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Sprouts & Shutters: Bristol Farms, Smart Automobile, 1519, Fresh & Easy

Here's the latest roundup of retail, restaurant and other business news and happenings in L.A.'s Westside neighborhoods.

Wondering what new businesses are moving into your neighborhood, and which are saying farewell? Our Sprouts & Shutters column highlights the latest restaurant, retail and other business news in L.A.'s Westside neighborhoods. If you've noticed any other new businesses moving into your neighborhood or businesses closing up shop, leave a comment at the bottom of this article and we'll check it out.

Sprouts:

Smart Automobile, a branch of Daimler AG, opened a "pop-up" dealership in Santa Monica Place, 395 Santa Monica Place, next to Nordstrom. If you've ever wondered what it would be like to drive the Smart car, you'll get your chance during a 10-day promotion in Santa Monica. Test drives of the Smart Electric Drive, billed as the car with the smallest footprint and most affordable electric vehicle, will be available from Friday to Sunday, April 28.

An upscale Japanese-style steakhouse 1519 will replace a once-rowdy bar called The Parlor at 1519 Wilshire Blvd. in Santa Monica. The Santa Monica Planning Commission approved a conditional use permit for chef Larry Greenwood's new restaurant in a unanimous vote, with some restrictions on hours, parking and alcohol service.

Bristol Farms plans to open its newest store at 3105 Wilshire Blvd. by mid-summer. President and CEO Kevin Davis hopes the new store will bring a fresh food product mix unique to the area, and that it will feature an all new décor package that "celebrates and highlights the spirit and passion of the Santa Monica community in a fun and exciting manner."

Entertainment Studios, Inc., the largest independent producer and distributor of first-run syndicated television programming for broadcast television stations, has just leased a in Culver City at Century Studios in the Hayden Tract. Byron Allen, founder, chairman and CEO of Entertainment Studios, says the move is part of the company's investment to expand production capacity.

Shutters:

The corporate dithering is finally over at Fresh & Easy. The British-owned markets, hit by a 96 percent drop in profits, will be closed and sold. What exactly is will happen to the current stores, including the local Fresh & Easy market very close to Culver City. One was slated to open at the former Magnolia Audio Video in Santa Monica's Mid-City neighborhood.

Have you seen an opening or closing of a restaurant or shop in your community? Let us know in the comments!

Nancy Bishop April 20, 2013 at 07:39 PM
Mi Ranchito on Washington Blvd is closing, it's a great little Mexican place.
Boom61 April 22, 2013 at 10:27 PM
Just got an email from F&E and they are not closing but hoping to take one of many offers to purchase the US chain of stores.
Sandra Oshiro April 23, 2013 at 06:30 AM
Thanks, Nancy. We'll check that out. Boom61, could you forward the F&E email to venice@patch.com? Thank you!
Amy Fisher April 27, 2013 at 08:22 PM
Bristol Farms is moving into what used to be the big Albertsons supermarket on Wilshire. While I'm sad that Albertsons closed, I'm excited that Bristol Farms is coming to Santa Monica. I was in the one in Westwood just once some time ago, and it looked like an amazing place to shop (and be a foodie). I think Bristol Farms will fit well in that Santa Monica neighborhood also.

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