It’s been a rough year, and we understand that gift-giving isn’t necessarily on the top of everyone’s to-do list right now. But if you’re thinking of bestowing your loved ones with a few items this holiday season, why not do it while supporting a small, local business? It’s hard to imagine what Long Beach would be like without its small businesses and entrepreneurs—we’re guessing far less awesome—so below you’ll find a handful of gift ideas or places to find great gifts that showcase local creativity, items you can’t find anywhere else, and a grip of local pride.
BLACK RING COFFEE ROASTERS
Black Ring Coffee Roasters just came out with some really sweet looking camping mugs. Now available online with pick-up at the North Long Beach shop at 5373 Long Beach Boulevard, the lovely illustration wrapped around the cup reflects the shop’s interior on a cream-colored background. The image is based on a photo taken by Izzie Mattox, Black Ring’s first barista when the shop first opened, and given to artist Dave Kloc to draw up. The Black Ring Coffee crew has been wanting to produce mugs of this nature since they started the biz six years ago. Finally, the limited edition run is available just in time for the holidays.
Bonus: If you pick up the mug in-store, there’s a pastel purple vending machine in the back worth perusing. Inside you’ll find plenty of knick-knacks and goodies by local artists perfect for stocking stuffers. Oh, and check out the art on the walls, too.
THE STRAW FACTORY JEWELRY COLLECTIVE
Within the constraints of the pandemic, seven Long Beach City College jewelry and metalwork students transformed the “classic student sale” into a website to showcase and sell their pieces. Known as The Straw Factory Jewelry Collective, you can browse works by student artists Andrea Magolske, Amy Solis, Lynn Lane, Adrienne Kibler, Alexandra Lee, Cynthia Arroyo and Ashley Ryane. The website, which also works as an incubator space for teaching and is a part of LBCC’s jewelry entrepreneurship program, will be up through Christmas and beyond, showcasing an eclectic collection of statement pieces (see Solis’ “Queer AF” brass earrings) timeless treasures and truly original works of art.
Village Treasures at 247 E. Broadway is itself a local treasure. Stepping into the African boutique store in Downtown Long Beach run by Max and Femi Viltz there’s always a sense of wonder what the curious shopper might find. From gifts, books, jewelry to authentic African and world imports, it’s a stop worth making if you’re looking for a gift you can’t find anywhere else.
BYO LONG BEACH
From zero-waste products and reusable containers to teas, herbs, spices, and even skincare essentials, BYO Long Beach has an overwhelming amount of items worth gifting for the holidays. Since 2017, this certified green business has inspired locals to reduce waste and spend a little more energy on integrating reusable alternatives into their lives, and 2020 is no different. There are two options for digital gift cards available, while both locations, in the East Village and in the Alamitos Bay Marina, will be open up until the day before Christmas Eve.
ABLE ARTS WORK
Able ARTS Work, a Long Beach nonprofit that for almost 40 years has provided arts and music services for people of all abilities, is selling a number of items based on students’ artwork. There are masks that look as if they’ve been hand-painted, t-shirts printed with original art, prints and even clocks featuring art from Able ARTS’ clients.
Bonus: Stop by Able ARTS’ gallery space at 2nd & PCH to see some original works of art. The gallery will only be open through December, with artists receiving 50% commission off the work they create, with the rest going to support the nonprofit.
PORTUGUESE BEND DISTILLING
Reports that drinking has increased during the pandemic are no surprise. If you’re one of those who have indulged a bit more than usual to take the edge off of this crummy year, at least indulge knowing your libations came from a local business. And Portuguese Bend, located at 300 The Promenade N., certainly knows what they’re doing. The local distiller has a number of holiday gift sets packaged and ready to go—we’ll take the Yaas Queen Gift Box, please—including The Collins Gift Box with all the ingredients you’ll need to make Portuguese Bend’s “Rosa Collins,” or The Dark ‘N’ Stormy Gift Box, complete with Queens Passage Spiced Rum, ginger beer, a pair of copper mule mugs and dehydrated limes to use as a garnish.
Bonus: Lola’s and Recreational’s anticipated Mexican coffee is now available here.