The first thing you might notice about Davido Mens Clubwear Underwear is that it bills itself as a “men’s” store—the lack of an apostrophe in the listed name notwithstanding—even though “women’s and Misses blouses, shirts, hosiery and lingerie” are an integral part of the shop’s diverse and colorful merchandise, in the words of its owner.
But the most startling thing about Davido Mens Clubwear Underwear is that it has one of the best lease bargains in West Hollywood if not also well beyond: A startling $25 per day.
“My rent is not too much,” confesses storeowner Jacob, evidently without the slightest hint of sarcasm or irony. “I have no restroom and a long-term lease.” (Davido is Jacob’s business name. An immigrant from Iran who lived in Israel for many years, he isn’t comfortable disclosing his second name).
Located on 8285 Santa Monica Blvd., a couple of blocks from West Hollywood City Hall and a store away from Irv’s Burgers, Davido Mens Clubwear Underwear has been around since 1996—paying the same $25-a-day rent.
The ridiculously low rent explains at least partly how the store has managed to survive the Great Recession, especially given that many of the clothes on display are not just recycled but dated, even dusty.
What’s more, by Jacob’s own admission, “business started to go down and down and down” in 2008 and his profits, which decreased 60 percent to 70 percent, have only started to recover during the past two to three months.
About the only constant amid the financial turmoil is Jacob’s clientele. “Most of my customers are gay,” he says, adding: “Thirty to 50 percent of the community here is gay.”
Over the years, says Jacob, people have offered him of as much as $50,000 for transferring his lease and leaving the narrow but clearly valuable space.
But there’s no way he’d quit.
“If somebody gave me $100,000 to leave I won’t go,” he says. “If I go to some other place I’ll be paying $4,000 to $5,000 per month.”
He adds: “I have the best location.”