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Conversations with Douglas Mackinnon

Today we’d like to introduce you to Douglas Mackinnon. Them and their team share their story with us below:

Long Beach United was opened Jan. 1st. 2013. It was started by Doug MacKinnon and Erik Sandin who knew each other through the 1980’s punk rock scene. Erik is the drummer in NOFX and Doug was the former drummer of the Vandals. They decided to open the gym on 4th st because of their roots there for over 35 years. The neighborhood was a collection of independent businesses owned by artists and musicians from the 80’s and 90’s music scene. The main focus was to build a program to give the kids in the community a place to learn boxing, as well as classes for adults that were looking for a fun way to stay in shape and work out. After almost ten years, it remains a staple in the community and still boasts the largest kids boxing program in the city.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Business has luckily always been great since the day it opened. However, crime and homelessness have created issues that have plagued the community. That combined with the rising rents and cost of living have changed the neighborhood from a once mostly working area to a typical gentrified neighborhood not unlike many area of Los Angeles. The Covid pandemic also saw Long Beach United closed for over a year, and without any grants or help from the city, the gym struggled to pay its rent and make it through.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
Our proudest achievement is the work we’ve done with the youth in an underserved community with little resources for kids.

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