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Page Turner

A new bookstore is turning the page on Fourth Street’s Retro Row.

Page Against the Machine (or PATM) opened earlier this month in a narrow but bright retail space at 2714 E. Fourth St., the sleekly remodeled home of what was formerly Seventh Wave surf shop.

Chris Giaco, a vintage expert and former shopkeeper of inretrospect [sic] also on Retro Row, has been selling new and used books in his stores and online for most of his life. Calling himself an “instigator” instead of a “business owner," Giaco said he’s looking forward to instigating conversations about books he’s most passionate about: ones that promote mindfulness.

“My criteria for what’s in the store is anything that goes against the grain — people have a lot of interpretations of what goes against the machine, but this is for anyone who wants to do things independently and find creative, inspirational things to empower themselves,” Giaco said.

Not limited to books, Page Against the Machine also features art and other retail, with plans ahead for the tiny space to serve for community gatherings and readings.

Giaco’s nod to Rage Against the Machine, a band that expressed revolutionary political views, gives the store a niche focus, yet Giaco said he'll still have something for everyone, from environmental children’s books to works about philosophy, art, gender studies, you-name-it.

“I would like this to function as a hub for information,” said the bookseller, who doesn’t have television at home so he has more time to read. “This is a passion project for me. If I wasn’t at the store, I’d be at home selling books online, and I’d rather be at the store meeting and talking to people.”

The bookstore’s first event will be an exhibition opening for local photographer Jim Coke, with renowned prints from the late 1960s being unveiled from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, April 26, during Fourth Fridays on Fourth Street. Coke will be in attendance.

An official grand opening will take place, likely in May, with Giaco noting that the neighboring Restauration restaurant, which has been closed temporarily due to fire damage, also should be open by then.

For details, call the store at (562) 588-7075 or follow on social media.

Fizzled Out

A short-lived but well-loved Belmont Shore business, Rocket Fizz Soda Pop and Candy Shop, shut its doors Monday at 5282 E. Second St.

Rock Fizz opened two years ago at the former Powell’s Sweet Shoppe location, which has long been a sweet spot for youngsters in the neighborhood. There's no word yet on what will replace it.

“We just handed over the keys this morning,” Rocket Fizz manager Scott Holzhauer said on Monday. “We’re sad to go… The community loved us, and they were so supportive, and this was one of the last places on the street where kids could hang out.”

Holzhauer, a Long Beach native, confirmed that he and franchisee Suzanne Uppman would like to see Rocket Fizz reopen at a new location sometime in the future.

They didn’t attribute the closure to one single factor, but said retail rental costs — not just in Belmont Shore, but throughout the region — are difficult to sustain, especially when more shoppers go online and want products delivered to their doorsteps.

“Retail is in a real transition period right now,” Holzhauer said, noting how grateful he was to see so many regulars stop in over the past couple of weeks to say goodbye.

Banc Opening

A grand reopening for Banc of California is taking place Thursday (April 18) downtown, where the bank has relocated to 1 World Trade Center.

There will be a ribbon cutting for the newly designed location and other festivities between 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. For details, call (562) 481-3400.

Businesses Learn

The Downtown Long Beach Alliance and Cal State Long Beach’s Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship are hosting a series of free workshops starting Saturday, April 20.

Six weekly workshops are part of the Entrepreneur and Small Business Education Series, which runs through May 25 and gives attendees the skills and tools they need to help start and run a successful business. Participants who complete the complimentary program earn a certificate from trainings valued at more than $1,300.

To sign up, visit

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