Best gift and kids shop: Gum Tree
Running a brick-and-mortar retailer in the age of prolific online shopping isn’t easy. Gum Tree owner Lori Ford said the key is providing customers items they might not stumble upon themselves in an environment that makes it pleasant to do so.
“Anyone can buy anything on Amazon. We’re serving that client who still wants to come in and touch and feel, to come into a curated space that really shows you things,” Ford said.
Gum Tree has been stocking gifts for the hard-to-please out of a converted, early 20th century bungalow on Pier Avenue in Hermosa Beach for the past eight years. In 2016, they expanded to a second location in downtown Manhattan Beach.
Gum Tree Kids moved into its Hermosa Pier Avenue digs about three and a half years ago. The original Gum Tree just down the block had stocked some kids items from the beginning. But eventually demand began to outsrip space to store them. The kid store stocks everything from mobiles to infant clothing, and is geared toward baby gifts and birthday party gifts.
It specializes in gifts at that sweet spot of things kids like to play with, but provide more redeeming value than the latest video game. She particularly likes new coloring books and art supplies.
“Parents want to give unique gifts, and we have things you can’t find in Target or Toys R Us,” Ford said
Gum Tree Shop & Cafe
238 Pier Ave.
Gum Tree Manhattan Beach
324 Manhattan Beach Blvd.
Runner-Up Gift Shop: Tabla Rasa Essentials
919 Manhattan Ave., #A
Runner-Up Kids Shop: Bella Beach Kids
225 Manhattan Beach Blvd.
820 S. Sepulveda Blvd.