Long Beach – Takes Thrift & Vintage Shops Virtual

Robin Bilogh pickups up her order from Tammy Kline at Assistance League of Long Beach in Retro Row Friday, May 8, 2020. Certain South Bay businesses opened their doors for curbside pickup delivery following an announcement on Wednesday, May 6, that the first round of retail and other businesses may reopen Friday with limited operations, following approval by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Retailers across Long Beach were allowed to reopen for curbside pickup on Friday, May 8, after being shuttered for weeks to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus.

But you wouldn’t know it by the looks of the city’s shopping destinations like Retro Row and Second Street.

“Closed” signs were a frequent sight Friday afternoon along the Retro Row corridor on Fourth Street. While restaurants and beverage shops, such as Lola’s Mexican Cuisine, Papa John’s  and Salud Juice Bar were open for business, only one retail spot — Assistance League Thrift & Vintage — appeared ready to serve customers.

The door was locked, but a posted sign told customers to call when they arrive.

“Business has been great,” Tammy Kline, the shop’s manager, said after she came to the door. “Well, maybe not great, but people have learned to adapt.”

The store is only allowing customers to pick up orders that were made online — a difficult proposition for a thrift shop with a constantly rotating inventory. Rather than trying to keep up with a website, the shop has taken to posting pictures of items they have on Instagram and Facebook and waiting for people to reach out about what they’d like to claim.  “I wish we could have it so maybe one person at a time browses the store,” Kline said, “but we’re not there yet.”