Pier Plaza lit up for holidays

Businesses are aglow in Pier Plaza during the chamber's annual tree lighting ceremony in 2014.

Making the holidays a “bright cheery time” for small business owners in Hermosa Beach as well throughout the year is the goal of the recently formed Downtown Hermosa Business Association, a coalition of businesses on Pier Avenue, Hermosa Avenue, Pier Plaza and The Strand.

A separate entity from the Hermosa Beach Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau, which focuses on businesses throughout the city, the DHBA recently launched the campaign, “Hermosa for the Holidays,” to put a spotlight on the downtown business community. The campaign kicks off on Black Friday, and will take part in Small Business Saturday on Nov. 24.

The DHBA was started by Gum Tree owner Lori Ford, Uncorked co-owner Kathy Bonafede and Spyder founder Dennis Jarvis in conjunction with owners of Wicked+ and The Pacific Stranded. Currently there are more than 20 businesses taking part in DHBA.

“We thought it would be way more powerful if we worked together to promote our business and Hermosa Beach... we’re friends, we’re a community,” said Bonafede.

Jarvis said he attempted to form a business coalition a few years on the Pier Plaza, but with only four retailers, it never was launched because of their busy schedules. He felt it's important to have a single voice, especially if business owners need to go before the City Council.

“We're all like minded and we have the same objective to be successful,” Jarvis said.

Ford said the word needs to get out about the “great shops” that Hermosa Beach has to offer.

“We are passionate about Hermosa Beach,” Ford said “We love our eclectic bohemian style… Manhattan, El Segundo, Torrance, Redondo should be coming down here and having the experience.”

Wicked+ co-founder Brian Cooley said Hermosa Beach is known for its clubs and for attracting the beach lover, but the city offers much more than that.

“One of our greatest assets is our surf shops, gift stores, women’s boutiques, men’s good stores, our array of dining establishments, service-oriented businesses and beyond,” Cooley said. “‘Hermosa for the Holidays’ campaign was created as we believe downtown Hermosa is the best choice for holiday shopping in the entire South Bay.”

The DHBA members said the formation of the group is not a criticism of the Hermosa Beach Chamber of Commerce, Bonafede is on the chamber board, since they facilitate all business in the city including busy Pacific Coast Highway and Aviation Boulevard.

“It’s not against them, it’s with them, to help them help us… I think if we do it properly, I think we can effect a lot of businesses,” Jarvis said.

The group is appreciative of the city for not only decorating downtown for the holidays but approving free downtown parking from Nov. 27 to Dec. 25.

“It kicks off the holiday feeling…. I had customers come in all day (last year) and they’re really happy with a smile on their face when the rad bags go on the meters,” Ford said.

Currently the DHBA is getting the word out about the group on social media,using hashtag #hermosafortheholidays and #downtownhermosabeach. Brian and Colin Cooley and Daniel Inez from The Pacific Stranded are creating a marketing campaign. Restauranteur Ron Newman paid for holiday banners around town. More than 20 businesses are contributing to an ad campaign as well.

On Saturday, Dec. 1, the chamber is hosting a holiday open house, elf scavenger hunt, live entertainment and other festivities downtown.

For more information, visit facebook.com/downtownhermosabeach.

Contact this reporter at mhixon@tbrnews.com or on Twitter @michaeljhixon.com.

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