Downtown Long Beach Businesses Win, Lose During Last Week's Power Outage

michaels1Last week’s power outage in downtown Long Beach had a big effect on many area businesses—a few for the better, but most for the worse.

Take, for example, Michael’s Pizzeria at the Promenade.

According to General Manager Chris Whelpton, the business never once lost power. Apparently, the eatery—and its next-door neighbor Beachwood BBQ—were on a different grid that allowed them to be unaffected by the blackout everywhere else in the area, which began Wednesday afternoon when a cable failure and electrical fire caused up to 11,000 customers to go without power at one point.

“We were surrounded by darkness,” said Whelpton.

That darkness allowed guests to flock to the pizzeria where Whelpton said staff experienced a lot of foot traffic Wednesday and Thursday.

“We were super busy,” he said.

Whelpton said the business had an increase in sales, but if the restaurant would have lost power for that long of a period, it would have just closed.

Only a few blocks from the epicenter of the power outage, Gold’s Gym did close.

Though she didn’t disclose the amount of money lost during the fitness center's closure, General Manager Eden Paul said the business closed for two full days and a primetime evening.

Paul said she wasn’t sure if the company would file a claim with SoCal Edison in hopes of gaining back some of the financial losses. In the meantime, she said, it's back to business as usual.

At Hamburger Mary’s, also on Pine Avenue, staff were able to keep the doors open, albeit with a limited dinner menu and no air-conditioning.

A previously experienced power outage allowed workers to act fast and buy generators, lights, extension cords and other equipment, said General Manager Kevin Kelly.

Though some food had to be thrown away, most remained safe and usable because of the purchase of dry ice and a refrigeration truck.

Kelly said management may file a claim, to try to recuperate more than 50 percent in lost revenue for each day closed.

Now, Kelly said they have a big bin ready for the next blackout, but hopes they never have to use it again.

He also hopes that next time, city and SoCal Edison officials communicate with businesses better, stating he was more informed by news media.

Despite the blackout, Kelly said he was happy the business stayed open, not for revenue, but for staff.

“A lot of them live check-to-check, so if we were closed they would have lost three days of pay,” Kelly said. “So nobody lost any time.”

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