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Refill Downtown

BYO Long Beach is setting up a second eco-friendly refill shop in Long Beach, this time in the East Village Arts District.

BYO, short for bring your own, sells mostly bulk items that are locally made for shoppers to put in reusable containers. Think giant dispensers of shampoo and conditioner, hand soap, dishwasher detergent, cleaning agents, antiperspirant, tealeaves, essential oils, baking soda … you name it.

The store also offers a variety of reusable products, such as metal and glass drinking straws, wool dryer balls, beeswax wraps (to be used instead of plastic cling wrap), reusable bags, paper towel replacements, organic and compostable hair ties, cardboard-wrapped lip balm, and other eco-friendly household essentials.

Mom and entrepreneur Julie Darrell founded the original BYO Long Beach, first at farmers markets in 2017 and then at a storefront on Marina Drive in Alamitos Bay Landing, as a way to continue the work she was doing in her own household to reduce her family’s plastic footprint. It’s something she wanted to help others do as well, and part of the proceeds go to Algalita, a Long Beach-based marine research foundation focused on reducing plastic pollution.

“I felt like there was more I could do,” she said about going beyond reusable grocery bags and water bottles. “I was trying to find things package-free… But I couldn’t find personal products like shampoo and detergent, and I decided that since there was nothing here that existed, I would create my own.”

Long Beach’s second BYO is at 431 E. First St., and it’s open now with limited hours from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays, with a grand opening event and free zero waste workshop scheduled June 9.

“Perfection is not the goal, but progress,” is Darrell’s mantra. “We can’t all do everything, but everyone can do something.”

For details, visit

Pitches Wanted

Entrepreneurs looking for seed money will be taking part in Pitchfest.

Pitchfest is part of the third annual Entrepreneurship Education Series hosted by the Downtown Long Beach Alliance and Cal State’s Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship.

Participating pitchers and the community are invited to watch the free event from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, June 1, at Studio 111 (245 E. Third St.). Selected businesses will be offered seed funding opportunities, according to organizers.

Business representatives who participated in the entire educational series will be provided with a certificate that day for completing the program, which is focused on providing the tools and skills needed to start and run a successful business for existing and potential downtown business owners.

For details, visit

Water Honor

Long Beach Water is being recognized for its high level of customer satisfaction, ranking in the top seven in the Western United States, according to J.D. Power.

J.D. Power’s 2019 ranking puts Long Beach Water’s customer satisfaction ahead of other major California cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego; and, nationwide, Long Beach Water achieved a higher customer satisfaction rating than major cities such as New York and Chicago.

J.D. Power, a global leader in consumer insights, measured satisfaction of residential customers of utilities nationwide who deliver water to at least 400,000 people. Overall satisfaction is measured based on delivery, price, conservation, billing and payment, communications, and customer service.

“We’re very proud to be recognized for this high honor of customer satisfaction. We are committed every day to provide our community with exceptional water and exceptional service,” Chris Garner, general manager of Long Beach Water, said.

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