Rounding out the triumvirate of five & dime stores along Pine Avenue, the J.J. Newberry building opened its doors at its newly constructed Long Beach location in 1951.
Albeit late-to-the-party (but, with the fitting aplomb of an entrepreneur) John Josiah Newberry set up shop smack in the middle of his competitors (Woolworth’s–1916, Kress—1923, Walker’s—1929).
Ironically, the bargain magnate received his initial training while working at S.H. Kress stores for 12 years between 1899 and 1911.
Approximately ten years after its initial opening, the Pine Avenue J.J. Newberry store was one of 565 in 45 American states and Canada with total yearly company-wide sales of $291 million.
Having a good run for nearly five decades in Long Beach on downtown’s premier retail shopping street, J.J. Newberry evaporated into a historical footnote. The chain’s role in the bargain retail sector would be referenced later as a significant player on the Mall Hall of Fame’s website page “The History of the 5 & 10”. The building’s doors were finally shuttered in 1994.
However, with the ‘adaptive reuse’ surge taking place in Long Beach, the resurrection of the Newberry location followed relatively quickly. In December of 2005, city officials approved the building as a “mixed-use development”.
Interstices, Inc., the Long Beach-based architects (also responsible for the design of the neighboring Kress and Walker lofts) successfully received city approval to modify the original project plan by boosting the number of units from 18 to 28 (18-Lofts & 10-Penthouses). 6,500 square feet was set aside for retail space on the lower floor. Some of the original terrazzo floors can be seen in the garage basement and throughout the first floor.
With the recent completion of this carefully planned renovation project, appointments will soon be set for prospective residents to tour these inspiring units in this historical building.
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