Dining decks deck Hermosa Lock and Safe Shop, it’s closing in December
by Elka Worner
After 47 years in downtown Hermosa Beach, Hermosa Lock and Safe Shop is closing in December because of lack of parking.
Owner Frank Hallstein said business is down 80 percent because of the outdoor dining decks installed at the beginning of the pandemic in the parking spaces near his Pier Avenue store. The dining decks, which he thought would be a six-month program to help restaurants survive the pandemic, have been extended “with no end in sight,” he said.
He said city staff, and the city council have been unresponsive to his request for parking help.
“The city is so anti-business, I just don’t get it,” Hallstein said. “They’re trying to say they want to make it like a hometown, but they’re running all the brick and mortars out.”
“When customers do come to our store, after having circled the block five times looking for parking, they’re so pissed off it’s not a friendly atmosphere at all,” he said.
Hallstein said his June 14, 2022 letter to the city council about the negative impact of the dining decks was “disregarded.” He said when the city had discussions with downtown businesses about extending the dining deck program, he was not invited, nor were the brick-and-mortar stores in the affected area.
“The extensions were all done at the last minute, without any notification to businesses, other than the restaurants on upper Pier Avenue,” Hallstein said. “It made me feel like the city doesn’t care for the mom-and-pop businesses, especially the long-time ones.”
Hallstein said he also spoke to Hermosa Beach Environmental Programs Manager Doug Krauss about Coastal Commission regulations related to the parking.
Krauss referred questions about his conversation with Hallstein to city public information officer Laura Mecoy. Mecoy responded by email, stating, “The Council made the decision to have dining decks.” She suggested the city council members or city manager be interviewed about the dining decks.
The 400 block of Pier Avenue, where the store is located, has 23 diagonal parking spots, 11 of which are occupied by dining decks, Hallstein said.
Hallstein’s wife Roxanne, who runs the store, said before the dining decks, she averaged $350 to $500 a day in sales. Since the decks were installed at nearby restaurants, including The Hook & Plow next door, sales are $40 to $100 a day, which is not enough to cover expenses.
“We would have had no problem at all if they got rid of the dining decks,” she said. “They also need to put Pier Avenue back to two lanes on each side.”
Hermosa Beach Chamber of Commerce President Jessica Accamando said a chamber survey found local businesses and residents support the outdoor dining decks.
“I think the community, by and large, has spoken up in surveys about their willingness to forgo some parking spots to be able to preserve an outdoor dining experience,” she said.
Hallstein bought the business from his dad in 1991. Frank Hallstein Sr., a retired aerospace engineer, launched the business in 1975 with $318 and a flier advertising “deadbolt locks installed.” The business has survived recessions, the 2008 financial crash, and the pandemic, but not the dining decks, Hallstein said.
Hallstein will continue to offer mobile services for residential and business customers.
“A lot of people will be sad to see it go physically, but I’m pretty sure a lot of people are still going to call on Frank for their lock needs,” Accamando said.
Roxanne Hallstein said she will miss her regular customers.
“We didn’t have a choice,” she said. “This was the only option we had.” ER