Shocking news for fans of the Original Farmers Market off Fairfax, as LA Magazine reports that Gill’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream will be vacating their space come February 2. The 80-year-old stall has been scooping since 1937, but received some recent pressure from the market to innovate and update, which seems to have ultimately led to their closure.
That’s all according to owner Jody Gill, the longtime lead at the stall run by her father. She tells LA Mag that market management was keen on the company updating their whimsical signage and decor, and when the two sides couldn’t reach an agreement on that demand the move was made for Gill’s to close.
Eater reached out to the market directly to find out their side of things, and their statement is below. They did apparently confirm to LA Magazine that the scoop shop — which has the informal distinction as possibly the birthplace of the flavor Rocky Road — will be replaced by a new ice cream stand with a faux retro look.
If true, it’s a quizzical move for the Original Farmers Market, to say the least. The iconic collection of stalls has been a mainstay for Los Angeles for generations, even as the popular Grove shopping plaza sprung up next door. But unlike Downtown’s 100 year old Grand Central Market, the Original Farmers Market has largely shied away from hip new growth opportunities, and has even seen spaces like Short Cake and Moruno shutter in recent years. Having one of their longest-tenured (and most beloved) vendors leave on bad terms certainly can’t help the market, especially as big, shiny new competition moves in nearby.
Update: The Original Farmers Market sends along the following statement:
“The Original Farmers Market is sadly saying farewell to longtime merchant, Gill's Old Fashioned Ice Cream, and thanks the Gill family for bringing sweet treats to the West Patio for many years. As the original and longtime owner of the Market and stewards of the property, we always strive to maintain a high standard of quality, safety and customer service for all of our guests and merchants, no matter their age or tenure. We work closely to maintain the property and present our customers with a mix of nostalgic shops that have been our beloved hallmarks for decades along with carefully selected new merchants that complement our historic and vibrant setting. Over the last three years, we have been discussing some needed infrastructure repairs with the owners of Gill’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream, not specific to their retro decor. After much discussion and encouragement, they chose not to make the necessary changes to their stall infrastructure that decades of use demanded, and that our customers deserve. Losing any tenant of the Market is difficult, however, the overall mix of merchants will carefully remain true to the Market’s roots. Stall #416 will soon be scooping again. We have identified a wonderful, classic family-owned ice cream maker and we will be announcing their opening plans soon.”