80-year-old Art's Famous Chili Dog Stand is closing Sunday

SOUTH LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- "For year's my dad and my brother been telling us to come try it out," Brianna Guzman said. "So, this is the first time and I'm just sad about it. It was really good."

Guzman is referring to the Jumbo Chili Dog she had from Art's Famous Chili Dog Stand, her first and her last.

After 80 years, Art's Famous Chili Dog Stand is closing Sunday.

Customer Christopher Oliver said he grew up in the neighborhood and has been a customer of Art's for over 30 years.

"Sorry to hear that it's not going to be in business anymore. It really hurts, it really hurts my heart," Oliver said. "Now I've got to go back and explain to my kids, this is my last chili dog, it's hard to say."

The iconic stand was founded back in 1939 by Art Elkind, back when hot dogs were 10 cents. After Elkind passed, Darrell Nelms bought it in 1994 and it's been in the family ever since.

Nelms' daughters Fallon and Naijah Nelms co-own the stand with their mother.

"This was our father's dream," Fallon said. "He recently died in 2018 and we've been trying to keep it up ever since, but unfortunately it's just not happening."

"He lost his life two years ago out of nowhere," Naijah said. "So just tried to carry it on my back for two years. Sad to let it go."

At Arts' it's not just about the chili cheese dogs or the chili cheese Fritos, it's about the community. This is one of the few locations untouched, during the LA Riots in 1992.

"This little stand stood against the riots that's how much people love Arts," Fallon said.

The Nelms family say they just haven't been able to get enough footsteps to keep the doors open, but since they've announced their closing they've heard the community outcry.

"You just think that things are going to be here forever and then when they're finally going to be gone, that's when you realize 'oh,'" community member Joel Lopez said. "You don't appreciate the stuff you have around you."

Although the family is selling the property, they still have hopes of keeping the business going somehow.

"You might see a pop-up, you might see a truck, we might just do catering," Naijah said. "So that's in the future."

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