LB Swag, 5304 E. Second St. in Belmont Shore has unique items that vendors claim you can’t purchase anywhere else. In a world where “Prime” members can have almost anything delivered to their door, the 25 artists whom the shop sources from set LB Swag apart.
Located near the corner of Second Street and Glendora Avenue, next door to Dogz Bar and Grill, the shop carries apparel and gift items that show off hometown pride while directly supporting artisans from Bixby Knolls to Belmont Shore. LB Swag opened at the tail end of the summer, and according to store manager Annie Mekertichian, has started to make its mark on Long Beach from this small but mighty storefront.
Customers visit because they love where they live, or they are visiting where they used to live and want to bring some of Long Beach to their current homes, she said. Almost daily, store employees hear stories like the friends buying Queen Mary prints for a woman who had served as a nurse on the ship’s last great cruise. Or folks who enjoy debating the correct pronunciation of the street “Junipero” coming in to purchase clothing bearing the street name.
Suzanne Beck’s famous “Trees on the Bay” miniature replicas are only available here. Pair that up with prints of the classic maritime moments captured by another legendary Long Beach artist, Robert Senske Jr., famous for capturing what life in Long Beach is like and you start to understand the truly unique items that are sold here.
“The capital investments are daunting and simply too overwhelming to be successful going it alone when competing against Amazon and other on-line marketplaces," Mekertichian said. "And farmer’s markets don’t always give vendors the chance to reach their markets seven days a week. This is why we have devised a place that aggregates the best creativity from our local artists and entrepreneurs in sharing the overhead costs of bringing their goods to the consumer in their hometown.”
So far, it’s proving successful. Locally sourced candles, clothing, jewelry, puppy treats, and many more products have comprised an appealing representation of a one stop shop for finding high quality merchandise and investing in your own back yard to directly benefit the Long Beach community.
Mekertichian said LB Swag strives to build a lasting relationship with locals and tourists alike as a place that represents what this city is truly capable of.
“We don’t want the same sort of merchandise you’ll find at many of the other beach shops," she said. "We are truly looking to promote unique products from some of the most talented, creative, and hard-working vendors in our community.”