Exterior of WSS flagship, near downtown Los Angeles.

Mark Archer, president of WSS.

Gil Cedillo, LA city councilman.

Eric Alon, founder of WSS.

The new flagship for WSS was a real fixer-upper, but the end result is a historic showplace for the Los Angeles–headquartered footwear retailer.

More than $3 million was spent to renovate the Young’s Market Company Building , a landmark building that is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. On May 14, the company held a grand-opening ceremony for the 24,000-square-foot building. Among those speaking were Eric Alon, WSS founder; Mark Archer, WSS president; and Gil Cedillo, the Los Angeles city councilman representing the Westlake neighborhood, where the 1924 building is located.

“When you bring these brands into the community, you bring the community into the mainstream,” Cedillo said of Westlake, which is home to a significant Central American immigrant population and borders downtown Los Angeles. WSS offers footwear brands such as Jordan , Nike , Vans , Adidas and Asics . It has 67 locations and 1,300 employees.

WSS maintained a Westlake address at 1600 W. Seventh St. for a decade. It opted to move into Young’s Market Building because it needed a bigger space, Archer said.

WSS worked with the City of Los Angeles’ Office of Historic Resources to renovate and preserve the building, which is characterized by marble columns and terra-cotta friezes. During renovation, WSS still had to contend with fire damage from the 1992 riots. Robert Grosse, WSS’s vice president of design and construction, said the retailer pulled together historic ceilings, murals and grillwork with some new features. WSS wanted the original beauty of the building to be revealed in the renovation.

“The best design is to let the building speak for itself,” Grosse said.

During the grand-opening ceremony, WSS donated $250,000 to the Los Angeles County Alliance Boys & Girls Clubs.

Maryan Barbara
Maryan Barbara

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