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A Call for Supporting Struggling Businesses in DTLB

A Call for Supporting Struggling Businesses in DTLB

Lolita Mojica

With new high-rises and large corporations seemingly sprouting up in the city daily, Downtown Long Beach has become unrecognizable for some locals. 

While the focus of Downtown once seemed to be supporting small businesses and fostering a sense of community, lately, that focus has shifted toward big business projects.

In the mayor’s State of the City address on Jan. 9, there was a large focus on bolstering tourism through new projects, such as the Hard Rock Hotel being built on Ocean Blvd.

While promoting tourism is an important cause for the city, not a whole lot was said about helping the small businesses that have kept the spirit of Downtown alive for Long Beach natives. 

Many of the businesses in Downtown have reported that they are struggling to remain in business amidst the rising cost of operations.

Prior to the pandemic, small businesses would frequently host events such as Buskerfest and Live After 5, to encourage the community to shop locally and promote the walkability of the downtown area. 

Now, four years after the global shutdown, many small businesses are ready to activate the community again, but feel more city support is needed to bring some of these events back. 

One such business is the Ordinairie, a bar and eatery situated on the Promenade and 3rd. “I am still very optimistic about Downtown,” said Christy Caldwell, owner of the Ordinarie. “With the right help, it can get to where it used to be. Someone just needs to get their arms around Downtown.”

The Ordinarie is one of the many businesses that have tried to activate their area through their events, but they haven’t yet seen the results they are aiming for.

A significant help would be if the city stepped in to support the funding, organizing, and promoting of local events. Aside from the monetary burden that can come with setting up events, the whirlwind of day-to-day operations also makes it difficult for small businesses to explore ways to change the world outside their doors. 

While it is great to see the city come into its own as an economic powerhouse, it shouldn’t shirk from the responsibility that it has to its proud locals. Diversity, community, and small businesses are the pillars on which it was built. 

The transformation of Downtown and the disregard for small businesses have made locals feel disconnected from the Long Beach they once knew.

 It seems as though the city’s identity, which was once rooted in community, has been lost. The question is, can we collectively come together to find it again?

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