Small Business & Industry Eco-clusters

Strengthening Small Business in Long Beach – Santa Fe Corridor

In the wake of the challenges brought about by the pandemic, the Long Beach Economic Partnership (LBEP) recognized an urgent need to breathe new life into the Santa Fe Avenue business corridor in West Long Beach. Fortified with a generous grant of $200,000 from Prologis, and supported by Councilman Urunga, LBEP embarked on a pioneering campaign of economic revitalization which has already catalyzed at least an additional $1.2 million of direct investment in the corridor’s beautification, job training programs, tenant improvements as well as reductions in the cost of doing business, and public space creation and programming (a 6x multiplier from the initial investment). 

Under the leadership of board members Blair Cohn and Debra Fixen, the task force deployed Project Business Lift, which dedicated local field experts to engage directly with small businesses, understanding their unique needs and aspirations. This approach facilitated connections among businesses, fostering a sense of community and collaboration. This was complemented by promotional efforts, including the establishment of a dedicated website – and leveraging social media to spotlight these businesses. 

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The economic development strategy adopted by LBEP, executed in collaboration with community partners and service providers, has yielded significant tangible results. These achievements not only underscore the effectiveness of the approach but also highlight the transformative impact on the Santa Fe Avenue corridor. 

Signage Upgrades: Five new business signs were commissioned, each representing an investment of approximately $4,000, enhancing the visual appeal and brand identity of local businesses. 

Physical Improvements: Seven businesses received a fresh coat of paint and new fixtures, revitalizing their exteriors and interiors. Notably, La Mexicana Market and Casa Chaski’s Peruvian Cuisine were equipped with a new door and frontage, enhancing its accessibility and curb appeal. 

Greening the Corridor: The corridor witnessed an environmental transformation with the planting of new trees and thorough sidewalk cleanups, fostering a greener and cleaner environment. 

Santa Fe Community Garden: This initiative not only added a green touch to the corridor but also had a direct economic impact. Casa Chaski’s Peruvian Cuisine, a local restaurant, leveraged the new fruits and vegetable plots as a Kitchen Garden. This led to cost savings, eliminating the need to purchase tomatoes during the summer. Additionally, it spurred menu innovation with the introduction of the popular “Kale Saltado” dish. 

Targeted Investments: A&F Market was a beneficiary of a significant $40,000 investment, facilitating the installation of new refrigeration systems. This enabled them to diversify their offerings, emphasizing healthy and culturally-relevant fruits and vegetables. 

Business Outreach: Over 30 business owners were directly engaged, connected to vital resources, and enrolled in the city’s Healthy Market Initiative, fostering a healthier and more vibrant business ecosystem. 

Grow2Zero Farm: This community garden, initially supported by LBEP with a $30,000 grant, later attracted over $1M in funding. The funds have been channeled towards creating green industry job training programs, mitigating environmental impacts, and distributing a staggering 52,000 pounds of food to nearly 3,300 local households. 

Long Beach Fresh Initiative: Inspired by LBEP’s groundwork, Long Beach Fresh organized the Everybody Eats open house, spotlighting restaurants and gardens along the street. Their subsequent proposal to the City of Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services secured a $250,000 grant. A significant portion of this grant is earmarked to provide three corner stores along the corridor with $20,000 each in fruits and vegetables in the upcoming year. 

  • Façade improvements
  • Landscaping and maintenance
  • New tenants locating in the district
  • Coordination between community farms to local restaurants and grocers
  • Marketing classes and social media training
  • Connecting business owners, districts and neighborhoods

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