Grunion Gazette - Long Beach

Wednesday, May 6, 2015  |

Long Beach Business News In Review 2012

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Wednesday, December 26, 2012 3:30 am | Updated: 9:46 am, Wed Dec 26, 2012.

Despite a challenging economy, many entrepreneurs triumphed in Long Beach this year.

Some longstanding and new businesses changed hands or closed. Others opened their doors for the first time or celebrated milestone anniversaries.

To keep customers shopping local, business districts continued to host a variety of events, both new and old, and continued to increase their use of social media and other technologies to get the word out about those happenings. 

The districts also worked to keep up with changing city ordinances and improve the city’s business-friendly reputation.

Here’s a look at some of the new businesses, closures and other business news that took place in Long Beach in 2012.

Belmont Shore & Naples

Traditionally, storefronts on Second Street don’t change much from year to year — the business districts, helmed by the Belmont Shore Business Association and Naples Island Business Association, are anchored by business owners who are in it for the long haul.

Still, the recession toppled a few businesses, namely: T-Mobile at 4725 E. Second St. closed last May and the short-lived Love Shack at 5001 E. Second St. went out of business in August. 

Also out of business is Aroma di Roma Caffee Italiano at 5327 E. Second St. — that business was closed after 10 years because an agreement could not be reached between the business owner and the landlord. Owner Tim Terrell said he plans to reopen the coffee house and restaurant early next year in another location.

Belmont Shore Natural Care medical marijuana collective at 5375 E. Second St. also has closed due to the city’s newly issued ban on dispensaries.

Alberston’s, a grocery store located at 6255 E. Second St. is slated for closure in March 2013, but the store will be replaced by a new Gelson’s Market later that year.

The good news is that Second Street storefronts remain in high demand. Several new businesses filled in vacancies left by many of the businesses lost this year. 

Notable businesses that opened include: the Manhattan Beach-based Simmzy’s restaurant at 5271 E. Second St., which has been crowded ever since; Roe Fish Market at 5374 E. Second St. opened on June 1 and plans are in the works to expand Roe into a full-scale, fine-dining restaurant in the space next door; also in June, The B. Store opened a second location at 4718 E. Second St. (their other location is in downtown Long Beach); filling a vacant space left by Bono’s, Nick’s on 2nd opened at 4901 E. Second St. in August; Shades Salon opened in Naples in November, replacing what was previously known as Pygmalion Salon at 5740 E. Second St.; the Pedaler Society rolled out a new Pediwagon in December available for group rentals or tours of the city; Brandi’s Paw Spa opened at 5520 E. Second St. in Naples this month; and construction began on the California Shabu Shabu anticipated to fill the space at 5242 E. Second St., but an official opening date has not been set. Additionally, Kitchen Outfitters at 5654 E. Second St. in Naples has changed its name to Mac’s on Naples.

Also good news in Belmont Shore was the appearance of Club Ripples on the television show “Tabatha Takes Over.” The 40-year-old business got a makeover and business advice from celebrity Tabatha Coffey.

Several businesses celebrated milestone years, including the 80-year anniversary for McCarty’s Jewelry and the 20th year in business for Z Fabrique, The Rubber Tree, Shore Business Center (formerly Mailboxes Etc.) and Salon Soma. Also, Bella Salon celebrated 10 years in business.

This summer, four businesses were displaced from their location at 5224 E. Second St. when the building was sold to the owner of Baja Fish Taco, a family-owned restaurant chain with six locations in California. The four businesses in that location have now found new storefronts in Belmont Shore are: Sweet Jill’s, Saga, Paris Tailors & Cleaners and Fingers & Toes Spa and Nails. Saga and Paris have reopened at 5001 E. Second St. filling the Love Shack’s vacancy. Sweet Jill’s will be moving into that building as well in January. Fingers & Toes will open in January at 5247 E. Second St., which was formerly Eiffel Tower Nails.

Meanwhile, the Belmont Shore Business Association and Belmont Shore Parking and Business Improvement Area Advisory Commission, in collaboration with Long Beach Transit, were able to implement a program where Shore employees can ride the bus to and from work for free. That program was recently extended for another year.

Also, the business district celebrated the completion of a new public art project where 12 traffic signal boxes along Second Street were painted by artists Robert Lebsack and Candace Galvan.

The Parking Commission also made a recommendation in November not to support the installation of parklets, or extended sidewalks used as patio space. Parklets have successfully been installed at three locations along Fourth Street, but were not recommended in the Shore.

Controversy regarding the sale of alcohol on Second Street continues to be a struggle between business owners, residents and politicians. This year, there were objections from some in the neighborhood when it came to renewing the permit for entertainment and dancing at Panama Joe’s Grill and Cantina. Ultimately, the City Council did decide to renew the permit.

Dogs are now allowed on restaurant patios throughout Long Beach due to a change in the city’s ordinance.

BSBA events took place on Second Street throughout the year, including the Belmont Shore Christmas Parade, Belmont Shore Car Show and Stroll & Savors, which set new records for attendance. 

Retro Row

Merchants on Fourth Street’s Retro Row between Cherry and Junipero avenues work in a business district known for its “hip” factor. 

This year, the 4th Street Business Association asked for, and received, bike sharrows down the thoroughfare. Also two businesses, Lola’s Mexican Cuisine and Number Nine, installed parklet patio spaces in front of their businesses. Now, there is also a parklet at Berlin, a restaurant on Fourth Street in the East Village.

A few businesses closed in the district, including {open} bookstore at 2226 E. Fourth St. as well as Annex, a coffeehouse located next to the Art Theatre. Annex was soon replaced by The Flea, another coffeehouse that shares ownership with Starling Diner.

Broadway

When members of the On Broadway Merchant Association look at the thoroughfare that connects them, they envision a street full of color — a rainbow row celebrating the diversity of businesses, residents and visitors on Broadway.

Business owners on the street presented their colorful idea for the future of the business corridor last February and have been working toward creating a rainbow of color-coordinated mini-business districts along Broadway that would fall beneath the On Broadway umbrella. The six mini-districts would be centered around major intersections and would include Alamitos Village, Falcon Village, Bixby Park Village, Temple Village, Heights Village and Belmont Village. Each village will be assigned a different color of the rainbow, from red (Alamitos) to purple (Belmont) as a signature color.

Spa Sidney Beauty Lounge owner Sidney Cramer, who serves as the president of On Broadway, said he has been working with business owners and area resident associations to develop a plan and vision for the street.

“The idea is to strengthen each area and build an identity at each part of the street while also creating a sense of cohesion for Broadway overall,” Cramer explained. “This is going to showcase the diversity on Broadway and give a subtle nod to the street’s history and gay culture in a respectful way.”

Other business news on Broadway this year included the closure of Lasher’s Restaurant at 3441 E. Broadway. The Attic, a new restaurant specializing in New Orleans, Southern Creole foods, quickly filled that vacancy.

Additionally, 2 Gurls Bike Shop opened in August at 2746 E. Broadway and is managed by two young ladies who say their shop is “the cutest little bike shop in Long Beach.” 

El Lobo Restaurant, featuring Mexican cuisine, opened at 2941 E. Broadway in August as well. 

Also, Christy’s on Broadway re-opened in March with its original owner, Christy Bono. Christy’s is located at 3937 E. Broadway.

Sadly, the long-standing Babcock & Cooke on Broadway and Redondo Avenue is closing this month after 30 years in business. Owner Gregory Taylor cited health problems as his reason for shuttering the business.

Downtown

Downtown Long Beach, which includes areas such as the East Village Arts District, Shoreline Village, The Pike, Pine Avenue and newly improved Promenade, has a lot to celebrate this year.

Business openings downtown include: the Exotic House of Jerky, which opened in Shoreline Village in January; Deviant Design Group has been making custom jewelry at 256 Elm Ave. since January; Aquarius Yoga opened early this year at 301 Atlantic Ave.; Anneise, a women’s clothing and accessories shop, opened in February at 440 E. First St. in the East Village; Asha Moroccan Mediterranean Kitchen opened in February at 149 Linden Ave., in the East Village; DG Boxing opened at 745 Pine Ave.; The Potholder, a restaurant based in Belmont Heights, opened a second location at 301 W. Broadway just in time for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach; Tropicalata opened at 510 E. Broadway; Agaves opened at 200 Pine Ave. in June; WE Labs, or Work Evolution Laboratories, is a co-working space for creative professionals now open at 105 W. Broadway; Zen Baby Shop hosted a grand opening in August at 406 E. Third St.; Shenanigans Irish Pub & Grill opened in Shoreline Village; Joyful Paws Pet Hotel & Daycare opened in September at 1701 Fashion Ave.; Shear Delight is new at 218 Atlantic Ave.; Reddy Urgent Care is accepting patients at 123 Atlantic Ave.; Eclectique opened in October at 105 Linden Ave.; Atlantic Studio relocated from Retro Row to 425 E. Fourth St. in the East Village; and The Stave opened at The Promenade this October.

Business closures in the business district included the All American Melodrama Theatre in Shoreline Village as well as the high-end Madison restaurant at 102 Pine Ave.

Molina Healthcare, Inc. announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Molina Center LLC, has closed on its acquisition of a 460,000-square-foot office building at 200 and 300 Oceangate. The building, better known as the Arco Towers, consists of two conjoined fourteen-story office towers on approximately five acres of land. The purchase of both towers will mean Molina Healthcare headquarters will have room to expand into both towers.

In addition, Michelle Molina said her family also is working to renovate their property at Sixth Street and Pine Avenue, which is being called the Millworks Project. Construction is underway to transform the building into a modern office space.

Members of the Molina family also worked to fill a vacancy at their property at 144 Pine Ave. that was formerly Smooth’s Sports Grille. That space was purchased and will be filled with a restaurant by the San Diego-based Cohn Restaurant Group (CRG) sometime in 2013. 

Michael’s Pizzeria, a top Zagat-award winning restaurant, is expanding from Naples and will be opening another location at the Promenade in early 2013. In general, vacancies are filling at the Promenade, which is under construction for improvements.

The Queen Mary hosted its inaugural Chill event this winter and is hosting a year-long Princess Diana exhibit. Those events took place in addition to some of the traditional favorites at the Queen Mary such as Dark Harbor and the Scottish Festival.

Business owners and residents passed a renewal of the Property Based Improvement District (PBID), which pays for a great deal of Downtown Long Beach Associates functions. This was the first time the PBID included residents in the vote.

The city’s Downtown Plan also was ratified by City Council, which officials should help streamline the process of building downtown and could reshape way development is implemented there.

DLBA Executive Director Kraig Kojian said: “We are going to keep on doing the events we are doing and keep the streets clean and safe. We are going to keep making sure we are addressing the needs and making sure the downtown is a designation to visit and live. Those are the things that we have the resources we can package and market and get measurable results from.”

He said area residents could look forward to a new DLBA event in 2013 that will be a beer and wine festival type of event at the new, improved Promenade.

He added that the passage of Measure N, a living wage initiative for hotel workers that voters passed this November, could impact hotels in the downtown area.

“We don’t know what kind of economic impact Measure N is going to have on the industry (tourism) that really helps the downtown,” he said.

Bixby Knolls

Bixby Knolls continues to promote its First Fridays monthly event series, which is in its sixth year. The business district welcomed Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s Levitated Mass (a giant rock that was moved through and temporarily parked in the area); the rock attracted an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 people into the business district.

“Levitated Mass was huge for us,” said Blair Cohn, executive director of the Bixby Knolls Business Improvement Association. “Many of the businesses had record days that day.”

Also, the business district celebrated the opening of several new businesses, including AndyLiz at 3850 Atlantic Ave.; Bis Italian restaurant at 3819 Atlantic Ave.; Chef Tech Cooking School at 3842 Atlantic Ave.; Creperie la Rue at 4280 Atlantic Ave.; El Cortez restaurant at 5345 Atlantic Ave.; Esquire Grooming at 4240 Atlantic Ave.; Essencial Studio at 3550 Atlantic Ave.; goFETCH at 3434 Atlantic Ave.; Goldhill Salon at 4358 Atlantic Ave.; Oh So Very Young, a children’s clothing store, at 4378 Atlantic Ave.; Willmore Wine Bar at 3848 Atlantic Ave.; and others.

Cohn said the BKBIA is currently working to create a documentary highlighting the improvements in the business district with interviews with area business owners, politicians and residents. He expected the film to be complete this spring.

“The whole point of the video is to point out how, in a down economy, how one business district has tried new things to drive the local economy,” Cohn said. “We want to tell our story nationally and blow our own horn.”

Cohn also serves as the chair for the Council of Business Associations. COBA asked area business owners this year to complete the first citywide business survey designed to highlight common issues business owners have experienced when working with various city departments. Preliminary results of that survey have been shown to city officials, and Cohn said improvements to the city’s business licensing and other processes are already underway.

Zaferia District

The East Anaheim Street Business Alliance — representing businesses from Junipero Avenue to the west, Pacific Coast Highway to the east, 11th Street to the south and 14th Street to the north — is working to brand the business district with it’s historic name: Zaferia District. 

Also, the business district has installed new cameras at two intersections that can be used by the Long Beach Police Department.