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#Food Trucks may be good for business in #Hermosa Beach First Thursday - counterpoint

#Hermosa Beach vs. #Venice Beach - A (cautionary) Tale of Two Cities 1st Friday and First Thursday events

 By Joy A. Kennelly

Recently I finally had the opportunity to attend the wildly successful 1st Friday event held in Venice Beach which I like to call "Hermosa North." Here's some of the similarities and contrasts of the demographics according to Movoto.com in case you're not familiar with either city to see why I say this.

I will explain why I'm sharing this information with you after you've reviewed the following stats. Please note, the heavier outline border indicates Venice and the lighter border is Hermosa to help further differentiate.

Venice Beach tends to run a little older overall and appears to have a larger 20's - 30's demographic than Hermosa. Hermosa Beach is only 1.43 square miles and Venice Beach is also rather small at 1.975 square miles (both of these stats are according to city-data.com. The rest are Movoto unless indicated.)

    90291-population-by-age 90254-population-by-age

Both cities have more men than women living there. Good to know ladies.:)

90291-population-by-sex

   90254-population-by-sex

There is a slightly higher gay population in Venice, but otherwise the Unmarried Partner stats are very similar.

90291-unmarried-partner-households 

90254-unmarried-partner-households 

Now here's where we start to see a slight divergence in populations.

90291-employment-status
90254-employment-status 

And this Population by Race stat was very interesting to see. Hermosa tends to run predominantly Caucasian, whereas Venice is a wider variety of races. According to one person I was mentioning this to, he said in Venice you can be surrounded by urban yuppies in one area and then turn into a neighborhood where you could get your head shot off right nearby.

In Hermosa, that just doesn't happen although their crime rate is higher than other beach cities in the South Bay.

90291-population-by-race 

90254-population-by-race

It looks like Venice & Hermosa share similar stats on Native born citizens which is interesting. Appears people born in CA generally don't leave.:)

90291-citizenships-by-birthplace 

90254-citizenships-by-birthplace

Educationally, Hermosa appears to have more college graduates. (Now I'm not an expert at analyzing graphs and if my estimations are off, please feel free to leave a comment to voice your opinion.)

90291-population-by-education-level 

90254-population-by-education-level

Again, according to www.city-data.com's 2008 stats, Venice Beach had a Population of 14,315 with a Population density of 7,249 people per square mile. Hermosa Beach had a Population in July 2008 of 19,350 with a much higher Population density of 13,531 people per square mile.

General consensus among people I've talked to and stats I've revewed is that Venice is much more creative and filled with a larger artist and entertainment industry population, whereas, Hermosa Beach is more finance and real estate.

Read more on Venice Beach demographics here: https://www.city-data.com/neighborhood/Venice-Beach-Venice-CA.html#ixzz0swhmlb00 and here: https://www.movoto.com/neighborhood/ca/venice/90291.htm

Read more on Hermosa Beach demographics here: https://www.city-data.com/city/Hermosa-Beach-California.html and here: https://www.movoto.com/neighborhood/ca/hermosa/90254.htm

Now that you have a clear picture of both cities, their similar size and demographics, here's my observation from the last  "Abbot Kinney 1st Friday" event in Venice Beach compared to the newly started Hermosa Beach "First Thursday" event. 

What I found interesting reviewing Yelp's promotion of Abbot Kinney 1st Friday is the majority of the reviewers were in support of the large variety of (roughly 40) food trucks and that's what they mostly discussed. There were a few angry comments about the food trucks taking over the city, but for the most part it seemed to be one of the main draws to Abbot Kinney from people who bothered to write a review.

Now while visiting the shops, it was a completely different story with some store owners who were very upset about the over-abundance of food trucks. One lady went so far as to say she wanted to take a machine gun and mow them all down she was so angry.

She had a point though. Apparently none of the food trucks have permits; they park in prime parking spots and camp out all evening blocking visibility of any stores from the street; their long lines create difficulty for people to walk the sidewalks comfortably; the police don't enforce the law regarding their vehicles; and the food trucks don't provide restrooms to accommodate everyone.

Since Hermosa Beach currently limits parking, they may want to consider whether or not they want to open this can of worms at all if extending parking limits ever comes up to vote in City Council. The other difference between Venice and Hermosa is that Venice has a much smaller predominance of restaurants on Abbot Kinney than Hermosa's Downtown area.

Hermosa Beach's First Thursdays was designed to bring business to the entire Downtown Hermosa area and is just getting started. I created a Hermosa Beach Christmas Village along the same lines a few years back which I believe was the model for First Thursdays.

If food trucks were allowed in Hermosa Beach it would draw business away from restaurants that need, and enjoy, the business foot traffic brings. Just sharing since this issue may come before City Council and it would be a smart, pro-active move to limit the amount of food trucks allowed before it gets out of hand like in Venice.

One of the other major differences between Venice and Hermosa is the variety of art galleries Venice offers along Abbot Kinney. Downtown Hermosa boasts only Bo Bridges art gallery and Ogden photography gallery. According to Wikipedia, gentrification occurs when artists move in and make an area hip. Here's the full explanation: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gentrification#Impact_on_artist_colonies

What I found interesting to learn about Venice's attempts to control their out-of-control 1st Fridays was the intense police presence (similar to Hermosa Beach's Pier Plaza clamp down.) Apparently, to bring sanity to the event, police ticketed jaywalkers, anyone drinking alcohol on the streets and other violations just to make it known this type behavior wasn't accepted any more.

It appears to be paying off, but there's a new twist which a friend of mine dislikes because she feels it's ruining the Venice vibe. Now, it appears numerous shops are choosing to hold "private parties" during 1st Friday in an effort to limit the amount of alcohol citations these places receive.

We walked in on two such events and where normally my friend could have enjoyed a free beer along with the rest of the party in standard Venice-style entertaining, this time they refused her which was upsetting.

Although I'm not a big drinker and didn't care either way, it did seem rather rude to have a "private" party in a "public" space and then pick and choose who you allowed to participate. It makes better customer service and marketing sense to host such an event on a night where the general public isn't apt to walk through your "private" party.

It was also interesting to note how many "beer/wine" gardens were going on in areas during 1st Friday obviously not licensed to host such events, but with no apparent law enforcement by the police. Huge areas of businesses gardens were crammed with people drinking and security guards making sure no one left with open containers.

Again, my friend thought this went against Venice's unwritten code of "open" partying, but times, they are a changing. 

I'm just writing this as an impartial observer because Hermosa Beach has been bringing the city back under control after years of out-of-control alcohol activities and what's happening in Venice may prove a cautionary tale on the potential issues facing First Thursdays in the future if it continues to grow and build too.

Now do you see why I call Venice, Hermosa North? They are very similar and experience a lot of the same issues a beach city faces which is why I thought you might appreciate this comparison and contrasting cautionary tale of two cities blog if you happen to live in either city.

This all said, I wish both cities continued success in bringing business to their shopping/dining districts, especially in this down economy.



 

Comments

Janet Gervers

great article Joy!
I can't believe there are about an even ration men to women- where are those guys anyway? It is encouraging to know though! Thanks for linking to my Abbot Kinney Venice blog which was started to promote 1st Fridays and now includes Venice area events which are posted for FREE.

See it at: https://www.abbotkinney1stfridays.com

Joy Kennelly

Glad you liked it! Now to see what happens to future events in both cities.:)

sasha

as a retailer hoping to open in one of these locations, which area between abbott kinney and hermosa gets more visitors

Joy Kennelly

If I were you, I would look at the taxes each city charges first. Also, parking ticket issues because that's a big deterrent in Hermosa right now.

That said, since the Pier Ave renovation has happened in Hermosa I believe they're drawing more people. Just be aware they have two huge events on Labor and Memorial Day which block stores with vendors that a lot of retailers have complained about.

If I were you I would walk into shops in both cities, speak to the retailers and get their personal opinions because they will always be honest and share their experiences. At least the ones I've always talked to.

Abbott Kinney has a hugely successful First Friday event, but many retailers choose to close that night now because they're not making any money from it.

It's all a matter of what clientele you're trying to reach. Keep me posted! Love to hear what you find! I may even blog about it.:)

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