Doors Close on an Institution

Persian Rugs Deeply Discounted

Saturday, February 18, 2017 | 1:00 am

PRM 2Not many businesses today can say their doors opened in 1932 but in the case of Pasadena Rug Mart, it’s true.

Alas, another institution is coming to an end as the store plans a four-day closing sale falling on President’s Day weekend (February 17th through the 20th).

The decision to close was not an easy one given the circumstances, but with the passing away of owner Abbas Firouzi, the heart and soul of Pasadena Rug Mart, the family felt it was best.

As part of the closing, the family has deeply discounting, up to 50 to 75 percent off, the hundreds of Persian and Oriental rugs and French tapestries remaining in his showroom.

Pasadena Rug Mart, which was originally opened by Armenian owners, is also home to hand-carved furniture, porcelain lamps, pillows, Chinese artifacts and paintings, which all must go, “hopefully by the end of March or April,” says Nili, who has helped run the business she acquired with her husband in 1986.

Firouzi, who grew up in Iran and was a third generation descendent of Oriental rug master weavers and merchants, earned a degree in structural engineering in the U.S., but rugs remained his passion.

“I was born with a loom in my hand,” he would tell people.

Pasadena Rug Mart 2nd

He spent his life travelling and seeking out new, old and antique rugs, from places like Bulgaria, Pakistan, Turkey, Persia, India, China, Germany,
Switzerland and New York, basically from all around the world. Other rugs were purchased from local auction houses and estate sales.

“Every piece that goes, I think of him,” says Nili.

But no one can replace Abbas’s four decades of knowledge and insight he took with him.

“It was in his DNA,” she says.


Daughter Yasmin Sotomayor agrees saying he knew designs so well he could tell you where each rug was made based on the images of medallions, flora or animals woven into it.

The various designs seen on the rugs include Navajo, American folk, Kilim, Chinese Art-Deco and Tribal influences, to name a few.

Abbas’ son, Neima Firouzi, who worked alongside his father for eight years, is now leading the close of the business and is helping carry the tradition of Abbas’ virtues and passion.

He shares that Abbas understood “the unique weave, quality of fiber, color-fastness of dyes, age, birthplace and condition of each individual rug,” which made him an expert craftsman in restoring them to their original beauty as well.

It also made him well-known in his field.

He was profiled in Caltech’s Architectural Heritage after successfully appraising a 47 by 28 foot Persian rug from a photo brought to him. The massive hand-knotted Persian rug, which had been housed in Caltech’s Athenaeum Lounge in the 1960s, was identified by Abbas as being from the village of Birjand in Meshad, from around 1880. It was later discovered that the rug was woven by 12 men over the course of 12 years.

“There’s a sentimental history to them,” says Yasmin. “And he picked the best of the best rugs to give families an heirloom.

“He would always say, ‘The rug is the soul of the room. Make the room fit the rug.’”
And Sotomayor agrees.

“There’s no comparison between machine- and handmade rugs,” she says pointing out that handmade rugs are thicker and last longer and are made of natural dyes, wool, silk and real organic materials.

Abbas was also very active in the community. He hosted the Gamble House tour every year volunteering to share his knowledge and would host Persian tea seminars at the store and tell stories about the rugs.

Their business was part of the Bungalow Heaven Tour and they participated in all sorts of community activities from planting trees to lending rugs.

“Pasadena was his favorite town,” says Nili, not just because of the great architects and famous houses but because of the people.

His family thanks the community for 30 years of patronage.

Pasadena Rug Mart has French tapestries and Oriental and Persian rugs starting from $150 and ranging up in size to about 24 by 16 feet.

They are located at 530 North Lake Avenue in Pasadena. For more information, call (323) 627-8506, email or visit



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