Luxury grocer Erewhon announces its next SoCal store location

Erewhon is bringing its celebrity smoothies and organic kale salads to Glendale, with the city announcing Tuesday that it will be home to the luxury grocer's 11th location.

The new store is scheduled to open in 18 months and will be located at the site of the former Virgil’s Hardware Home Center at 520 N. Glendale Ave. Erewhon purchased the building in March for $12.4 million, according to real estate data provider CoStar.

The ultra-trendy Los Angeles chain has been eyeing Glendale since at least 2021, when it told The Times it was scouting locations in the city as part of an expansion plan that has brought Erewhon to many of the region's most affluent areas: Beverly Hills, Calabasas and Venice among them.

Erewhon Studio City
Erewhon's Studio City store, which opened in 2021. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Erewhon plans to use 18,000 square feet of the vacant building's 24,000 square feet and lease the additional space to "complementary tenants" after a remodel. Like its other stores, each of which has an on-site cafe, the Glendale location will have outdoor seating.

“We can’t wait to rejuvenate an iconic community landmark and contribute to the distinct fabric of Glendale," Erewhon Chief Executive Tony Antoci said in a news release, which said the upscale chain chose the location "for its historic roots and strategic position in the San Fernando Valley." He and his wife, Josephine, bought the company in 2011.

Read more: Josephine Antoci: Erewhon’s viral tastemaker to the stars

Erewhon was founded in 1966 by Japanese immigrants Michio and Aveline Kushi — pioneers of the natural-foods macrobiotic movement — who began selling imported organic goods such as brown rice and soy sauce out of their Boston home with help from their young children.

Erewhon grew to three stores and a distribution facility on the East Coast, and in 1969, it opened a location in L.A. on Beverly Boulevard.

The Kushis sold the company in the 1970s. By the time the Antocis stepped in, Erewhon had dwindled to a single shabby location next to the Grove lined with bulk bins of unique grains and nuts.

Read more: Trader Joe’s to open eight new SoCal stores. Here’s where they will be

The couple set out to revitalize the brand with a modern look and premium, trendy merchandise handpicked by Josephine, Erewhon's president and chief trendsetter.

Erewhon soon shot to cult status, fueled by frequent A-list sightings — the Kardashians, the Biebers and the Beckhams are regulars — and an army of social media-savvy lifestyle influencers.

Erewhon co-owner and president Josephine Antoci at the grocer's Santa Monica location last year.
Erewhon co-owner and president Josephine Antoci at the grocer's Santa Monica location last year. (Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

Established in 1932, Virgil's had a long history in Glendale. Although it was technically a hardware store, it also sold eggs and vintage doorknobs before closing in 2019.

“Erewhon is proud to be occupying this historic site, which brings back so many memories for local residents,” Josephine said in a statement.

Erewhon most recently opened a store in Pasadena in September.

Times staff writer Roger Vincent contributed to this report.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.