An Area in Flux
Packard near Platt
by Sally Mitani
Packard near Platt is, as always, slightly in flux, but the shopkeepers in this multicultural hive of activity don't devote a lot of time to massaging the media. So the media must massage them. A walk-around and some door knocking picked up the following:
Muslim Social Services seems to have pulled up stakes in the mini-mall tucked behind Rite Aid, taking with it its retail component, a thrift shop called Modest Intentions. The agency still has a phone number but didn't return calls.
At the Gentleman's Barbershop on Packard, barber/owner Nate Lee ran a razor over a customer's head while explaining that the "closed for remodeling" sign on Makkara Sushi next door is a little misleading--it won't ever open for retail customers again. Lee says it's being refitted as a wholesale-only operation, and that owner Alex Ju will continue to sell sushi to area grocery stores. "Wait, I think someone's in there," he says, leaving a half-shaved customer in the chair to go bang on the door. Someone was in there, all right; though he spoke little English, he seemed to corroborate the wholesale-only story. Alex Ju didn't return a call.
A previously unnoted retail operation is inside Aries, a tailoring and dry cleaning shop next to the Euro Market. Owner Janet Tosunyan has decked its walls with so much bling--purses, jewelry, and scarves; rarely seen notions like garters, tiny fabric-covered boxes; and perfume under the counter--that the dry cleaning and tailoring seems to be taking a backseat. Tosunyan's father-in-law (now in his eighties, he's a retired shoemaker) owns the building. Tosunyan politely dismisses questions about the business by noting that while she can sew a man's suit from scratch, she isn't the kind of person who seeks attention--then goes back to an involved discussion with a customer on the proper way to clean a rhinestone-encrusted gown.
Golam Produce Market used to be across the street from Makkara, but it has jumped to the south side of Packard, where most
of the action is. And it's no longer a tenant but an owner: Golam Khan bought the building that houses his new location, says Maroof Hassan, behind the register. (Asked for a job title, he says, "I'm just family.") The new store is a little bigger, a little more convenient for shoppers making a sweep of the other small food markets in the area, and, of course, it has parking. Golam covers a number of ethnic bases, selling halal meat, spices, and produce to Asian, Somali, Middle Eastern, Pakistani, and Indian cooks: everything from what Hassan calls a "Chinese squash"--which looks like a short, green baseball bat--to a twenty-pound frozen fish called an ayer. Don't try to shop there at midday on Saturday: though Golam is theoretically open from ten to eight daily, even on holidays, on Saturday "we have a couple of hours off to pray."
Aries, 3110 Packard, 971-9121. Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-7 p.m., Sat. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Closed Sun.
Golam Produce Market, 3150 Packard, 945-7611. Daily 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
[Originally published in October, 2013.]