Father, Son Open Competing Shops Next to Each Other near U. Oregon

(U-WIRE) EUGENE, Ore. — University of Oregon students walking down East 13th Avenue near campus this fall may have noticed two new stores side-by-side in the space where the Campus Shoe Shop used to repair beat-up Birkenstocks. One is Lazar’s Campus, a smaller satellite store of the downtown store Lazar’s Bazar that sells a variety of posters, stickers, accessories and other odds and ends. The other is Origin 79, a men’s and women’s clothing and unique apparel boutique.

Priyamon Makyadath, the owner and operator of Origin 79, has a thorough understanding of how his closest competitor, right next door to him, runs his business. That’s because the owner of Lazar’s Campus is M.V. Lazar, who also happens to be Makyadath’s father.

“It’s been kind of fun,” Makyadath said. “We’re doing a little bit of a rivalry.”

Makyadath and Lazar are very close with each other, he said, and often joke about their “healthy competition” in sales.

“He calls me at the end of the day and we talk numbers,” Makyadath said. “He’s always like, ‘I’m going to go a buck bigger than
you tomorrow.'”

Makyadath opened Origin 79 on Sept. 15, and Lazar opened his new store on Saturday. Through the first week of business, Makyadath said, he holds the upper hand on his father.

“As of today I’m ruling the ticker,” he said. Makyadath added that he would be hard-pressed to catch up to Lazar’s sales in his main store downtown, which first opened 33 years ago.

Lazar said Makyadath had helped him in Lazar’s Bazar and his other downtown stores since he was a child. Makyadath said he had always been around his father’s business as long as he could remember, and he went to his first trade show with Lazar at age 10.

Now, at 26, Makyadath said he is ready to start a business with his own identity separate from his father’s.

“It’s the first time we’ve ever gone separate on anything,” he said.

The first thing customers see when they walk into Origin 79 is a large mural painted on the side wall by University graduate student Justin Fry. Fry said he met Makyadath as a representative for Burton, supplying shoes to Lazar’s shoe stores long before either of the new businesses opened and said he was happy to offer his help for the painting.

“If nothing else, people just wander in and stare at it for a while,” Makyadath said. “It’s rad.”

Fry said he will also work with Makyadath in his store roughly one day per week.

Origin 79 offers students an alternative apparel supply for those who can’t get out to the area malls, Makyadath said, and has unique items that students won’t commonly find in other places.

“We’re kind of just trying to take things in a different direction down here,” he said. Makyadath also said he will try to focus some on art in his store.

Makyadath said the first two weeks of business have given him some optimism for the future, though it will take time to get more regular business.

“The people that have been coming in have liked what they see,” Makyadath said. “We’re still trying to form that critical mass to get us going.”

Lazar said he was proud to see his son pursue his own visions and was confident he would find success with his better understanding of the University community.

“Younger people have younger ideas,” he said. “It will be a good connection.”

Lazar also said he is starting to think about retirement, and he hopes Makyadath will take over in his shoes when he leaves what has become a family business. Lazar also owns an annex store called Bruce Lee’s Martial Arts Supply & Shoe Close Out Center, Shoe-A-Holic and the new Lazar’s Campus in addition to Lazar’s Bazar.

As for competing with his son for business in the mean time, Lazar said he is pleased regardless of who sells more.

“Well, we both will win,” he said.