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Explore These Black-Owned Businesses in Long Beach

Explore These Black-Owned Businesses in Long Beach

Leila Alarcon

Black History Month is here, and what better way to celebrate than supporting local Black-owned businesses! Year-round these businesses contribute to Long Beach’s diverse population through their goods and services. Be sure to check them out and show your support.


Play Nice
Photo via Instagram: @playnicelbc

Play Nice, founded by Ryan Hoyle, has been part of the Long Beach community for five years. Originally a vintage clothing store, Play Nice evolved into a local art and impact space for creatives of color to network and express themselves in their creative mediums. They host open mics, art shows, and community events, even partnering with organizations such as the Arts Council for Long Beach. Play Nice is deeply committed to the Long Beach community and serves as a community hub offering resources to those facing food and financial insecurity during the pandemic. They continue to be a raw and real space for artists to showcase their talents. Whether renting out the space for gallery shows or hosting classes taught by artists, Play Nice embodies a commitment to inclusivity, creativity, and community. Connect with them online @playnicelbc or visit playnicelbc.com to learn more.


Shades of Afrika
Photo via Instagram: @shadesofafrika

Shades of Afrika is a gift shop of handmade items, locally produced products, and more for the healthy mind, body, and spirit. Within the store, you will find holistic products, hair, skin and oral care, books, art images, custom framing, and an on-site hair salon. They also host social and educational events, lectures, and study groups. Owner Renee Quarles found herself being laid off from her clerk typist job, but that, along with the support of her sister, allowed her to open Shades of Afrika in 1992. Quarles had three nephews in middle school at the time and noticed there weren’t books teaching African culture. Thus she took on the responsibility to carry African books in store. Her location in the arts district led her to carry open and limited-edition art images, sculptures, and other handmade items. That then led her to do custom framing for art images, and eventually hair, skin, holistic oral, and herb care. Shades of Afrika supports local artists and creatives carrying at least 25 different locally created products including the art of Venice Vinyls’ Raina Berhane. Quarles’ support for the Black community is undeniable as she was described as a pillar of the Black community in Long Beach by Ryan Hoyle, owner of Play Nice. By supporting Quarles and Shades of Afrika you’ll be supporting other local creators as well. Visit her store at 1001 E 4th St or check out her weibsite: shadesofafrika.com.


Venice Vinyls
Photo via Instagram: @venicevinyls

The past and the present meet at Venice Vinyls through handcrafted vinyl art pieces. Here, scratched and warped vinyls are given a second life by being repurposed for wall-hanging art. Each record is specially hand-carved and drawn with precision. Owner Raina Berhane is an experienced acrylic artist as well, creating paintings on her Instagram account @colorsandsound. Her artistic experience allows her to experiment with the ways she can make the images on the vinyls pop out. The vinyls feature beautifully created images of musicians and actors including those who have lived in Long Beach. Venice Vinyls can be found at pop-up shops, the Shades of Afrika store in Long Beach, and on Instagram @VeniceVinyls.


Mabel’s Gourmet Pralines

 

Photo by Jose Cordon via Instagram: @mabelsgourmetprailines

Mabel’s Gourmet Pralines brings the Louisiana savor to Long Beach with their signature pralines and banana pudding. For 18 years, Sandra Christmas has been the owner of Mabel’s Gourmet Pralines, but she’s been making pralines long before opening her store. She started making this sweet treat to fundraise money for her children’s school. People liked and ordered them from her so much so she started making them at home. Over time she was able to open her store in 2006 and has been continuing business since. Christmas creates opportunities for the youth through hiring individuals who go through the youth opportunity program. Christmas is from Louisiana, bringing her unique and quality desserts to the Long Beach community. Check out Mabel’s Gourmet Pralines online or stop by 625 Pine Ave. and give them a try! 


Pharmacy Boardshop
Photo via Instagram: @pharmacyboardshop

Established in 1997, Pharmacy Boardshop has 8 locations, including one in Downtown Long Beach. Alongside the clothing, skateboards, and accessories developed by Pharmacy Boardshop Brand itself, the store carries selective brands. This is done with the intention to create a one-of-a-kind store and community; which Pharmacy Boardshop has successfully done. They’ve created a supportive community of skateboarders, musicians, artists, car enthusiasts, loyal customers, and more. This community is what allowed for Pharmacy Boardshop to develop their own products. If you’re thinking of picking up skateboarding as a hobby or have a new look for the new year, Pharmacy Boardshop is the place to go. Visit them in person at 327 Pine Ave. or online at pharmacyboardshop.com.


Royal Gourmet Cookies 
Photo via Instagram: @royalgourmetcookies

Royal Gourmet Cookies is the perfect place to satisfy your sweet tooth. Owner Emerald Sharee has been baking her whole life and started selling cookies at her dad’s church. She found great success and in 2018 she started her company out of her own home. Her cookies are all unique flavors made in-house from scratch. Some of her favorites include her Twix cookie, her holiday cinnamon roll cookie, and the “Dirty Diane” cookie. The “Dirty Diane” cookie is named after one of her first loyal customers who asked for a cookie flavor combination of toffee, walnut, and chocolate; and it is one of her biggest hits! Sharee is eternally grateful to her community of customers and bakers who offer her suggestions and are continuously supportive of her. She also makes sure to give back, having donated to His Nesting Place women’s shelter for years. Delve into Sharee’s delectable sweets by ordering online and have them delivered to your home!


Von Brickley Design
Photo via Instagram: @vonbrinkleybrand

Von Brickley Design combines the words simple, durable, and stylish to produce Long Beach-inspired products. The brand has evolved, having started off as a hair salon. Owner Erick Von Brickley was encouraged to do hair by an elder in the community and has been licensed since 1989. However, Von Brickley transformed his business during the pandemic to include clothing and accessories in to his list of goods. He also offers furniture reupholstery services through email requests done through his website. For over 20 years, Von Brickley has been able to live his sewing and hair-styling dreams. He continues to create new samples and practice his new craft. Stop by his shop on 422 East Broadway Street or visit his website: vonbrinkleybrand.com


Devine and Twined
Photo via Instagram: @divineandtwine

Explore your spirituality at Divine and Twined, a Black-owned Botanica. They offer services involving magick, birthwork, readings, and other spiritual guidance. They carry incense, candles, tarot cards, bracelets, and waist beads. Alongside the goods and services they offer, they also hold community events. They’ve held open mics, vintage pop-ups, book signings, and for the past two months ‘sister circles’. Sister circles served as a safe space for Black women in college to converse and build community. Devine and Twisted is open Tuesday to Saturday, excluding Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit them at 2501 E Anaheim St.


A Beautiful California Florist
Photo of owner Josy Johnson via Facebook.com

A Beautiful California Florist has you covered for birthdays, weddings, Valentine’s Day, or any flower arrangements. They have a variety of flowers, plants, chocolates, plush bears, balloons, and other gifts for any occasion. Not only is A Beautiful California Florist Black-owned but also women-owned and a family business. Josy Johnson is the owner and a florist at the 80-year-old establishment. A small but mighty team, they’ll take phone orders and have them ready on arrival, have fresh pre-made arrangements, and even offer delivery. Open Monday to Saturday, you can complete orders in-store, over the phone, or through their website. Next time you need flowers, consider shopping locally at A Beautiful California Florist.

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