Editor’s Note: This holiday season, there are plenty of shopping opportunities close to home — with 35,000 business license holders in the city.
This is the second week that Gazette Newspapers is highlighting some of the unique mom-and-pop retail and service businesses in the city. We will continue to highlight others in the weeks before Christmas.
There are many more outstanding businesses in Long Beach than there is room in this newspaper, and we apologize in advance for those that are left out. On the bright side, that means there will be plenty left to be profiled next year.
2747 E. Broadway
It’s a grandiose message, Merry Colvin knows, but that doesn’t stop her from believing that her small business, Merry’s, is helping to create world peace.
“I want to help world peace along by introducing people to other cultures,” the business owner said. “I think that once we understand each other, we can stop killing each other.”
Colvin, who has a background in fashion and politics, opened Merry’s in 2006. She has created an Eastern bazaar-style atmosphere inside the store, with dressing room tents and ethnic mannequins. And, Humphrey, a life-sized metal camel sculpture who greets visitors at Merry’s door, has become a must-see icon of the Broadway business corridor.
Merry’s specializes in fair trade, sweatshop-free fashions, accessories and collectibles that support indigenous artisans from Afghanistan, Bali, Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Iran, Kenya, Morocco, Nepal, Pakistan, Turkey and beyond.
“I am bringing in things from around the world, and I constantly have new countries added to the list,” she said. “By showing their wares, I am giving people in Long Beach a way to explore different cultures. That is really what the store is about. When you walk in, you are immersed, and you leave Long Beach behind.”
Colvin emphasized that many of the hand-made items in her shop cannot be purchased anywhere else, and she added that the quality of the work that goes into some of the embroideries and beadwork is “awe inspiring.”
From “5ish to 8ish” in the evening on Saturday, Dec. 15, Merry’s and a few other businesses on Broadway near Temple Avenue will be hosting a block party. Merry’s will host belly dancers, live music and possibly a henna tattoo artist.