LONG BEACH — Some customers came for coffee but couldn’t help but look around. Others arrived for art-related items yet often ended up ordering drinks to go.
It seems the new business along Pacific Avenue has struck an ideal balance.
BOLD Coffee, Art and Framing officially opened this fall at 711 Pacific Ave. in Long Beach, the culmination of months of work by owners Greg Holmes and Daneka Ewert in preparing the space.
The name of the business was partially inspired by their daring undertaking.
“We felt it was kind of bold move, in the middle of a global pandemic, to buy a small business in a coastal resort community and run three business we have no experience with in the spur of the moment,” said co-owner Greg Holmes.
‘We just jumped in’
Greg and Daneka were visiting on vacation from Utah this past spring when they were first presented with the opportunity to own the business, formerly home to The Picture Attic.
“We were actually just out here on vacation and The Picture Attic became available with Jean Nitzel retiring,” Greg said.
“The sale on the place had fallen through at the last minute. We said ‘Hey, why don’t we buy the place?’. So we kind of just jumped in with no plan. We were four years away from our retirement plan. That was in the middle of March. And we basically never went back to Utah. We said let’s do this, so we stayed,” Greg said.
“We kind of thought about doing something like this in retirement, so we just jumped in,” he said.
Both have been embracing their new roles with the business and life on the Long Beach Peninsula.
“It’s been great,” Daneka added. “It was a good change. We sold the place in Utah and we’re here full-time now.”
The building, home to The Picture Attic for decades, underwent an extensive remodel inside and out over several months including new lighting, flooring, windows, doors, countertops, paint and roofing.
Greg and Daneka did a lot of the work themselves after covid-related closures limited outside contracting options.
“This summer we spent quite a few days on the roof shingling,” Greg said, adding that their two faithful dogs, Franky and Theo, became affectionately known as ‘the roofing retrievers.’
Not all the work came easily; there was a learning curve when it came to replacing windows, Greg said.
“We learned how to do gridded windows,” he said. “We cut out the old aluminum frame windows and put these upgraded windows and doors in. Originally we thought we had to hurry up and get open and be ready for tourist season, then everything started to shut down. We had lot of time on our hands to do it. We brought in a 40-yard dumpster and started clearing out all the stuff that needed to go and recreating the whole thing from scratch.”
Much of the interior furniture was constructed from re-purposed and upcycled items including French doors, windows and miscellaneous materials from estate sales and nearby businesses. Wooden corbels holding the coffee bar are more than 100 years old, Daneka said. Display tables came from M&D Design and a bench was formerly in Abbracci.
“We’ve upcycled a ton. We really enjoyed the upcycling with the coffee bar, which was salvaged from the transfer station. Sue Svendsen and her husband, Bill, spent like 10,000 hours pulling out a million nails,” Greg said.
“It’s been a fun project because there’s so many cool building materials like that around.”
The art gallery occupies the largest section of the business, featuring art from approximately 30 local artists.
“There’s so many creative people on the peninsula and we wanted to create an outlet for them,” Greg said. The name of the business also pays homage to the artists.
“It’s bold to be able to pour your heart and soul into a piece of work and then put it out there for the world to judge,” he said. “It’s not always positive feedback, it takes courage. Fortunately we have fantastic artists who’ve entrusted us.”
Sue Svendsen was instrumental in helping curate the gallery of artists.
“We couldn’t have done this without her,” Daneka said.
Giving back to the community and fulfilling a need for a safe community space is a core mission with the business, from connecting artists to customers to offering a high-speed internet for kids to complete school work.
“Come do your homework here, the doors are always open,” Greg said.
Tables are interspersed between art displays for privacy and adequate social distancing. A new patio out back offers more space to safely social distance. Two classrooms are being planned to offer kids and adult classes and weekly artist workshops, when covid-related restrictions on gatherings allow.
“We want to be that place in the community that people can come, chill out and feel safe. But covid has put a little bit of a damper on that,’ Daneka said.
“There’s so much need here for a community space,” Greg added.
The closure of Ricky Holmes’s Abbracci Coffee Bar in Long Beach inspired the café portion of the business.
“Ricky was a good friend of ours. Everybody was devastated when he closed the door. We spent last Christmas helping him close down. Daneka had dreamed of putting in a gallery next to Abbracci and creating synergy between the two spaces because we loved the vibe of his place. When we bought this place, because we had enough space, the plan was have an art gallery and a coffee shop,” Greg said.
“They fit great together. You come in, get your coffee and wander through the art,” he said.
While most prefer to come and browse the gallery, a coffee window can handle walk-up orders. Astoria-based Columbia Rivers Roaster coffee and tea from Beach House Teas, produced on the Long Beach Peninsula, is available along with cookies and scones made fresh daily.
The raspberry mocha and caramel macchiato are among the early customer favorites.
“People like their lattes here that’s for sure,” Daneka said. “It’s been really great and we’ve been able to make a lot of connections too.”
Running three separate businesses including the art gallery, picture framing business and coffee shop without any prior experience and during a pandemic has been a learning experience.
“They were all new to us,” Greg said.
“Normally you go into a business after spending months or years researching and you have a business plan drawn up. We literally in 24 hours made the decision. We were taking a water color class on vacation and woke up the next morning with this business.”
Finding time to balance their work and personal lives amid a pandemic has been a hurdle.
“The challenge was trying to balance all the businesses and trying to keep sane during covid,” Daneka said.
Common construction items such as wood 2x4’s and flooring weren’t always in stock and overseas deliveries were often delayed.
“Sometimes you go to Home Depot and the lumber department is empty,” Greg said. “It’s been a weird year. There were some supply chain issues. Sometimes it was as simple as just trying to buy the materials for projects.”
The supply chain issues led Greg and Daneka to seek more building materials locally, including re-purposing salvaged pieces.
“It’s been a lot of blood, sweat and tears,” Greg said. “But it’s been really fun and empowering. It’s satisfying to see the reaction from the community as people embrace it.”