There are more than 250 small businesses in the 15-block business district, where you’ll find shops specializing in everything from eclectic fair-trade gifts to vintage kids clothing, with friendly shopkeepers who give the area a uniquely small town feel that might as well be cut from a scene in “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Neighbors wave as they pass by and business owners are often there seven days a week to work one-on-one with customers they know by name.
The Belmont Shore Business Association (BSBA) has organized a special one-day Small Business Saturday Scavenger Hunt, with hidden holiday elves at participating shops. Those who would like to take part in the search for the elves can download and print a bingo card and instructions from the BSBA website. The first 25 people who submit a completed bingo row that day will win $25 to a local shop or restaurant.
The hip Bixby Knolls neighborhood, including the vendors at the SteelCraft outdoor urban eatery, encompass more than 800 businesses along Long Beach Boulevard and Atlantic Avenue just north of the 405 Freeway to 46th Street, where they’ve banded together under the Bixby Knolls Business Improvement Association (BKBIA). The list includes everything from Pixie Toys, for buying fun and educational gifts for youngsters, to Liquor Land, with a wide selection for adults, and just about everything in between for everyone on your shopping list.
The BKBIA, known for hosting special First Fridays events each month, is reminding Long Beach to “think small” when shopping, especially since the pandemic and disruptions in the supply chain have impacted many mom-and-pop shops. In an ongoing marketing campaign to get locals to stay off the internet and do their shopping in-person in the neighborhood, district representatives say that doing so means you’re “supporting those pursuing the American Dream of owning a small business while making your neighborhood healthy and vibrant.”
Fourth Street's Retro Row
Small business owners who capitalize on nostalgia make up Retro Row, a fun and funky stretch of Fourth Street between Cherry and Temple avenues, where about 75 independent businesses have set up shop and largely specialize in vintage wares.
In the heart of Retro Row is the historic Art Theatre, surrounded by coffee and juice shops, thrift stores, bakeries, restaurants and wine bars to keep anyone entertained from morning to night. As its name hints, Retro Row is perhaps best known for its collection of vintage clothing stores, but it also offers an array of international dining and specialty shops, including record stores and book shops, gift stores, boutiques, and much more.