Best of the Beach 2023 Winners – Retail and Services
For the past 30 years, Growing Wild Flower Shop has been creating unique and artistic floral arrangements for South Bay residents. The quaint Highland Avenue and 12th Street store is owned by twins Lisa and Lee Hoven, two creative souls who grew up in Manhattan Beach. There’s plenty to choose from at their store where their innovative staff helps customers design their own fresh floral or silk arrangements. Growing Wild offers curbside pick-up and delivery. There’s everything from birthday bouquets to succulent garden arrangements, and the popular love and romance designs. Roses, tulips, lilies, orchids, hydrangeas, dahlias and peonies, the possibilities are endless. The store even offers Flower Subscriptions – fresh flowers delivered once a month for three, six or 12-months.
1201 Highland Ave.
Gum Tree Shop & Cafe
Gum Tree is a one-of-a kind home and gift shop in the heart of Hermosa Beach that wows locals and visitors alike. The historic 1911 craftsman bungalow features a highly curated collection of jewelry, pillows, home items and letterpress cards sourced from all over the world. The cozy interior provides the perfect ambiance for browsing and discovering unique items like Chan Luu pearl earrings and Zoe Chicco pavé heart bracelets and turquoise rings. After shopping, customers can have breakfast or lunch on the deck of the Aussie style café, whose menu ranges from avocado toast to meat pies and sandwiches.
238 Pier Ave.
Stars Antique Market
526 Pier Ave.
Morgan’s Jewelers prides itself on helping couples find the perfect wedding bands. Their popular collection includes Simon G. rings handcrafted with top quality diamonds, and American-made Benchmark wedding bands made with recycled precious metals, including gold and platinum, to reduce environmental impact. Customers can choose from classic, contemporary, and vintage designs that reflect a couple’s individuality. Founded in 1946, the family owned and operated business adheres to a simple core philosophy of unsurpassed quality and service. That’s evident in their collection of engagement rings, wedding bands, watches, and fashion jewelry beautifully displayed in their Torrance showroom.
22200 Hawthorne Blvd.
Styles come and go in surfing, in both board design, and clothing. Twin fins from the Mark Richards era are back. So are short shorts, decades after the hip length Hang Ten cords were displaced by knee length nylon board shorts. But one constant in the surf industry, Spyder Surf co-owner Dickie O’Reilly will tell you, is authenticity. A good example, he points out, is Hurley, founded by 24-year-old surf board shaper Bob Hurley in 1979, and sold to Nike in 2002. From there it was downhill into the remnants bin. Now Hurley has launched IPD (International Pro Design), an apparel company named after the surfboard company that gave him his start. With help from local pro Dane Zaun, Hurley and IPD have reclaimed the authenticity essential for success in the surfing world. One measure of its authenticity is it’s sold in Spyder Surf. Another newly launched apparel company with an instant claim to authenticity is Florence. Its tagline is “North Shore tested,” a bold claim backed by company founder and Pipeline master John John Florence. Spyder also carries Florence. Spyder also carries what is unarguably the South Bay’s most authentic surf brand, aptly named Spyder. O’Reilly said his line stays ahead of the ersatz surf apparel companies with regular enhancements from the best designers in the surf industry.
65 Pier Ave., Hermosa Beach
2461 Pacific Coast Hwy., Hermosa Beach
1116 Manhattan Ave., Manhattan Beach
1909 S. Catalina Ave.
Nursery / Garden Supply
Deep Roots Garden Center & Florist
The barn-like structure at the corner of Sepulveda and 2nd Street in Manhattan Beach has been a plant nursery for six decades. Still, it has gone through several iterations, most famously becoming a community institution as Bob’s Nursery under the ownership of Bob Brock from 1970 to 2000. It became a more high-end nursery after Brock sold, but one of his former employees — Jon Bell, who began working at the nursery when he was 15 — bought the business in 2009, at 28, named it Deep Roots and returned it to its roots. In addition to several hundred species of plants (with an emphasis on drought-resistant plants native to this area), Deep Roots carries seeds, tools, organic fertilizers, pots of every size, chimes, garden boxes, bulbs, birdhouses, and offers landscaping and floral design services, as well as a full-time florist, regular workshops, and educational outreach. “We are really customer service oriented,” said Bell. “We like to treat our customers like family as much as we can. And we’re trying to do our best to offer sustainable plants that are good for California.” Bell has relationships with some of his customers that go all the way back all the way to Bob’s Nursery. He listens carefully to his customers and keeps the nursery growing to meet their evolving needs. “We’ve been doing a lot of edible plants,” Bell said. “A lot of people like to do home vegetable gardening and fruit trees and herbs. At the end of the day, we’re just trying to make this a nice, really comfortable place to shop that’s just pleasant and everybody’s nice, easy to get along with. We want our customers to get good information when they come in. We’d like everybody to be successful.”
207 N. Sepulveda Blvd.
Mark Camon has a ready explanation for why Paul’s Photos is thriving. “People are tired of being raked over the coals on the internet. They want a friendly face across the counter, who knows what he or she is talking about,” said the second generation owner of the store, founded by father in 1961. Don’t expect the Amazon driver to explain the new mirrorless cameras, which are making Digital SLRs obsolete, Comon pointed out. The mirrowless cameras are smaller, lighter and take better photos. But not if you don’t know how to work the mirrorless digital viewfinder, or other features unique to the new cameras. In addition to a staff that does know how cameras work, Paul offers clases in all aspects of photography. “Running stores offer runs, nurseries offer planting classes. We offer classroom photo instruction and photo excursions,” Comon said.
23845 Hawthorne Blvd.
Del Amo Mall
3525 W Carson St.
Bo Bridges Gallery
Bo Bridges is celebrating the 10th anniversary of his downtown Manhattan Beach gallery this year with the unveiling of a 100 foot long, 30 foot tall mural wrapping around Manhattan Beach City Hall. Installation of the mural begins next week. The unveiling is planned for the end of the month. Until then, he’s not saying what the subject is. But a good guess would be the ocean, surfing, volleyball, or all three, with a cameo by the Manhattan Beach pier. Bridges has earned an international reputation showcasing extreme sports in gallery and mural settings. Now he’s expanding his efforts to video. He recently worked on the NFL Super Bowl commercial featuring flag football star Diana Flores. He is currently working on a documentary about athlete concussions. Making appearances in the video are surfer Owen Wright, snowboarder Kevin Pierce, and rugby player Cobie Stevens. Despite the subject, he said, the documentary is upbeat. The athletes all recovered, and returned to competition.
1108 Manhattan Ave.
Lollipop A Children’s Boutique
Clothing stores in Riviera Village have come and gone, but Lollipop A Children’s Boutique has been going strong for 14 years. It remains the go-to place for unique, high-quality children’s clothes, toys, and gifts. “I try to carry something for everyone,” owner Veronica Maguire said. Her curated collection includes French favorite Petit Bateau, ultra-comfy baby clothes by Posh Peanut and baby, toddler, and kid essentials from PAIGELAUREN. Busy moms can call the store to describe the birthday, baby shower or holiday gift they need, and Maguire will provide the best option and gift wrap it in time for the event. Classy kids’ clothes and great customer service – something you can’t get on-line – may be the secret to Lollipop’s success.
1813 S. Catalina Ave.
Rolling Hills Country Day
Last summer sold out, the 19th year that Director of Summer Programs Melissa Sandoval has worked at Rolling Hills Country Day Camp. More than 1,200 kids registered in 2022 for the two-week sessions, which bring 500 kids (indoor and outdoor) to the Rolling Hills Country Day School campus each day from June through August. “It’s kind of the good, old-fashioned camp experience,” said Sandoval. “And it’s stayed that way for 50 years.” Some kids do the camp in all-day sessions, others first go to half-day, four-week summer school morning sessions, and then join the camp for the afternoon. Sandoval grew up in Torrance and first worked at Country Day Camp as a lifeguard. A surfer, after college at Point Loma Nazarene University, San Diego, she moved to Costa Rica for her sport. She later married and has two children. Sandoval now returns to the U.S. each summer to run the camps, overseeing a staff of 130 people. It begins with a full week of training solely for staff.
26444 Crenshaw Blvd.
Rolling Hills Estates
Kids Beach Camp
The desk is tucked-in between 35 surfboards, and a 100 Boogie Boards in a storage unit in El Segundo. The space has a window but no air-conditioning or heat. This is where Tommy Ostendorf, owner/operator of Beach Sports, uses his business administration degree from the University of San Diego. Ostendorf grew up in Manhattan Beach, starting what would eventually be his career while a 13-year-old surf instructor for what later became the Jimmy Miller Foundation. After college, Ostendorf “got a real job” at a start-up media advertising company but eventually went back to the beach, in 2009. He and Beach Sports – founded in 1995 by former L.A. County Lifeguard Jack Tingley – run camps June through August focused on surfing, volleyball, skateboarding and for younger kids, all-around Beach Camp and a pre-Junior Lifeguards week. The company hires school teachers to work as location directors – at its reserved beach sites in Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach and Redondo Beach. “I make sure the business side of it functions, and we hire really good people who know how to communicate with parents and children and understand the ocean,” Ostendorf said.
214 Main St. Suite 236
Kids Indoor Play Facility
Spring break camps are approaching for AdventurePlex, the Beach Cities Health District facility in its 22nd year. Camp registration is underway. “We’re expecting to be sold out,” said Cindy Foster, BCHD General Manager for Health and Fitness operations. The camps allow for 45 kids per day, through two, week-long sessions in April, to accommodate various school Spring Break calendars. In the summer AdventurePlex allows up to 150 campers per day, overseen by 20 camp staff. “We are accredited by the American Camp Association,” said Foster. The five areas of AdenturePlex are: a big room with a five-level play structure, a party room, full-size basketball/volleyball court, “Toddler Town” – a farm-to-table themed space with a barn, farm, grocery store and kitchen, and an outdoor climbing wall and ropes course. The main activity at AdventurePlex is drop-in play six days per week. Kids are $12, adults free. “(Kids) reach their target heart rate and don’t even know it,” said Foster. “They’re just having fun.” A two-hour AdventurePlex private birthday party for 12 kids costs $599. Including two private hosts for the event, AdventurePlex sends e-mail invitations and thank-you notes (“We don’t name the exact gift,” said Foster) and helps take presents to the car and load it. Families may bring in their own food and decorations. The AdventurePlex gym is also used by Manhattan Beach Youth Basketball league and Surfside – Southern California Youth Volleyball Club. AdventurePlex offers a “Weekend Adventure Camp” twice per month, a Friday night and a Sunday afternoon, during which parents may drop kids off to play. It used to be called “Parents Night Out.” The outdoor climbing wall and ropes course is available on weekends by reservation.
1701 Marine Ave.
Youth Sports Club
Beach Cities Volleyball Club
Beach Cities Volleyball prides itself on its competitive record. But its focus is not “win at any cost,” but rather helping players become “the best they can be,” said the club’s founding director Chip Scholz. Not every player can be, or even aspires to be a high school or college level player, he said. Some just want to play well enough to join a recreational league, or a pick up game at the beach. And not every parent wants to make the financial and time commitment required of club teams. To meet the needs of kids who want to play recreationally, and their parents, Beach Cities Volleyball has established the Future Stars program. Clinics are held twice weekly for six weeks. The program offers clinics for boys and girls 6 to 8; boys and girls 8 to 12; and boys and girls sixth grade through 10th grade. Beach Cities Volleyball was founded in 2000, and now has nearly 1,500 youth players and 33 club teams. Its base is on four courts at the LA Galaxy Center. But it also holds practices at Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Middle School; and Adams Middle School in Youth Sports club.
1021 N. Sepulveda Blvd. suite M
Food and Beverage
Grocery Store (chain)
800 S Shamrock Ave.
Grocery Store (Independent)
Back in 2006, the grocery store terrain in the South Bay was much different than it is today. The massive Whole Foods flagship store in El Segundo didn’t yet exist, and the Gelson’s Market a few miles down the road in Manhattan Beach wasn’t yet even a glimmer in a developer’s eye. Sure, there were Von’s and Ralph’s aplenty, but such corporate operators were essentially in a different business than the little market called Grow that opened its doors on Sepulveda in Manhattan Beach in September of that year. Grow was a farmers market in the form of a family-owned grocery store. The Fisher family, Barry and Kathy and their two young kids Megan and Brendan, had arrived in Manhattan Beach from the Central Valley. Brendan, as any little boy in his right might would do, fell in love with the ocean, and wanted a boogie board. Barry, who’d worked in the agricultural export business, obtained some of the very best cherries grown in California, and his son set up a little stand. The cherries were such a hit that it got Barry to thinking, and within three years he and Kathy opened Grow with a carefully curated but wide selection of mostly family-farm grown produce. Local shoppers loved Grow, and it kept growing, expanding its offerings to include meat and fish and all sorts of genuine whole foods, eventually doubling in space and even opening up another market in DTLA. Flash forward to the present day, and Grow has yet to cease growing — offering beautiful pre-prepared meals based on Kathy’s own recipes (which Grow also shares with its customers) marinades, and even a one-hour delivery service. The ongoing challenge, however, is the marketplace has also changed, with seemingly more high-end grocery stores opening every year. “It’s always nice to have a massive corporation chasing you down,” Barry said, with a chuckle, but also with the wariness of a small business owner who has grown accustomed to fighting giants. But however challenging this fight is, Grow keeps finding ways to keep growing, and it continues to have a base of loyal customers who understand the value of the freshest and highest quality foods. The relationship between Grow and the people who shop there, in fact, is almost like that of an extended family. In the last year, for example, for health reasons, Barry started following a Mediterranean diet of sorts. Kathy came up with a healthy turkey burger recipe that included feta cheese, roasted peppers, and spinach, and it was so good they started selling the turkey burger mix at Grow. They almost couldn’t make it fast enough, so quickly did the turkey burger fly out of the store. “It was kind of cute, last week the turkey burger was on sale, and I was talking to a woman who was shopping,” Barry said. “And she said, ‘These are really good. They are the talk of the town.’” And the next chapter for Grow is beginning right now — Barry and Kathy’s daughter, Meghan, has graduated college and come back home to help keep the family store growing. Her task will be to help attract a younger generation of folks to the Grow family. “It’s really helpful,” Barry said. “She just gives us a fresh perspective and a different outlook.” And though her brother got all the press in years past for his cherry stand, Megan played an important role in Grow’s origin story, as well. “She always likes to point out,” Barry recalled, “‘Hey, I ate a lot of those cherries that first day.’”
1830 N. Sepulveda Blvd.
Meat Market (Independent)
Manhattan Meats is a rarity in a world increasingly dominated by all-in-one mega-markets: a genuine, family-owned butcher shop where everyone from the boss on down learns the trade the old-fashioned way. Jacob Walsh started working as a cleaner at Manhattan Meats when he was in high school. Right after graduation, his boss, longtime owner Dean Trimble, asked him if he wanted to work full-time. “As long as I don’t clean,” Walsh said. “No,” Trimble replied. “I’m going to teach you how to cut meat from here on.” Fifteen years later, Walsh co-owns Manhattan Meats with Brian Trimble, Dean’s son. If you talk to Walsh for a few minutes, you’ll come to understand that “it’s all about the customers” is a mantra for him. He says 80 percent of the market’s business is from regular customers, many of whom come in several times a week, and it’s not hard to understand why: Manhattan Meats is known for the unwaveringly high quality of its product. The key, says Walsh, is freshness; fresh meat is delivered four times a week, fresh fish six times a week. The crew makes sausage in-house, using unusually good cuts of meat, and is famous for its deftness with seasoning. “The motto here,” Walsh said, “is we go above and beyond.”
1111 Manhattan Ave.
Meat Market (Chain)
Our readers flipped over the quality and freshness of Bristol Farms’ meat – not to slight their other offerings, including wines and cheeses, and services such as catering and delivery. South Bay Yelper Jim declares that the meat department staff will teach you “all you need to know” about meats “in two minutes,” including “inside tips on preparing, cooking, and food content description.” And he appreciates the sale prices. Sheila calls Bristol Farms’ quality “second to none,” and praises the “unsurpassed customer service” she found at the meat department.
915 E. 230th St.
Uncorked The Wine Shop
Uncorked is all about great wine, of course, but the little store that started a decade ago on the corner of Pier Avenue and Monterey in Hermosa and eventually opened another little jewel of a store on Manhattan Avenue in Manhattan Beach has something else that sets it apart. Uncorked is a community. They have a wine club with over 1,000 subscribers, regular tasting events, acoustic music three days every week, friendly staff who know both their wines and their customers and genuinely love what they do. All these elements have a common element — they bring people together. Most of Uncorked’s customers live within walking distance, and the shop is always alive with conversation and conviviality. “That is the key thing, the community,” said Jeff Bonafede, the co-founder and owner of Uncorked, along with Kathy Knoll. “There are people who who can’t do without us. We are kind of their gathering spot. And, you know, we keep a really good vibe about it, and so the community just really has really just love us. There are people who say, ‘I don’t know what I do without you guys,’ which is probably the greatest compliment we could ever get, and that I would ever want.” Such is the charmed existence of Uncorked that the business even came out of the other side of the pandemic better than ever. The shops added outdoor seating, and since both are within blocks of the ocean, the equation became even more irresistible — what could be finer than sitting on a patio tasting great wines and listening to soft acoustic music accompanied by sunshine and ocean breezes? “The outdoor dining has been the most massive game changer of all,” Bonafide said. “Then we also have unamplified live music typically Thursday evenings and Saturday and Sunday afternoons. And it works, no pun intended, in concert with any events that are going on…It’s just become another added attraction.”
302 Pier Ave.
Manhattan Fine Wines
Manhattan Fine Wines is locally beloved as an unassuming little shop located in a strip mall off Artesia that contains a world of wonders within its small but friendly confines. The shop offers vintages from every great wine-growing region in the world and a sweet-natured staff who learn your palate and price point. In recent years, however, Manhattan Fine Wines has also become known for its selection of spirits. Owner Joe Chiewphasa said this trend was already underway a few years ago but was amplified by the pandemic when many of his customers delved deeply into mixology. “We’ve done mostly wine in the store, I will say 80 percent, but people got interested in spirits during COVID — for example, high-end tequila, single malt scotches, bourbon, and so forth,” he said. “These customers, when they couldn’t go traveling and they worked from home, they got into spirits and mixology and they came and talked to us. So we learned from our customers, who just started telling us what brands they liked and so forth. And we got into it, like, ‘This is fun!’’ So we do some research and now we sell more spirits than ever before.” It’s the same trajectory that made Manhattan Fine Wines a go-to store for wine. When Chiewphasa and his family bought the store more than a decade ago, there was nothing fine about the business. It was your run-of-the-mill liquor store. But customers started asking for wines, and Chiewphasa soon discovered he had a good wine palate and went to work researching, utterly transforming the store into a haven for wine lovers. He also has a gift for hunting rare bottles, and he and his crew have used this same approach as they’ve expanded into spirits. The result is that you can find the legendary Yamazaki 18-year-old single malt whisky or the elusive Poppy Van Winkle bourbon, and the crew will figure out if your palate leans towards the peaty flavors of the scotch produced in the famed Islay isles off Scotland or more toward the austerity of the highlands, such as to the highly coveted Macallan 25-year-old single malt. “It’s a different whole world, but like wine, the tastes have such distinctiveness, and everyone has a different palate,” Cheiwphasa said. “We just learn from our customers, and realize, ‘Wow, this is wonderful!’”
1157 Artesia Blvd.
South Bay Hearing
The audiologists at South Bay Hearing have transformed the lives of more than 30,000 area people in the past 16 years, using state-of-the-art, in-office technologies to find the best options for hearing aids and hearing loss rehabilitation. Patients say the professionalism, friendliness, efficiency and knowledge of the staff set South Bay Hearing apart. The practice is involved in the community, working to provide hearing aids and hearing rehabilitation to those who are unable to afford traditional care. The aim is to “restore color and happiness into the gray world of those with reduced resources who have lost the ability to hear.” The practice’s numerous honors include the Audiology National Award of Excellence, which was awarded to founder Dr. Melinda “Sunni” McBride.
3734 Sepulveda Blvd.
Dr. Derek V Levy, DC
Contrary to popular belief, most of the back, neck and headache problems chiropractors treat aren’t the result of physical trauma. It’s stress, according to Hermosa Beach chiropractor Derek Levy. “We carry our stress in our neck, shoulders and mid back,” he explained, hunching his shoulders forward to illustrate how it happens. “Chiropractors work with three basic parts of the body – bones, nerves and muscles,” he explained. “When a bone is out of place, it can pinch a nerve, causing pain. Then the muscles spasms as they work to hold the bones in place.” “All a chiropractor does is put the bone back in place, so the body can heal.” Levy compared a pinched nerve to a garden hose with a kink in it. “If the hose gets pinched, the flowers wilt. If nerves gets pinched, patients experience numbness and pain.” “When I fix something, I get the credit, but it’s mostly the body’s amazing healing powers that are responsible,” he said. One of the headache problems Levy commonly deals with is insurance paperwork. Though most insurance policies cover chiropractic treatments, the paperwork can be so burdensome that some chiropractors won’t take insurance. It’s a headache Levy said that he welcomes. He takes insurance.
950 Aviation Blvd. Suite K
Dr. Timothy Hoopes, DDS
Dr. Timothy Hoopes has the community flocking to his Catalina Avenue practice to open their mouths to the warmth and painless expertise of his care. His testimonials speak for themselves, from patients who received timely emergency treatment, others who have come to love the dentist’s office, and a self-confessed “dental chicken.” Barbi told Yelp, “Dr. Hoopes is awesome, doing a play-by-play of everything he is about to do, so you feel relaxed. He also picked up his cell phone when I had a tooth cap emergency. Highly recommended.” Wayne chimed in that his distaste for dental offices was reversed by “finding the right dentist.” “Cleanings are quick and painless, even for my two small children,” he Yelped. Jordan said that the staff, “from the receptionists to the hygienists to the doctor himself are all warm, friendly people. “I had my (long overdue) cleaning a few days ago. My visit included friendly conversation, a good thorough cleaning, and education about my dental health. It’s also nice knowing that your money is going to a great family,” Josh said.
1921 S. Catalina Ave.
Peter Sinclair, DDS, MSD
Beach Cities Orthodontics
Dr. Peter Sinclair has been beautifying smiles for more than 40 years, providing top quality treatments in a friendly, inviting environment at Beach Cities Orthodontics. A key to his success is communication, which allows the Beach Cities team to understand the individual’s needs, and tailor each treatment to the individual’s lifestyle. Dr. Sinclair offers convenient hours, barely noticeable clear braces and aligners, and the use of iTero digital scanning for better accuracy and planning. Of course, the treatments are not just for beauty’s sake. Crooked teeth and misaligned bites can affect how we eat, speak, and feel. In addition to straightening smiles, Dr. Sinclair and the team work to diagnose, correct and prevent alignment issues in all stages of life.
Skypark Medical Center Building 7, Suite 130
23451 Madison Street
Coast Dermatology brings unparalleled medical expertise and three decades experience to the mission of protecting the health and attractiveness of the community’s epidermis. The practice boasts state-of-the-art, research-backed medical science applied by approachable practitioners, in a warm and welcoming environment. The practice offers: Medical dermatology, treating a wide range of conditions including skin cancer, acne, the rough, scaly patches of actinic keratoses from sun exposure, and age-related skin damage; and state-of-the-art surgical treatments for skin cancers.Cosmetic treatments include Botox, chemical peels, dermal fillers, hydra-facials, and laser hair removal. Coast Dermatology is trusted by generations of families. The practice takes pride in its comprehensive approach to patient care.
23550 Hawthorne Blvd. #200
Hospital (Medical Center)
Torrance Memorial Medical Center
Torrance Memorial Medical Center is the home to a number of top-notch medical programs, including the Torrance Memorial Sleep Disorders Center, the Lundquist Cardiovascular Institute, Blood Donor Center, the 390,000 square foot Lundquist Tower, which houses, 256 rooms, along with what the hospital touts as the South Bay’s “most advanced Hybrid Operating Room,” and the recently opened Hunt Cancer Center where comprehensive cancer prevention, detection and treatment are offered.
3330 Lomita Blvd.
Stein Optometric Center
Our readers were clear: the eyes have it when it comes to Stein Optometric, a family-owned practice and a multiple-year Best-Of winner. The 63-year-old Stein Optometric boasts world-renowned expertise, an unbeatable selection of eyeglasses, and impeccable customer service. Stein stocks thousands of eyeglass frames – popular frames and hard-to-find designer frames – and hundreds of sunglass choices. The physicians include a world-renowned expert in refractive surgery, and one of America’s Top 10 Vision Correction Specialists, selected in a nationwide survey of eye surgeons by Ophthalmology Times magazine. Stein Optometric makes its own lenses onsite, and provides same-day service on most contact lenses.
3200 N. Sepulveda Blvd. E-4
Vivian Liu, MD
Dr. Vivian Liu knew she wanted to be a doctor since age 12, and knew it would be as a pediatrician soon after. “Children are more fun than adults,” she said. “I see my patients from diapers to diploma. It’s just an honor to be part of that process in a child’s life.” Originally from Dallas, Liu went to college at Texas A&M, then Baylor for medical school and Children’s Hospital, Los Angeles for her internship. She has worked in Manhattan Beach since 2002, first in private practice for 18 years at an office in Manhattan Village Mall and, since 2020, with UCLA Health in a group of seven pediatricians. What was the most challenging thing about being a pediatrician during the height of the pandemic? “Probably what any other parent hadto go through, the isolation of their kids,” Liu said. “I always ask my patients what is the best thing about school. ‘Recess and lunch’, and seeing their friends, is the most common answer. We took away the most important thing to kids in this pandemic.” Is social media a real problem for kids? “It is a real problem. How it isolates and disconnects kids, it takes away the routine of life,” she said, noting that she is not speaking on behalf of UCLA Health. Liu and her husband, also a doctor, have two sons; one a junior defensive back on the football roster at University of Washington and the younger boy a freshman at Mira Costa High School.
1000 N. Sepulveda Blvd. Suite 190
Senior Living Center
Sunrise Senior Living
Sunrise Senior Living has locations in Hermosa Beach and Palos Verdes, with Hermosa offering assisted living, memory care and short-term stays. The Palos Verdes residency has all of the above, as well as hospice coordination. Sunrise was founded in 1981 by the couple Paul and Terry Klaassen, based on a model from the Netherlands.
1837 Pacific Coast Hwy.
Corporate Office (703) 273-7500
Exer Urgent Care
Exer Urgent CareWith more than 30 locations across Southern California, Exer Urgent Care is open from 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. at most. South Bay clinics include Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach, Torrance and Rolling Hills Estates. A look at the location list on the Exer website shows how many people at each are presently in line to be seen.
725 S. Pacific Coast Hwy., Redondo Beach (424) 296-3100
3215 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Manhattan Beach (424) 295-0540
2613 Pacific Coast Hwy., Torrance (424) 625-0220
Doors and Windows
One Stop Windows & Doors
One-Stop Windows and Doors started in 1981 and operates now with locations in Torrance, Irvine and Honolulu. The company works mostly with contractors who build and remodel homes and commercial spaces. “We’re growing exponentially and we’re in the process of remodeling right now,” said employee Marcia Powers. “We’re changing our entire showroom, making it super-upscale.” One-Stop offers sales, consulting and installation. The company serves customers in-person or using a remote arrangement, accepting architectural drawings through its website or email.
3340 Kashiwa Street
Heating & Air Conditioning
He started soon after he dropped out of high school as a freshman in Oak Park, Chicago, working reluctantly at his father’s heating and air-conditioning company. Three years later, Ryan Novak started to like it, and then, when he was 23, he moved to Los Angeles. “I got tired of working in 10 below zero,” said Novak, owner of Novak Mechanical in Torrance. “I came out here on vacation, saw the ocean, wow, I didn’t know that existed. Now my old man (retired) comes out and helps me.” Novak had worked with his hands all through childhood and never took to sitting in regular school classes. “I feel like most contractors have ADHD if they’re good,” he said. In L.A. he worked for a couple of large companies before starting Novak Mechanical in 2007, run now by himself and one employee. “The majority of work we do now is ground-up (construction of) McMansions, remodels and service,” Novak said. “Easy-peasy, bread and butter.” “No further than El Segundo, no further than Long Beach,” said Novak. His favorite bar from back in Chicago he names as 1056.
22134 Vermont Ave. A
In the last three to four years, B&M Electric of Torrance has come to specialize in panel upgrades – to allow more electrictiy to flow into househods. The main reason is so residents can charge electric cars. B&M has been in operation for 55 years, started by father-and-son Bill and Mike Bishop, who eventually passed it on to current owner Charles Vargas, an employee of the Bishops since high school. The company now has 12 employees, serving all of the South Bay, incliuding Palos Verdes and El Segundo. For a panel upgrade, BM runs a team of three people out for a one-day project.
3904 Del Amo Blvd. Suite 85
The crew at TKO Painting beat their competitors by, well, a technical knockout, according to the judges – that is, our readers. Customers lauded TKO for its professionalism, pricing, care for their properties, and the quality and thoroughness of the work. “I just used TKO for painting the outside of my home and I highly recommend them,” a Yelper yelped. “They did an amazing job for a very reasonable price. Troy, Eli and the entire painting crew were prompt, professional and great to work with.” Manhattan Beach Mike added, “I picked TKO to paint the exterior of my home because their proposal was the most thorough of the bids I received, and I felt comfortable that steps would not be skipped. I thought the bid was fair. By the time they had finished, I felt the price was a bargain. “The prep work was extensive, and as a result, the house looks great. I wish I had found them years ago.”
1658 Loma Dr.
Bob & Marc Plumbing
Shortly after Daniel Viens started helping out at Bob and Marc Plumbing, in 1989, owner Bob Setterburg approached his mother with a business proposal. She had been Bob and Marc’s business manager for over a decade. Bob wanted to retire. Would she like to buy the Hawthorne business? He offered to stretch the payments out over 10 years. Daniel’s mother accepted the offer and Daniel promptly got his contractor’s license. Over the ensuing years, he also earned contracting and sanitation licenses that qualified him to connect to LA County sewers. The company grew to 25 trucks at its peak during the 2000 construction boom. He still keeps 16 trucks busy. Daniel credits the steady referrals he receives to his company’s adherence to Christian principles in all phases of its work. Daniel’s mother is retired, but his wife Dena has stepped in to help run the business, along with sons Noah and Samuel.
3336 Rosecrans Ave.
As LA’s only luxury oceanfront resort, the Terranea has stunning ocean views, five-star accommodations and family friendly activities. For adults, there’s a spa, golf course and fine dining at several on-property restaurants, including Nelson’s, Mar’Sel and Catalina Kitchen. The resort has its own beach and hiking trails where guests can enjoy the flora and fauna and rustic beauty of the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Hollywood has become hip to the Terranea’s dramatic landscape and oceanfront setting, which has been featured in Pirates of the Caribbean, Charlie’s Angels and The Aviator.
100 Terranea Way
Rancho Palos Verdes
Shade Hotel, both in its Manhattan and Redondo Beach iterations, has achieved something that transcends even its status within the hospitality industry as truly boutique hotel. Shade is a homegrown brand that has become part of the fabric of both communities in which the hotels are located. Shade Hotel opened up in Manhattan Beach in 2005 as an anchor for the ambitious Metlox Project, which marked the most ambitious remaking of downtown Manhattan Beach in half a century. Shade MB became quickly became a central gathering point for the community and has remained the go-to place for non-profit fundraisers, various farm-to-table celebrations, and beer and wine festivals. In 2016, Shade opened in King Harbor, likewise representing the most transformative new project in half a century and a new community hub in Redondo Beach. “I’m proud to be a part of a community that supports me,” said Shade owner Mike Zislis, also a well-known local restauranteur. “I’d especially like to thank my staff who works so hard to ensure our guests have the greatest experiences during their stay.”
655 N. Harbor Dr.
1221 N. Valley Dr.
Criminal Defense Law
Lisa Houle has parlayed a successful career as a prosecuting attorney into a succefull career as a defense attorney, with an authoritative grasp of how criminal cases are put together, and, more importantly, how they can be taken apart. “I try to look at the client as a person, instead of just the crime that has been charged. Often there is a contextual story about how the charges came about, how they found themselves in this predicament,” she said. “I have a keen insight into how the police put cases together,” she said. “This can often help me prevent charges from being filed in the first place.” Houle made the move from prosecution to defense in 2015. “I decided it was time for a change,” she said. “I realized that there is an entirely different side of criminal case where I could do signigicant, good work for people.” As a procesuter, she specialized in cases of domestic violence and sexual assault. Her last case as a prosecutor was a double homicide, and her first case as a defense attorney was repre
21515 Hawthorne Blvd. Suite 590
Real Estate Law
When you say the three words, real estate attorney, chances are you don’t also think of another word: passion — that is, unless you know or have worked with Carol Glover, a real estate attorney who is absolutely passionate about what she does. Glover is not only a native of Manhattan Beach but also of the beach’s home-grown and often utterly unique real estate world. Her parents bought it, improved, and sold local properties throughout her childhood, and so learned the nature of real estate value and the fine art of the fixer-up as a kid. She eventually went to law school, and later launched both her own law firm specializing in real estate as well as a boutique development business. This, combined with her local knowledge and a gift for listening, means Glover brings a lot to the table when looking at a real estate transaction. “I’m able to look at a real estate issue from several different angles,” said Glover. “It makes a difference. It all starts with the dirt, right? Where, where is the property? Location, location, location: It’s not that’s not just a slogan. Where is it? What is it close to? What’s the impact? What’s the zoning? And then you get to the structure and then you get to the title and you get to ownership issues. And are you buying it with somebody else? And then you have property tax issues and income tax capital gains issues. It’s all this amazing 14-layer cake on top of the dirt.” It’s this complexity and specificity that drives Glover’s neverending passion. “I love real estate,” she said. “I never get tired of doing it or talking about it or consulting with people on it. I just find it fascinating. And you know why? Each of those pieces of dirt, with whatever is built on top of them, are all different. And that’s what I love about our community. I remember touring somebody when I was just helping get acclimated to the community. And they were from a place where it was all planned development. They looked at me and said, ‘Every place here, every house, is different!’. And I said, ‘Yes, isn’t that great!’”
800 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Suite 203
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
Lovette T. Mioni
Mioni Family Law
Certified family law specialist Lovette T. Mioni takes pride in educating each of her clients about the law, to help them understand their own cases, and to give them a realistic expectation of what an attorney “can and cannot do.” Mioni and her firm seek to avoid a courtroom showdown whenever possible. “We try to settle every case,” Mioni said. “A trial is expensive, and court is an unpleasant place,” she said. “You don’t want to spend your time there.” If a case cannot be settled working lawyer to lawyer, her firm might seek mediation through a private judge to reach a settlement. If a settlement is not possible and a trial is necessary, Mioni said a thorough knowledge of the law and the client’s case are keys to a successful litigation. “We make it a priority to stay up with current law, and current family law cases.” Mioni has been named a Southern California Rising Star by the Super Lawyers rating service, an honor held by fewer than 3 percent of attorneys in the region. She also has been named among the Top 100 Up-and-Coming Lawyers in Southern California, and the Top 50 Up-and-Coming Women Attorneys in Southern California.
1815 Via El Prado Suite 203
Estate, Planning, Trust & Probate Attorney
Mark Swatik, Esq., MBA
When it comes to estate planning, attorney Mark Swatik tires to keep the process simple, informative, and through. “We all want to have a say in how our health and finances are managed if we can no longer act for ourselves or if we pass away, ” Swatik siad. The Torrance-based attorney has been described as “genuinely sincere and caring.” He keeps things easy for his clients by offering free consultations and meetings via Zoom. Because he holds a legal specialization in Estate Planning. Trust and Probate Law, he’s up to date on the latest laws that could impact your legacy.
2377 Crenshaw Blvd. Suite 201
Elevated customer service, convenience and innovation define Chase’s downtown Hermosa Beach branch, located in the lobby of the former Bijou movie theater. “We’re on a first name basis with many of our clients,” branch manager Tyler Smith said. The branch has also “built a lot of technology and innovation that allows our customers ease of banking,” he said. There’s the convenience of on-line banking, the Chase mobile app, and plenty of ATMs at the branch. For those planning for the future, the bank offers Autosave, which helps customers reach their savings goals with automatic transfers from their Chase checking account to their savings account.
1223 Hermosa Ave.
Kinecta Federal Credit Union
Last summer Kinecta Federal Credit Union opened a new, 35,000 square foot flagship at Sepulveda and Manhattan Beach boulevards. It was a bold move at a time when emerging from the pandemic, and the cessation of federal support for businesses made for an uncertain economy. A year later, Kinecta’s bold move looks well planned. Rising federal interest rates have enabled it to attract depositors with interest rates of its own of up to five percent. Depositors also find reward in the fact that because it is a nonprofit, Kinecta President Keith Sultemeir likes to point out, “Our ‘shareholders’ are our customers. Our concern is customer return, which is paid out through lower loan rates and higher interest on deposits.”
1440 Rosecrans Ave.
Excelsus Capital Management
Financial planner Steve Price-Hughes works closely with his clients to create and implement comprehensive wealth management strategies. The president and founder of Excelsus Capital Management, he has developed personalized financial plans, advised clients on a wide variety of investment alternatives, and managed his clients’ securities portfolios. With more than 25 years of
experience, Price-Hughes provides a level of service and expertise analyzing and managing the financial requirements of his clients and small businesses. As an independent registered invest-
ment advisor, Price-Hughes enjoys the freedom to deliver his clients personalized, unbiased advice and a diversified asset management solutions.
111 N. Sepulveda Blvd. Suite 250
Tiffany McGuinness, Realtor
Real estate agent Tiffany McGuinness believes that understanding her clients’ needs is “paramount over any real estate transaction.” “We are humans first, real estate agents second,” the RE/MAX
Estate Properties agent said. Interest rate hikes may have caused uncertainty in the market, but things have leveled out. “Buyers feel it’s 2008. Sellers feel it’s 2021, and everyone is looking for direction,” she said. The South Bay has a more balanced market, but limited inventory. “If you find a home you love, secure it,” McGuinness said. When she’s not selling real estate, McGuinness enjoys skydiving.
23740 Hawthorne Blvd.
RE Listing Agent
Devra Zandell is known for her “over abundance of positive energy.” For the past 18 years, the RE/MAX Estate Properties Sales Associate has been passionate about helping people buy and sell homes. With the recent interest rate rise, she’s seen a “little slowdown” in the market. “A lot of people are downsizing and staying in the area or moving out of California,” Zandell said. The South Bay is still a desirable location, she said, because of “its beautiful beaches, amazing schools and friendly community.”
1401 Highland Ave.
Mike Kantor, Gateway Business Properties
While Southern California industrial real estate has been virtually covid-proof with both sales and leasing numbers skyrocketing over the past two years, the office and retail sectors have definitely been impacted by the pandemic. Now that we are starting to see through the clouds of the coronavirus, the occupiers of office space and retail establishments have a different set of needs and wants. Understanding the dynamics of the “new users” and catering the commercial properties to suit their needs will aid investors/landlords in mitigating current vacancies and forecasting how to transition their assets into spaces that will be attractive to the next set of prospects once their current leases expire.
19210 Vermont Ave. #110
The priority of Peninsula Escrow officer William Baltazar is to provide excellent customer service. He prides himself on maintaining integrity, honesty, and objectivity throughout all his transac-
tions. Baltazar handles everything from short sales to residential sales to escrow loans. The key to his success is communications and keeping abreast of the changes in the escrow and real estate
industry. He’s known as an agent with foresight, who is great under pressure and can resolve problems quickly. With his professionalism and buoyant attitude, he strives to make any escrow transaction a positive experience for everyone involved.
23740 Hawthorne Blvd. #102
Office Direct: (310) 373-7495 x2581
After over a dozen years as a centerpiece of Metlox Plaza, Trilogy is moving across the street to a new, state of the art facility that promises to raise its celebrated services to a new level. During the transition, guests can still indulge in the spa’s popular massages and facials at their pop-up suite. Massage therapists offer customized massages to relieve, heal, and soothe and ultimately alleviate the stresses of the day. Facialists create glowing skin with their popular spa facials. “Refreshed and rejuvenated,” is how one guest described feeling after a Vitamin C and pumpkin facial.
451 Manhattan Beach Blvd.
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
James Carmona Lifestyle Hair
He’s a seven-year heavy equipment operator who switched careers to become a hairdresser. James Carmona, former member of Local 12 International Union of Operating Engineers (Los Angeles), has now cut hair in the South Bay for almost 40 years. In the ‘80s,’90s, 2000s, it was with his two brothers at Head First Hair Design. Today, he works out of Chug Salon in Hermosa Beach: full-service, men and women, color-correcting, barbering and more. “I’ve got clients who have been with me for 30 years,” Carmona said. When a customer asks for input or advice on what they should do with their hair, he asks about their lifestyle, and how much time they like to spend on their hair. “I share with my clients what I would like to do and why, and if they are in agreement, we go from there,” said Carmona. “I never rush my clients.” “My haircutting is guaranteed. Anything I can improve upon, you have three weeks after that date,” he said. His charge for a men’s haircut is $35. His mother was a hairdresser and he says that Chug’s has a ” great, fun atmosphere.” Carmona’s heavy equipment experience included (road) graders, tractors and pavers from 1976-83.
3217 Manhattan Ave
The staff at Massage Envy knows the demands of daily life can be taxing on your body and they’re here to help. The Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach locations offers affordable, customized massages, total body, and tension relief sessions, as well as facials. “From the front desk to the therapist, everyone is friendly, willing to provide a great experience,” one guest said. Their highly trained estheticians also provide customized facials for anti-aging, hydration, and acne. Massage Envy promises to keep your body running smoothly so you can run that half marathon, and handle a busy day at the office.
1601 Pacific Coast Hwy. Ste. 285
1590 Rosecrans Ave.
887 Silver Spur Rd.
Rolling Hills Estates
Pups On Parade
Ailey Smith has loved her job every day for the past 18 years, and her love of dogs prompted our readers to love her back. “It’s something I really, really wanted to do, working with animals,” she said. Smith, who is bonded, insured, and a member of Pet Sitters International, walks dogs, plays with dogs, treats dogs, helps them socialize with other dogs, and pet-sits dogs and cats. Starting the business from scratch was a family affair. “At the time, I was a single mom, and my parents moved out here from Florida to help me. I had free day care from my mom, and my dad knew about marketing. I decided to just jump off the cliff and go for this, and we had it up and running in less than a year,” she said. When she went into the business, her son, Cooper, was 2. “Now he’s a junior in college.” “Dogs are great,” Smith said. “They’re always happy to see you. They’re so easy and so loving. Every dog is different. Every one is special in his or her own way.”
“We treat the pets like royalty,” says Castle K-9 owner Thomas Leske. Leske, who teaches pet health and grooming at Southern California Regional Occupational Center, says expertise, experience and passion for the job and the dog set Castle K-9 apart. “We are passionate and thoughtful about the pet’s wellbeing, the mental state as well as the physical,” he said. He stresses the importance of the “meet and greet” with the dog, which helps skilled hands find the best course to take with each animal, taking special care not to scare or traumatize it. “We pride ourselves on this,” Leske says. “It varies greatly with each dog, and it’s immensely important. They are live animals. We go with the flow.” Castle K-9 specializes in dogs. Leske, managing a large clientele, made the reluctant choice to stop grooming cats, because a busy salon full of dogs just isn’t an atmosphere conducive to kitty calm. It seems a dog’s home is his Castle.
5145 C. Mayor
Bay Animal Hospital
Our readers gave Bay Animal Hospital the nod for the thoroughness, caring and expertise it has brought to the community for more than three decades, providing healthcare to over 235,000 pets. Bay Animal Hospital boasts eight veterinarians and a 40-plus support staff, a fully stocked pharmacy, and diagnostic tools such as radiographs, ultrasounds and electrocardiography (ECG). Bay Animal offers wellness exams, emphasizing the importance of puppy and kitten exams, to help them grow up strong and fit, and to check for age-specific illnesses and disorders. Bay Animal also provides dental care including cleanings, tooth extractions and root abscess removal, assisted by certified dental technicians. Because “pets shouldn’t have to suffer,” Bay Animal Hospital offers pain management when needed, to improve the pet’s physical, emotional and psychological wellbeing and overall quality of life.
1801 N. Sepulveda Blvd.
Just Food For Dogs
Founder Shawn Buckley says his passion for healthy, high quality dog food was kindled by his experience with his first dog, Simon, a six-month-old pound rescue. “It wasn’t until he was nine that I discovered what was legally allowed in dog food. I was shocked and angry. I found not just misleading labels, dangerous chemical preservatives and disgusting ‘ingredients,’ but an entirely self-regulated industry. One that is very broken. “I began cooking for my own dogs and saw an immediate difference. So did the neighbors, and soon I was feeding their dogs as well.” Buckley went on to assemble a team of veterinarians and specialists to develop healthy, nutritionally balanced meals. He established JustFoodForDogs “to improve the length and quality of life for as many pets as possible, through real food and nutrition.” The foods are formulated to enhance healthy digestion, skin and coats, healthy joints, a healthy weight, and to support the dogs’ kidney and liver. The foods are designed with the dogs’ age in mind as well. The food comes fresh frozen or shelf-stable form, including variety packs for the pooch who hasn’t made up his or her mind. In addition, custom diets can be formulated to meet an individual pet’s unique needs. Just Food For Dogs also sells treats, supplements, and gift bundles with various foods and doggie toys.
1605 N. Sepulveda
Ohana Dance founder, and co-director Krista Kupau trained in hula, and danced competitively in Hawaii, Japan, and Tahiti. In 2015, she decided to pursue her passion by opening a Redondo Beach dance studio that offered not only hula, but also ballet, jazz, hip hop, breakdancing, and musical theater. “We offer something for everyone,” Kupau said. Classes include recreational dance as well as competitive and pre-professional training. Since opening her teachers and students have won many regional and national dance competitions. One mom, whose daughter joined at the age of 15, said. “Ohana made her feel welcomed and loved.”
2772 Artesia Blvd. #107
Private Pre School
Manhattan Academy’s mission is to develop the unique abilities of each child. They achieve this by offering an individualized, developmentally appropriate, and enriched educational program where the focus is on “The Whole Child.” “We strive for excellence in all disciplines through a hands-on approach,” director Shannon Robley said. “Rich traditions in the Montessori philosophy and our innovative curriculum grows productive, caring and intellectually curious citizens.” The school offers care for children as young as six weeks old up to the fifth grade. In addition to their curriculum, they also offer enrichment classes like cooking, theater, engineering, robotics, and animation.
1740 Manhattan Beach Blvd.
Private High School
Bishop Montgomery High School
Bishop Montgomery breaks all stereotypes of what you might think a Catholic high school is. While the school certainly places some emphasis on theology, only 55 percent of the student body is Catholic and its 24-acre campus is extremely technology-oriented, with a robotics lab, an engineering lab, a computer lab, a digital arts lab, and a media center that will soon include a broadcasting studio. An example of BMHS’s cutting-edge science programs is its “Antaomage table.” “It’s actually the same table and same technology that’s being used in medical schools,” said Tiffanie Tolsma, the school’s director of outreach. “It’s like a giant six-foot iPad that has four different actual human cadavers, people that had donated their bodies to science after they passed. Kids can look at the body as a whole, but they can break it all the way down to see the impulses of the central nervous system, they can look at what injuries these people may have had or what diseases and see what the effects were on the body long term. So we use that in our anatomy classes, and then also we’ve got a Sports Medicine program that it’s really useful in.” hat that’s really useful in.” Bishop Montgomery can be measured by a lot of impressive numbers — 98 percent of its students go on to college, many at some of the best universities in the country. The student population draws on 45 from public schools within a 13-mile radius, and the result is an almost perfect diversity of Latino, Pacific Islander/Asian, Caucasian, African American, and multi-ethnic kids. But the key is how they all come together to form a community at Bishop Montgomery. “We are drawing from so many different both culturally diverse and economically diverse areas, and then to see the students come on to campus and just really create a sense of community is really something special,” said Tiffanie Tolsma, director of outreach for the school. “We’re a faith-based school, we’re a Catholic school, which means we’re operating under biblical principles, and it really is a testament to I think what heaven is going to look like.” The total enrollment is 830 students, meaning the campus is small enough that all the students receive ample attention from the 48 full-time faculty members, with an average class size of 24. The teachers also are a part of the sense of community at Bishop Montgomery — 84 percent have been at BMHS for over 5 years, and 33 percent are alumni. “We have a number of our alumni that worked outside of the education sector for a few years and then opted to come back here,” Tolsma said. “So, I think it really does speak to the life that bishop Montgomery offers. We overuse the word community, but I can’t think of a better way to describe it.”
5430 Torrance Blvd.
Private Elementary School
Peninsula Heritage School
Founded in 1961, Peninsula Heritage School offers challenging academics infused with character education, in a loving and caring environment, amid a park-like setting. The K-8 curriculum “is enhanced with science lab, music, coding, Spanish, fine arts, physical education, performing arts, and library time, all taught by specialists in their field,” said Joan E. Behrens, director of advancement. “Our school values students with diverse backgrounds, talents, and learning styles.” The teachers assess each child’s academic, social, and emotional profile, and create a personalized learning plan. A differentiated mathematics program allows advanced students to attend class one or even two grades above, while maintaining the balance of their classes with same-aged peers. A student-centered language arts program includes special reading and writing workshops from Teachers College, Columbia University, helping students develop literacy skills for life-long learning. The driving force for the school’s founding was the need to provide children with a character-based education. In addition to a full academic and co-curricular program, the teachers and administrators emphasize the school’s six character qualities of Caring, Attitude, Respect, Gratitude, Perseverance, and Self-Control through modeling, teaching, and discussing those qualities. “Students express their understanding of our character education program in their daily interactions, in written work, and by participating in song and dance during our monthly character qualities assemblies,” Behrens said. “Our graduates are often noted by their high school teachers and administrators for their outstanding character and positive attitudes.”
26944 Rolling Hills Rd.
Rolling Hills Estates
Del Amo Motorsports
2500 Marine Ave.
New Car Dealer
Manhattan Toyota owner Brad Sperber describes his situation since the start of the pandemic as a “double whammy.” Demand for his cars is at an all time high. His inventory, because Toyota has yet to resume full production, is at an all time low. “Pre COVID, I might have 500 new cars on the lot. Now I have a few dozen,” Sperber said. New car dealers nationwide are struggling to meet the pent up COVID demand because of lingering supply chain issues. But for Toyota the problem is exacerbated by the fact, Sperber said, that “we have such a good product. And Toyota’s the only manufacturer with a full range of hybrids, including hybrid Tundra trucks; Sequoia SUVs; Sienna minivans; Corolla, Camry and Crown, and Prius sedans, and the RAV4 crossover. Hybrids are 50 percent of our sales.” For the past two years, he’s been telling out of area buyers he can’t help them. “Unfortunately, you’re not local,” he tells them. “I need to take care of our local customers first,” he explains. Manhattan Toyota has a long established reputation for supporting community organizations, including the chamber, schools, sports teams and charities. But the reason for restricting sales to his PMA (Primary Market Area) isn’t entirely altruistic. “We want long term relationships with our buyers, from service to when they want a new car. We can do that because we’re locally owned. We’re not a mall dealer and we’re not corporate,” Sperber said. In return for customer loyalty, he has kept prices low, despite the supply shortage. As proof, the second generation car dealer said, sounding like his dad Darrell, who was known as “The Mayor of Manhattan Beach” because of his community involvement, “Call any other dealer, and you’ll find our prices beat their prices.
1500 N. Sepulveda Blvd.
Used Car Dealer
There’s a problem buying a used Subaru, Subaru Pacific General Manager James Hartzberg conceded. “They don’t depreciate as quickly as other cars. Maybe 20 percent to 30 percent over three years,” he said. But there are offsetting benefits. “They are as close to new as possible. They hold their value better, and come with an extended powertrain warranty,” he said. Another benefit for the outdoor oriented Beach City buyer is Subarus hits all the buttons for built for surf and snow trips. Hartzberg, an ET Surf shop rat in his youth, said all-wheel drive is standard on (almost) all models. The low maintenance interior fabrics can be wiped clean of sand and other outdoor evidence with a wet rag. You can pitch a tent on the roof. For the camper’s best friend, there are cat and dog seat belts, and scratch proof interior panels. And for the environmentally, and politically conscious, there’s comfort in knowing Subarus are built in Lafayette Louisiana on a nature reserve in a “zero landfill waste” factory. Subaru’s physical contribution to the outdoor lifestyle is extended by Subaru Pacific to the community lifestyle. They are a long time contributor to the South Bay Boardriders Club, and the Grades of Green environmental club funded at Grand View Elementary in Manhattan Beach. For the past 10 years, ever since Hartzberg adopted Max, a mixed lab, from Gone to the Dogs, Subaru Pacific has hosted dog adoption days at the dealership. Subaru Pacific is also a founding sponsor of the BeachLife Music festivals. On Thursday, March 16, as part of its third Thursdays of the Month Customer Appreciation Days, Subaru Pacific will give away a set of tickets to the upcoming BeachLife Festival, over the first weekend in May.
14700 Hindry Ave.
Electric Car Dealer
The “E3” in E3 Vehicles stands for “Electric, Efficient, Evolve.” From its Hermosa Beach shop, E3 rents and sells NEVs – Neighborhood Electric Vehicle – those that resemble a golf cart, built to be legally operated on streets with speed limits of 35 mph or less. This accounts for the vast majority of streets in the beach cities.
619 Pacific Coast Hwy.
Rock N Roll Car Wash
Did it begin with Robert Johnson on the Missippi Delta? As far as a theme for a car wash in the South Bay, it started in 2014 on the corner of Aviation Boulevard and Pacific Coast Highway. Rock & Roll Car Wash, evoking a time when this music flourished on the worldwide stage, offers car detailing packages spanning the “Club Gig” to “Record Deal” and “Stadium Gig.” Choices for a wash run from “Vocals” only to “Vocals, Drums, Bass”and “The Whole Band.”
1000 Pacific Coast Hwy.
Something so unheard of that most automotive repair customers have never before experienced occurs with some regularity at Bothwell Automotive: a repair job actually ends up costing less than the estimate. In other cases, customers report that they were told by their car dealership or another repair shop that several repairs were needed, and the guys at Bothwell take a look and say, ‘Nah, you don’t need that.” In other words, Bothwell is an impeccable trustworthy automotive repair shop, something much rarer than gold, and because of this has become nothing short of legendary through word-of-mouth, repeated BoB awards, and glowingly positive Yelp reviews (one man had his car towed from seven miles beyond his free AAA coverage, because no savings was worth the peace of mind he felt knowing Bothwell would do exactly the work needed and their charge would be rock solid fair). “I get people who live a ways away who come to town and set it up just so they can bring their car to us,” said manager Todd Harding, who has worked alongside owners Gil and Steve Bothwell for two decades. “Basically it’s just about being honest with the customer, never trying to oversell, give them what they need, and standing behind the work. If you do those things, people are happy to come back.”
20730 Earl Street
Bike Shop (Traditional)
Hermosa Cyclery sells electric bikes, but won’t rent them, even though they rent more bikes than anyone else in the Beach Cities. The store’s conflicting e-bike policy reflects the broader conflict over e-bikes. “We know if we rented electric bikes people would ride them on The Strand. And we know residents don’t want electric bikes on The Strand. So we don’t rent them,” Hermosa Cyclery co-owner Steve Collins said. The bike store is just a few feet from The Strand in downtown Hermosa. But they sell them, Collins said, because, “We think they’re great. People can ride places, like up hills, that they can’t on a conventional bike.” In addition, he noted, the demand for e-bikes is growing exponentially, he said. “Two summers ago, we set aside one-quarter of the Hermosa Fiesta bike corral for e-bikes. Last summer half of the 1,000 bikes in the corral were e-bikes,” he said. E-bikes speeding on The Strand are a safety issue, Collins acknowledged. But he believes ticketing speeders would be a more effective way to address the issue than the city’s current policy of allowing e-bikes on The Strand, but only if the power is off.
20 13th Street
Electric Bike Shop
Trick E-Bikes owner Clint Hough guesses it was about eight years ago when he saw a man riding an electric bike down the Hermosa Beach Strand. “He had bags on either side of the bike and his tie was blowing in the air. That is the future, I told myself,” Hough said. Over the ensuing years he told friends he was going to open an electric bike store. “They scoffed. They asked what did I know about bikes. But bikes, cars, they’re all the same,” he said. Hough began working on cars when he was 16, and a friend offered him a job at Humbug Auto Parts, on Pacific Coast Highway in Hermosa Beach. He bought the store when he was 26, and ran it for 40 years. After closing it in 2006, he sold auto parts for BMW and Porsche. When he was laid off during the pandemic he made good on his plan to open an e-bike store. “I used my first check to buy four e-bikes. Sold them the first weekend. Bought eight more, then 12. He moved from a closet space in the Bay Storage building on Hermosa Avenue to the front of the building, where he has room for 25 rental bikes, a similar number of bikes for sale, and repairs. “I haven’t had five days off since we opened in January 2021,” he said. “But that’s not a complaint,” he added. His most popular bikes are the Aveton, and the Rad Cargo. “Rads are the ones that make everyone mad because the kid ride their friends on the back and blow through signs without helmets. “The kids need to be disciplined,” he said. I’d do what police do to stop drunk driving. Set up e-bike checkpoints,” he said. Hough recently hosted a bike registration day at his store. “The police set up a tent and entered bike registration numbers in their system. So, if a stolen bike is recovered, police can find the owner,” he said.
901 Hermosa Ave.
Gracie Barra Jijutsu
Gacie Barra Jiu-Jitsu’s Redondo Beach location is one of more than 900 worldwide, for a martial art originated in Japan and studied by Brazilian Carlos Gracie, Jr. Gracie Barra offers a free try-out class for anyone, starting at three years old. “There is no striking, or kicking, it’s learning how to defend yourself,” said Erica, a Redondo Beach teacher. “We don’t push anybody for competition. Everybody has different goals and we’re here to tend to all of them.” Carlos Gracie, Jr. started the school in 1986 in Barra da Tijuca, Rio De Janeiro. “Just come in and try it,” Erica said. “There is no other way to know it than to experience it.”
5147 C. Mayor
Dive N’ Surf
Dive N’ Surf goes a step beyond offering gear that helps people connect with the ocean, store manager Chris Kelly said. Along with dive gear, it offers dive lessons, dive trips, supports a dive team, and hosts dive events, including underwater cleanups in King Harbor, and an annual underwater Easter Egg Hunt, which will be held this year on March 26, at Veteran’s Park. In addition to selling surfboards, it supports the South Bay Boardriders Club, which hosts contests for surfers of all ages. The shop also supports ocean mentoring programs for kids and adults, such Ocean Fever, founded by local swim coach Romina Caristo. And it supports veterans through Wounded Heroes of America, funded by local Realtor Mike Talleda. “We live next to the best source of fun and health in Los Angeles. We want people to be able to enjoy it,” Kelly said. Shortly before the pandemic, Dive N’ Surf built a new indoor pool to teach scuba diving. Since then scuba has seen a spurt in popularity. Kelly attributes the growth not just to people emerging from the pandemic, but to diving growing exposure through films and commercials. Film productions regularly call him to book time in their training pool. New dive gear is making diving easier, he said. Streamlined regulators, and BCDs (Buoyancy Compensator Devices) make you feel more like a fish, and less like a whale, Kelly said. Another cool product, he said, is the new Garmin dive watch. “It not only tells you the pressure in your tank, and your heart rate. It tells you how many yards to the next hole on the golf course. It’s an all-in-one adventure watch,” Kellys said.
504 N Broadway
Body One Fitness
Personal trainer Lou Sidella founded, Body One Fitness in 1998. Its focus is to be a private training facility for small, group classes in cardio-conditioning workouts. Routines vary each day, using weights and barbells, kettlebells and dumbbells. The company invites all people, regardless of age or fitness levels to seek their fitness goals.
201 Herondo Street #100
The Bay Clubs’ three South Bay locations emphasize community, but with distinct approaches. “Each of the clubs has its own personality,” said Marissa Lucas, senior vice president of brand for Bay Clubs. The venerable Manhattan Country Club feels like family; the El Segundo club is “super modern,” indoor oriented and boasts the excellent Café Vita; and the Redondo location “is a small club on the beach, with great views of the pier.” The clubs have launched a new type of shared membership, bucking a trend followed by competitors. Instead of limiting shared memberships by household, the Bay Clubs allow as many as six people – any six people – to be included on one shared membership. The clubs focus on fitness, sports and hospitality, with an emphasis on family, offering group events, group exercise, kids’ events, as well as pickleball, tennis, basketball, racquetball, aquatics, and water polo lessons for kids.
2250 Park Pl., El Segundo (310) 643-6878
819 N. Harbor Dr., Redondo Beach (310) 376-9443
2250 Park Pl, El Segundo (310) 643-6878
1330 Parkview Ave., Manhattan Beach (310) 546-5656
Pilates, Personal Trainer
Beach Life Fitness Boutique
Beach Life Fitness Boutique offers innovative and fun classes like mini-trampoline workouts and build-a-booty sessions in addition to the traditional Pilates Reformer, Mat and barre. Owner and personal trainer Danielle Spangler has been in the fitness industry for 30 years, and has witnessed a trend to smaller boutique gyms that create customized services and a sense of community. Spangler specializes in women’s health and fitness, with an emphasis on pelvic floor focused exercises. “Our baby friendly prenatal classes help woen prepare and recover from birth.” Danielle said.
Surf, Skateboard Shop & Shop Shaper Pat Ryan
904 Aviation Blvd.
Hermosa Beach, CA 90254
Surfboard shaper (Underground)
Jon Mangiagli shaped his first surfboard when he was a standout Mira Costa High team rider. He shaped the egg at his dad Steve’s glassing factory in Hermosa’s Cypress Avenue surfboard district, where Hap Jacobs, Greg Noll, Bing Copeland, and Rick Stoner gave birth to surfing’s Golden Age. Mangiagli’s dad, Steve, founded Becker Surf in Stoner’s former factory, with shaper Phil Becker, and airbrusher Dave Hollander.
“About the only good thing to be said about that first board is it floated,” Mangiagli recalled. But its unconventional, egg shape also hinted at the direction his future designs would take.
Today, 20 years later, Mangiagli is known for pushing the boundaries of surfboard design. He can do it because he still surfs well enough to test what works and what doesn’t. Like his dad, he is also known for his resin tints, which gives his boards a depth of beauty airbrushed and epoxy boards cannot compare to.
He still makes surfboards in his dad’s former glassing factory, though not for Becker Surf, which sold to Billabong in 2010.
He builds boards under his own name. Though his boards are carried in a few shops in California and Europe, most are custom ordered. Currently, twin fins, which are looser than the more conventional tri fins, are enjoying renewed popularity, he said. But so are channel bottoms, which are not as loose, but provide more drive. He’s also seen a surge in orders for mid-length boards, he said. Though once looked down upon, they are growing in popularity and acceptance.
Mangagli is ensuring Hermosa’s Cypress district remains at the center of surfing by sharing his shaping bays with other notable shapers, among them former Lightning Bolt shaper Roger Hinds, former Santa Cruz shaper Michel Junod, and South Bay shapers Dane Peterson and Kris Hall. He’s also generous with his praise and support for shapers he grew up with, among them Zack Stafford, Goose, James Kaiser, Kyle Brown, Grayson Daley, and Matt Pagan.
640 Cypress Ave.
The Beach Cities, and the Los Angeles area more generally, possess a diverse proliferation of yoga studios, so much so that one could make a good case that the region has become an epicenter in the global movement of yoga. Even in this yogic bounty, however, SoHo Yoga studio in downtown Hermosa Beach stands out. It is the only studio in the area that offers both heated and non-heated yoga, and though the building itself is tucked in unassumingly on Hermosa Avenue, its solar heating system and the delicately raining “mister” are state-of-the-art technologies that give yogis the dizzyingly poetic feeling of both practicing yoga in a tropical forest as well as within their own breath and movement. Former NBA player Richard Jefferson co-founded the studio with his friend Pete Niva in 2014, and they were unstinting in their pursuit of creating the perfect environment for yoga.
“It got expensive,” Jefferson said in an interview a few years ago. “But I told Pete, ‘If for some reason this doesn’t work out, it won’t be because we didn’t put everything we could into it.’”
Most crucially, they did not compromise in finding the most dynamic instructor they could find to direct the actual yoga that would take place at Soho Yoga. Natasha Snow Needles already had a large following in the LA and Santa Monica area, but she was lured by the offer to create a yoga studio that could contain worlds. In the nearly decade since, she has cultivated a staff of teachers with a wide array of approaches but a shared generosity of spirit. Yoga has been described as “the architecture of peace,” and Soho Yoga is built accordingly.
“We really try to cultivate an authentic voice for teachers and a platform for them to share their own unique poetry that they offer to the practice that is yoga,” Snow Needles said. “And we all need a variety, so this is why we also have those non-heated classes upstairs. So it’s not like we are just this small niche of one type of yoga, but full spectrum, with meditation, yin yoga, Kundalini, more powerful flows, and flows that invite different inspirations of movement from dance or Pilates or picking up free weights. But the authenticity of each unique teacher is something we work really hard to support and celebrate at the studio, offering them their own space to create their poetic magic.”
No inch of Soho Yoga has been left unconsidered, from the happily artful hallways (with cold towels waiting after a hot class) to the thoughtfully-appointed locker rooms. The feeling is one both of community and refuge, but the intention is to facilitate really getting some inner work done.
“I’m not going to say that all classes are going to invoke a Samadhi state [of total inner peace],” Snow Needles said. “ it’s going to absolutely push students to get to the boundaries of discomfort and work through some dark shadows, for sure. We’re not out here trying to push the buttons of our students, but a lot comes up. You’re moving because you’ve been storing your feelings and your past wounds in the little cubby holes of your body and the corners of your heart. The goal, definitely, once you pour out of that room, is to be greeted with a nice cold towel and encouraging words for the efforts you just put forward. I’m hoping that we’re landing that message of internal peace, and then the lessons of how you are more inclusive and kinder with your own body ripple out and permeate the community that you’re directly correlated with.”
1242 Hermosa Ave.