Photos by Asia Morris.
Yellow 108’s new office and headquarters located inside the gorgeously restored and revamped exposed-brick building at 237 Long Beach Blvd., originally set to open in October of 2014, has been pushed back to—hopefully—the end of February at the latest. As is not unusual with sizable construction projects and new store openings, a few last minute details yet to be sorted have prolonged and pushed back not just the opening of the clothing and lifestyle boutique, but Rainbow Juices and Beachwood Brewery’s new project, The Blendery as well.
According to Lauren Lilly, owner and founder of Yellow 108, her business, as well as The Blendery and Rainbow Juices, have all been ready to open for quite some time, and are excitedly waiting to set the date for their openings.
“We wanted to host a launch party three different dates already and we had to pull the marketing back because we didn’t trust that it was happening, so now we’re really hoping February 28 is the last possible day for a launch party. We’d like to do it the 22nd, but if it’s not signed off this week, then it would be the 28th.”
On top of the delays, the fact that Heartbreak Coffee will no longer be sharing the 237 building with Yellow 108 is—well—another heartbreak, especially for the third-wave coffee roasting team.
While the Long Beach-local roasters have yet to announce their plans for the future, the duo of Gretchen Williams and Michelle Bandach have endured their fair share of setbacks in the past, but they’ve also shown that the project has immense community support, giving many every reason to believe that this is just another hurdle the two will be able to overcome.
As for the now-non-committed front space, Lilly has been showing the location to potential occupants for two months. If the space is still up for lease when Yellow 108 officially opens, Lilly plans to open a permanent pop-up retail concept while she waits for other offers.
“I’m waiting to find the right brand,” she explained, “whether it’s a cafe or another brand. I don’t want to just put anyone in there. I want it to make sense for the vibe of this whole corner because it’s pretty cohesive, so far.”
“Even the crossfit [gym] is a perfect tie-in,” she continued. “Everything is pretty considerate on the health and wellness side of things, and the craft—taking extra special care in what it is you’re working on, like the Beachwood thing—that’s a three-year program per barrel, which is super cool. I would like [the unoccupied space] to have a cafe vibe in conjunction with something retail. I would like to curate a few brands maybe to be in there, but there’s nothing final yet.”
Yellow 108’s occupancy will serve as a catalyst to meaningful community engagement. The lifestyle brand will occupy the back section of the building, as well as the basement, for operational purposes, while the upper floor is an open concept, meant to house community events and, to start with, yoga four times a week, twice a night. Whole Foods will also be hosting a pop-up farmers market in the back space, a wonderfully spacious open-air venue, a rarity in Long Beach, with an entrance off of the 3rd St. alley, set in between Rainbow Juices and the yet-to-be-leased space next to The Blendery.
As for Yellow 108’s bright future, Lilly is committed to hosting two events a month, one family-oriented event during the daytime, while the other would be more akin to an evening soiree, a Friday night live music event, something to encourage the community to mingle and stay awhile.
“We want to be… not like a come-get-sh*t-faced type of vibe, but something that has multi-levels to where you want to hang out for a while,” she said.
Lilly also plans to launch a secondary business to be housed and inspired by the 237 building, an exciting project of which the details cannot be announced quite yet.
“Once everything opens,” she said, “we’re going to let it organically unfold. We’re leaving it open to see what the community demand is going to be.”