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)
Harry Chivahyan decided to close his Shoe Doctor shoe repair shop at The Village at Westfield Topanga. (Photo by Dean Musgrove, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

The sole surgeon has left The Village.

Harry Chivahyan, owner of the Shoe Doctor in The Village at Westfield Topanga, closed his cobbler business on Thursday after a nine-month run.

The 450-square-foot shop just didn’t generate enough revenue to make ends meet, he said.

Westfield was charging more than $5,000 a month for the space. Chivahyan said his total monthly operating expenses added up to about $10,000, but the store was bringing in much less.

Now he will focus on his Shoe Doctor shop at Westfield Fashion Square in Sherman Oaks.

“Over there I’m doing good, but here I cannot afford it. Sometimes I work 70 hours a week and I’m killing myself. I’m not making any money,” said Chivahyan, 57, of Valley Village.

RELATED PHOTOS: The Village at Westfield Topanga, One Year Later

His store at The Village was in the middle of the property, off an entrance from the parking structure, and tucked under the escalator.

He’s noticed quite a different vibe between Westfield’s retail centers in Sherman Oaks and Warner Center.

“Over there it’s a mall and they have a lot of fashion stores,” he said of the Fashion Square. “This is more entertainment. Here it’s like a lot of restaurants.”

Still, he has no ill feelings toward Westfield about his experience at The Village.

“I’m sure it’s going to be OK. Maybe they need three to five years to build up the business. But I can’t afford to wait that long,” Chivahyan said.

RELATED STORY: Why The Village at Westfield Topanga’s first year was a mixed bag

Westfield would not specifically address Chivahyan’s situation.

But Larry Green, the company’s vice president of U.S. development, spoke in broader terms about tenants at the property.

“Being an entrepreneur and putting a business plan together and opening up a store is incredibly challenging and we really appreciate that,” Green said.



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