Long Beach businesses are adjusting in order to succeed in the current environment. Many are reinventing their business models, striving to restructure, and doing business in a rapidly changing world.
Madonna once explained how she has evolved for her audience, “I am not reinventing myself. I am going through the layers and revealing myself. I am on a journey, an adventure that’s constantly changing shape.”
Rory Bruer, who is currently making a major career change, is a great example of someone evolving Madonna-style. After spending several decades as a top executive with Sony Pictures Entertainment, rising from the mail room to President of Worldwide Distribution, Bruer decided to take his own experience in stopping smoking through hypnotherapy and share this powerful modality with others. He said, “People turn to hypnotherapy not to change their past, but to change their future.”
Now Bruer is a Long Beach hypnotherapist who provides care to help with smoking cessation, weight loss, anxiety, focus, phobias, public speaking, and confidence.
Trained at the world-renowned Hypnosis Motivation Institute in Tarzana, Bruer has completed more than 1,000 hours of hypnosis training, and graduated with honors. He is now accepting new clients at his Belmont Shore location, 5030 E. Second St. Suite 200E, 310-993-2719.
Fellippe Esteves, owner of the newly opened Ubuntu Café at 335 Nieto Ave. near Colorado Lagoon, explained how they are adjusting the business that opened in mid-February. “Great hospitality first — it’s always been our company culture and now we are customizing our café to our neighbor’s needs.
"This is a great opportunity for us to actually know our neighbors and make an even better connection, knowing their names, their kids' names, husbands and wives — now we have time to engage and truly care for one another in this crisis, thankfully we are busy on daily basis.”
Sidney Price, owner of Noble Bird Rotisserie at 2ND & PCH, talked the new normal there. “We have removed plates and silverware and we stocked our takeout containers and completely reworked our line for take-out orders only. We turned our dining room into a massive staging area. We have ropes at our front entry to keep our teammates and guests six feet apart at all times and we have modified our payment system so that we are a completely ’no contact' establishment.
"We quickly designated a curbside pick-up zone on Marina Drive. We added some new takeout options, including a family meal kit to feed four, and we also added a pop-up market set up where guests can grab grocery essentials along with their rotisserie chicken to help them make the most out of their rotisserie chicken meal and make it stretch into a few more meals.
"We also now sell bottles of wine for just $20 and brought in growlers of beer from our favorite local craft breweries for $15. In a matter of 10 days, we completely reformatted our organization, schedules, labor, and marketing efforts.”
Price echoed the thoughts of many in the restaurant business as they shift to carry out only, “We are pedaling as fast as we can and pivoting as quickly as the news conferences and ordinances come in to ensure the safety of our guests. I firmly believe that any restaurant that survives this, established or brand new, national brand or small family owned establishment like Noble Bird, wins.”
Dine Out Help
Elizabeth Borsting, founder and organizer of Dine Out Long Beach, which just wrapped up their most successful Restaurant & Cocktail Week to date, reinforced Price’s comments with “If you really want fresh food, seek out a local restaurant that has transitioned into a market or bodega. We have several here in Long Beach that have temporarily reinvented themselves, and they have all the pantry staples needed plus some unexpected items, too. What they don’t have are long lines of people.”
Borsting has stepped up to offer help to the city's restaurants.
Brett Gallo, co-owner of the Bamboo Bar at 3522 Anaheim St., quickly acted upon relaxed restrictions regarding the sale of alcoholic beverages. Saturday, three pre-made mixed drinks were on a pre-order, pre-paid basis where customers arrived at pre-set times via a drive-thru from noon to 4 p.m. The pop-up was so popular that it was sold out in early pre-sale. Bartenders prepared the drinks in advance, sealed them in plastic containers, while using the highest standards of care.
Gallo said, “The response was overwhelming. After our initial shock of closing, we were pleased to learn of the to-go option. We started to make a plan and worried about what the demand would be, and how we could limit contact yet serve our customers. The response was overwhelming; we had no idea what was going to happen. Last week was a new challenge. We are working harder, building on our experience. We also are working to pass the savings on to customers. We aren’t looking to make money — we just want to stay afloat, to keep lights on.”
Essential services are seeing an uptick in business, and a pressing need to network with others in the industry and deploy software that has “no touch” capabilities.
Matt Simmons of Super Suds, the largest laundromat in Long Beach, located at 250 Alamitos Ave., said, “Our fully attended laundromat has over 200 commercial machines. We specialize in wash and fold and dry cleaning for residential and commercial clients and what sets us apart is we are fully attended and our staff cleans our facility many times a day using beach and disinfectants.”
Simmons is known as a trailblazer in the industry, developing software that helps laundry and dry cleaning companies provide touch-less pickup and delivery of wash and fold processes via his website www.curbsidelaundries.com.
He said, “Defining and benchmarking of Best Practices in this new ‘Quarantine Economy’ has caused those of us in the industry to exchange more ideas at a faster rate in order to help keep our communities safer,”
For retail stores, the challenges have been even greater.
Lather founder Emilie Hoyt addressed plans to leverage technology and team with nearby businesses, "At Lather, our main focus right now is first and foremost the health of our employees and customers. We are committed to remaining connected with our customers' needs, bring community to them digitally and move quickly to adapt during this time. We have created some exciting new programming to partner with fellow retailers from 2ND & PCH to organize shared digital events and special discounts and offers.”