Thursday, July 18, 2024

MADE, the long-running DTLB store dedicated to local creators, will be permanently closing

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MADE, the store birthed by Localism! founder DW Ferrell in 2014, will permanently shutter as select vendors received a memo from Millworks, its owner, stating they wish to inform “friends,” as vendors who shared the message said the were referred to as, before eventually announcing publicly on social media. It was also noted that Elinor, the popular “drinkery” space that was accessible through MADE’s back alleyway during its Pine days, would also not be reopening despite MADE’s website saying such a closure would “not be forever.”

Multiple vendors privately confirmed the memo; other vendors shared they had never received news, only to text the owner of Millworks to learn that the store was closing. All vendors asked to remain anonymous for fear of being approached by the owner.

The shop—which moved from its original location on Pine Avenue to a smaller store on 4th Street late last year—was a one-of-a-kind space when it opened in 2014: Within a year, Ferrell has expanded the space from 25 vendors when it opened on a Black Friday in 2014 to over 120 vendors the following year. Some called it a “business revolution” while others praised it for doing something distinctly unique, and well, distinctly Long Beach.

“MADE was about supporting a local economy by highlighting our maker and small brand community,” said former MADE and Elinor general manager Heather Kern, who led the space during its peak years. “But MADE was more than a retail store; it was truly a space where commerce and genuine, local community met.

Right out of the gates we had regular events and weekly popups with brands that would go to be a staple in Long Beach, like the The Pie Bar and Black Ring Coffee. DW was trying to find backers for a ghost kitchen—which was a foreign concept at the time and now we have things like Partake Collective. In 2018, we had an entire pop up restaurant with The Wild Chive serving brunch. We even opened a locally themed bar. The entire venture couldn’t exist without all of the amazing artisans and artists we have in Long Beach and the amazing people who worked there day in and day out to assure it was a success. I’m proud of the work the team I got to work with did and I’ll forever cherish my time at MADE.”

During its prime, MADE was a cornucopia of creation from the artists, bakers, creators, and doers of Long Beach: From the art of Grammy-award winner David Van Patten to the witty snark of Mimi Masher’s plastic creations to acting as a venue for discussions about everything from feminism and Black Lives Matters to public transit and public art, MADE was, echoing Kern, special.

It even acted as a food incubator, as Kern noted, helping create and foster some of Long Beach’s most beloved brands: It was the birthplace of The Pie Bar, Black Ring Coffee, and Romeo Chocolates as well as the place The Wild Chive—now a thriving, underrated brick-and-mortar on Broadway in Alamitos Beach—moved to in order to deal with expansion issues.

The shuttering of the space isn’t the first time the shop has seen troubles: Posts about staff shortages along with the move to a much smaller location off of the main drag—after a failed attempt to expand the previous Pine Avenue space—provided a sense that the shop wasn’t doing too well, echoing its troubles when its founder, Ferrell, eventually stepped away from operations in 2016 in order to hand over the reigns to Millworks, a local company.

Millworks has yet to return comment for this story.

Looking for an alternative to MADE? Check out LB Swag in Belmont Shore, located at 5304 E 2nd. St.

Made is located at 50 E. 4th St.

Brian Addison
Brian Addison
Brian Addison has been a writer, editor, and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food and culture to transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 25 nominations and three additional wins. In 2019, he was awarded the Food/Culture Critic of the Year across any platform at the National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards.

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