New Old Town Report

Old Town Monrovia
File photo by Terry Miller / Beacon Media News

By Shawn Spencer

I’m fairly certain that the entire world was ready to bid 2020 adieu. But why? What magic will 2021 hold? We are still in the midst of a pandemic; our local businesses still shuttered.  Was 2020 really that bad? It definitely had its challenges, but it did make us slow down, spend time on ourselves and our loved ones. We relearned patience and how fun it is to stop and smell the roses; to take joy in simple things like finding a painted rock or the beauty all around us. We got to binge watch unapologetically and take naps. There might even been a few mimosas amongst friends to commiserate with each other over homeschooling. And let us not forget the Dodgers won the World Series!

Old Town Monrovia was a ghost town for New Years, although two local restaurants opened completely for business(my lips are sealed on who!).  Oh, how I missed the Myrtle party, with the ball raising at midnight. Dancing with your neighbors; everyone filled with hope and New Year’s resolutions.  Will this ever end? With a third round of shut downs (I’ve lost count), how many businesses can bounce back?  Chase and Wells Fargo are still closed, with no date to re-open in sight.  Bank of America is remodeling, which is a wonderful sign, but Pacific Premier Bank (formerly known as Opus), closed its Monrovia location permanently. Moving into that location @ 515 S. Myrtle is Home Smart Evergreen Real Estate.  I am so happy to welcome them to Myrtle, as they move a few blocks north of their current location.  On another sad note,  Studio Movie Grill filed bankruptcy in October.  They hope to use the bankruptcy process to renegotiate with their lenders, landlords and movie studios to survive the pandemic, but have no idea if they will ever re-open.  I imagine that the demand for their services will remain very tenuous until theaters are able to return to full capacity and major motion pictures resume being released for first-run theater showings.

2020 has been a year like no other. It is taking a toll on our businesses, most certainly on our youth and on us all.  One thing that we still have is community.  I am so thankful for the generous, loving community we are lucky enough to call home.  The 5th annual Christmas in Monrovia fundraiser raised $11,226.17, for local Monrovia children and their families.  The fundraiser was created by Steve Bray, founder of the immensely popular and always entertaining, Monrovia California FaceBook group. Steve started this fundraiser in 2015, when the body of LaJoya McCoy was found in the trunk of her car, leaving her two children without their mother.  Steve wanted to do something nice for them since their life was tragically changed forever.  This year, our community dug deep!  The fundraiser received donations ranging from a few dollars all the way up to $501, making this the most successful year yet for Christmas in Monrovia!  100% of the money collected was distributed to families in need that were identified through each school campus and hopefully brought some smiles to those families.  Way to go, Monrovia! And a huge thank you to Steve Bray for coordinating it every year. My heart is full.

So, on that immensely positive note, I will leave you, until next time, with a heartfelt Happy New Year.  May 2021 bring you everything that you need, and I hope you always focus on the beauty!


  1. RE: New Old Town Report, By Terry Miller -January 7, 2021

    Lovely article and cause!

    One point of clarification is that the body of LaJoya McCoy was not found in the trunk of her car. She was found in the passenger seat with a child’s car seat over her. FYI

    “Steve started this fundraiser in 2015, when the body of LaJoya McCoy was found in the trunk of her car, leaving her two children without their mother.”


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